Child-Rearing … Taking Responsibility!

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Something is disturbing me and I’m just going to say it!  No beating around the bush or mincing words or hinting at my meaning.  This may sound harsh, but … it is appalling to me to see the low moral standards that are so prevalent among my generation and those a little younger.  The apathy among those who come from so-called conservative, Bible-believing-and-practicing families is alarming.  Please understand, this is not a blanket condemnation on anyone and everyone … I know that there are many righteous young people who have hearts for the Heavenly Father.  Generally speaking though, the spiritual condition of so many of the current youth is in a very dangerous position.  How did we get to this place?

When I look around and observe different parents, it seems as if there is this common attitude (or shall I say fear?) about saying “No” … about forbidding their children to do this or that or whatever.  I think that part of this stems from the concern about being different.  After all, who wants their child to be the oddball in the bunch, the strange one in the crowd?  It’s much more comfortable for all involved if they just fit in with all the rest.

I believe another part of the reason has to do with a lack of responsibility on the part of the parents and the mindset of letting the children make their own decisions.  To illustrate … I knew a woman who was sharing that many years ago she was in a church service and was suddenly convicted that her blue jeans were too tight and immodest, so she stopped wearing them.  Does anyone want to guess what her teenage daughter (who was sitting across the room) was wearing?  On another occasion, the woman brought up that testimony again, sharing that she should not make her daughter not wear jeans, since she herself was convicted about it through the Holy Spirit.  Apparently she felt that it was the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to convict her daughter in this matter and until that happened, she could wear the same thing that was immodest and wrong for the mother to wear.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  Proverbs 22:6

I don’t know about you, but this sounds pretty plain and clear to me.  If the parents train the child in the way he (or she) should go, he will not depart from it when he is old.  Why are so many young people going astray?  Could this have anything to do with a lack of training that they received as children?

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  Ephesians 6:4

The word used for “nurture” (paideia, in the Greek) means:

The whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment).  It also includes the training and care of the body.  Whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, especially by correcting mistakes and curbing passions.  Instruction which aims at increasing virtue.  Chastisement, chastening, (of the evils with which God visits men for their amendment).

The word used for “admonition” (nouthesia, in the Greek) simply means: admonition, exhortation.

parents_as_spiritual_leaders_faith_begins_at_homeParents are responsible for the spiritual welfare of their children. The parents are to instruct their children in righteousness, teaching them the Scriptural commandments and principles, instilling truth that increases virtue and at times using chastisement and punishment just as the Heavenly Father does.

“For whom YHWH loves he corrects; even as a father the son in whom he delights.” – Proverbs 3:12.

“For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives.” – Hebrews 12:6).

This may seem like a strange topic coming from someone who is not yet a parent!  For twenty-three years, I have experienced the way that my parents raised (and are raising) my siblings and me.  They’re not perfect and their parenting hasn’t always been perfect, but as I can speak from experience, I can say that I find their method far more effective and successful than many others I’ve seen.  Of course, this is only because of the Father’s grace and mercy and the way that He has led and guided them.  All the glory goes to Him … we certainly cannot boast of any goodness in ourselves because “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” – Isaiah 64:6.

As I have observed my parents’ approach to child-rearing, there are two things that stand out very loud and clear, specifically … the two things that I mentioned in the beginning of this article, and I will be addressing them in the next part of this series.

(stay tuned for Part Two: Being Different … It’s Not A Bad Thing!)

A Tribute To My Grandmothers!

Both of my grandmothers were keepers of their homes.  Both of them raised children who are productive members of society.  Both battled numerous hardships in life, and yet have been a blessing to many others.

hannah-maMa, my father’s mother (Sara Suther Washburn), was working in Washington DC for the FBI when she met her husband.  She left behind a career, and successfully raised a family, even through very difficult circumstances.  Forty-two years ago, my grandfather passed away after a battle with cancer.  They had four boys, ranging in age from fifteen to four.  Ma raised her sons, and has never remarried (as of yet) because, as she puts it, she has never met another man like my grandfather.

Ma is well-known for having a hospitable home; she never locked her doors!  Abba says that when he was growing up, people were constantly in and out – you never knew who might be on the sofa the next morning!  Because of this gift of hospitality, my mother actually was one of her guests and that is how my parents met!

Ma is the most “non-fearful” person you would want to meet.  My mother laughs about the time they were traveling together and ended up in a very bad part of Louisiana.  My father had food poisoning (that was not funny), and they had to pull over because of how sick he was.  As they were waiting on my father, some very large, rough men approached my grandmother and mother to get some money.  Mama said that Ma was not intimidated by these rough men in the least and basically told them to get going.

Several years ago, Ma had a really neat idea.  She has twenty-one grandchildren, and so she has dedicated one day of each month to pray for each grandchild, in age order.  She will call us on “our-day” and talk to us, and find out what she ought to pray for.  I think it is wonderful!

Ma is frugal … her favorite place to shop is Goodwill!  We love to go thrift-store shopping with her.  She is always looking for deals, and likes to find interesting gadgets – especially kitchen-helper type gadgets.

Since selling her home in North Carolina in 1999, Ma has traveled about, helping to care for family members and friends.  She has moved from home to home helping with whatever the need is.  She has lived with dying family and friends, and also family and friends who are recuperating from illnesses or operations.  Lately she has lived with my uncle for a number of years, helping him to raise his children.  Ma is well loved by a lot of us and Mama says she is the best mother-in-law any woman could have.

hannah-babciBabci, my mother’s mother (Marianna Dana Lasocha), was raised in Poland during World War ll – Babci, pronounced Bap-shee, is the Polish word for grandmother.  She and her family suffered much at the hands of the Nazis.  At the age of twenty, she came to the States and met my grandfather, who was also from Poland.  He and his family had also suffered during the war … when it was over they were liberated from work camps and had been sponsored to immigrate to the States.  Babci and Dzadzi (grandfather) had very little to begin with, but they worked hard, and raised a family of five children.

In 2000, Dzadzi passed away of an illness similar to Alzheimers.  The disease had gotten progressively worse over the years (he could barely speak when I was a little girl and was a total invalid at the time he passed away), but Babci had continued on “for better or for worse”.  She cared for Dzadzi under extremely stressful and difficult conditions, until he had to be hospitalized or cared for in a nursing home.  Babci went daily to see him, even though he could hardly respond to her.  During the last year of his life, he was able to come home and be in a hospital bed in the living room.  Babci cared for him beautifully, always trying to make sure that he was as  comfortable as he could be.

Babci is a wonderful cook, and has taught us how to make Polish food.  She is a good seamstress, and used to sew her family’s clothes.  She can also crochet, and one of my treasured keepsakes is a baby blanket that she crocheted for me.  She made each of us children one!  Due to the traveling distance between us, we don’t get to see her too often, but when we do visit, she always welcomes us warmly – usually with pans of lasagna, and sweet smelling beds with big fluffy pillows and overstuffed down comforters!

Babci is very active.  She helps to care for my younger cousins that live near her.  She is very generous, often when we are visiting we see her helping out different people who are going through hard times.  She continues to oversee the rental properties that she and Dzadzi invested in years ago.  She gardens and has beautiful flowers!

Babci is an inspiration.  Because of her desire to give her children a better life, she gave up her homeland and was cut off from her birth family.  She did not want to raise a family in Communist Poland.  Because of her sacrifice, she was not permitted to return to Poland until Communism collapsed.  Sadly, she was not allowed  to visit her dying mother.  She overcame the difficulties of adjusting to a new culture, and the language barrier.  Mama says one of the most important lessons she learned from her mother was that Babci would often say “It does not matter what someone looks like on the outside …. what matters is what they look like on the inside”.  That has helped Mama to keep the right focus in life.

I love you, Ma and Babci!  I’m so thankful that you are my grandmothers, and I hope that we have many more years together!

Serving Overseas!

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Eight years ago, our family had the opportunity to live overseas for six months.  We spent those months in a country where many people do not know the Good News that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah and Savior of the world.  Our days were often filled with meeting new people and sharing the love of the Heavenly Father with them.  For eight years, we have longed to go back and do the same thing again, trying not to grow impatient with the Father’s timing.

The past few months, we began to sense that it is time … that the Father is leading us to go back.  We are now preparing to purchase our tickets and, YHWH willing, will be traveling from mid-March to mid/late-April.  Because of sensitivity issues with what we will be doing, we cannot go into details here on this site.  But for anyone who would like to know more and be praying for us, we would love to include you on our email prayer list and keep you updated on what the Father is doing!  You can leave a comment to request to be put on the update list, or contact us by email with any questions.


Enjoy The Adventure (Have Children!)

Enjoy The Adventure (Have Children!)

The following article was co-authored by Tom and Annie Washburn for an issue of Shining Stars Magazine.  It has been revised and edited to be published here.

When Hannah mentioned the theme for this issue would be about children, I first thought it was a strange topic for a single women’s magazine.  Then I realized how important a topic this is to discuss with single women.  As I went back in time to when I was a single lady, I remembered when I first heard the idea that children were blessings and you ought not limit them.  Just about the time my husband and I met, I came across The Way Home by Mary Pride.  As I read that book, the whole way I lived my life came into question.

By the time my husband and I were entering into marriage, we both realized what a blessing children were.  Thankfully, despite opposition from the majority of people we knew, we chose not to hinder our Heavenly Father from giving us any blessings which He desired.  How we rejoiced when we were entrusted with the gift of Hannah on our honeymoon.

Having children is a wonderful adventure.  I have to admit that at first I was somewhat terrified that if we did not use birth control, I would be overwhelmed with children I did not know how to raise.  Thankfully, my husband Tom helped me overcome my fears.  Our Heavenly Father has purposes and plans for each life He creates.  If we allow Him, He shows us how to raise the blessings He gives us.  All I needed to do was listen and obey.

Women are being encouraged to do anything but have children.  I strongly encourage you to start preparing now to have children.  Learn now how to take care of your body so that it will be healthy and you can enjoy a good pregnancy and natural birth.  Help mothers with young children so that you can get an idea of how to care for them.  Read Scripturally-based books on how to discipline your blessings.  The best book my husband and I read was What the Bible Says About Child Training by Richard Fugate.

In closing I want to say – please start preparing now to be ready to receive whatever blessings our Heavenly Father gives you once you are married.  Children have more value and give more joy than career, adventure, material goods or personal pleasure.  Enjoy the adventure!

Enjoy The Adventure (Have Children!)

Hannah usually asks me … “Do you have anything you would like to write for this issue?”.  This time, the topic is something very near and dear to my heart.  Some could say it is one of the ways we are defined as a family.  As I read over what Annie wrote, I saw that it would be difficult to put twenty-some years of life experiences into a couple hundred word article, but I could add a few things that could be note-worthy.

One of the first and saddest memories I have of our preparation for marriage was that we received no instruction from any of our “brethren” concerning children.  Anything that might be construed as “instruction” were actually just comments here and there but none of them encouraged us to HAVE CHILDREN!!!  Please understand that we attended what most people would call “on-fire, spirit-filled, walk-the-walk” type congregations.  We would feed the hungry; clothe the naked; street preach; do pro-life work; support missions; etc.  But no one ever said that “Children are a blessing and you should desire every blessing that the Father has for you”. The most “encouraging” comment we received was from an older couple who had three grown children.  They told us that if we waited until we thought we ready to have children, we would never have them.

Having been involved in pro-life work was extremely helpful for us in thinking through this situation.  We would actually go down on the sidewalk and talk face to face with the mothers going in for abortions.  It finally dawned on us that the girls going in for abortions were giving the same excuses to have an abortion, that the “on-fire, spirit-filled, etc” people were giving to not have any (or any more) children.  We/they can always find a reason to keep a child from coming in this world.  Too often, our reasons are the same as theirs.  Could there be such a thing as a “spiritual abortion” … when we do not welcome the blessing that our Heavenly Father has in store for us?

Consider the way that words and phrases have been used to twist the actual meaning:

“Planned Parenthood” … such a nice sounding name for an organization … an organization that is responsible for more abortions than any other.

“Every Child A Wanted Child” … if it is not wanted what do we do … kill it?

“Birth Control” … think about that one.  I have often said that if you want “birth control”, relax and push slowly when the baby is coming out.  They are not interested in a “controlled birth” … they want to make sure that a birth never happens.  On a side note, are you aware how many forms of “so-called” birth control or contraception actually cause a very early abortion?

Let’s commit to never use that birth control term again.  What term could we come up with to replace it?  “Child Prevention”?  Can you imagine the conversation at a wedding shower for a friend … “So, what kind of child prevention are you going to be using?”  You can probably come up with others.  I have a friend who talks about the “Pew Babies” who are killed by “contraceptive/birth control methods” … often by people sitting in the pews of churches claiming that they are “pro-life”.

Is it not a heart matter?  Doesn’t our Heavenly Father want your heart, your will, your desires … and conform all of them to His Heart, His Will and His Desires?  He is a God of Creation … and we are made in His image.  Who are we to say that we know better than He does?  Is He not the One who opens and closes the womb?  Then who are we to usurp His authority and take these matters in our own hands?

One of the main goals of Shining Stars Magazine is to “train up the young women …”.  As Hannah has said, this is training.  It is not something that happens immediately … overnight.  A bride (and groom) need to be ready to receive every blessing that the Father has for them.  Can you imagine someone saying:

“No more financial blessings.”

“We want to wait a few years before you bless us with Your fruits of the Spirit.”

“I have enough wisdom now … I’m going to take a break.”

“We can’t handle any more new believers in our congregation right now.”

Again, I’m sure you can think of some others.

I will leave you with something that some friends of ours send out with every email they send.  I think we call it a signature … you know what I mean.  It says this:

“The Bible calls debt a curse and children a blessing,
but in our culture we apply for the curse and reject the blessing.”

Enjoy The Adventure (Have Children!)

I encourage you … do not reject any blessing from the Father.  Twenty-four years ago, Annie and I committed to that.  Twenty-three years ago, Hannah was born.  If we had been “wise” and listened to not only what the world was telling us, but too many in the church … Hannah would not be here.  I give thanks to the Father for her, and all the other blessings that He has given us.

To God Be The Glory, Great Things He Hath Done …

Twenty-four years ago, a church full of people sang this song while my parents walked down the aisle, having been presented as Mr. and Mrs. Tom Washburn.

When my parents got married, they prayed a prayer that was something along these lines …

“Father, show us Your truth, and then give us the strength to walk in it.”

Words cannot express how thankful I am for this legacy.  Because the Heavenly Father has seen fit to grant them this request, and because of their willingness to be faithful to His leading, our family has seen a life of beautiful blessings and adventures that I wouldn’t trade for anything!

A very happy anniversary to the best parents in the world!!