Monday, August 29, 2016

Deception and Distrust

When one side benefits more than the other, that's a win-lose situation. To the winner it might look like success for a while, but in the long run, it breeds resentment and distrust. -Stephen Covey

On the day my daughter finished her standardized test and I was feeling rather elated, I found out something that she had been hiding from us...and my emotions went to a very different direction. This all happened on August 17th and it is the reason I have not been blogging.

Just a week or so before, I discovered that the Princess had opened an Instagram account about two months prior without our permission. I looked it over, what I could see on my computer, and there was nothing going on with her and her contacts that my husband and I would oppose. So, even though we expressed our disappointment with her breaking our rule about not opening any accounts without asking us first and then not telling us about for two months, we decided that we would allow it on two conditions.

The first was simple: change her user name. She had used her real name and I will not even use my real name online, which is one of the many reasons I will not do Facebook. She has been warned about this many times and it was a simple fix.

The second one...well, that takes some explanation. There was a boy at the Learning Center that had a crush on the Princess from the beginning of the school year last year when they were both 14 years old. Having full access to all my daughter's accounts, I was reading all their Google Hangout conversations. Things went from casual teen talk to professions of his love within two weeks and I noticed that he seemed too possessive. Our daughter had been having anxiety and sleeping issues and she became a bit too dependent on this boy at the same time. It just seemed to be an unbalanced and unhealthy start for just a first crush. We had to restrict her tech and start placing extra rules on her about how often and when they could talk. That is when we began to really see obsessive behaviors from him.

After the high school retreat in the first week of November my husband and I decided to pull the Princess out of the school mostly to get her away from contact with this boy and his mother. I am not going to go through all that transpired between that time and this latest incident as I have already bogged about in November and December last year (2015), but I just want to say that could easily see where this would go if the boy was not supervised and with what happened at the retreat, we also felt that his mother was not someone we could trust either.

So, the boy, now 15 years old (and just a year away from having car), was also on Instagram because he and the Princess understandably share some of the same friends. Seeing this, the second condition was that the Princess kept everything between them public and would not allow any private contact. We were hoping that this way they both would keep things on a friendship level. She agreed. I even asked her if she had contacted him privately and she said no, but there was just something....

My husband suspected she was in contact with the boy two months before and she again was not sleeping at night, dragging in the mornings. Seeing the Instagram we thought, we hoped, it may be just that, although I do not think either of us really believed it. I wondered if there was more I could see if I had direct access to her account. Apparently, Instagram only shows the public stuff and the general account settings on a computer, but when I downloaded the app to my cell phone with account access...well, let me just say that I was not happy to see that she had been talking to the boy privately even after she said she had not been. Teenagers!

But what really upset me is what I read.

Now, I just have to say that my daughter is naive in a good Christian way—was naive, actually, because we had to explain to her just what the boy was referring to during some of their conversations. Once she fully understood, she began seeing the boy in a different tint than the rose-colored glasses she had been wearing. He had dishonored God and her. She is hurt, confused, and quite angry. My Princess has a tendency to try to shut off her emotions, hold them down, and not be angry at anyone, but there are times one has to allow herself to be angry at the person who hurt her to overcome it and truly forgive, otherwise the unresolved anger will sour many other relationships. Trying to let it out has been a trial for her as she is sorting out her emotions.

However, I believe she finally understands that her father and I set rules about all conversations on the Internet to protect her from whomever she is talking as well as protect both of them from themselves. Chaperoning all her contacts online and in person is the only way to insure that such contact is kept honorable.

I had planned to start homeschooling the Thursday after the standardized test, but instead my husband had read the conversation Wednesday night and decided to take off for that day for a family emergency and... then actually ended up getting sick from the stress it caused him. Even though the mother had known about the private conversation three weeks before us—we knew that because she posted a message to our daughter through her son's account—she did not tell us anything about it. After my husband contacted the mother by text about the conversation, she still tried to get us to think about allowing our daughter to meet with her son...supervised, of course. My husband advised her to get some expert help.

Details will not be discussed here, but...yeah, it is that bad!  Next step if the mother or her son contact the Princess ever again is to get a restraining order and they have been warned. Even our daughter wants no contact at all from the boy now.

It will take some time for the Princess to recover from this one. Right now we have to focus on the emotional well-being of our daughter so that she herself can recognize the difference between a healthy, honorable relationship and an unhealthy, dishonoring one. Almost an entire year has been spent on this, but at least this time, this very last time, the boy did exactly what my husband and I knew he would when given the opportunity and our daughter could see it for herself.

Still makes me very sad for both of them.

My Lord, the world is so different than when I was fifteen. We did not have the Internet to provide 24/7 access to any of our friends. It has its good points but also it has its bad side, especially for teenagers who lack maturity. Too much access to too many things that teens should not have access to. I pray the boy receives the help he really needs and that this situation will not escalate. Please help my daughter to deal with her feelings of betrayal.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Still, Still Pleased Homeschool Mama

The idea is to educate, not follow anyone’s schedule about when something should be studied. –Ray Drouillard

As required by my state every three years, the Princess did her standardized test. It was the California Achievement Test (CAT) from Academic Excellence. This time I chose the untimed online version. Last time my daughter was in tears because she was unable to finish math portions of the timed online version, even though she still score above average in math. I wanted her to have opportunity to build her confidence with this test and I hope to to the timed test next year to challenge her.

She did very well. I ranked this from highest to lowest scores like I did in Still Pleased Homeschooling Mama. The Language Usage & Structure portion did not get recorded the first time she took it and she rushed through it the second time, making more errors than she might have the first time, so I think her score reflected that. I was also pleasantly surprised with her score in Mathematics Concepts & Problems, but not really because I have always thought that she is strongest in that area of math.

Remember that a percentile rank of 50 means that 50 percent of all the tests scored in that range. The raw scores are finite, but the percentile scores fluctuate year to year. However, in this test it does not because it is based on 1970 percentiles, which I am sad to say are still higher than our present day scores because the raw scores are lower now.

Subject Raw Score Grade Equivalent Percentile Rank Stanine
Language Mechanics 77/80 13.699 9
Reading Comprehension 37/45 13.6 95 8
Language Spelling 28/32 13.6 938
Reading Vocabulary 31/40 13.0 82 7
Mathematics Concepts & Problems 36/50 13.6 79 7
Language Usage & Structure 28/54 10.7 58 5
Mathematics Computation 35/48 10.3 52 5

The grade equivalent score do not mean that she knows as much as someone at the 13.6 level, but that if a person at the 13.6 level took this same test, he would be in the same range of right and wrong answers for the raw scores.

The Stanine is a bit different. It is based on 100% broken down in set percentiles for each rank of 1 - 9. For instance, the 9 rating would only be received by 4% and on the other end the 1 rating would only be received by 4%. 7% is set for 8 or 2, 12% for 7 or 3, 17% for 6 and 4, and 20% for 5.

I am writing this not just as a brag but for any homeschooling parent to understand something. This year of homeschooling for us...well, my state requires the equivalent 180 days with 4.5 hours. I do not even think we did even half  of that, because of many emotional issues that were going on within our family and yet my daughter still learned. She loves to write and read, so she still learned. I provided her with a strong foundation for all the years previously and I see how that pays off.

My goal in homeschooling was to have a child that loves to learn, be challenged, and finds what she loves to do using her talents. I have to remind myself of that often because I get caught up in what we might be missing too much.

My Lord, thank you for guiding us through a very tough year and seeing that it was not really a set back for my daughter gave us both confidence. Bless our homeschool efforts this year.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Telling a Secret, Breaking a Promise, and Just Trusting God's Timing

Better break your word than do worse in keeping it. ~Thomas Fuller

The Princess is much like I am but more so like I was when I was her age. Her father refers to her as seeing things in "black and white," and I so get that. It makes sense. Either something is in God's favor or it is not. However, the world has many shades of grey and there are times when a gray does not seem to fit into the black or white category. She also has this gift with people, she draws them in and draws things out from them that they would never tell anyone. I remember sitting and talking with the loneliest looking kids in high school, basically segregating myself permanently from the popular teens, who looked down on me. So, I get this with my own child.

This past week, I broke a promise I made to the Princess. From her point of view, it was a promise that was to be for-e-ver. From my point of view, it was a promise that was meant only for a time. It is a sensitive issue that centers around one of her friends and it also, it is an issue that I felt that should be known by the parents of the child eventually.

I love having information at my finger tips and being able to stay in touch with friends far away, but the Internet has its bad side and teens being teens will be drawn into it and pass along this darkside knowledge and practices. Plus, there seems to be no subject that is taboo in this day and age. Having been youth group leaders for some years, some years ago before home computers became a necessity of life, I have to say that we had our share of troubles that go with the territory, but the territory of teens has changed so much that there are a number of things we never even heard of until the past decade. Even then, my husband and I had to walk a fine line between keeping the trust of our teens and keeping the trust of the parents and the church. Sometimes teens tell a youth group leader things that their parents really need to know.

The Princess had been asking me for advice on a matter about an anonymous friend and I so appreciated her trust in me in comparison to where our relationship was last year with her keeping secrets about herself. The more she talked about the problem, little things slipped that helped me to identify the person. Still, I kept this secret for a couple of months until my Lord placed it heavily on my mind every day to inform the child's parents.

Now there were many factors to consider, like how the child's parents would take the news being a big one. However, the biggest factor for me was how my daughter would take me telling them. You see, after all that happened last year, I have been working and praying to have a good relationship with her again. We have bumps, but I knew this one she might consider unforgivable.

I felt like Abraham taking his son to be sacrificed. We were in this good place (so I thought but that will be another post) and here God is now asking me to do something that may sacrifice that relationship with my daughter. I did not want to do it and wrestled with it for a couple of weeks. Finally, I just had to trust my Lord. Trust His timing. Trust Him with my daughter. Trust Him to help this friend and the family.

The mother took it well, although I am sure she was concerned. She thanked me. She is thankfully one of those mothers who would rather know, as I am. This is why my husband and I were in disbelief last year when found out things that other adults in charge of my daughter knew but had not informed us. Forgiveness and restoring trust was high on our agenda for the much of the past year.

So the friend told my daughter that I had told the parents. My daughter was livid. She felt that she was handling the situation herself well because she had been encouraging her friend to talk with the parents, even suggested that the friend could have her there for support. While I appreciated her willingness to help her friend, I also had God tugging me to do it differently. I was hoping that the parents would not say anything that would make it come back to my daughter being the leak, but she told the friend herself.

They are still friends. I hear that the friend is really angry with me, which is understandable, as well as worried that I will not allow them to talk in the future, which is not the case. And, I am again trying work on that trust issue that came up between my daughter and me. I know it was the right thing to do, because I am certain it was God's will. I am hoping my daughter sees that God's will is the best way to go, even when we have made other plans we think are good ones. As for the friend, I think he has great parents who love him and have a very strong desire to help him find the path God has for him. His mother told me about a week or so later that they found a Christian counselor whom her son loves and he is willing to talk. Seeing that it was working out well, made it easier for her to forgive me.

I have been trying to teach the Princess—or more likely it is God—to trust God and His timing, to trust me, and learn discernment. She has many gifts but lacks good discernment.

My Lord, this was very hard for me but I thank You, praise You, that it proved You were guiding us all. Help the boy with his challenges and my daughter learn discernment.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Almost Thirty, But Still Just Twenty-Nine

A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.
-Paul Sweeney

I do wish in some ways I was referring to my own age but I am referring to the age of my marriage. My husband and I have officially been married 29 years now. At this time last year, our daughter had been in our lives for half of our marriage and I wonder where we will all be when she has been in our lives for two-thirds of it in 13 more years.

We did not go out to celebrate because my husband was not feeling up to it. He has been working a very physically demanding job at a site with inadequate air conditioning for the past week and will be all of this week as well. He is very tired and not his usual optimistic self right now, so I cancelled our plans for dinner at the Melting Pot with another family we had invited to join us this weekend. I have been married to the guy with an unpredictable work and travel schedule too long to quibble over dates. We will celebrate when it works well for all of us.

However, the Princess was invited to see a movie with some friends after church service so my husband and I did make a stop at Cold Stone for way more delicious ice cream than we should have ate.

Then we went on with our plan to use our 30% off coupon at Kohl's for some shorts and socks my husband was needing. I was also looking for cross trainer shoes, but they had none in my size that I liked...and then I spotted some adorable booties on sale—originally $70. (There are few things in the world that are irresistible to me, like brownies, kittens, cheesecake, sci-fi, and dark chocolate, but boots are right up there in that list, too.) I walked away with a pair of these cuties at $31.50 plus tax. How could I possibly say no as they called to me on my anniversary?

I also got a little something for the Princess, but I do not know when I will be giving it to her. Shhh!

My Lord, thank you for my husband, a good man, and our marriage that has withstood its first 29 years. I am looking forward to the next 29.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Knowing the Heart

Thousands are deceived into supposing that they have "accepted Christ" as their "personal Savior", who have not first received Him as their LORD. - A. W. Pink

Yesterday, while grocery shopping, I ran into a woman I first met over a decade ago. I will call her Liza here. I met Liza at a health seminar and she was interested in some products that I sold back then. My products were unique and rare, so I usually had to spend time with each person to demo them and train buyers in how to use them. Liza was excited at the prospect of me working with her, but instead she was highly disappointed when I tried to talk her out of it. You see, I knew that one product she wanted would not only require personalized training, but also it would not really help her.

I had consulted with unsaved as well as saved, Christians as well as people of many other religions, such as Jews, Buddhists, Pagans, and some without a definition, as well as agnostics and atheists. All of them benefited as well as the others using the products. BUT from years of experience, I had found that there were people, who seem to only improve a little and barely maintain that. It was not the product that caused this nor did it pick and choose people that would benefit based on their beliefs, but rather it was the people causing their imbalances that would not correct in their health because of what they believed.

These were the people who believed they were Christians, but were not saved. (I can discern this.) Also, in this category were former Christians, who had willfully rejected Christianity. No matter how many different ones I tried to help, they never achieved their goal and only had temporary or subtle improvements and then barely maintain that level. It was so disappointing that after much prayer it was obvious that I needed to be choosier about who would I would agree consult and train. People could still buy the products through my website with detailed instructions, they could even order evaluations, but these were not guarantees that I would help with personalized instructions.

Liza was local so I demonstrated the products to her in person. She was impressed and bought a few of the kind that did not require any training to use. However, she also wanted the product that did. Liza had painful arthritis through her body although she was in her early forties with children in grade school, so it was very hard to tell her that I would rather not sell her the product and even if she bought it, I would not provide personalized instructions. I was praying the entire time that God would give me the words He wanted her to hear. You see, God had already shown me that she really was not a believer, just one who believed she was.

Liza believed absolutely she was a Christian, but she was married to a man that was of another religion. I asked her how that worked in their family and she told me of how they had agreed to go to a Unitarian church. She believed that many religions believed in the same God and could worship together, which was confirmation of what God had already revealed to me. I was surprised by the words that came out of my mouth, because I am not often confrontational, but I had given this situation completely over to God. I heard myself say that I would not work with her because I knew she would not get better, and the reason for that was because she believed she was a Christian and she was not...which I said rather sternly, not the tone I would have chosen in this situation.

I do not think a potential client has ever looked at me quite that way before or since. She walked out obviously in a huff and I just continued to pray for her whenever God brought her to mind and one day I just knew that she had accepted Jesus.

A year later, I saw Liza at another health seminar. She made a point to come up to me afterward in the parking lot. The moment I looked at her face, I could just see it. She glowed. The change in her was so very obvious. I even said to her "there is definitely something different about you." The first thing she told me is that she had become a Christian.

During that year, she became infuriated when a speaker at the Unitarian Church had thrown down the Bible and said they did not need it. She had always been where the scriptures were held in high reverence. She had also begun reading the Left Behind series. Searching God's heart, she began going to an intense Bible study that went through the Bible book by book. One day at the Bible study, she accepted Jesus into her heart.

I smiled and said I could see that (although I already knew)! Then she told me, "But, I want you to know I really thought I was a Christian."

"And God really wanted you to know that you weren't!" (Of that I was certain.)

Then she began to cry. Her husband being a different religion forbade her to talk about Jesus to their children. I cried with her and said that this was what I would have expected with a Christian so unevenly yoked and that I was so sorry for the sorrow she had then because she had become a true believer.

Another year passed and we ran into each other at the health food store. Her marriage had come apart and her relationship with her children was strained, but she still glowed...and Liza had no more arthritic pain at all! You see, her health issue was manifesting from her previous self-deception and that is why nothing she had tried really worked, nor would have mine. I have seen this many times before and since, how a person in deception or living with another in deception, believing they are Christians when they really are not, will heal from his debilitating health condition (some were never clearly diagnosed) after becoming a Christian for real or leaving the one who is not.

I still sometimes doubt myself and I definitely have people around me who doubt it, doubt this gift, but then I remember Liza and a few other people from whom I was given clear confirmation and I just trust my God. So, when people tell me that only God knows a person's heart, I just smile. If God knows then He can make it known to whomever He wishes. He is God after all.

Still, there are people in our churches that talk the talk and even seem to walk the walk, but do not have it in their hearts. They believe they are Christian, really believe it, they are so deceived...but God is not. We do not need to weed them out, but help them come into the fold.

My Lord, thank you for giving me this gift. At times I do not want to use it, but I know You wish me to do so. I need to help You guide the lost into truly accepting You.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Rightness Wrong Done

An image of God doesn’t contain God, in the same way a word about God or a doctrine or a dogma about God isn’t God; it only points to God. -Rob Bell, What We Talk About When We Talk About God: A Special Edition

When I first began reading about homeschooling, while my daughter was an infant, there were two books in particular that intrigued me, one was the first edition of The Well-Tained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer and the other was Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey Bluedorn and Laurie Bluedorn. The Well-Tained Mind, being the first one I read, excited me about how the traditional trivium stages of grammar, dialectic (or logic), and rhetoric are used all our lives in all our learning, not just homeschooling. Yet in Teaching the Trivium, the trivium was referred to as knowledge, understanding, and wisdom as found predominately in Proverbs.

When we first learn anything whether it be while reading a book, learning a new task, or training for a new job, we first are given knowledge: information, data, things we must be able to routinely recall and perform without much thought. This is the grammar stage. When we are very young most of the new stuff we learned through rote. Children learn to recite nursery rhymes, sing songs, memorize math facts, and do repetitive simple tasks. When we are adults, many of those things do not take much to recall, they are just with us, but we will not recall some facts if we have not routinely used them; for instance, I can remember my passwords that I use presently but do not remember my high school locker combination that I used to use daily. The knowledge stage does not end in the grammar years; we still learn songs, read books, and learn new tasks as needed.

I am taking this out of context, which I normally do not do, but bear with me: in Hosea 4:6, God is saying that His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Knowledge is the foundation of understanding and wisdom. You cannot grow in understanding without first learning  knowledge.

Understanding is in the logic stage, when we take the information learned and begin to understand its purpose. Teaching a child phonics can just be a game, but if the child desires to read as much as my Princess did at the age of three, then the student realizes the purpose of decoding words is so eventually she will be able to read book on her own. This stage is very evident around the tweens, when a child is told to do something, he begins to challenge the instruction as to why it needs to be done or even if it does...or if it must be done him.

The rhetoric stage is when we are supposed to grow in wisdom of how we apply and communicate our accumulation of knowledge and understanding. Some wisdom comes from trial and error, but I have come to the conclusion recently that it should not be assumed that one's experience will make him wiser. We decide to avoid walking on a broken step on the stairway we walk every day because through experience we know it is broken and through understanding we know that walking on that step could cause injury. Now, some might find it wise to avoid the step, but did we actually use wisdom to make that decision? I do not think so and it may be wiser to fix the step so for the safety of all, but really that is just a logical conclusion when considering the problem of what to do with the broken, dangerous step.

To further understand the difference between wisdom and experience, animals do not have the capacity to be wise but they will learn from experience (knowledge gained from repetition and some measure of understanding reward and punishment), which is why many types of animals are trainable to some degree. I had a German Shepherd, who was particularly protective of our/his property. He was perimeter trained, but when he was still young, he would break his perimeter to chase away any dog that came near our property. Eventually, all of the dogs that walked freely in our neighborhood from time to time would make a very wide berth to avoid our property, some would not even look our way, even though Sasha was not out. On a funny note, Sasha was not allowed to pester cats so our neighbors' cats would come to sit out on our front lawn and watch the dogs avoid the yard. The point here is not that how we trained Sasha but how the other dogs learned from repeatedly experiences to avoid our property and the cats learned also that they would be safe in our yard from the very same dogs that treed them whenever they were anywhere else in the neighborhood. These animals seemed to make wise choices, but their actions really were not the results of using wisdom.

It had been very difficult for me to accept that a greying head does not mean a wiser brain. When I was young I was taught not only to just respect my elders but to expect them to have wisdom. My maternal grandfather was very wise, but my mother never really was, even when her hair was completely white. Oh, throughout my life, she did say a few wise and profound things at times, but that was from rote, because she was repeating what she heard many times from her father. My mother often lacked in greater understanding as well and without logical thinking there is not a solid foundation for wisdom. So, I have come to the understanding, the logical conclusion, that people, like dogs and cats, may gain more experience as one ages, but not necessarily be wise.

Wisdom is built on knowledge and understanding, yet it is has a spiritual nature because it is given from God, so it is not necessarily the result of having knowledge and understanding. Through God's given wisdom one can have the ability to know and understand without having full knowledge. Wisdom recognizes what is not yet known and desires to learn it when there is need to do so. Knowing without knowledge is like not knowing a person, yet knowing what that person is likely to do...or how to guide that person to reveal the things he tries to hide in his heart that is obvious to the wise.

Think about King Solomon when presented with two women claiming the same baby. He had only the knowledge that both claimed the child and the understanding that one only could be the child's mother, while the other was lying. He did not know the women or which one was likely to lie, so he presented the two women with the same impossible choice: the baby will be cut into two or one will give up her claim to allow the baby to live. Both women revealed what was in their hearts with this horrible choice, but only the real mother decided she was willing to give up her child so that he would live.

Many people go with their feelings, which is often based on the result of experiences, desires, and fears, as animals can do. For one to use wisdom, he must be able to do what an animal cannot do and place himself aside to have the perspective of an objective outsider. Please understand, though, that even the wisest of all men fails to do this all the time because he cannot always think as an objective outsider when it is his own life. Again, thinking of Solomon, I shake my head as to why he had so many wives, with some being idol worshipers. In this aspect of his life he certainly was not using wisdom.

Another aspect of true wisdom is having the ability to understand people where they are and effectively guide them to accept knowledge they presently lack in order for them to understand a different perspective, which is not based on their own experience and may actually be in opposition to their conclusions or feelings, while accepting that they will probably think it is their own idea. (Actually, they have to own it as one of their experiences or else it will not make a lasting impact.) God does this every day because we can be so very stubborn, especially when we think we are right.

Now, some Christians have much pride of their knowledge of the Bible and have the propensity to throw scriptures at others. They are much like my mother, repeating rote where they think it may apply due to their own experience, sometimes with understanding and sometimes without so sometimes it was applicable to the situation and sometimes not. Their understanding is limited to what the scriptures mean to them and how they mean for them to be applied, frequently out of context. Yet, they are confident that they are only saying what is right because they are using scripture from God's Holy Bible, His Holy Words! I remember trying to encourage one man to soften his tone as he would use scripture to beat down pagans on a local message board. He was not saying anything wrong, but it was in how he was saying it that made it not right. He was so confident in his rightness that he lost sight of God's Spirit of righteousness. His purpose was right as he wanted to right their hearts and bring them to God, but in doing so, he portrayed God as angry and hateful to these people, so his use of what is always right was terribly done wrong.

Rightness is not wisdom and it is not always wise to try to prove one's rightness either. A recent exchange reminded me of this. I had been praying for a friend of mine, who had been vexed by the anger Christians seem to have on social media, which I have avoided. I wondered how bad it could be and then God gave me an opportunity to experience a taste of it. The person was so convinced of her rightness that she was not willing accept knowledge or have understanding, she only wanted to prove she was right. Even though I knew it was the wiser choice to say nothing, there are times the wisest choice is to be a fool for God. I felt the Lord asking me to confront her gently. I did and so much of that pent up anger that she holds so closely in her heart came at me. I did not take it personally and there were many flaws in her argument that I could have debated, but God wanted me to stay focused on His purpose, to expose her anger, and not look at what was trivial. Then as abruptly as it began, I was to end it. She felt the victor, but she missed the message God had for her and I feel so sad for her, but I realized that God wanted me to also see how bad this anger is among His children and why. She is symbolic of a particular kind of Christian: the ones who have replaced the Holy Spirit with the Holy Bible. The ones caught up in legalism and their own feelings without an ear to hear God talking to them.

I wonder at times how the people, who have spent more time with their Bibles, memorizing scripture, using scripture to brow beat others, and praying at God but not hearing Him speaking to them, will acclimate to heaven, where I am thinking there will be no need of a Bible, recalling scripture, rebuking other believers, and there can be sermone in persona (an in-person conversation) with God. (Of course, God has made provisions in heaven for these as well, not to worry.)

Please do not think that I am against anyone using the Bible to gain knowledge about God. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with the Bible, but how it used...that is completely different. What I am concerned about is people getting stuck there in the knowledge about God and having too much pride in their ability to recite Bible verses at other people, believers as well as unbelievers. This just reminds me too much of the scribes and Pharisees. I mean, Jesus, the Son of God, was right there in front of them in the flesh and they were so out of touch with God they did not recognize Jesus, yet they definitely knew all of God's laws, they knew His words up to that time, at least. If I had to choose between having a Bible and conversing with God, I would choose the latter.

It is just not wise to think God stop talking to His children and through His children when so few of His Words were actually written and copied over the centuries.

My Lord, may we always seek Your heart and help those stuck in their spiritual growth to see there is so much more.