HOW DO WE BECOME A MINISTERING FAMILY when we live out in the woods, stay busy at home trying to live off the land and still pay bills, and rarely encounter unsaved people?
My husband and I are questioning if this is possible.
We REALLY enjoy living exactly the kind of life your article describes—goats, chickens, honeybees, blueberry plants, gardens . . . my husband is a Mr. Visionary.
But at the same time that we love it, we also feel less useful somehow because we are not a part of society anymore. We are a good thirty minutes from town, and it’s difficult to invite unsaved potential friends over to build relationships because of the drive time for them, or for us to find time to go to their home.
We fear we are becoming self-centered. My husband did missions for a few years, and I have taught girls in Sunday school. We’ve always been active in reaching out. But as we pursue this quieter life, all of that seems so hard to do now. We have no children yet but hope to become foster parents this year.
We often ask ourselves if we need to move into the city because that is where the PEOPLE are. We’re afraid to choose this life if it might be a cop-out.
So all that to say HOW DO YOU DO THIS?
Thank you in advance!
You are living a life of self-interest—not necessarily the same thing as selfish. We, too, moved into the deep country, away from a ministry, when our oldest child was 13 years old. We did so mainly for the sake of the children. We bought 100 acres in the least populated county in Tennessee, and the poorest. Though we were isolated, one day two men found their way down our quarter-mile-long driveway. I spoke of Christ and they wanted to hear more, so I traveled to their home to teach a Bible study. In time others joined in and we had a church, and then a mission outreach, etc.
If you share Christ with every single person you meet, you will have a ministry. You could also drive in once a week to nursing homes, jails, homeless shelters, or just go door to door visiting people and telling them about Christ. When people find out you have the love of God and a message of hope, they will come to you.
After reading the article “Why Are My Teens Rebellious?” I realized that I have very much been the wife and mom described there, obeying my husband (most of the time), but not honoring! I take our five children to church by myself, I decided to homeschool and do so, I read the Bible with my children and try to explain all I can, including subtle rebukes of certain things my husband does and says that I disagree with and deem unbiblical. My oldest child, a son, is 13 years old, and I certainly see rebellion and disrespect. He is a great son in many ways, but he can be a mean dictator type to his younger siblings, and he has completely disregarded things my husband and I have told him to do or not to do. Bottom line, I have seen in my home and in my children all the things you described would be the negative results of not honoring my husband. This has been a known struggle for me. My husband is very honorable in several ways. He works hard and diligently to provide well for our family. He has the best work ethic I personally have seen or know. He is very generous and enjoys quietly giving to others in need. He is truly a servant leader. He said recently in response to some comment from me that he “is very much into God,” he’s just not “into church.” So my question comes down to this: How do I turn this ship around? How do I correct these mistakes of mine and my disobedience to 1 Peter 3:2? I definitely want to raise great teens and adults for God’s glory.
Get the family together and announce that you have been a hypocrite and a religious bully, and you are deeply sorry. Tell them that you want to change and you may not do a perfect job at first, so you seek their patience and forgiveness.
The vast majority of churches are an evil that should be avoided. Maybe your husband has never been in a man’s church where sentiment or legalism are not dominant. Somewhere out of 100 or so churches surely he can find one that preaches the Word of God from a King James Bible and lives by grace and faith. You may have to drive 90 minutes, but it is worth the time and gas. Anyway, that is his decision. Remain flexible and follow his lead.
Does No Greater Joy have experience with ADHD? I have never observed it to be addressed well here. When I read about the “attention deficit disorder lie” it makes me sad because my husband and three of my children have it. ADHD is quite real and affects how children respond to training. I wondered for many years why my son never seemed to learn from cause and effect. I hope No Greater Joy will address training children with extra challenges as well as typical children, because the process does not look exactly the same.
All divergence from the norm, whether mental, emotional or physical, is just an opportunity to be exceptional, or an excuse to be a victim.
Our daughter Shoshanna is double marker ADHD. Her daughter Penelope says that I am as well because of my inability to remember names and my agitation in crowds. But what does a five-year-old know? Shoshanna is high-strung and has extreme lows and highs, but she uses her highs to amass great wealth and accomplish great deeds, and she uses her lows to rest up for her next explosive adventure. I don’t think she would be so successful if she weren’t ADHD. All divergence from the norm, whether mental, emotional, or physical, is just an opportunity to be exceptional or an excuse to be a victim. We have had many parents tell us that their ADHD child responded well to normal biblical training principles and we have had parents tell us that biblical training principles don’t work because their child is ADHD. You decide.
My daughter is eight years old, and I wish I had learned the biblical model of spanking when she was younger. Now I fear she is too old to use that method, not to mention that my husband wouldn’t allow it. What can I do instead when she throws a fit because she isn’t getting her way? We have started to read a chapter from the Bible every night before bed, along with writing down scriptures on index cards and working on memorizing them to hide them in her heart. I have seen improvement, but I just wish I could cultivate more of a spirit of contentment and gratitude in her.
I wrote an article titled “Rodless Training” sharing methods that employ the principle of negative consequences for negative actions. Even if you had spanked when she was young, now she is probably too old to respond well to a spanking, so the cause-and-effect method would be appropriate at her age, regardless.
You said she throws a fit when she isn’t getting her way. Just make sure she never gets her way when she throws a fit. Write it down on a large poster board: “You never get your way when you throw a fit,” and pin it up in a prominent area. When she acts out, just smile and point to the sign on the wall, fold your arms, look smug, and wait for her to stop. Then explain the principle to her again and place further consequences upon her.
The negative consequences should be in line with the reason for the fit. For example, if she throws a fit because she wants to watch the TV, then tell her that she will not be allowed to see it today or tomorrow because of her fit. Always abide by your dictate without emotion or lecture. You are the chief potentate; rule with dignity. When a fit brings more pain than obedience, her selfishness will make her obedient. Since she throws a fit to get her way, she will learn to not throw a fit to get her way.
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THANK YOU, MR. PEARL, FOR YOUR RESPONSE TO MY QUESTION!
I see that there can be a difference between our doing something for self interest and for selfishness.
I also see that the Lord is able to PROVIDE ministry opportunities in His time and way, and it is our responsibility to remain ready and bold to share His love.
I look forward to seeing how He does this in our small family as we grow.
Many blessings in your great work,