Gospel Centered Marriages Conference Notes Part 2

#Before the great flood of God’s wrath against our sins reaches us, Jesus swallows it whole! Not a drop of judgement reaches us! – Paul Washer

#Christ died not for victims but for the CULPRITS!

#Christ’s resurrection was not the end of the story, but merely the intermission!

#The virtuous woman of Scripture will not be on the cover of the cosmopolitan magazine, but will rather look more like Vermeer’s Milk Maid! – Kevin Swanson

#Modern man plays video games while Rome burns!

#If you just want to be married, it is a failed courtship even if it ends in marriage. A successful courtship has God at the center of its purpose.

#A wife is to help her husband fulfill the commandments God has given him as a leader.

#If a man is not doing something purposeful with his life, do not waste the time on him young ladies.

#If a woman who is organized sees the man’s disorganization and covers the weakness with her strength, they are well matched, but, if she sees it and becomes discontent with his fault, they are not well matched.

#A young woman must decide if she can serve under a young man (if she is also deciding marriageability).

#How we handle courtship is a witness.

#The Dominion Mandate : Have many children! Work! Do it together!

#Everyone wants great results but few are willing to pay the price.

#A potential suitor must realize that he will be the example of Christ in his marriage, to the world.

Gospel Centered Marriages Conference Notes Part 1

#A wife’s submission to her husband has such leverage in the home. Her behavior towards her husband not only reflects how she treats her Savior, but it will also spread to the rest of the family.

#A wife is to submit to her husband AS TO THE LORD. She must first know what it is to be godly and submissive to the Lord before she can submit to her husband. If a young woman desires marriage, she must first submit to God – that is the supreme qualification for a godly marriage.

#A young woman will either submit to the world or to God.

#The world offers you only a life revolving around tiny, miniscule You, while the Christian lifestyle gives us a world that revolves around the Creator of the Universe!

#Beauty in marriage is an asset – not a necessity! (phew)

#No society is as biblical as a godly marriage!

#Young men need to be in a local church to learn how to love a bride.

#Marriage is not about finding the love of your life but it is to illustrate the love of Christ!

#Slander is of Satan. It does not belong in a godly marriage, nor in a godly lifestyle.

#A ‘teenager’ is someone who wants the rights of adulthood but whose do not accept the responsibilities!

#Anywhere in Scripture where a young woman initiates a union, she is considered immoral. This is where a woman puts trust in God for His sovereignty, pushing aside all obstacles she thinks will hinder marriage.

#A godly marriage should allow others to BETTER SEE the illustration of the Gospel.

#Without family worship, father headship, and discipleship, one might as well send their children back to the public school system, for if we take one demon out we must fill the space with Christ.

#Christians forgive – that’s what we do! – Kevin Swanson

Gospel Centered Marriages

This past weekend I was privileged to attend the Gospel Centered Marriages for a Glorious Church held by the NFCIF (National Center for Family Integrated Churches) in Asheville, North Carolina.  After a few years praying for the right opportunity to be able to attend a conference such as this, not necessarily on marriage, but rather in spending fellowship with like minded believers, God blessed us with monetary provisions and the ability for my parents and I to all attend – and the subject matter was great as well!

Before I go into how much I learned on all levels, I must say that I went to this conference thinking that I knew what it meant to prepare for a godly marriage. I understood the concept of submission and wanted to be a wife that aides her husband as his follower, and I knew what kind of man God would have me marry; leader, visionary, pro life, parental rights, homeschooling advocate, etc. My idea of marriage was reformed from the world’s standards at any rate, but God broke me down once again, reforming my ideas and molding them even more to a standard of His word.

What I learned at this conference was not mainly about courtship, terminologies, relationships, historical practices, emotional attachments, or Fathers’ guidance and daughters’ roles – but what the Lord laid on my heart this weekend in the context of His sacred covenant of marriage was : marriage, motives, relationships, and the such are only ways to glorify Him. Though I pursue marriage in a biblical guideline and desire to be a submissive helpmeet, those are to be stems from the great vein of loving Christ.

When my desire for marriage is covered with truth, Christ should be the ultimate light coming from within me. Do I make a godly husband, my role as a wife, and the idea of a blessed future an idol? When all is said and done, does Christ remain as the center for all decisions I make?

At every step I will need to ask myself “Am I serving the Lord first and foremost in my heart with this decision? Will He take pleasure in my decision?”

There was a talk during the conference that summed up biblical marriage better than any other in my own opinion. It was given by Paul Washer and the subject was the gospel. That’s it. The Gospel. No other formula or idea for a biblical marriage is needed, for after all – the Church is the Bride, Christ is our Bridegroom.

The redeemer and the redeemed.

A man, two thousand years ago, started walking. He took with him something that the world could not offer, a gift that nothing on earth could buy nor man could imagine. It was life. But it was not for this world, it was life in a world to come, an eternal world spent in either of two places. Everyone ever born would be sent to the world apart from him, for no one deserved to even see his own, let alone abide with him. No good deed was worthy enough to step foot in his world, everything was as a dirty rag to him that man could amount to.

As the redeemer went, he shared about his world to the poor, young, old, and weak along with the rich, beautiful, and royal. He spoke to them that a man, a sinner, could abide with him in his world. But there was a cost, one that was in truth gain. The sinner must die. He must stop breathing life into his sins. His eyes would close to worldliness and his body would not move towards evil. And when he died, a second life was given, one that would not perish. His breaths were now for his redeemer, his eyes open to the ultimate truth, and his body renewed from the plagues of his past life.

The redeemer however, to remove the sins of the other, would take them all on himself. He would become the offering that was necessary for the sinner to live with him in his world. Every hideous deed, unkind word, and wicked thought was washed from the sinner by the blood of the man who had died in his stead.

But the redeemer would not stay dead. He was more powerful than any death, more holy than any sin, and therefore defeated both by rising from his death and ascending to his world, where he would wait for the man he had redeemed.

The redeemed wondered why he was still on the earth, being subject to the fall of the world, but his redeemer told him, in words he had penned throughout time, that his redeemed would take the light he had given to them and shine it into the hearts of man still oppressed by bondage. And when his flesh should perish, he would be taken up to the world that had been prepared for him. The place he’d accepted when the world was flushed from his heart. And the reunion between the redeemer and his redeemed was sweet.

The redeemer, Jesus. The world He’s prepared, Heaven.

My first year as a stay at home daughter.

For the past 17 years, I have been a student, educated a home for the most part. Now I am done with my formal education; I have entered a new chapter of being a stay at home daughter. This is where it becomes even more disagreeable to the world, when I am of age to go off and claim what everyone says is a rightful inheritance of being a woman in the 21st century – a career, freedom from authority, and even a world where men are letting women take full control. Unlike before, I am now entered into the phase where new opportunities open up due to my age, opportunities which would allow me to become independent from my family.

I considered myself a stay at home daughter during my years of home education, but I was young and still needed to be at home even by the world’s standards. Now I am reached the part, where it is almost a given that I pack my bags and travel to a campus to start another period of life, where I would learn how to live on my own and become my own person. Now I am choosing as a young adult to continue to be under my father’s roof.

For the most part people have been very understanding when I answer their questions about college, yet I know that opposition is right around the corner. How can it not be when I am practicing something that defies the very nature of the world?

In truth, the stay at home daughter has come to mean that a young woman merely chooses to stay home til she gets married. What if a young lady is called to singleness by the Lord? Since she isn’t going to be married, does she have the okay to go into the world? I may never get married, and I try to have that in the background whenever I prioritize my reasons for choosing to be a stay at home daughter. I am choosing to be protected in a godly home, not til I marry, but in practicing submission as the Lord commands us. I am choosing to serve at home, not til I marry, but in obedience to the task God has designed women to be.

And contrary to the immediate thought the world conjures after these statements, I am not a silhoutte without a mind or willpower. I am not forcing myself into a mold that others have crafted, I am following my Saviour by obeying His commandments in my life, or rather living my life around the commandments of the Lord.

So I am now traversing through the period of life where I am grown and choosing how I am to live as a young woman, saved by the grace of God, separating myself from the world.

“Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as a handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity…And now Lord, What wait I for? My hope is in thee.” Psalm 39:4-5,7

Summer of Verse Update

Considering the fact that it is not even summer yet, I have composed 11 poems in 3 days! I am amazed that I have kept going after the 6th or 7th poem, but that is what this challenge is for- to see what I can do when I set my mind to it. Of course, we are told since childhood that we can do anything if we just set our minds to it, but the Bible teaches, “I can do anything through Christ, it is he who strengthens me.”

I am learning that rhymes don’t make poems, of course they help, but sentences can rhyme yet they do not stir us or make us imagine. Poems, to me, are sequences of words, altered to make the beauty of the words stand out while also churning our minds. To me poetry shows the alter ego, if you will, of how we speak. Poems are to be read with a cadence, a dance of the voice. Read in monotone, dull breaths, poems seem to loose the climax of what the array of words brought together, in sense and beauty.

I as a seventeen year old, never having been taught specifically the art of poetry, am mostly studying, breaking down, and mimicking the great authors of old, Sir Walter Scott, Tennyson, and Riley. I have been varying my sequences and rhyming patterns, keeping my synonym finder at hand, and trying not to be so rigid in my style. I have been practicing keeping the words in order while setting them against one another to create a melodious verse.

Margaret and Sir Walter?

I’ve come up with a new challenge for myself, to keep my writing flowing from mind to fingertip, and to also enhance my lexicon (hehe). I challenge myself to writing a new poem everyday this upcoming summer. No length criteria just a verse or passage everyday. Poetry is something I’ve always adored and I humor myself with the thought that I have a knack for cadences, schemes, and rhyming patterns.

It is similar to the Julie & Julia project attempted a few years ago…however, I shall be concocting poems instead of dishes. The challenge: 105 poems before the end of summer. *slinks down in the chair, knowing the self control that will need to be exercised in the weeks ahead* I will not post everyday about the adventure, for I shall be busy, hopefully, amazing myself with the possibilities of actually achieving this. Like my mother with her year of the pie, this shall be my summer of the verse!

Stay tuned for my posts on exasperation, new words, poetry wisdom (coming from poets and not myself), and perhaps some humor as I embark on this new journey.

Memorial Day Musings

Well here I am, in my second day back to blogging! I’m past the first day slump…

Today is Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day due to the tradition of decorating the graves of Civil War soldiers by their families. It was also set for May 30th, and today, years after it was changed to the last Monday in May, the holiday falls on its original day of celebration. And then the ideal of remembering not only veterans and casualties of war but all who have passed on gave this holiday even more meaning.

Earlier there were half a dozen children that live around our small country town playing baseball in the spare lot between our church and our house. Sitting in the kitchen, we could hear their shrieks of laughter and the sound of the balls hitting their little bats. It cast a very authentic feel to the day. If you thought long enough, you could hear Dion and the Belmonts on a radio, little boys wearing cut-off jeans, banana seat bikes, and couples rocking on their lawns. Unfortunately the game had to end, and I was pushed back into the year 2011.

And I noticed yesterday how exuberant women get when they talk about knitting with one another. We stop what we’re doing and begin relating to each other our whims, patterns, horror stories, and love for knitting. “Do you think about knitting all the time, even when you are doing something else?” “Yes!” “Do you hoard patterns?” “Absolutely!” “I was knitting in the car-” “I knit in the car too!” etc. etc. etc.

It seems nothing can be brought up to stifle the enthusiasm of the conversation. I almost expect someone to quickly knit a flag, and then we all go marching beneath it, proclaiming the news to the world that we are knitters! I have seem women who would never bond over anything under heaven, exchange smiles and anecdotes about a simple stitch.

As odd as this post was, I’m just happy to get back to blogging.

A Shot in the dark…

I don’t know if anyone reads this blog anymore, I know I don’t. But I must admit, I miss putting my thoughts and somewhat uneventful occurrences on this place, as if, someday they will amount to something worth recognition or even faithful reading.

It’s been months since I last posted; a confession more than a statement. I used to love to blog and thought comments were what made the world go round. Then it became to work at posting until it passed away altogether. Now I seem to have a renewed spirit about blogging and am now typing away on my first post in quite a while.

Where to begin? I finished up my home school high school education a little over a month ago, when no more books remained and I found myself moving on to the next step in life, and though it doesn’t have a name, I know that it is coming whether I’m ready or not, and I’d rather be ready.

I never really thought that I would be a home school graduate. Not that I didn’t think I could, but I never thought it would actually come to that. For some reason I was expecting some great event to pull me away in that last year. I just never had in my mind that I would be able to say that I am a home school graduate, but now that I am, it feels great to say. And the glory goes to Jesus Christ, who not only saved my sinful soul, but who gave my parents and me a desire to educate ourselves biblically, and who gave us the grace and patience to finish.

I taught a homeschooling mother and her daughter how to knit yesterday. The daughter said that I looked like a little woman (in context with the March sisters in the novel Little Women) which of course, was lovely to hear. When asked which one she replied that I looked like Meg, and since we are both Margarets, it seems fitting.  I was wearing my shawl yesterday as well, which may have helped add to authenticity.

My mother made me a beautiful olive green shawl and I’ve been wearing it everyday since (it has been rather chilly up here) and like skirts, it has an effect over your posture, appearance, movements, and mindset. When draped with a shawl like the women of old, I have felt even more feminine and graceful. Before speaking or acting, there is the constant reminder of a delicacy wrapped around my shoulders and I have presented myself accordingly. Even down to the smallest things, like playing the piano, reading a book, or even sitting and watching a movie becomes a graceful experience with a shawl as part of the wardrobe. When the weather permits I would encourage all young ladies to try their selves at wearing a shawl for at least a day and be swept away with a touch of history and a feeling of silent femininity.

I always have more to say, but I will stop now. Hopefully I can gather up some time and post again. A little at a time as I try and step back into the blogging world.

Well into the new year…

March brings it own crop of birthdays and today was my dad’s. After a handmade card drenched in my odd sense of humor and our present to him, he blew out the candles to the birthday song, which I never like to sing and enjoy even less being sung to.

This year is going pretty fast already, with its own changes starting to appear week by week, month by month. I became the official wearer of contacts in January, after hearing and reading countless horror stories, and am ready for real reenacting. High school is nearly over for me and graduation plans are being thrown around. Our dog of eight years is growing older and probably won’t make it through the year. Etc. Etc. Etc…

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