Rathjen Family

Rathjen Family
Rathjen, Party of EIGHT

Thursday, May 7, 2015

What Are We Waiting For?

Sometimes I feel like I am waiting.  Waiting to find my calling, waiting for my kids to get a little older, waiting for my schedule to slow down, waiting, waiting, waiting.  Day by day passes me by and I do the same mundane things.  I know, I am doing what a mom does, what a wife does.  I am a taxi driver, a house keeper, a cook, a tutor…you get the picture.   Those things are important.  They must get done, they are my responsibilities and I enjoy them.  I strive to live in the moment and not let them pass me too quickly. But recently I am getting too comfortable.  I am not feeling challenged.  I don't feel like I am being pushed.  This is where we all strive to get to.  But oddly, it's unsettling.  It leaves us searching.  I think I know why.  

I am made in the image if Jesus.  I am made to be like Him.  He lives in me, and guess what?  He was never comfortable.  And I am going to guess, that it is not where our Father in Heaven intends for us to be.  Comfortable Christianity.  I think we are meant to be challenged, pushed, and spread thin (not to be confused with over-sheduled and over committed).  Because when we are not, we have no need for Him; we don't really need Him to show up.  We don't search for His wisdom or guidance.  We coast on our own strength, as my friend Emily put it recently.  

I just finished reading "Interrupted" by Jen Hatmaker, (my make believe BFF).  Why read all these "Christian Get Moving" books if I am not willing to be transformed, right?  She has me thinking.  I want to be a missionary, I always have.  But of course, I am waiting.  I am waiting for my husband to want the same thing.  I am waiting for kids to get older. It does not make sense to move them a million miles away right now.  But why am I waiting?  Why not make my here, my now, my mission?  

So what is a mission?  A biblical definition of mission work is "Doing Christian work."  Mission work has nothing to do with location, or distance of travel.  Mission work is doing Christ's work.  So now the question is, what would He have you doing?  If He were standing before you right now, you would certainly ask.  Well He is…so ask.  A.S.K.  Ask, seek, knock.  

In Max Lucado's book "The Cure for the Common Life," he says this.  "You were born prepacked--for a purpose!  Long before you were born, God equipped you with special and unique tools to achieve his purpose and fulfill his plan.  Discovering what he gave you is the first step toward curing the common life."

Well there you have it!  Unpack your suitcase.  How does He intend for you to be His hands and feet?  If you can discover this, I can promise you, you will never be more fulfilled.  Notice, I did not say happy, because doing God's work is sometimes heart breaking.  It is not for the weak.  But He promises to give you strength.  I have never felt more alive and more in His will than when I was in Uganda and China.  Because in Uganda and China, I was caring for the least of these.  I was pouring my heart out for the broken, the hungry, the lonely.  Which is exactly what our Savior did while here.

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  Matthew 25:40

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

In Hope….

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

How Young is to Young? Childhood Dating, Part 2

I realize my views and beliefs may offend people and know that is not my intention.  I hope that my words provide clarity and provoke families to really give thought to this topic.

I have been accused of parenting out of a spirit of fear, and I assure you, I took some time to think that over and I honestly would not call it fear.  I feel it is wisdom.  I believe God does what He can to protect us and guide us.  However, He gave us free will, and we make mistakes.  He forgives and has taken on our sin for those who believe.  My point is, I want God to use me and my experience to enlighten and hopefully help others.  He does that you know, He uses us and our trials for good.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

 We just need to be cautious of our children feeling they have to hide things from us.  I don't ever want my children shameful or embarrassed for their feelings and thoughts toward the opposite sex.  I want them to know,  these thoughts and feelings are normal.  Overall, I want my children  to love themselves and their God and to learn to live in His will.  Because this my friends, is where they will be truly fulfilled. 

In Hope,


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How Young is to Young? Childhood Dating, Part 1

As my daughter turns into a "tween" dating has come up.  Yes, already.  Of course they don't actually "date," but they are "going out."  I am not too old to remember this phrase.  I am also not too old to remember what it means.  It is one of those things that has a meaning, but it is hard to put into words.  In my view nothing positive comes from it.  Recently some of my daughters peers have started "going out."  Harmless, right?  They are just kids!  Oh, they just like to say they have a boyfriend/girlfriend.  No biggie!  Don't be so sure.

"Going out," as best as I can describe means, we are boyfriend and girlfriend and in some cases we show affection.  We text more.  We are kind of awkward at first.  We dance together at the school dance.  We get jealous when we talk to or act flirty with someone else of the opposite sex.  That all seems harmless, and just part of growing up and learning to be in a relationship with the opposite sex.  However, studies show (and you could have used myself as an example) that "going out/dating" is not so harmless.  The problem is, once children (yes they are children at 11, 12, 13, 14, 15….) start showing affections to the opposite sex, things progress.  The normal progression goes a little like this:

1) Hand holding
2) Cuddling, maybe arms around one another
3) Kissing
4) Touching
5) More serious kissing
6) Sex

Remember, when we were kids, and probably still today, these steps I have listed were and are called bases.  Your friend would ask, "So what base did you guys go to?"  And awkwardly, you would answer, sometimes truthful, sometimes not.

So let's say kids start in 6th grade.  Many of the kids in my daughters class are in fact, in relationships.  So we will say, for the sake of our example, they take it slow.  In 6th grade, they are hand holding.  In 7th, they are comfortable with cuddling and kissing on occasion.  In 8th grade, the touching starts and possibly more intense kissing.  So by 9th grade, what do you suspect the little relationship experts are doing?  Now the question is not just if they are ready for the consequences such as possible pregnancy or STD, not to mention the heart ache when they break up because now they have held nothing back, they have become totally vulnerable and they are ashamed and extremely jealous of the next person their ex is now seeing/dating/going out with.  What about their souls?  What about their precious little souls?

As some of you know, I was that child.  I was pregnant at 15.  Yes, you read that right, FIFTEEN.  Am I proud of this?  No!  Do I have terrible memories associated with this?  Yes!  Did I overcome it?  Yes! Was the pregnancy the worse consequence of my actions?  NO.  Do you want to know what was the hardest thing to overcome?  It was the shame.  It was the fact that I disappointed my parents.  It was the fact that the whole town knew of my sin.  It was that I gave something to the babies father I could never reclaim.  It.was.awful.  So now you know why I am passionate about this topic.  Now you know why I will do whatever it takes to influence just one person, one family to avoid children going through what I went through.  You can not give me even one good reason, these babies should be in intimate relationships!  I have heard it the other side.  It goes like this…

It's harmless.
It's good for them to learn how to relate to the opposite sex.
I think they need to learn how to treat the opposite sex.
I feel my child has control.
You are not going to stop it.
It's natural.
We keep a close eye.
We want our child to be open with us, if we stop them, they will just hide it.

Do you know what is natural?  Children at this age playing, having fun, spending quality time with their families, getting educated, learning a skill, having overnights with friends, learning about a God that loves them so much, He died for them, He removes their sin, and He is ENOUGH.  He is enough to comfort them, hold them and guide them through this awkward time in their life.  Do you know how badly I wish I had known this?  Do you know how many years of pain and suffering I could have avoided had I known this?  I know this now, and I have been set free.  I am blessed.  My son, now 20 is an amazing person.  He is a beautiful gift.  Would I change it? No.  Was it easy? No.  Doable? Yes.  But not everyone has the happy ending I have.  I am so grateful I know my Savior now, but I did not then.  It's time for us to rise up, teach these children who they are, where they come from and help them to determine where they are going.  They have their entire life to be in a relationship!  They need to know now, what it means to be a child of God, a good citizen, a good person!

I plan on continuing on this topic...  If you are in the trenches, and this applies to you, I urge you to pray about it.  We can make a difference, the fight has not been lost, God is bigger.  He tells us in Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.