The Caskey Family

Disruptions and the Location of my Heart
February 24, 2012, 2:20 pm
Filed under: Adina, Discipleship, Faith Baptist Emporium

Disruptions are something I’m learning to appreciate. Today I had my schedule set up, and I was on track, headed in to the church to practice piano, to hear Jeremy’s sermon (I’m in the nursery this week, so when that happens I try to listen to his sermon earlier in the week so I can encourage him and get the sermon all at the same time). Then the phone rang and someone gave us information that put us in the car to visit someone in a matter of minutes. I thought for a second that this was going to mess up my day. But my day is God’s and HIS kingdom is more important than mine, right? So as we went to the home of one of our members as her husband was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, I had a choice: God’s priorities or mine?

As we return to our house from that call, we get another call with the news that compelled Jeremy to offer to preach on Sunday at another church that has a service later than ours. Jeremy is already preaching at 10 and 2 on Sunday. But he offers to preach still another time on Sunday, because it’s a God-given opportunity that Jeremy would never think of passing up.

I forgot to tell Elijah that we were picking him up from school early today, so I decided to make a detour (waste of time if you look at it from an earthly perspective) and stop into his school. I got to spend some really sweet time with him at lunch with his classmates, and talk with some of the lunch monitors.

Our day is only half over, and already we have had so many wide-open doors for sharing Christ, encouraging the Body and loving our neighbors. What more am I looking for? In view of heaven, I can label our day amazingly successful! When my heart is in heaven, then the glories and priorities of heaven are my mind and heart’s measuring stick. How humbling and exhilarating it is to have heaven’s tasks handed to such broken, deteriorating and sinful people as us.

Don’t think for a second, that this is just a choice to not complain about things not going according to my plan. This is, in fact, me laying down my INFERIOR schedule and plans for TODAY’S perfect, SUPERIOR ordained-before-the-foundation-of-the-world plans of Almighty God!

Oh, God, make us faithful to bring glory to YOU in all the tasks you set before us today!

Today I’m linking up with Christine Hoover, at Grace Covers Me as she launches her new book, “The Church Planting Wife” one of the most encouraging reads I have read in a long time! Check out my review on Amazon too (it’s the first one there), and pick it up to read and share with someone today!

Bible Memory Fun
October 12, 2011, 11:37 am
Filed under: children, Discipleship

We have recently enjoyed doing some Bible memory with our children now that they have the attention span to practice. Micah, being two, is probably the most proficient!

Here are some resources we have found to be QUITE effective and simple enough for me to do with our children, even though they are close in age and keep me very busy.

1. The Charlotte Mason method – using a card file box on the kitchen table that has cards that are reviewed at most meals (the daily verse we are working on currently) and others that are only reviewed at one of the meals. An adult in the house will read the card aloud, leaving a few blanks after a few days of just reading the verse/verses and allowing the children to take turns filling in the blank. After a week or two, they usually can say the verse themselves, then we move it back to be reviewed less and less (see details on the CM link above) You can also print the dividers to set up the system on this website.

2. Music – need I say more!! Songs of scripture are awesome and easy to use.

3. Hands-on activities – I just found this cute one that could be put in the back seat of the car for review, or between the front seats for the time you get stuck at a train crossing, or are arrive early somewhere, or are at an appointment (this is also where I keep my catechism booklet for easy access and review with the children.)

4. Memorize as a family! We try to learn the verses they get assigned from church with them, even competing with them (their young brains usually win, of course!) If someone is struggling to get a verse, we like to have one of the more competent ones help them individually. This reinforces AND helps at the same time.

5. Explain the verse – Jeremy helps with this, talking with the children not just about the plain understanding of the verse, but what it commands us to do, and how that applies in THEIR lives as children. We find that they memorize better when they know what the words mean. Hopefully they are working on their hearts in the process, of course, too!

Any other resources you have found out there to help with Bible memory, not just for children, but adults too?? Please post a comment!!!

Preserve My Life. . .
October 1, 2011, 7:33 am
Filed under: Discipleship, family news, Friends, grief, Jeremy, Ministry, Seminary

“Teach me O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” Psalm 119:33-37

This morning I wake up to sad news. One of the most godly men I have ever known in my life has been diagnosed with brain cancer. This man and his wife ministered to my family spiritually at times when others didn’t know how to. They loved us, taught deep truths, prayed for us and did the hard things God calls some church leaders to do.

In a nutshell, “Uncle Neil,” as us children called him, buried my mother, baptized my brother, married Jeremy and me, and took a hard (but necessary) stand of church discipline with one family member. Some of my earliest discipleship as a believer came from his wife as she was my prayer partner, and from him as our family’s pastor when I most needed solid Biblical teaching.

The longer I am a Christian, and the more I spend time with God in His word and with the Church, the more I realize that “preserve my life” means more than “God, keep me alive.” This last verse (37) is one of Jeremy’s favorites, and I find it fitting as I reflect on the impact a very godly man has had on our family. Though I beg God to “preserve his life” now that I know he has cancer, God HAS ALREADY preserved His life according to HIS word. Uncle Neil is not perfect (I’m sure his wife or son could give examples) but God has preserved Him spiritually and given him a long ministry not just to our family but to many others. And though his body may not last as long as we would really like, the effect of his life and faithful obedience even in the hard things will be serving the Kingdom far beyond what he can see.

I can’t help but find this a bit poignant as we set out in ministry. We didn’t expect to be here. But God expected it. He planned it. And in HIS great mercy, He has given us godly men like Neil, and Frank, Chris, Jim and so many others who have discipled us and been tools in the hand of Almighty God to shape us into instruments for HIS glory. We are thankful. And humbled. May we be found faithful, and may God see fit to also preserve US according to His word.

And Walk in Love
May 1, 2011, 3:44 pm
Filed under: children, Discipleship

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:1-2, 15-16

As a mommy I’m struggling with “making the best use of the time.” No matter where I turn, there’s always an idea, manner or skill I should have already trained into our children. We should have pleases and thank-yous down, one needs to be potty-trained, one “needs” to be showering themselves at this age. Oh, and I just read that they should be cleaning their room independently by now. And don’t get me going on interpersonal and communication skills!

We’ve come so far, yet my list is endless. I have seen God work in my children. I see growth. They aren’t struggling with most of the same issues they were struggling with six months ago. Is this the way mommyhood will always be? Will there always something else to do? More to pray about? Something to improve?

Every older mother I’ve talked to says that the answer to all the questions above is “YES!” So what do I do, or not do? I could go crazy and run about, as my mother used to say, “like a chicken with it’s head cut off.”

However, Ephesians 5 puts it so simply:

1. Walk in love This will likely mean taking the time to plan/schedule specific events/time to show love to my children and husband in ways that speak to them and their personality. If I wait for things to just happen, everyday events will likely crowd out potential meaningful interactions.

2. Imitate Christ Christ’s love for us was sacrificial, it didn’t think about what HE wanted, it walked in obedience to the Father and out of love for a rebellious, sinful people who hated Him. This means that I will not chose to set up rules in my house for my personal comfort or desires. I’ve heard it said, “parents are the original family unit, and children shouldn’t change that. They are a welcome addition, but the family should not revolve around the children.” That is true. But it shouldn’t revolve around the parents either. (Phil 2:3-4) The family should revolve around Christ. And ourlove should be sacrificial toward everyone. We should model for our children what it means to give up our needs or preferences for the desires of another. This doesn’t mean we don’t lead and exercise authority. It does mean that our authority and leadership will happen in humility and love, not seeking our own interests or comfort.

3. Spend time carefully on the things that really matter Last night this meant that when one of mine woke up in the middle of the night, I tucked them back into bed and crawled in with them to whisper and talk with them for a while. It was peaceful, and in the dark with some intermittent light from the lightning, we got to have a sweet conversation that likely has eternal ramifications. It was much more valuable than sleep. I will have to evaluate even “good” things that I think I should be doing to see if they are what our family really needs at the time.

4. Know God Better I will need to know the God I desire to imitate. This means time. Time with God in prayer, in study, in meditation. And time with believers who challenge and encourage me.

How do you prioritize as a mommy, mother, wife, employee? Any thoughts? Comment and share!!

Contentment Examination – Part 3: Something to DO!

At least for me, I have found so much of contentment to be about my heart. (See Part I and Part 2) However, in the end, God does call me to action in many instances, to battle contentment practically. If my perspective is in view of heaven and Christ and HIS work in and around me, I find the other stuff comes more easily. And when I’m thinking God’s thoughts, things tend to spiral more upward than the other direction.

Now for the nitty-gritty questions:

Am I. . .

12. Spending time daily with God? (and continuing to pray)
(Psalm 1)

13. Doing what I can?
Ephesians 5:15
I’m talking practical here! Are you getting enough sleep, eating well, drinking enough water, are you seeking godly wisdom in working out the problem, if there is one, are you gathering regularly to worship God with other believers? If someone has offered suggestions or a solution, have you at least TRIED it?

14. Serving others selflessly and striving to become a better wife, mother, woman, etc?
1 Cor. 7:4-5, 34b 1 Cor. 7, Eph 5:10

15. Saying “no” to bitterness and resentment?
Ephesians 4:26-27, 31
If you are playing an event or situation over and over in your mind, or hoping something bad would happen to someone or in a certain circumstance, it is likely that you have let bitterness take root.

16. Exercising patience?
James 5:7-8, Psalm 37
Waiting is hard. Beg God for patience and start ACTING patient, even if you don’t feel it!

Please share other questions you ask yourself, or suggestions for battling contentment. . .these are only the musings of ONE woman wanting to walk in contentment with her God! May God grant us grace, discipline, and a heart of submission to the work HE is doing in us!

Contentment Examination Part 2 – My Thoughts
February 4, 2011, 9:44 am
Filed under: Discipleship

Contentment is not simply an issue of perspective for me (though that is a huge part). It is largely an issue of thought. . .and how I handle my thoughts! Here are a few more questions I ask on days I struggle with contentment:
(numbers 1-6 can be found in an earlier blog here: Contentment Examination Part I – My Perspective

7. Am I controlling my thoughts?
(Phil 4:8) Am I thinking on truth about God, about HIS power over all that is happening? Am I dwelling on purity and things of good report, or am I thinking about all that is not the way I want?

8. Am I praying about it?
(James 1:5, James 5:13)

9. Is my attitude humble?
(Romans 12:3, Eph. 4:2-3)

10. Am I remembering that heaven and Christ are my greatest joys?
(Psalm 17:15, Phil. 3:7-11, 3:20-21)

11. Is my heart willing to let go of fantasies and embrace the REAL joys God has given me (in being a wife, mother, child of God, ___________ (insert the role I am struggling with)
(Consider Esther, Rachel, Leah and other women in scripture who had difficult life situations, but were used by God to further HIS kingdom)

May God see fit to use US to further HIS kingdom today as we think HIS thoughts and find deep contentment in being a part of God’s greater plan and glory

Contentment Examination – Part I – My Perspective
February 3, 2011, 3:00 pm
Filed under: Discipleship, Seminary

Some days I struggle with being content. One day it’s about a certain aspect of mommyhood, another day it’s about wifehood, womanhood, or just life in general. I become overambitious about changing my circumstances and I often try to find my own way out.

After a recent bout of discontentment, and a search of the scriptures, I made a list of questions (16 total, I’ll just share a few today) to ask myself the next time I’m feeling unhappy, “in a rut,” grouchy, unhappy, or any other word I use to describe my discontent heart.

1. Am I remembering that I am a sinner, living in a sinful world surrounded by sinful people?
(Isaiah 64:6-7 Ps. 51:5, Romans 5:8)

2. Have I removed idols in my life (an idol is something I will sin to get or sin if I don’t get)?
(Deuteronomy 32:16, James 4:1-2, Col 3:5 and 1 Cor. 10:14)

3. Have I been praying about the issue?
(James 1:5 and James 5:13)

4. Am I overlooking offenses (if needed)
(Proverbs 19:11 and Ephesians 4:2)

5. Am I speaking the truth (to myself, always, and to others if needed)
(Eph 4:25)

6. Have I submitted my heart to the sanctification God is doing in me through this circumstance?
1 Peter 1:6-9 says, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

“Joy inexpressible” is the part I’m asking God to help me figure out!! It’s coming, though, as I see the struggles as NECESSARY for my faith and worth the result: joy in the process, the salvation of my soul and God’s glory all along!