Last Thursday, we took the whole crew along as I went for an ultrasound. Everything looked GREAT and we were happy to hear that our baby is growing and developing well. We also had a quick appointment with my midwife, to check my blood pressure and other fun stuff! Of course, now that I am 22 weeks along in the pregnancy, the sonographer was able to spot the baby's gender...and asked us if we wanted to know. Our family have been guessing the gender of the baby for MANY weeks now, and so we were all very excited to find out whether we had guessed right or not.
So without any further ado...
We Are Expecting A Baby GIRL!
I was VERY surprised, as I was absolutely *sure* that the baby was a boy. Everyone is delighted to have another sweet daughter/sister joining our family. Though, no matter what gender of the baby, we are just thankful for each and every precious life that God blesses us with!
So Lord willing, we are looking forward to the birth of our youngest daughter, Abigail Joy, next springtime!
The issue of family-integrated church services vs children ministries and nurseries, seems to be a huge issue in churches at present. It seems to have the power to create tension and ill-feeling within seconds. More unfortunately however, it can cause permanent division between families and the churches they love.
I am so pleased that all of our family members stay together in the church service - what a blessing it is to worship and learn together! To be truthful, it hadn't always been that way; our son Dylan did attend the children's class for about a year. I was unhappy about this arrangement, and asked my husband whether we could discuss the possibility of our son returning to the service with the rest of our children...and he agreed. For clarity, I'll add here that our church offers a children's class, for children up to the age of seven, though this has now been changed to age four; Amy is obviously too old to attend, and Meg has never attended, because I figured that I didn't want to burden someone else with the responsibility of baby-sitting my small child, so that I could sit through the service undisturbed. Plus the fact, that if I took her there myself, *I* was missing out on the preaching!...
For some time, my husband and I researched the Bible together, and found many places in which God states clearly, that children always attended worship with their parents. Over the course of a few weeks, we listened to several sermons, read various news/Christian articles, and talked it over between the two of us. My husband offered that he could see several biblical issues (as well as some others) that troubled him about not having our son with us during the service:
Our son was missing out on the preaching of God's word (from a source that God specified - a man of God), during his formative years, which we agreed was of high importance. *Though to note, our kids do often listen to biblically sound, leather-lunged preaching, often within our home (plus our family Bible time), and so Dylan was not without GREAT preaching*
We discussed that there would now be an issue of "transition" whenever he returned to the service. But thought this was best done sooner, rather than later.
Even though we had a high degree of trust and confidence in the lady running the children's class; we agreed that, as parents, we needed to be more concerned of our children's safety.
We were concerned that our son seemed to comment, not on what Bible truths he had learned, but on his snack, what fun things he had played with and what so-and-so did.
We didn't want our son to grow up to be an immature Christian; only wanting to attend church when it is "fun" and exciting. We want him to have a thirst for Bible preaching!
We realized that there can be doctrinal differences in what other Christians believe, and so, we felt that it would be best for our family to hear preaching together, and that way my husband can deal with any doctrinal issues that might come up.
We realized that one of the reasons we come to church is to hear Bible preaching from a man of God. This is no different for children.
After some consideration, my husband decided that he wanted our son to leave the children's class and to return to the regular service with the rest of our family. I would be lying if I said I wasn't delighted! It felt great to be finally obeying what we could clearly see in Scripture! Our son has now been back in the service with us for about seven months and we are LOVING IT; it is so neat to hear his take on what he heard during the sermon, and be able to discuss it together as a family! :)
As an encouragement, here are some Bible verses (my emphasis added) referring to family-integrated worship in Scripture. Just reading these through, in God's perfect word, was a HUGE help to us! We hope that they are a help to you also.
"And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh:
and he said unto them, Go, serve the LORD your God:
but who are they that shall go?And
We will go with our young and with our old,
with our sons
and with our daughters, with our flocks
and with our herds will we go;
for we must hold a feast unto the LORD" ~ Exodus 10:8-9
"Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God;
your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers,
with all the men of Israel,Your little ones, your wives,
and thy stranger that is in thy camp,
from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water"
~ Deuteronomy 29:10-11
"And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones,
their wives, and their children." ~ 2 Chronicles 20:13
when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed,
weeping and casting
himself down before the house of God,
there assembled unto him out of
Israel a very great
congregation of men and women and children:
people wept very sore." ~ Ezra 10:1
that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced:
for God had made
them rejoice with great joy:
the wives also and the children rejoiced:
so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off."
~ Nehemiah 12:43
the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders,
children, and those that suck the breasts:
let the bridegroom go forth
of his chamber,
and the bride out of her closet." ~ Joel 2:16
"And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,"
~ Matthew 18:2
"And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me."
~ Matthew 18:5
"Then were there brought unto him little children,
that he should put his hands on them, and pray:
and the disciples rebuked them.But Jesus said,
Suffer little children, and forbid them not,
to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
~ Matthew 19:13-14
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right."
~ Ephesians 6:1 (written unto the children at the church of Ephesus)
"Children, obey your parents in all things:
for this is well pleasing unto the Lord." ~ Colossians 3:20
(written unto the children at the church of Colosse)
These are two videos that my husband and I found to be very helpful and informative. One being a sermon delivered by Pastor Anderson at FWBC, and the other, the Christian documentary "Divided":
Here are some more links to resources that we found helpful (we do not endorse *everything* that these sources or individuals may believe or teach, but have included them in the hope that some of this information will be helpful to your family):
"Age-segregated philosophies in both organized schools and in some
churches have no basis in Scripture and have actually worked to harm the
church (Mark 3:25) and weaken its effectiveness (Luke 11:17; 1 Corinthians 15:33). The biblical training of covenant children is best accomplished within a wholesome, age-integrated setting (Deuteronomy 29:10-11; 2 Chronicles 20:13; Joel 2:16; Matthew 19:14);
therefore we encourage a setting that unites the people of God into an
age integrated group allowing the older and wiser to disciple and
fellowship with younger members of the church." ~ Excerpt from familyreformation.org
Children Do Not Belong In Church...Or Do They? ~ Blog series - Part One and Part Two
“While I believe the vast majority of those who shepherd segregated portions of congregations are well meaning and would never presume to replace parents in their biblical role, I believe the modern American practice of systematic age segregation goes beyond the biblical mandate. I believe it is a product of the American educational system, and in some instances it actually works against families as opposed to helping them pursue multigenerational faithfulness. The church’s emphasis ought to be on equipping parents to disciple their children instead of doing it on their behalf...there is no biblical mandate for the current approach.” ~ Quote from Voddie Bauchaum
"Suffer little children, and forbid them not,
to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
For quite a while now, Dylan has run his own egg business. Mostly he just supplies our family with as many eggs as we need, but he does sell two or three boxes every week too. Currently, Dylan has seven hens; he did have a rooster also, but he died of old age just a few months ago. Anyone who knows Dylan personally, will tell you he LOVES his chickens! The feeling is quite mutual too! They allow him to carry them about the place and check them over, even sometimes picking them up and giving "goodnight kisses" to each and every one of them! On the odd occasion, he can be overheard singing hymns to his dear old girls, and generally just trying to make life as pleasant for them as he possibly can.
Dylan does all the care necessary for the chickens by himself and come rain or shine he is out first thing after breakfast to feed, water and check on the hens. Though Daddy does help when it is time to clean them out. Now that Miss Meg is able to follow directions well, she too often goes out with Dylan in the morning. She LOVES the "bop-bops" (I guess she calls them that, by the name they make?) and Dylan will sometimes pick them up and hold them for her to pet. They love washing and packing the eggs together at the moment also, and this day I though they made such a cute team, that I had to snap a few pictures!
Never Were Such Great Pains Taken!
The Egg Team (Still In Jammies!) Working Nicely Together
On the 31st of October, Dylan celebrated his SIXTH birthday! I cannot believe that my "baby" boy is SIX years old! Before we sat down to breakfast, Dylan opened each of his birthday cards and gifts - he was certainly a very blessed boy.
"Behold now behemoth..."
Meg Had A FUN Time Saying "Happy Dur-Dee!" ...ALL Day Long!
Thoughtful Cards, From Lovely Friends And Family
Dylan's Gift From Amy; A Dinosaur Excavation Kit!
As a tradition in our home, the birthday child gets to pick out a breakfast of their own choosing. Dylan picked out the following:
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
We all enjoyed Dylan's birthday breakfast VERY MUCH! It was delicious, though I will confess to buying packs of pancakes, rather than standing at the stove for an hour with one frying pan!
A Happy, Birthday Boy, With His Requested Breakfast
This Crew Are A Daily Feature In Our Garden These Days!
Next, we got ourselves ready for the day and did the morning chores.
Then we began to construct Dylan's Playmobil farm set - it was a LONG
process, but the instructions were very "instructive" and that helped a lot! For Dylan's birthday lunch, my husband thought it would be nice to go
out to eat at our favourite cafe/restaurant in town. The food there is
always so GOOD, and they certainly didn't disappoint that day!
Playing With Playmobil, While Mama Worked Out How To Put The Rest Together!
This Is Dylan's Favourite Part Of The Playmobil Farm
When we arrived home again, we popped Meg down for her nap and continued to finish the construction of the Playmobil. As soon as that was done, it was time to get ready for our guests and the birthday dinner. Most of what we were serving had already been prepared the night before, and so there wasn't a whole lot left to do. The birthday menu consisted of:
For The Carnivores:
Mackerel Mix Sandwiches
Baked Cajun Chicken
For The Herbivores:
Garlic and Cucumber Dip
Carrot, Pepper and Cucumber Dippers
For The Sweet-Tooth Types:
Puppy Chow Cookies (made by Amy)
A Gift From Nanny and Grandad
Dinner With Nanny, Grandad and Uncle Tom
We Took Turns Writing Things We LOVE About Dylan On The Board
By bedtime, all the kids were tired out from all the fun, especially Dylan! He said that this birthday was the best birthday EVER and was his favourite, favourite, FAVOURITE! I love that we can show our children, just how very special they are, both as an individual, and also as part of our family, by helping to make their birthdays memorable and special. Large amounts of money need not be spent, but a little extra effort and consideration for their likes and preferences, helps us to show that we appreciate and LOVE them!
Get Ready And...BLOW!
The Dino Excavation Set
Looks Like Paleontologist, Dr. Dylan, Has Found A Spine!
We LOVED That The Set Even Included A Few Cow Poops!
My Honey And The Littles, Playing, And Having Lots of FUN!