Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"A Particular Set of Skills"

In the movie, Taken, Liam Neisen's character tells his daughter's kidnappers, "I have a particular set of skills..." This is one of my favorite lines from the movie. It may surprise you to learn that I can relate to Liam's character, as I, too, have a particular set of skills.

Growing up, I did not know I had a particular set of skills. I was never anything special, just a little girl trying to survive my dad's horrid violence and abuse; trying to get through the day while I tried to anticipate what the next day held and how I would get through it. I honestly credit my sisters; they were my rock. I could always count on them.

My particular set of skills was activated one beautiful day in February of 1982. The day I became a mom. Suddenly, without warning, I was thrust into the full-time job of keeping another human being alive. I realize the pregnancy, itself, was the same thing, but that was easy enough since he was thoroughly protected within the uterine walls. Once outside that confinement, I was awestruck with the responsibility of his utter helplessness. Without intervention from another human being, he would die, even though he was strong and healthy. There was one human being particularly suited for the job: His mom. Me.

I took this seriously. A particular set of skills, that I didn't even know I had, was activated. Suddenly, I found myself fiercely protective of my little baby boy. In some ways, I was unprepared for the intensity of this set of skills. Later, a few incidents taught me that the intensity of a mother's love is not to be feared or disregarded.

This fierce mother-love has been a thing to be reckoned with over the years. I've never agreed with the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. That's too broad for me. I prefer to say that it takes committed parents to raise a child. In the case of single parenthood, it takes a committed parent. Did certain mission boards have a village mentality when the sexual abuse of missionary kids took place by several of their leaders? The parents, trapped by misleading leaders, fell into the trap of allowing others to see to what is best for their kids. This is a mistake. This is the exact reason I would never have made the grade with any of those types of mission boards. My kids would have always remained under my authority, which trumps all other authority. This would have been in conflict with the overriding methods and I'm quite sure I would have been deemed uncooperative and unfit for their purposes. I'd rather be deemed unfit than have my kids suffer abuse.

Fierce mother-love is condoned by our great God of the Bible. He knows no one does it better. He is the One Who gave moms this particular set of skills. Just read Isaiah 66.

My particular set of skills has been actively working for 31 years now and I have practiced the skills on all eight of my kids. This has given them security, confidence and power.

* It gives them security by teaching them that no matter what, Mom has their back. Security goes a long way for a child. Secure kids don't seek security in things of this world; they have no need to seek what they already have.

* It gives them confidence because, safe in the security of my defense of them, they are confident to defend themselves if need be. One of my sons was being approached by someone he felt was too aggressive for his comfort level. He said, "Do not approach me!" The man kept approaching him. My son said, "Do not approach me!" The man kept coming. My son, standing his ground, said for a third time, "Do not approach me!" And the man stopped and no longer approached him. When I heard about this later, I was incredibly proud of my son.

He was secure in his thinking that he did not have to tolerate aggressive approaches by an adult.

He was confident enough to demand the man stop and this enabled him to retain control of his own situation.

This leads to my third point:

* It has given them power. My son exhibited power over his own body, over his own situation and over his own outcome; and even over this adult who approached him. He did not want that man approaching him because he perceived him as aggressive. Whether the man was aggressive or not is completely irrelevant. If my son perceived aggression, he was right to treat the situation that way.

Young moms, be confident in your particular set of skills. Know that they are of God. Do not fall into the world's pattern of "it takes a village." It does not take a village. It takes YOU. Let no one, not even the most experienced people, not even leaders in your church, decide what is best for your kids.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Priscilla Principle

For a long time, I've been working on putting my system of Bible study into an organized format that is easy to share with others. I call my system The Priscilla Principle. Since I developed this system more than 30 years ago, I have not used another. I learned the basic principles of Bible study in a college class while under the teaching of a wonderful professor who had patience and wisdom in leading his students. Dr. Wayne Knife was always above and beyond expectation in his teaching methods and he strongly impacted my life with his simple, yet effective Bible study methods.

Another man who has been very influential in my Bible study life is Pastor Lowell Spencer, the man who led me to Christ. He preached the Gospel the very first time I heard it and I never got over it. He showed me how to look things up in the Bible and also gave me the greatest piece of advice I've ever received in my entire life - to never take anyone's word for what the Bible says, but to look it up for myself. I still practice that to this day.

If I had to name one thing that has prevented spiritual abuse in my life, this would be that thing. I don't care who is preaching, I look up what they are saying and test it to see if it is in line with the Bible. If not, I confront it. If I'm not in a position to confront it, I simply don't listen to them ever again. This has saved me from spiritual abuse. I have removed my children from under the teaching of various people for this reason. I simply do not tolerate false teaching and to determine false teaching, I must test every teacher/preacher every single time they teach/preach.

The Priscilla Principle is designed to help people do just that. Last week, I finally took the plunge and bought the domain name so that I could go forward with the project and take it to the next level. The website gives a brief look into The Priscilla Principle, explains why I chose that name and gives an example on how to make observations of Scripture. I will be adding more and more information to the website in short order.

Also, my book, The Priscilla Principle, will be published on Amazon in the coming months!

My system is not the usual method of:

Observation > Interpretation > Application

My system is:


This method eliminates the application process of Bible study altogether. Misapplication of Scripture has been the main cause of spiritual abuse in churches all over the world. The Holy Spirit applies His Word to our lives; He's more than capable. 

The main premise of The Priscilla Principle is:
if I am focused on my own behavior, 
or the behavior of others, 
I am not focused on Jesus Christ, 
therefore, my focus is not where it should be.

In Acts 17:10 & 11, the saints in the church at Berea were commended for searching the Scriptures daily to see if the things they were being taught were true. They were called "noble" for doing so! You can do the same. You can search the Scriptures to see if what you are being taught is true. 

Priscilla was a woman grounded in Scripture and not afraid to use it. She and her husband, Aquila, were used mightily in the life of a great preacher, Apollos, when they took him aside after hearing him preach an incomplete message. Priscilla did not tolerate false or incomplete teaching. She confronted it immediately and her confrontation produced wonderful results. Read Acts 18 for the full story. This principle is named after her!