Disturbing Things My 17-Year-Old Daughter Shared About Her Own Experiences in Children’s Church and Youth Groups…
My 17 year old daughter (who recently turned 18) made some comments to me, a couple of months before my most recent spinal surgery (which happened on September 2, 2014), about what she learned, and experienced, in her own lifetime of attending Children’s Churches and Youth Groups in the Word-of-Faith, Non-denominational, and other Seeker-Friendly “churches” we attended over the years (we no longer even darken the doorway of those types of places). What she said was STUNNING, to me!
Before I tell you what she actually said (she did give me permission to share her thoughts on my blog), I have to say that this REALLY hit me HARD, as a parent, and starkly pointed out MY OWN SHORTCOMINGS and SINFULNESS of not teaching my children about WHAT I believed, and WHY I believed what I believed (which, really, could be a blessing, as it would have just probably confused them)! It also made me realize my own lack of ever being properly discipled, or catechized (which has only happened much more recently), in the infancy of my own faith in Christ .
How could I have even taught them, that which I could not explain, myself?! I really did not know WHY I believed any of what I believed over the years…! I really was living on the “blind faith” that what I was taught must be true, because the people I was trusting, made it seem like it was right, and they called themselves Christians and Pastors (which, by the way, is NOT the Faith spoken of, in God’s Word).
First, my daughter told me that, up until a couple of years ago, the only things she could remember, that she knew came from the Bible was, “a story about some lady, who put a red ‘something’ on one of her doors, or a window, or something, for some reason” (this would most likely be a reference to Rahab, the prostitute, who was part of the lineage that pointed to Jesus). She also said she remembered “a story about some guy, at some time, that tricked his dad into thinking that he was his brother, by putting fur on his arm. The end.” Wow, that was really something helpful to know…
Also, up until about 3 years ago, she did not even know that there was more than one book in the Bible (she just thought it was all one big, confusing book, that others could understand, but she could not)!
Next, she told me that pretty much everything else she remembered was playing games, making crafts, watching various videos, singing fun feel-good songs (and plugging her ears because it was always too loud), temporarily learning some Bible verses – with no context or reason for why she was learning them, of course (none of which she even knows what they were), having snacks, and being picked on, teased, or just plain ignored (because yes, she is a bit “different”, and it does show, especially in larger group settings that have way too much sensory stimulation).
That’s it! That is all she got out of being in Children’s Church, and Youth Groups, all these years! What a waste of precious time, and energy (it is NOT easy getting 3 kiddos, that have special needs, out the door to get to church on time)!!! Not to mention all of the MONEY wasted and volunteer time wasted, at these churches! And we wonder WHY we are LOSING our children to the secular world and/or false teachers (whether these teachers call themselves Christians, or not)?!
These are the “impressions” that these “seeker-sensitive” models, of the visible “church” are giving so many children. NOT anything that the Holy Spirit can even work through, because they are not even hearing actual Bible passages that are related to each other (and their significance to Christ explained), or being called to repentance of their sin (by hearing God’s Law), and then comforted by the Gospel! My kiddos, AND myself and husband, should have probably just stayed at home, slept in, and enjoyed some family time together…! We would have ALL received more from that, than we did in ANY of these churches. Sad, but oh so very true.
Just in case you are wondering, this is no longer the case with her, OR any of the rest of us in the family! We are now in a SOLID church. The Pastors have actually spent one-on-one time with us at the church, at hospitals, and even in our own home (all within the last year, and we have only been members since March of this year)! Also, we learn a LOT in the Sunday Bible Class (in which the two teens attend the Adult Bible Class, with us), after the Divine Service (which is filled with people in ALL the various stages of life, from infancy to old age, and is also filled with Bible teaching and receiving God’s gifts to us every week).
Our Pastors have helped us to read the Bible for what it actually plainly says, in its own context. If the Bible is silent on something, they are silent on it also. No more “dancing around” our questions, or ripping verses out of context to just “paste them all together” to make them say what is wanted (and not what is actually needed), or just plain ignoring or avoiding our questions altogether (which has happened at pretty much all of the other churches we had attended over the previous 19 years).
Again, I praise God for calling us OUT of these places, and keeping us THROUGH the fires of testing!
With having special dietary needs, a need for several pairs of eyeglasses at our house, and wanting to be a vigilant steward of our finances – I thought that I would share some resources that I use, regularly, to help with our household budget spending!
The first one is, on Wednesdays, our sale ads double-up (one ad ends on Wednesday and the next one starts on that same day – so it doubles the options of saving) at Sprouts and Sunflower Farmer Markets! This is when and where I do my weekly produce, and bulk buying (and many times meats, and pre-made gluten-free items also)! Many times, there are organic produce items that are the same price, or even less than the non-organic! You just have to keep your eyes open. It is really wonderful when something is on sale, and I can add a coupon on top of it too! Also, Sprouts many times has coupon books available to you, if you just ask! 🙂 To find out if there is a location near you, and to see other ways to save at these stores, follow the links below.
http://sprouts.com/home.php They also put up sneak peeks (on Saturday) of Sunday thru Tuesday specials that are only listed online, and not in their regular weekly ads! 😉
Now, here is another really GREAT one that always gets me hyped up! For families, like ours, where everyone wears eyeglasses, and from fairly young ages… this can be a REAL MONEY SAVER! You can actually get a pair of COMPLETE plain eyeglasses (including basic lenses) for as little as $6.95! The shipping is also $5 for the COMPLETE order (at least, it was, on the most recent order of the 4 pairs of glasses that I received)! I do have to say, that if you have children, or are rough on your glasses, in some way, you do want to get the polycarbonate lenses (they are MUCH more durable) for an additional cost of $9. Still, where else can you get prescription glasses for $16?! These are even great to get, just to have a spare pair on hand (great for emergency packs, in your car, a style change, or even “just in case”)! We have never been disappointed – especially for the price!
All you need, is to have the numbers from your eye prescription, and the Pupillary Distance (PD)… THAT is what trips many people up…! You see, I have yet to find an eye doc who will give you the PD (I believe that it is because that it then empowers you to go and buy glasses, on your own, rather than from them)! What this is, is simply the distance from the middle of one eye’s pupil, to the middle of the other eye’s pupil. First, you need a ruler marked out in millimeters. Then, have the person you are measuring stand in front of you, and focus on something about 15 to 20 feet away. While they are focusing on this object, take the measurement, and this is their PD (the “near PD”, for reading glasses and bi-focals, is usually about 4mm less)! Now, you can order your own glasses! 😉
I hope that you find something helpful here, for YOUR household budget!
While watching my kiddos interacting with each other earlier today, I thought I should share where we started out with our special needs, before I can really share our celebrations of where Jesus Christ has brought us, up to this point!
For brevity, I will be using the following abbreviations in my posts: DD14 (Dear Daughter age 14), DS12 (Dear Son age 12), DS9 (Dear Son age 9) and DH (Dear Husband).
About 16 years ago DH and I were married, after I had recently come out of paganism and witchcraft. I (and he) wanted to do things “right” (since I had already had two failed and abusive marriages…), so we lived separately until the day we were married (which was a new thing, for me). Anyway, within eight months after we were married, I found out that I was pregnant! Eight months after finding that out, we had a wonderful homebirth (with a lay midwife), and a beautiful baby daughter in our arms.
Things seemed perfect, at first. She slept through the night from day one, BUT that meant she did not nap during the day (I was okay with that)! The first thing that really bothered me, was that I could not rock her, AT ALL. As soon as I would start to rock, she would absolutely SCREAM (like I was hurting her)! So, whenever I held her, I had to sit completely still. That was the first image of motherhood shattered…
Then, it was time for me to go back to work… I had made arrangements to only have to work 3 days a week, and found a sitter about 10 minutes away from my job, so that I could nurse her on my lunch, and again, when I went to pick her up in the evening. Pretty soon, her sitter was saying that she was trying to make her take a nap, so that she could get a few things done around the house (looking back, I am sure this meant she was putting her in a playpen, in a room, with the door closed, while she just cried…).
I started to notice some things happening with my baby girl… She began to not want me to be away from her AT ALL, during any time I had with her. Not even in a different room of the house! This became very debilitating to getting ANYTHING done around the house! So, DH and I procured a backpack carrier, from a friend, and I was then at least able to make meals (I just could not make moves that were too sudden, or she would scream like she did when I tried to rock her…)! At about 3 months old, she began to scream in the church nursery, and she would not stop until they called me in to get her. She also said her first words, at this age, which were “dada”, “momma”, and “help”…
At about 6 months old, she said her first phrase of “ey-boy, ut up!” This meant “Hey-Boy, shut up!” You see, Hey-Boy was our dog, and he would bark a LOT whenever he was outside (this was when we realized we needed to be much more careful about the way we talked!). At about this time she also began to wake up screaming from night terrors, between 1 and 6 times a night! Because of this, she ended up staying in our room, in a crib right next to the bed, so that I could just reach over, calm her down, and go right back to sleep…
Although her language skills were very advanced, her physical milestones (like sitting up, crawling (which she never did do), fine-motor skills, and walking) were delayed… These things concerned us, but she did finally catch up a bit after about 18 months of age (she just never did crawl).
At about 16 months, her babysitter moved away, and she began to go to a Montessori day school. They too, insisted that she should take a nap (they would sit and rub her back, until she would fall asleep, and then let her sleep until I arrived there to pick her up!). This would mess up every workday, because then, at bedtime, she could not get to sleep, and would be fussy the next day! Then, I had her for my four days off… Finally, I would get her back to normal, and then the vicious cycle would start all over again on Monday.
After she finally began to walk, at 18-1/2 months old, she would have bouts of getting dizzy, walking like a drunken sailor, and many times vomiting from it. The doc told us to try ginger or Benadryl with her (he thought that she probably had an inner-ear virus). Both of those worked to help her! I was later able to find a ginger syrup (the only way I could get ginger into her…) at the health food store, and that is what we used whenever these bouts would happen again. This is when we began to realize that she had inner-ear (vestibular) issues.
http://vestibular.org/vestibular-disorders/symptoms.php (By the way, she has had almost ALL of these symptoms, and effects that are listed, in her life from this disorder…)
Around the time that she turned 2, I left my job, and pulled her out of the Montessori school. At first, she was nervous that she was going to have to go back to the school, and would fuss about it. Then, she began to settle down, became more trusting of me, more affectionate, and even weaned herself from nursing! I was beginning to get my daughter back!
When she was almost 26 months old, her first brother (who tried to come early…) was born at home too! One night, she went to bed an only child, and the next day, she woke up as a big sister, and loved it! 😉
At that time, she was still having her night terrors, so, now we had two kiddos in our bedroom with us! This new baby slept through the night from day one, would wake up with the sun, and would not nap during the day either…!
…..to be continued…..
Over 22 years ago I came to know Jesus Christ of Nazareth as my Lord, and my Savior! From that time forward, I believe and profess the Trinity of the Father, the Son (Jesus of Nazareth), and the Holy Spirit: 3 persons-in-1 God! I believe that Jesus is fully God and fully human, sent by the Father to become the perfect sacrifice (propitiation) for my sins, and then was raised from the dead, to sit at the right hand of the Father, until He returns!
Before that time, I was a prideful, full-out witch/pagan/new-ager (literally), a blasphemer, rebellious, a fornicator, a persecutor of Christians, a liar, an adulteress, and a thief (need I go on?)! I repent of, renounce, and turn my back on those DETESTABLE things!
Sadly, in my Christian infancy (and naivety), the first church I became involved with, was a Word-Faith church… So, for more than the last nine years (at the time of this writing), I have been gradually working through those false teachings that were ingrained into my conscience, during that 7-year period.
I have now realized the full freedom that Christ bought for me, at the cross, and the very sober, but also joyful, responsibility in how I live in that freedom in my vocations to serve my neighbor. I will no longer take any chances of following any other gospel, but the true Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Since that time (over 22 years ago) when Jesus of Nazareth originally hit me alongside the head, and brought me to Himself, I later married my best friend, on this earth, and we have now been together for over 21 years! 🙂 We have three wonderful children (2 young adults and a 14yo teen)! We school them at home, and deal with a myriad of special-needs in our home (including my aging mother, who also lives with us). I would not trade ANY of these precious people for ANYTHING in this world!
Our main issues are Asperger’s, ADHD, Celiac Disease (or Sprue), allergies, asthma, diabetes, Tourette’s, spinal issues, and being a multi-generational household. I Praise God for my Savior, for my life, and all of these special blessings, each and every day!
Amen and Amen!
Well, I finally did it…! I have finally made good on my threats to my family, and I have started a blog (heh, heh, heh)!
I plan on making this a place to share my thoughts about life as a homeschooling family with special-needs, our faith in Jesus of Nazareth, the happenings in this crazy world, our successes, our failures (well, maybe not all of them), looking on the brighter side of things (the glass is half-full, ya know!), and well, my pretty unique (I have come to find out over the years…) way of looking at life!
I hope you will join me in my adventures with my family and friends, and enjoy yourself here! I think my next post will be the testimony of what the LORD did to save me out of the crazy life I used to be involved in, how he restored me, and where I am at now (or I may just share what is happening right now in my life – I am a woman – I am allowed to change my mind 😉 )! I look forward to sharing with you, and hope that I may be a blessing to someone out there!
May the Lord Bless you and Keep you! ~Annette