Monthly Archives: September 2009
The last few days I have spent way too much time alone in the car, something that rarely happens to me. I am not an alone person; I thrive on being with a whole gang of people. But time alone has given me space to think about some things that have been grieving me, things that have broken my heart in the past few years: desperate wives, desperate mamas who give up.
I am not talking about moms throwing in the homeschool towel. Life circumstances, such as they are, sometimes call for desperate measures and moms who have been completely committed to educating their children at home find themselves with a husband’s job loss, illness, responsibilities involving elderly parents, a marriage crisis that demands complete attention, or even such intense personal, emotional, and spiritual struggles that normal day to day homeschooling is nearly impossible. Life happens, people sin against us, people hurt us, or sometimes there actually is a need that can only be met by an already stretched-to-the-limits mama and homeschooling is set aside. It may not even be the long term solution but rather serves as a pressure reducer while other issues are sorted through.
But, I am not talking about those mamas.
What I am talking about is moms who have sinned by purposely making one bad choice after another, ones that require even more bad choices, until they are in a downward spiral and out of control. In many cases these moms not only lose their husbands and children, but their faith as well. I am talking about moms who have chosen a path that has taken first their hearts and then themselves far, far away from the life of a homeschooling mom.
Many years ago I knew such a mom. She was what all her friends might call a vibrant, growing godly woman. She studied the Word every day with her children. She attended worship services and served in her church. She desired to one day go to the mission field and she and her husband even began praying for those they knew they would one day minister to overseas.
This mom was also committed to her home. She loved caring for her family, preparing delicious meals, demonstrating hospitality, creatively making her home lovely and attractive. And she was attractive, too. Always modestly dressed and more often than not wearing skirts and dresses, her hair and make-up enhancing her classic features, this woman could turn heads even in a gunny sack.
And then, one day, the unthinkable happened. This woman committed adultery. Everyone was stunned. Her children were devastated. Her husband was hurt and then angry. The couple tried to fix it but for whatever reason, it was broken beyond repair and they divorced. The children were scattered, their home was gone forever. Any Christian testimony this couple might have had was gone.
But this was only the beginning. This mom soon found herself living with a younger man. She went from job to job but was never satisfied. Her husband moved far enough away that he saw the children only a few times a year. Soon, as you would suspect, the children began to make ungodly choices, too.
I ran into this woman not long ago. I hadn’t seen her up close and personal in nearly two decades. She looked “hard,” a word my mom often used to describe women whose hearts had been hardened by years of ungodly living and whose faces reflected it. Just seeing her made me feel so sad and ever since I have been asking myself what happened in her life. I have wondered if she has any regret, if she wishes she could go back and start all over again. I have wondered if she even makes a profession of faith in Christ and, if so, how that is expressed. I have wondered how these choices can be prevented in the first place.
What makes a person spin into a 180 degree life change? I don’t think there is any easy answer and I believe that typically there are many contributing factors.
Some moms lose their vision for the calling the Lord has placed on their lives during the season of raising children. Perhaps there is disillusionment with homeschooling itself and the children are not turning out the way you hoped they would. Maybe Dad isn’t actively participating in homeschooling or the paradigm you hoped would guarantee godly children isn’t as failsafe as you had been lead to believe. Perhaps your children are even in out and out rebellion and you can’t help but think “If this is all I get for my 20 years of effort with these kids, why bother?”
Often middle age brings with it all sorts of physical issues. The perpetual cycle of pregnancy and childbirth begins to change and along with it has come the feeling that you are no longer attractive to your husband. You hate getting older, being a slave to the L’Oreal bottle, plucking chin hairs, and you dread looking at the pictures of young and vibrant models who stare at you from the racks in the grocery store aisles. Your energy is waning and you begin to realize that retirement isn’t that far off and you face your golden years with no personal pension and all you have to show for it is saggy breasts and a head full of useless homeschool mom knowledge!
Maybe you have enjoyed spending time with other moms who have made different choices and you are a little envious. After all, they are financially better off than you, they have time and money to enjoy the amenities the media says you deserve. Maybe even you are hearing a siren song from these friends and seeds of discontentment have already taken root.
Or perhaps you have fallen into the trap of wondering what it might have been like to marry a different man. You find your heart drawn to movies, books, magazines, or television shows where everyone’s life is more sexually exciting or romantic than yours.
Ultimately, I believe that the deception of our own hearts draws us away from the Lord and from our families and from the desire to serve one another, leading us to sin, first in our imaginations, and then in reality. (I have a few more things to share about this in the next blog entry on temptation.)
These past few days I have felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to write about these things. A while back one of my friends and I made a pact that if either of us saw the other one walking down one of these paths, we would be in each other’s face and do everything possible to pull the other one back to the right path. I want to suggest that each person who reads this article today should do the same thing. Find someone to hold you accountable. Search your own heart for attitudes or actions that are leading you away from the Lord and away from serving Him in a righteous manner. If you see those attitudes, repent immediately and make the choice to sin no more. And if you need to talk, please, please send me an e-mail. I sincerely want to be available to anyone who is struggling and feeling tempted to jump ship.
“The saving of souls, if a man has once gained love to perishing sinners and his blessed master, will be an all-absorbing passion to him. It will so carry him away, that he will almost forget himself in the saving of others. He will be like the brave fireman, who cares not for the scorch or the heat, so that he may rescue the poor creature on whom true humanity has set its heart. If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” Charles Spurgeon
John Taylor Gatto, former New York City and New York State Teacher of the Year has compiled the following list that he calls “The 20 Qualities of an Educated Person.”
1. A broadly knowledgeable mind
2. Self confidence
3. A life purpose
4. A touch of class
5. Good leadership skills
6. The ability to work with a team
8. Good public speaking skills
9. Good writing skills
11. A desire for responsibility
13. A public spirit
14. The ability to work well alone
15. An eye for details
16. The ability to focus at will
18. The ability to handle pressure
20. An attractive personal style
In perusing this list, it struck me how many of these qualities are taught, both in word and deed, within the typical homeschooling family just by the very nature of how we live and learn! Being home all day together, learning to get along with all age levels, working together on family projects, giving children room to grow and learn through their own research and discovery, helping them discern God’s calling on each of their lives, all of these are things at which homeschoolers typically excel!
One of the blessings I have experienced since I have written and spoken about the patriocentric movement has been meeting so many lovely young woman who would call themselves survivors. I don’t know if Trish has actually used that word to describe herself, but her recent memoir about her experience in these circles poignantly titled Why We Wore Skirts will touch your heart. Check out her blog and let her know what you think.
“If homeschoolers have problems with socialization, may I just ask why so many of them have three times as many Facebook friends as I have?”
This Friday, thatmom will be kicking off her series of podcasts entitled Mentoring Young Adult Children with the first of several podcasts of an interview with John Stonestreet, the president of Summit Ministries. John is a popular conference, camp, and convention speaker and he has worked with thousands of parents, teachers, and students on developing a Biblical worldview. He is also a husband to his lovely wife, Sarah, and a homeschooling dad to three daughters!
The topic of our discussion was the trend we are now seeing that Christian young people, often even those raised in homeschooling families, are departing from the faith and from their churches. Examining some of the current research by Railsback and Barna, John offered his thoughts on the whys of this situation but, more importantly, some good, solid ideas on what we as homeschooling parents can do to change this trend.
During the weeks that I am airing the podcasts with John, if you leave a comment on the blog about one of his podcasts, I will enter your name in a drawing to win a $25.00 gift certificate to Summit Ministries’ online store. Be sure to call your friends and invite them to listen as well and remember that all of the thatmom podcasts are now available as a free resource on I-tunes.
Character Training ~ Beyond the 49 Character Qualities, Part Four
“Meticulously designed and crafted to resemble Greiners amazing work, the sight of two students portraying Christ washing Peter’s feet was breathtaking. It was assembled on a round turntable, allowing the audience to see the actors from 360 degrees, their facial expressions perfectly mimicking the sculptor’s original. That night as I studied this masterpiece, the very idea of Christ washing someone’s feet shook me to the core. How unworthy was Peter, the one who repeatedly denied his Savior! And how unworthy I am to have my own sins washed away by such a servant! But yet, we must look at this Jesus who was and is the ultimate servant and come face to face with his servanthood in order to fully understand what it means for us to serve one another as we are commanded to do.”
Join me this week as I continue to examine the character qualities demonstrated by Jesus as described throughout the Gospels. (This podcast is part four of four.)
I came across this awesome idea for birdwatching in your home. We typically begin feeding the birds a week or so before Thanksgiving when their migration patterns bring dozens of different kinds of birds to our feeder. If I can only figure out how to keep the squirrels off of the window box, we will be all set.