Matthew and Hadassah 2005
Matthew and Hadassah 2014
Matthew, Leah, Elisabeth and Hannah Tabitha, Miriam and Anna
My wife wrote this “About Us” page for our “aprayerfullife” blog recently:
It has taken almost ten years of marriage to come to a beautiful oneness together in our beliefs, our walk and our hope for our future. We know that our beliefs will continue to change in the upcoming years and know that everyone is in a different place but many on the same path. See how different we looked just ten years ago?
Matthew (55), and Hadassah (45), were married on October 1st, 2005. We have 7 children ages 8 and under and another baby due in July 2015. You can find out more about us and our hopes for our future on the page called, “Our Dream”.
Oftentimes people define their place with the Lord by denomination or creed rather than Christ. I have always believed that when we do this, we can soon find ourselves out of the will of God because we are tied to following a set of man made rules and regulations that have nothing to do with the Lord’s Word or His ways for our lives.
While reading, “Shadow of the Almighty” by Jim Elliot a couple of weeks ago, I came across a quote from Jim Elliot that best expresses the views of my husband and myself and our beliefs regarding denominations and creeds:
“The Word of God is not bound. Systematic Theology – be careful how you tie down the Word to fit your set and final creeds, systems, dogmas, and organized theistic philosophies! The Word of God is not bound! It’s free to say what it will to the individual and no one can outline it into dispensation which cannot be broken. Don’t get it down ‘cold’ but let it live – fresh, warm, and vibrant – so that the world is not binding ponderous books about it, but rather is shackling you for having allowed it to have free course in your life. That’s the apostolic pattern…”
I want to share a few things that we are as well as a few things that we are not. Many probably believe we are of the Anabaptist faith. Though we do wear head coverings, we do not consider ourselves Anabaptist’s or Mennonites. We are followers of Christ and consider ourselves Christians. We do not believe that a man should shave off his mustache only to follow the custom that was started regarding the Anabaptist’s opposition to war. Men in the military wore mustaches and the Anabaptists opposed this by shaving off theirs and keeping their beards. We will not follow such a tradition from man.
We believe that a divorced man or woman is forgiven if they have repented and their lives have been transformed. We believe that it is likely that they married “outside” of the Lord as they did not seek His will for a spouse as they should have. We believe that there is forgiveness for everything in the Bible other than blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (which is also comprised of living a life in not hearing and obeying the Lord), but only for those who repent and change. The Anabaptists do not share this view, this is another reason we do not consider ourselves Anabaptist, but Christian.
The changes that have occurred over the years in our family in dress, walk and even in our minds does not come from us trying to conform to a church denomination. It has come about through prayer and circumstances and God’s personal Word to us. For instance, while out looking for a maternity dress to wear in 2006 and not being able to find one as they were fashionable and seductive, I cried out to God while driving home. He shared with me that He wanted me to start making my own clothes. When I got home I signed up for a course in sewing and bought a new sewing machine. I did not change my attire because I was following a group of people or a denomination, I was following the Lord. Every change that has occurred over the years since we started this blog has come about through a personal relationship with the Lord, not from following a church denomination. It hurts us so to see so many believers who get caught up in following church doctrine and denomination rather than seeing what the Lord would have for them. : (
Though we do share about Christian persecution in America, we are not into the End Times theory as the common church is today. We don’t focus on the rapture and End Times, rather we focus on what Christ has for us today and how He wants us to live our lives. We are hopeful that how we live today in obedience to God’s plan for our lives will affect a generation or more to come.
We are not trying to be a first century church. We are just trying to be who God wants us to be and realize that God has a different purpose and calling on all His people. They will not all look like or be like us. God has many parts to the body and they all are different, yet one part of the same body.
We believe the true church does not lie in a denomination or a church building, rather it is a body of believers who are filled with the Holy Spirit whom the Lord gathers together as He will. We are also not opposed to “gathering” in a church, a building or a home or even outside for worship, teaching or fellowship if it is a gathering of God’s people. We believe the church is “invisible” as it is not the common church that is visible today. But we also believe the church is “visible” as it cannot help be a witness though a display of it’s good works.
We try to fill our days with home schooling, keeping in touch with our brothers in sisters in Christ through writing and phone (more so in person more when the Lord moves us), hobbies that are productive such as knitting or crocheting, farming and reading the Scriptures and books that the Lord leads us to read. We both write as the Lord leads us. We are hoping soon to have our days also filled with helping others in more tangible ways.
We are discerning. We use discernment through the Holy Spirit within us and through prayer regarding who people are, where they are at and what they need and where they are going. We hope that people will use their God given gift of discernment more with individuals. You will see people as Christ sees them.
When we were farming in Western Washington a few years back, we had a few regular customers. Two different customers were young ladies that did not dress appropriately. One, I shared with my husband to watch out for. She was prideful and loud in her mannerisms. The other lady who dressed the same way I didn’t worry about. She was shy and quiet and very humble in her mannerisms towards my husband. She always referred to her boyfriend in discussion.
I remember back in Iowa when we had a Mennonite couple come to inquire about our house. Though the Mennonite woman was wearing a head covering, she might as well have been wearing worldly/seductive clothing for her eyes and countenance said otherwise to her attire. We use discernment with people. Some things are obvious: a spirit of pride, selfishness and unwillingness to help one’s neighbor are obvious things that keep at bay with some.
We have friends in which the woman of the home wears pants. Yet they dress more modest than many women who wear dresses in the church today! See one of my pants wearing friend’s (Brenda) and her husband here when they stayed a few days with us in Iowa:
Psssssst…. This is a shame faced woman. We could hardly get a picture of her. : )
What about head coverings? Where are we at with that?
We see recent women such as Elisabeth Elliot, Amy Carmichael and Darlene Deibler Rose who didn’t wear head coverings:
Yet, the Lord rejoices over their sacrificial obedience and sufferings that have helped multitudes. Who can speak evil of them for not wearing a head covering??? They are examples to us women.
There is a verse in the Bible that says:
“Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:” Isa 30:1
Oh, if people would only worry about being covered by His Spirit rather than a head covering!!! Though I do cover, I rejoice that I found this. God hates those who condemn those who don’t cover and make it a salvation issue when they themselves aren’t even saved.
We want to be humble, we want to be servants of the Lord. We know our time is short here. This is our deepest desire and request. This is what we are striving for in obedience to the Lord. We believe we need to hear from Him and be obedient. In fulfilling these things we can keep from many evils, therefore being able to fulfill His plan that He has intended for our lives and others.
We have a place of sorrow regarding the common church today and it’s leadership. This is because God does. This place you have seen in our writings on our websites. I will keep this short as most of our thoughts regarding the church are in our writings there. We sought the Lord to leave this country for several years as we do not want to be a part what this country is, what it stands for and where it is going. But, He has made it clear to us through the Scriptures while we were in Iowa that we are to stay and do His work:
“For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel; Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee. But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted. Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.”
We are a needy people. We need the Lord’s guidance and mercy and grace in our lives and we need other people in our lives too. We need to know that we are living our lives with a purpose rather than just making it day by day. We need Christ in all things.
We don’t fit in, yet we fit in Christ as we were grafted in. We don’t fit in with the Anabaptist’s as they see us as living in sin. We don’t fit in with the common church as we see that they aren’t following the ways of God anymore. But we follow Christ for our own lives and the Lord brings us a few friends, a few comforts, some people to love and people we dearly care about. We are so comforted by His Scriptures and His beautiful ways of blessings He brings into our lives. This is who God’s made us this far. We can’t wait to blog one day about being a part of others lives more and sharing about God’s work. For now, it’s at home and it’s all we have but it is much.