Monthly Archives: August 2011
I can hardly believe that summer is coming to a close! I am soon heading to California to spend some time with grandchildren while their parents are traveling and am thrilled to be their substitute teacher for a few days! As I pack this morning, I am putting some interesting things into my suitcase, including a Viking adventure book I think the 6 year old needs to read! When I get home I look forward to a couple more weeks with even more grandchildren and then beginning our own school year here with Summit Ministries studies, theology courses, novel writing, and college prep! Clay has been teaching a civics class to all of us all summer, along with a ride through the Old Testament which we will continue. I hope all of you are off to a great start as well! Here are a few links that I thought would be fun to share, some of them to ponder, some to enjoy just for fun!
There are many ways to study geography but this might be the most interesting. I am trying to find out where I can buy local postcards from my little town because I think this would be a fun project.
This is such a good article for moms and the value of being transparent with others!
I really was blessed by this open and honest testimony from Sallie Clarkson. She was so singing my own tune in this one!
Here are some good things to ponder as you think about your own philosophy of education. It will be an eye-opener I am sure!
Finally, gather your kids and share this hilarious series with them. We all sat around the computer screen and laughed out loud! This is just one in a growing series of family histories on film and I keep thinking how much fun it would be to record my grandchildren telling our family stories!
The Elect Lady’s Grace
(part one of three parts, taken from the God’s Curriculum for Homeschooling Moms podcast series)
One of my favorite memories of homeschooling comes to mind every year about this time. July is always the month when we place our orders for homeschooling supplies and books and when our older children were little, I had to race them to the front porch when the UPS man arrived. They were so excited as we opened the boxes and took out the wonderful new books, still pristine and crease-free, smelling like fresh ink. One by one they carefully opened the pages, oohing and aahing, excitedly looking at the pictures, begging to start reading them right away. My heart was always torn…should I let them just take their favorite choices to their rooms and read to their hearts’ content now or should I make them wait and take their time, savoring each lesson as we made our way through the semester?
I had an experience similar to theirs a few weeks ago when our pastor began a sermon series on the small epistles in the New Testament, the postcards to the church as he called them. He had completed Philemon and 1st John and opened up to 2 John, reading verses one and two: “to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever.” He went on to explain that this book of the Bible, written by the same author of the Gospel of John, was written to a real woman who was both a Christian herself and a mother to children who were also believers. Realizing that we were about to look at a passage of Scripture that appeared to have special meaning to moms, I became as excited as my children were when they opened our packages of school books!
I came home that afternoon and began to read through the book of 2 John, 13 verses in all, several times, looking at this passage in light of that first verse, and I realized that I had discovered something amazing. Here, nearly at the end of the Bible, right in the middle of several books that were written to warn believers about false teachers, was a little book of only 13 verses that contained what I believe is God’s curriculum guide for homeschooling moms. As I continued to read through this passage, I was amazed that in these few verses there is such a rich treasury for us and I hope you are beginning to sense the same excitement of opening this book as I did!
First I want to share with you some of the things from verses one through three that apply to homeschooling moms and in the following two articles I will continue looking at verses four through 13.
As the apostle Paul also did in greeting the New Testament churches in his letters, John says to his readers in verse three “grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.” I can think of no better outline as we look at this passage than those three words, grace, mercy, and peace, because they each say in one word a key ingredient that belongs in our curriculum as homeschooling moms, as we teach our children, but first as we become the teachers we ought to be.
The letter of 2nd John begins with the phrase “the elect lady” which tells us that this woman who was addressed in this letter had received the gracious gift of salvation from a sovereign God. She was not seeking after God first, He sought her and saved her and chose her before the foundations of the world. The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. None of us are righteous, no, not one of us. We have a great need of a savior and what a savior we have! This lady, this mother we are looking at, had the same needs that we do, the same temptations, the same hope for her children, and God, in His infinite grace, reached down and chose her, calling her from darkness into light. Though we do not know her name, the Bible tells us that her name is written on the palm of God’s very hand, the gracious act of a gracious God.
John goes on to tell us that he has a great love for this woman and her children. Perhaps John had been her pastor at one time or had worked alongside of her in ministry. He knew her well enough to know that she was a genuine believer who embraced truth. And he tells us in John 14:6 what that truth is by quoting Jesus “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John recognized that this woman had embraced Christ alone for her salvation. He didn’t acknowledge any great works that she was doing or even mention her title or her role in her home or in the church. He does not tell us who her husband is or who her father is or what nationality she might be or anything at all about her past. He does not tell us anything at all about her church or church family, her ministry gifts, her standing in the community, or her education. He only tells us that she is a Christian.
The first question, then, I put in front of homeschooling moms today is “do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Have you trusted in Him for your salvation, not resting on any works you have done? Do you have the assurance that God is your refuge and that underneath you are His everlasting arms? My only hope as a homeschooling mom, hope for my children or hope in the future, rests on the fact that I know that Jesus is my Lord and my savior and that it is by grace that I have been saved.
John goes on to tell us that he has a great love for this woman because she was abiding in the truth, truth as found in the Bible. In John 8: 31-32 he wrote “If you abide in my word and are my disciples you will know the truth.” The elect woman, the Christian mom who was the recipient of the letter from John, was a disciple of Jesus, a woman of the word. She trusted the Scriptures as they had been handed down to the early church and she believed them to be the true words of God.
I have often shared with you about my grandmother and what a woman of the word she was. For decades she taught an adult Sunday School class in the Baptist church where I grew up, mentoring many young men and women and building them up in the faith by opening God’s word with them. I still meet people today who remember how she counseled them through some crisis in their lives by opening the Bible with them and praying with them, asking God to make His word real and sure in their lives and circumstances.
As I picture this elect woman in 2 John, my grandmother comes to mind. My grandmother raised 9 children during the depression and grew a huge garden so she could feed them. She had a milk cow and did the milking herself as well as made cheese, butter, and cottage cheese. She washed all their clothes with a wash tub and washboard and cooked everything from scratch. And she still found time to spend in God’s word, not because it was a task to check off her list but because she loved God so much that she couldn’t NOT study it!
I know many other women like this, women who are committed to studying Scripture, even in the midst of hectic family lives and the busy schedules they must keep. They are the Marys whom Jesus praised as choosing the better path, more concerned with the kingdom of God than their own earthly kingdoms.
Not long ago I heard a pastor talk about Watchman Nee’s commitment to reading through the entire New Testament every month. This pastor challenged his congregation to read the Bible for an hour a day for two weeks, telling them that at one time he believed that reading only a few verses a day was sufficient and now he was rethinking that position. As the shepherd of a flock, he knows that feasting on God’s Word is crucial to the health and life of those under his care and his admonition is a wise one.
Moms, have you made a commitment to read and study God’s word? And when you read it, do you believe it to be the truth? And if you believe it to be true, is it the basis for all life and practice? Spurgeon once said “Bible study is the metal that makes a Christian; this is the strong meat on which holy men are nourished; this is that which makes the bone and sinew of men who keep God’s way in defiance of every adversary.”
John also declares to this elect lady that she is a woman with a testimony, she is a woman who is known for her commitment to God’s truth and that other believers love her because she holds to the word of God. John tells us in chapter 3:21 of his gospel he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” This elect lady wasn’t afraid to have her very life laid open before others because she purposed to live a life that reflected her faith in Christ. And as a result, others loved her and the message that her life gave to them encouraged and strengthened them. This dear woman had nothing to hide because she knew that all her righteousness was as filthy rags, that her very standing before the Lord was based only on what Jesus had done in her life.
Have you ever known someone like this? One of my greatest joys has been making friends with believers who are willing to be transparent and open about their lives, their failures and the consequences that have come about through living a life apart from Christ. These same people tend to always point back to God’s sovereign act of mercy and grace in forgiving them and transforming their lives into sweet smelling sacrifices of service to the Lord. Clay and I have a friend whose life is this kind of picture of God’s grace and mercy. Growing up in a rough neighborhood in Detroit during the era of the race riots of the 1960’s, Tom learned at an early age to fight and survive. A gifted basketball player, he wound up on the campus of a Christian college, fun-loving and carefree but hostile to the truth found only in Jesus. Once during a game, he became so angry at the opposing team, he showed them his ultimate disdain by spitting on the cross in their gym. But one day when his coach confronted him with the claims of the gospel, Tom repented and gave his life to Christ, offering himself in full time Christian work. After spending several decades on the mission field, he began an orphanage in the Philippines and now is using his ministry gifts to evangelize professional athletes. Because he is so willing to share the life-changing work of Christ in his life, people are drawn to him and the message he brings to them.
The Apostle John also said in John 17:17 that Jesus sanctifies us by His truth and I believe that this dear elect woman, this mother, was so loved by John and others because of the continuing sanctification of God in her life. She was a woman who lived out her convictions and embraced a biblical worldview in all she did.
In her book, Total Truth, author Nancy Pearcey challenges believers to apply the word of God to every area of their lives, from the simplest of tasks to the most grand of schemes. In challenging Christians to live by biblical ethics in their private and public lives, including in the workplace, she relates this example from the Christian publishing industry:
“In a journalism class I once taught, one of the students was agonizing over what to do. Fresh from earning a master’s degree, she had landed a job doing policy analysis for a state-level Christian organization. On her first big project, she had worked for months analyzing the data and preparing an outstanding report. But when she finished, to her shock, the boss announced that he was going to put his name on the final product. “The message will get out better with my name on it,” he said. “We’ll get more attention, sell more copies, have greater impact.”
No matter that claiming to be the author was false and deceptive to the public. No matter that the woman who had done the real work was essentially reduced to a ghostwriter. Worse, the dishonesty was rationalized in religious language as the best way to advance the ministry. Eventually the boss agreed to include the writer’s name on the cover as well, but the public was still misled into thinking that the ideas were his, while she was nothing but a staff writer. Nancy goes on to say:
“It is scandalous that Christian ministries and publishing houses often turn a blind eye to this form of deception, especially when it involves top-selling names. Not long ago an editor at a major Christian publishing house told me that he had managed to get a Big Name to write a forward to a forthcoming book then added casually, “But of course he didn’t really write it…..
“I recently met a conference speaker and author who once worked for a prominent ministry leader. To my amazement, she revealed that staff workers wrote everything that went out under his name, books, articles radio programs. The attitude among the staff is, let’s not bother him with these projects. We’ll just take care of them for him. Meanwhile the public is deceived into thinking they are getting this revered leader’s own thoughts and insights….I have to ask this…what does it say to a pagan, godless culture when Christians have this sort of testimony?
Moms, I want to ask you this….do you live your own life in such a way as to bring honor to Christ’s name? Can others, especially your children, follow your example and not be ashamed? And is your life a testimony of God’s grace to you? Are others, especially your children, drawn to you because you so openly share what He has done for you? Does the Lord continue to work in your life, sanctifying you daily as you read His word and trust in Him? John 16:13 tells us that the Holy Spirit will lead us in all truth. I pray today that each one who reads this will know that Jesus is Lord, that He is truth, that He will lead you in all truth, changing your very lives and giving you a powerful testimony of His grace as he did the elect lady.
Finally, John tells us in 2 John 2 that the truth abides in us and will be with us forever. This is such a glorious thought and certainly had to have been a word of encouragement to this elect lady. As mothers, I believe we are prone to have particular worries and fears. Sometimes those fears produce guilt and anxiety that leave us unable to live abundant lives. Just in the last few months I have read articles on blogs written by homeschooling moms that were intended to insight fear and even panic in the readers. Fears that a government official may come in and snatch your children, fear that you cannot discipline your own children because you may be sued by them, fear that your own godly marriage will be threatened by homosexual activists, fear that the culture will swallow your children, and on and on the list goes.
But John told this dear mother that the truth, God’s truth, abides in us forever and will be with us forever. In John’s Gospel, chapter 14, verses 1-3, the apostle reminds us that we have to keep God’s big picture, his ultimate plan, in front of us at all times. He quotes Jesus saying “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” We have no need to worry or fear because this life is only temporal and its cares are temporal. We will spend eternity with the Lord because he has made this promise to us.
Moms, do you find yourself fretting over the here and now? Are you living a life of anxiety over the daily stresses, the chores that seem to never end that are right before your eyes day in and day out? Are you down right scared because you see the evil in the world and you don’t want it to touch you or your family? Remember that God has promised to never leave us or forsake us. He is working in your life and the lives of your children for His own good pleasure and Jesus, himself who is the truth, abides in us.
As you go about your tasks today, reflect on the life of the elect lady. She trusted Christ alone for her salvation, basking in God’s grace in her life. She knew that God’s word alone is truth, His gracious gift to her. She was a woman with a testimony of that grace, living a life that brings glory to God. And she was a woman whose confidence and hope was in the Lord, believing that His grace was sufficient for her, knowing his power was made perfect in her weakness. May we all be elect ladies today! (to be continued)
If you prepare this meal, you will conclude that the only thing missing is a fortune cookie! Mollie and I tried making homemade ones one time, right before her wedding, thinking it would be fun to write 300 fortunes for our guests and tuck them away inside crunchy orange yumminess. Martha Stewart said we could pull it off. As clever and witty as our fortunes were (you can only imagine what a beautiful but harried bride-to-be and her slap-happy mom would dream up), we just couldn’t get the texture of the cookie to turnout! If anyone has had experience with making fortune cookies, please share your recipe. I would really love to make them!
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 TBS ground ginger
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
Cut chicken into strips or chunks. Beat eggs with milk. Dip chicken in egg mixture and roll in flour you have seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat oil in pan and fry chicken just until golden brown on all sides. Heat all the rest of the ingredients in a sauce pan just until it boils. Place chicken in baking dish and cover with sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until meat is cooked through. (You can keep the chicken breasts whole and cook for 15 or so minutes longer, depending on size of chicken breasts. Allow to stand at room temperature for a bit so sauce can firm up. (This is even better the next day as the sauce will become really gooey and extra delicious!) Serve over rice.
4 cups rice (I like a combination of white basmati rice and a mixture of long grain and wild rice that I buy in bulk at our local health food store. It adds a nice earthy flavor and texture.)
8 cups water
1/4 cup chicken soup base or replace the water with chicken broth
1 TBS dried parsley flakes
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Bring water and soup base to boil. Add parsley flakes and rice. Cover, turn down heat and steam until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and add in onions and almonds.
This has become a staple in our home. We have been experimenting with just about every fresh veggie there is and prefer to have a variety of them at each meal. Simply place cleaned and cut vegetables on a cookie sheet, drizzle with a little olive oil, minced garlic, coarse salt, and fresh ground pepper. Roast at 375 to 400 degrees until barely tender. With this meal we roasted half a sheet of broccoli and half of Brussels sprouts along with sliced red onions. YUM!
(This was originally presented at the 2009 Treasures retreat.)
Let me see the hands of those who LOVE garage sales? Rummage sales? Tag sales? Junk stores? The Fulton County Scenic Drive flea markets? Perhaps there is nothing more wonderful than pulling a few dollars or a few coins out of your purse and bringing home some wonderful treasure.
I have found all sorts of amazing cheap things to feather my nest and have been collecting and enjoying my finds for longer than I have been married. But imagine my surprise when I discovered that someone could find the perfect man at a garage sale! You young single women, take note of this. Out there among the burpless Tupperware, the boxes of steamy romance novels, the faded Christmas ornaments from 1988, and Wal-Mart tubs full of discarded Happy Meal toys, you CAN find Mr. Perfect. Believe me, it is true because I brought him along with me today. Oh, sorry, it isn’t Clay. It really is Mr. Perfect!
Just look at this guy. He is so manly in his button down shirt. He always has a huge smile on his face, perfect wavy hair that is never out of place, (I just love the floop doop in the front.) He sort of has that rugged Hugh Jackman look, doesn’t he? And, Mr. Perfect ALWAYS has the perfect phrase just to make your day. Listen what he says to me when we hold hands…
SNOOKLEMS, I LEFT YOU WITH SOME EXTRA CASH TO GO SHOPPING WITH THE GIRLS.
HONEY, I LOVE DOING THE DISHES FOR YOU.
SWEETIE, YOU DON’T NEED MAKEUP, YOU’RE ALWAYS BEAUTIFUL.
I GOT AN IDEA, LET’S INVITE YOUR PARENTS OVER FOR DINNER
LET’S GO SEE THAT CHICK FLICK AGAIN.
HONEY, I HOPE WE CAN SPEND THE HOLIDAYS WITH YOUR FAMILY AGAIN THIS YEAR.
I’LL BE DRIVING YOUR CAR TO WORK TODAY BECAUSE I’M TAKING IT IN FOR SERVICE.
SWEETHEART, YOUR HOT BUBBLE BATH IS READY.
I’LL PAY FOR THAT HONEY DON’T YOU WORRY ABOUT IT.
NOOKLES, I LEFT YOU WITH SOME EXTRA CASH TO GO SHOPPING WITH THE GIRLS.
HONEY, I LOVE DOING THE DISHES FOR YOU.
Sorry to say, I do not have a Mr. Perfect doll for everyone to take home today, (I will let you hold mine afterwards if you want to) but during our last Bible study time this afternoon, as we look at the second part of Proverbs 31:26 “She opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness,” I would like us to think about the phrases we use, both with our children and with our husbands and then at the attitudes that we have that are behind what happens when our buttons are pushed.
The word “kindness” that is found in this verse in Proverbs 31 literally means to show yourself merciful to someone else, to demonstrate grace toward others, to display gentleness toward those we are serving. Kindness, grace, gentleness, mercy, words that describe the way we want to be treated by others, words that define the way Jesus treats us. But are they words that define the way we speak to or the way we treat those we love the most? And what is behind our words? Do the words grace, gentleness, and mercy describe our attitudes toward husbands and children? Let me share with you four truths about kindness that I believe we must apply to our lives:
We, ourselves, have been the recipients of kindness.
We have received mercy, grace, and gentleness from God in the person of Jesus Christ. God has treated us with gentleness and patience, forbearing with us when we sin, restoring us when we repent. Remember the story of the Ninevites in the book of Jonah? The Bible describes them as wicked and so He sends Jonah to warn them that He was going to destroy them, which was his first act of mercy toward these people who were grossly sinning against him. Then, when they repented and He decided to preserve their lives, which was his second act of mercy toward them, Jonah described God as “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.” God’s expresses his kindness to us in the same way, giving us the 10 commandments so that we will understand what sin actually is and then providing a means of redemption through the blood of Christ.
In Ephesians 2, as believers, we are promised that God’s mercy will continue, “in the ages to come He will show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” We have received God’s kindness to us in our salvation and we will continue to receive his kindness through our relationship with Him through Jesus!
God has given us the gift of kindness and expects us to extend it to others.
In fact, it is listed as one of the fruits of the spirit that becomes a part of our lives and our character through the power of the Holy Spirit. Those fruits are: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.
Years ago in our town, there was a very wealthy man who died and left a great deal of money to several organizations through annual endowments of $100,000.00 apiece and included in his gift were several churches who looked forward to that gift of money every year.
One day, I heard an interesting story by a woman who worked with a children’s ministry in one of these churches. Each year the church children would attend a week at camp and some of the youth sponsors thought it would be a great idea to make it possible for a group of poor children who attended the church to be able to go to camp through scholarships. This woman approached the church board and asked if they might allocate $500.00 to be used for the camp fund. The financial committee met and then explained to the woman that they would not be able to sponsor the poor children and this was their reason. Their bank balance showed that they were only a little over a thousand dollars away from having one million dollars in the bank. The board was so excited to see that balance and they had always wanted to have a million dollars in the bank. They decided that giving that $500.00 for poor children to attend camp would delay their attaining of that goal!
Isn’t it a funny thing about kindness? We are so glad to receive it, so happy to be the recipients of grace and mercy and gentleness and yet, we are so hesitant to give it to others for fear that it might take something away from us. We typically see ourselves as being giving and self-sacrificing, and, as moms, we are! But sometimes I believe we are so tempted to withhold grace from our husbands or our kids for fear of what we might lose….our reputations as perfect wives and homeschooling moms, our control over our children, our own desires and dreams for our marriage or our families.
I heard an interesting true story about kindness. There was a homeschooling dad who decided to take his 7 children out to breakfast one morning. When they arrived at the restaurant, he saw that they were offering a special: all you could eat pancakes or waffles for one price. When the waitress came, he said “We will have 8 pancake breakfasts and 8 glasses of water.” His little 6 year old son, who had just learned to read, read the sign and leaned over to his daddy and asked “Daddy since pancakes and waffles are the same price, may I please have waffles instead?” So when the waitress returned, the dad said, “Excuse me, ma’am, but that will be 8 glasses of water and 7 pancake breakfasts.” Then he turned to his son and said, “Son you must learn to take what I give you. You will have only water to learn this lesson.”
I ask you, what did that small child learn about kindness that morning as he drank his glass of water while the rest of the family ate breakfast? And what lesson was he taught regarding our Father God? Interestingly enough, that story was told by the father who was bragging about the lesson he had taught his son that morning.
Kindness demands that we see our husbands and children for whom God has called them to be, not who we want them to be.
When we began homeschooling in the early 1980’s, we homeschooled for a year before we joined a homeschooling group and began attending their conferences. One of the highlights, for me, of these week long meetings during the summer was the mass choir made up of several thousand smiling students dressed in navy blue dress pants or skirts, crisp white shirts and blouses with navy blue ties and neck bows. It was a sight to behold as they sang “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,” my heart responding to the intended message “Hang in there, moms. One day you will see Jesus and all those years of giving your life to raising children will be worth it.” But, if you had a trained eye, there was something interesting you could observe about these young men and women. In that sea of navy and white uniformity that I so dearly loved, there would be imaginative touches in the accessories…flashes of other colors in the ties, neck bows with flair or shoes that made a fashion statement, hair styles that were just under the radar of acceptable conformity but obviously “toned down” for the week.
For many years I “just knew” what was acceptable dress for homeschooled kids but my ideas were challenged as the artistic children among us grew older. Though each of our children are creative and artistic in their own ways, clearly three of them, 50% of my children, obviously march to the beat of a different drummer when it comes to personal style. My daughter was Anthropology nearly 10 years before there was Anthropology, which was often hard for me to understand in my personal, preppy, matchy-matchy life. I would hear myself saying to her: Do you really think that red velvet jacket goes with EVERYTHING? What do you mean your new hair color is called pomegranate? You’re covering your footstool with what? Faux fur? I just couldn’t get it. Then there is the youngest who thinks the 1930’s is the best fashion look and argyle rules the day. His peers may think his dress is odd but little old ladies love it because he looks like their high school beaus.
Well, it took the 4th born child to really show me what grace ought to look like as you stare it right in the face. The boy wanted a tattoo.
I had read all the admonitions about tattoos being the sign of slavery. Sermons and articles in homeschooling publications that addressed teen rebellion always threw in a tattoo reference or two for good measure along with drug use and riotous living. Certainly the prodigal son MUST have spent some of daddy’s inheritance on a tattoo.
So, to me, being a homeschooler with a tattoo did not compute. Clay told him that we, personally, didn’t really like the idea of a tattoo but that we wanted him to think about it for a while and to really consider the pros and cons before he got one and to do so in light of being a Christian. Visions of skulls and crossbones danced in my head.
And then this son came home for a Christmas break from school and on his forearm there it was…not just a tattoo but one he had designed himself. When he showed it to us, he gave us the whole story.
After our initial talk with him, he had gone to see his Old Testament professor to ask him about the teachings we had heard about tattoos. Together they examined all the Bible references and related verses. After considering the context of the passages and being sure that he would not be sinning by getting one, he drew his own design and went to a tattoo artist.
As he explained it to me I found myself quite moved and ashamed of how judgmental I had been toward him. The drawing was of a face with a cross forming the nose and eyes in the center and he explained that it represented the concept of imagio deo, being made in the image of Christ. He told us that it is a constant reminder in front of him of who he is in Christ and shared how he had been able to present the Gospel to several people who asked about its uniqueness.
In his wonderful book Grace-Based Parenting, author Tim Kimmel notes that the first characteristic of grace-filled homes is that they allow children the freedom to be different. He says “Grace can’t be some abstract concept that you talk about in your home. It has to be a real-time action that ultimately imprints itself in your children’s hearts. To talk about grace, sing about grace, and have our children memorize verses about grace – but not give them specific gifts of grace – is to undermine God’s words of grace in their hearts. Grace means that God not only loves them but that He loves them uniquely and specially. The primary way to give our children receive grace is to offer it in place of our selfish preferences.”
As I read these words, I realize how often I have been loath to extend grace to my children and have allowed my own tastes and opinions to be presented to them as a holy standard, when the truth is that God’s Word is the standard we ought to be pointing toward. How often I have even been tempted to put my own spin on Scripture in order to “prove” that my preference is the “right” one. And I have remembered the times when my first thought was “what would other people think about me, especially as a homeschooling mom, if my kid does x, y, or z.” It has caused me to repent of my own sin of loving myself more than I have loved God or my children. Pastor and author, Norm Wakefield, refers to this as “idolatry masquerading as love” and I believe he is correct.
And what about how we relate to our husbands? Do we have expectations on them that are unrealistic? What phrases would we make the “perfect man” say to us? Do we compare them to other husbands, to other fathers? Do we find some arbitrary list from some magazine article or book and seek ways to impose someone else’s preferences on our own husbands?
Did you ever hear the story of the 8 cow wife? On an island in the South Pacific, a young woman named Sarita lived with her father. In that village, it was customary for a young man to pay a bride price to the father of a girl he wished to marry. Typically 4 or 5 cows was considered top dollar for a pretty woman. Sarita was so homely that no one had even offered one cow for her.
One day it was rumored that a business man visiting from another island had decided to he wanted to marry Sarita and everyone began to whisper and speculate as to how much money this father could ask. Certainly Sarita was so homely that she might not bring more than 1 or possibly 2 cows. They were stunned, however, to learn that Sarita’s dad had received 8 cows for her. No one had ever paid 8 cows for a bride! The businessman and Sarita were married and moved away. Several years later, the business man returned and on his arm was the most beautiful woman anyone had ever seen. Immediately, the townspeople began to whisper again, “Certainly he had divorced Sarita and found another.” Poor, Sarita, they thought! They wondered what had become of her. But, squinting his eyes, the father, watching from afar, soon realized that this was his beloved, but once homely, daughter. Everyone began asking the business man what had happened and he explained. “When you pay 8 cows for a wife and she believes that you think she is an 8 cow wife, that is exactly what she will become!”
All of us either have 8 cow husbands or ones who are on their way to becoming 8 cow husbands if they know that is what we believe about them! I know dozens of homeschooling dads and they are at least 8 cow husbands! They work long, hard hours to provide everything their families need so that mom can be home and teach the children. They take their families to church and are usually the ones who are serving as Sunday school teachers, Awana commanders, Bible study coordinators, elders, deacons, trustees, and Evangelism Explosion leaders. They keep the car in good repair, mow the grass, unclog the toilets, paint and wallpaper the house, coach little league, grill the burgers, hang the storm doors, change diapers, give baths, tell bed time stories, sit through piano recitals, pray with their children, read their Bibles to their families, encourage their wives during labor and delivery, walk the dog, pay the bills, shovel the snow, drive their kids on their paper routes, and fall into bed at night, more than happy to get up the next morning and do it all over again. They are faithful stewards of what God gives to them, using their own particular gifts to serve their families. They are one way God demonstrates his kindness to us! I would encourage you moms to go home this evening and thank your husband for all he has done to make it possible for your family to enjoy the sweetness of homeschooling! And tell him that he is Mr. Perfect!
Kindness is being a wife and mom who is willing to change.
Earlier this year, a woman wrote to tell me of an interesting experience she had at a homeschooling support group meeting she was attending for the first time. As they all went around the circle introducing themselves, one after another of these mothers shared how their older sons and daughters had left their homes in less than positive ways. Some of them had denied the faith, others were in terrific rebellion. Some of the moms didn’t elaborate. But the woman who shared this story with me was amazed at how many homeschooling families represented in one room could have lost their children, some of them grieving the estrangement from more than one child.
Not long after that, Clay and I met two young women who had also left their homes in unpleasant situations. One of them was nearly 23 years of age and had never had a job, had no driver’s license, no high school diploma, and was expected to stay in her home until her dad had found a suitable husband for her. As we heard their stories, we were amazed at what they had experienced and we have grieved over the broken relationships.
In the past few months I have heard more sad stories about homeschooling families than at any time in the past than I can remember. Typically, these stories involve young men and women, most of them in their early twenties, who have been excommunicated from their families and even their churches for not going along with some sort of paradigm that has been established for them. They have been forced to move out of their homes, some of them not being allowed to take anything but the clothes on their backs. Most of them are also kept from seeing their younger siblings because the parents have determined that they are a bad influence. Moms are broken hearted because of lost relationships with children; years later, some have never met their grandchildren.
But here is the interesting part of the story. Every single young person who has talked to me personally, and there have been dozens, have not abandoned their faith. In fact, they are young adults who actually read their Bibles and are active in Bible-teaching churches, brothers and sisters in Christ who desire to not only walk faithfully with the Lord but to see restoration with their families.
What happened? Many of them found out for themselves that the standards their families had been imposing were not found anywhere whatsoever on the pages of Scripture but rather they were notions their parents had picked up somewhere. When they approached their parents with their own convictions and concerns, the parents chose a paradigm over a relationship with their children, expectations were not met, harsh words and accusations were spoken, ties were severed.
I believe these stories are becoming more common as parents look at the culture around us and want to protect their children, which we must do. But, in our zeal to do so, we cannot set up paradigms and miniature kingdoms of our own. We must recognize paradigms for what they are, a list of do’s and don’ts that someone, not God, has created. Instead of embracing a list, I have discovered that it is best for me to run all ideas, philosophies, and paradigms through my “one-anothering hopper.” I ask myself if the suggestions or ideas I am hearing will serve to build my relationships or will serve to tear them down; will they reflect the one-anothering commands of Scripture? I ask if they are a picture of Christ and His relationship with me as His needy daughter. If not, I am not interested, no matter how much appeal they might have for any number of reasons.
We must also realize that a sovereign God is working in the lives of each of our children individually and that He will accomplish his purposes. We must seek the Lord and ask Him what he would have for our own family. We must listen to our children and come together with them to determine their future plans. And before any of this happens, we must do all we can to build solid, godly relationships with them, placing them as individuals and as precious brothers and sisters in Christ above any imaginary standard or model we have built in our minds.
Do you remember this morning when I talked about the great conservationist John Muir, who had been raised in a Christian home? Muir had abandoned his faith and created his own religion that he called “redemption through nature.” As a child, Muir had memorized massive passages of Scripture. But, his parents had forced him to memorize it by beating him until he had learned it! In their zeal to get God’s word into him, they had hardened his heart and turned him away from the one true God.
We must become women who demonstrate kindness in our homes. Wisdom would tell us that it is necessary. In describing Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, Scripture says that God gave Solomon “wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore.” We may need to repent of past actions or attitudes toward our husbands and children, of times when our hearts were small. But here is the wonderful truth of applying kindness, mercy, gentleness, and grace in our lives: 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Praise God, “all” includes those times when we have failed to extend the same kindness to our precious families that the Lord has extended to us! May we face tomorrow with the assurance that repentance leads to restoration with both God and man, leading us to kindness and the sweet life of a homeschooling mom!
You know how some things are just so bizarre you tend to want to forget them? Well, I had forgotten this quote by Michael Pearl until I read it in Rebecca’s blog archives this morning. Now seems like a good time to post it.
According to Michael Pearl:
“But if your husband has sexually molested the children, you should approach him with it. If he is truly repentant (not just exposed) and is willing to seek counseling, you may feel comfortable giving him an opportunity to prove himself, as long as you know the children are safe. If there is any thought that they are not safe, or if he is not repentant and willing to seek help, then go to the law and have him arrested. Stick by him, but testify against him in court. Have him do about 10 to 20 years, and by the time he gets out, you will have raised the kids, and you can be waiting for him with open arms of forgiveness and restitution. Will this glorify God? Forever. You ask, “What if he doesn’t repent even then?” Then you will be rewarded in heaven equal to the martyrs, and God will have something to rub in the Devil’s face. God hates divorce — always, forever, regardless, without exception.”
And if this isn’t weird enough, check out the direction our culture is going on the topic of pedophilia! I know some people may dismiss this but let me tell you I well remember being a college freshman 40 year ago and sitting in an Abnormal Psychology class where homosexuality was still considered to be abhorrent behavior by the American Psychiatric Association. A year later they pronounced it to be normal; now look at what unregenerate man proclaims as such. Oh how our world desperately needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Originally presented at the 2009 Treasures retreat
A few weeks ago we traveled to Nashville to visit our son, Ben. For those of you who came to one of the first five years of this retreat, you will remember him as the guy with the curly blonde hair who did all of the sound for us.
Well, this past summer he graduated from Full Sail University with a degree in sound engineering and now he is completing an internship at Blackbird Studios in Nashville. There is just about nothing he would rather do than record an interesting sound, so while we were visiting him, he took us on a tour of the recording studio.
Room after room was filled with all sorts of amazing equipment…walls that were lined with wooden pegs arranged in such a way as to create a place that would record and play “perfect” music, at least as perfect as it can be made on this side of heaven. We watched as he took us into a room where many of the big names in country music have cut albumns…Martina McBride, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift. He explained how the room can be rearranged and redesigned for each individual artist by lowering or raising speakers, pulling in unique microphones, and adjusting the ambiance of the room with dimmer switches and even candlelight.
Of course, the highlight of the tour was seeing the massive sound boards where Ben tells me he could even make me sound sing like Dolly Parton if I wanted to. I watched as he explained the dials and knobs, the bells and whistles. The delight on his face and the excitement in his voice was almost more than I could stand. Finally he looked around and described the whole operation in one word: sweet!
Miriam’s dictionary defines “sweet” as being pleasing to the mind or feelings. Today I think that the word “sweet” has now replaced the word “awesome” which probably replaced other words like “cool” or “groovy” or phrases from my day like “far out.” Sweet really is the perfect word to describe what I want to celebrate today…the sweet life of the homeschooling mom.
It IS a sweet life. We have the amazing privilege of spending our days with precious little children who think we hung the moon! We get to be the ones who see those learning light bulbs go off. We get to be the ones who have all the answers, well, at least we have the answer books. We are called homemakers because that is what we do, we make homes. And is there any more wonderful word in the English language than home? We are available to bandage little knees, cuddle away big hurts, listen to dreams and are sometimes invited to dream along, too. We can make life all better with a plate of spaghetti and a cupcake. We are the ones who can, at the end of the day, tuck everyone into clean sheets and a soft bed before we collapse ourselves only to do it all over again the next day. If we step back and look all around us, at our husbands and at our children, at our homes, even at the lap book or science experiment clutter, all we can really say, if we are honest, is “sweet.”
As I began praying about this retreat and considering what I believe the Lord would want me to share with you as a devotional today, I kept coming back to two thoughts that initially didn’t seem particularly related to each other: wisdom and kindness.
As I have listened to homeschooling moms and moms who are considering homeschooling for their own children, share their struggles, I am struck by these two needs: wisdom and kindness, for you see, I believe that they are two of the “most essential” oils that we must have to keep the wheels of homeschooling running smoothly in our homes. And as I have heard grown homeschooled children share the impressions their mothers have left on them, the memories they have written in the wet cement of their lives, I believe nearly every good and bad action or attitude from moms that they remember could come under the heading of wisdom or the heading of kindness, either times their moms exhibited both wisdom and kindness in amazing ways or times when their moms lacked these qualities and left their marks on their children, often in profound ways. Then, as I began to look at the passages of Scripture where the word wisdom is found and then at those passages that address the topic of kindness, I was amazed to find this verse in, of all places, Proverbs 31: “She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”
Proverbs 31 has always been an amazing passage to me on a number of levels. There have been many times when I heard that a teaching or a Bible study was going to be taken from that passage and I cringed because I have spent so much time wanting and trying to be this Proverbs 31 woman but have fallen short. Just the thought of listening to one more sermon preached about this icon of Christian womanhood, and usually on Mother’s Day, made me tired! It is the guaranteed mom guilt passage of Scripture! So before I share some thoughts on this wonderful verse, I want to put Proverbs 31 into context for you so from now and forever more, it will be a portion of Scripture that brings encouragement and delight to you rather than an overwhelming sense of failure!
First of all, we have to remember that these verses describe the various seasons of a woman’s life. It is not suggesting that one woman do all of these things at one time in her life. That could not be possible and the passage also talks about older children and a husband who is older and has achieved some authority. So remember that.
Also, the entire chapter was initially written from a mother to a son. This son’s name was King Lemuel and we do not know much about him. In fact, no one really knows who he was since he is only mentioned in the Bible by this name in this passage. Some scholars believe Lemuel is another name for Solomon, others believe he was a true king outside of Israel. What we do know is that he was a young man who listened to the counsel of his mom and the Holy Spirit guided both her words to him and his writing it down because it is included in the canon of Scripture.
Secondly, there are really three aspects of her counsel to him. The first she warns him that if he was to be a leader, he ought to abstain from the use of alcohol because it could pervert his judgment. The second is the admonition to be a just man, someone who speaks up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, the poor and the needy. And then she describes what character qualities, what virtues, he should look for in a wife.
The word virtue is interesting…it is the same Hebrew word used to describe David’s might men of valor. Mother Lemuel was not suggesting any wimpy woman for her son. On the contrary, she lists character quality after character quality that she believed a man would need in a wife, qualities that would make her a woman of valor, a mighty wife, a mighty mom. And two of those attributes she lists are wisdom and kindness and they are even placed together in the same verse.
So, with this context in mind, I would like to take a few minutes this morning to talk about wisdom and then when we come back this afternoon we will also be looking at the word kindness because I believe a woman who is wise and a woman who is kind will find herself living out the sweet life of a homeschooling mom every single day!
Wisdom ~ Proverbs 31:26 states “she opens her mouth with wisdom.” The Hebrew word for wisdom means exceedingly wise in mind, word, or action. The dictionary gives these definitions of the word wise: having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right; possessing discernment, judgment, or discretion,having knowledge or information as to facts, circumstances, etc.: Astute, prudent, sensible, judicious
So why is it so important for a virtuous woman to have wisdom? Why is it important for a homeschooling mom to have wisdom? Let me share with you four of the things we need to know about wisdom that I believe the Bible gives to us.
Wisdom is to be valued above all else.
Scripture tells us that it is better than rubies, is more valuable than all gold and silver, and should be desired more than wealth and power. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, wealth and power were dangled in front of him. We later are told that Jesus was tempted in all ways that we are tempted, assuring us that we have an advocate with the Father who understands these temptations.
Perhaps these are areas where homeschooling moms do tend to struggle. 10 summers ago when our son got married and we traveled to Miami for the wedding, we stayed with our daughter-in-law’s family. Their home was quite large and they had a maid who took terrific care of us, though she spoke no English.
One day my son who was 11 at the time, came walking down the hallway with a basket full of clean and freshly ironed clothes and a starry look in his eyes. “She did my laundry!” he said. I just looked at him. Who did he think had been doing it the past 11 years? But it did make me wonder what it might be like to have my own maid and to fanaticize about living in a tropical paradise with swarthy men dressed all in white bringing me exotic mango salads and iced tea.
For the most part, we are average women who will never be part of any jet set, flitting around from a fashion show to a party at some upscale establishment. Our idea of fine cuisine is something that doesn’t come in a box with a toy. We wear something called “mom” jeans! And even if we did win the lottery, we would probably shop at Amazon for even more used books! Every once in a while, perhaps when we are discouraged or disappointed or tired, we might wistfully think about what it would be like to live in the world of the rich and famous.
And then there is the notion of power. Boy oh boy, wouldn’t that be something to possess? One day my grandson was playing super hero and decided that he would create his own new character. As he was flying into the room he announced to his brother “My superhero name is Whatever. That is because my super power is that I can do whatever I want.” Don’t we all wish we could be that character? Especially as our children get older and more autonomous? Wouldn’t it be great if we could just “make them” do whatever we would want them to do rather than to counsel and encourage them as they make life choices?
But wisdom would tell us that that is not possible nor desirable and that we are to concentrate on building them up in the faith, teaching them, opening our mouths with the same wisdom we, too, are pursing.
When we choose the career of homeschooling mom, we trade in all the dreams of wealth and power for the opportunity to spend our days pursuing truth and wisdom and relationship building with little people. We embrace the choice of reveling in the days of small things. We seek wisdom and knowledge that far exceeds any earthly wealth or kingdom. We trust that a sovereign God will give us all we need for life and godliness!
Wisdom is given to us by God to enable us to perform our duties as moms and promises to even increase our knowledge.
The word wisdom is used in Exodus to describe the knowledge that the Lord gave to the skilled artisans so they could make Aaron’s garments for worship. We are told that these workers “were given wisdom and understanding in knowledge and all manner of workmanship.”
I have never had to sew any garments for a priest to wear for worship. I have not had to sew any draperies or build any walls or prepare any inner sanctuary as per the Lord’s instructions. But I have been called to give all I can toward the goal of building up children in the faith, preparing children for life outside my home, children whose bodies we are told are called the very temple of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes that has been a terribly difficult job. There have been so many academic things that I didn’t know before we began homeschooling. And now at this point there are still many things that I do not know. But I am confident that the Lord gave me the wisdom to learn and increase my knowledge in the specific areas He knew my children were going to need to know.
One of the great fallacies that those who hate homeschooling would like to promote is that homeschoolers cannot possibly teach all subjects to their children, that homeschooling moms can’t know everything. I am the first one to admit that this is true. In fact, at least I am honest and can admit that I will never possess all the knowledge available today. The sheer amount of information that there is to know in the world today increases regularly and exponentially. No school, no one can teach EVERYTHING. But, by God’s grace, we can learn all we need to prepare our children to learn in the future, as they pursue college or career paths that are specialized. We need to trust that the Lord will continue to give us wisdom as we need it, as we teach our children. James 1:5 tells us: “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to everyone generously without a rebuke, and it will be given to him.” And then in Psalm 37:30, we are told that a wise man (or woman) will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.” Which brings me to the third truth about wisdom that is so crucial for homeschooling moms.
Wisdom in not found in man’s ways, no matter how great those ways seem or how lovely and pleasing the person is who presents them.
The Bible says that there are two kinds of wisdom, God’s wisdom and the wisdom of this world, or fleshly wisdom. I Corinthians refers to this as the wisdom of the age and it comes in many forms, some of them unexpected.
We only have to go as far as our living rooms to take in the best of fleshly wisdom. We just need to turn on the TV and listen to the advice of Oprah and her new age counsel. Or we can go to the bookstore and scan the titles of what seems like limitless numbers of self-help books to learn that most who offer wisdom call upon their own experience or the sage advice of pagans.
Recently we watched Ken Burn’s latest documentary series on the National Parks and learned that much of the credit for the protection of these amazing places around our country can be given to a man by the name John Muir. Muir worked tirelessly to bring an awareness of the need to set aside wilderness lands for the enjoyment of future generations. A dear friend of Teddy Roosevelt, he devoted his entire life to teaching and inspiring government leaders so that a national park system could be put in place.
John Muir was raised in a Christian home, the son of a pastor, and had memorized all of the New Testament and 2/3 of the Old Testament. Yet he rejected the one true God of the Bible and, believing that he had found God in nature, he promoted pantheism until his dying days. His love affair with nature, drew him into the same false religion we see growing in our own time.
As I listened to the various historians describe Muir’s version of Christianity, as they called it, I remembered this passage from Job:
“From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? The deep says, ‘It is not in me’; And the sea says, ‘It is not with me. Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.”
Over the summer I spent some time reading a couple of books that have analyzed and evaluated the Barna research and the studies by Christian Smith that have been done to understand why so many young people are leaving the faith and leaving the church. The statistics show that roughly 80% of young people who were raised in Christian homes fail to maintain that faith into adulthood and some of them even abandon it during their teen years. As alarming as the numbers are, to me, the most sobering fact they discovered is that less than 10% of Christian adults, the parents of these young people, even have a Biblical worldview. In other words, they do not possess the wisdom or the ability to think Biblically or to even do what a Christian ought to do.
The book of 2 John has an interesting and particular message to us as moms. It was written to a Christian mother and warns her to be aware of those who would deceive her and draw her away from the faith. John knew what was at stake…the very spiritual lives of this woman’s children. He emphasized that the way to avoid being deceived is to place all confidence and faith in the person of Jesus Christ, on His finished work on the cross, on the very message of the Gospel that we are saved by faith in Jesus and not in our own works.
In the ancient Babylonian and Asyrian cultures and even in the Mayan and Aztec nations of Central America, men built temples to worship their Gods through sacrifice. These temples were called ziggurats and were built in receding tiers on a rectangular or square or sometimes an oval platform with a place to make sacrifices on their summit. Ramps or stairs allowed access to the top, sometimes as many as 7 tiers on any given ziggurat. They believed that these were stairways they could climb in order to reach their gods to offer sacrifices, works they could perform in order to please their deities.
In Genesis 28, Jacob dreams of a similar stairway into heaven but in his vision, angels of God were ascending and descending on it. Jesus explained Jacob’s dream in John 1 when he said “you will see heaven and the angels of God descending and ascending upon the Son of Man.” Jesus is saying that He is our ziggurat, our stairway, our only means to reaching God.
Sometimes I think that we, as homeschooling moms, build our own stairways to heaven, our own versions of good works, actually believing that they are the means by which we can find approval from God. We have a vision in our minds of what a perfect homeschooling situation would look like, a line-up of clean and perfectly obedient children who perfectly complete the perfect assignments we give them from our perfect lesson plans. We write mental checklists of what we need to do in order to be acceptable and worthy of our salvation, lists that define biblical or godly womanhood. We believe that our worth to God is measured by how many of those items we can check off on our quest to become the perfect combination of Martha Stewart and Elisabeth Elliott. Our celestial stairways are steep and polished and somehow we can never get to the top of them.
It isn’t always the secular world that introduces fleshly wisdom into our lives. Often this wisdom is introduced to us by those who profess to be Christians who seek to add to the word of God. It is often a difficult task to recognize deceivers because they may still maintain a form of godliness but they will deny the power of the one true God.
In a letter to Timothy, Paul warned the young pastor that those who deceive the saints are “lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, dishonoring to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” Deceivers, in essence, do not love God or others, they love only themselves and they use others to their own advantage, they love the world and the cravings of sinful man, they lust with their eyes, they continually boast.
I always think of Sinclair Lewis’ Elmer Gantry when I read this passage of Scripture. The fictional character Gantry was raised in a Christian home and studied at a seminary, eventually becoming an evangelist, but his love for the things of this world…sex outside of a one man/one woman marriage, power, and money….all became his undoing and he used religion as a cover to acquire these things. He was a charlatan of the worst sort. He was a deceiver.
I would beg you to be alert and not passively accept just any teachings as they come along. Do not be fooled by those who turn the narratives of the Bible into commands for all of us to keep. Do not be lead astray by those who might elevate the value of the family above proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a personal relationship with him. Keep your Bible beside you at all times and measure all words by THE WORD of God. And that brings me to the 4th reason that wisdom is so important in the life of the homeschooling mom.
Wisdom is only found in one place: in Jesus Christ.
Believe it or not, we are only 48 days away from Christmas! Soon I will begin holiday baking, freezing dozens of cowboy cookies and loaves of cranberry bread and there will be enough pecan pies to feed an army. I know that my family associates certain yummy foods with our home and I want to be ready to nurture them with the comfort food they look forward to having.
In the past couple of years, the book of Colossians has become my Scriptural equivalent of comfort food, the place I come to again and again to be encouraged and nurtured in the faith. Paul describes for us Jesus, in whom, he tells us, are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
I would like to ask you this morning….do you have a personal relationship with this Jesus Christ? When you die, will you go to heaven? Why will the Lord let you in? Because of the good works you have done? Because you have been a homeschool mom? No!!! We need to examine our lives and honestly recognize that even one sin we have committed violates God’s standards and will send us to hell. We must believe that our only hope is to throw ourselves on the mercy of God, trusting in the blood of Christ alone to save us.
Proverbs 14:1 tells us that a wise woman will build her house, but a foolish woman will tear it down with her own hands. Let us purpose to be women who build our homes upon wisdom, wisdom that is more valuable than all the wealth and power the world has to offer. Wisdom that empowers us to accomplish the tasks before us. Wisdom that is based on God’s eternal truths rather than man’s ideas. Wisdom that is found only in the person of Jesus Christ. I believe if we do, we will enjoy the sweet, sweet life of the homeschooling mom.
It could not have been more plainly stated. Paradise, California District Attorney Ramsey says that the teachings in Michael and Debbie Pearl’s To Train Up A Child are directly related to the beating and torture death of Lydia Schatz at the hand of her parents. Part Two of this report will be broadcast tonight on CNN.
I have written about the Pearls many times on this blog and have a plethora of links. Just type his name into my site search engine on the side bar for a lot more information.
It has been a gradual process for me, beginning to understand the literal hatred for women around the world.
In the past year I have read and learned more about this than I ever dreamed existed. My friend, Dotty, has traveled to the Philippines and to South America to help young women escape the horrors of sex trafficking. She came home sharing stories of teaching the young girls to bake artisan breads in order to financially support themselves as they left ruthless overseers. I have read the incredible testimonies of those who have purposed to minister to African women suffering from the agony of obstetric fistula, hardly able to comprehend the plight of such young girls. I joined another friend in praying for her Chinese Christian pen pal who faced a forced abortion, the woman eventually succumbing to family pressures and the threat of job loss and even prison. Now this clip of an upcoming film brings it all to life.
If you are left as burdened by these stories as I have been, I would recommend reading two books. The first is Half the Sky, a New York times bestseller that shares these stories and even more, with a plea to the body of Christ to be more involved in practical ways. The second is Half the Church by favorite Christian author Carolyn Custis James, who shakes us out of our comfort zones and challenges the church to consider how we are attempting to place a westernized, stereotypical perspective on the callings of women, trying to make our own cultural biases apply outside of our own small worlds.
At CCJames’ encouragement, I have been reading Amy Carmichael’s Things As They Are, Amy’s story of the plight of women in India a hundred years ago. Though technology now allows us to see these horrors with our own eyes and to hear the testimony of men and women like those in this film clip, little has changed in attitudes and action; the laughing mother who killed her eight daughters only echos what centuries of ancestors have accepted as a way of life.
Responding to having witnessed the horrors of mothers and their children routinely being cast over the edge of rocky cliffs to their deaths, Amy said, “What does it matter after all? It has gone on for years; it will go on for years. Why make such a fuss abut it? God forgive us! God arouse us! Shame us out of our callousness! Shame us out of our sin!” Amen.
So many great links to share, so little time! This time I have divided them into categories!
Practical helps for homeschooling moms:
I can’t wait to get to Office Depot for some of these little puppies. What a great addition to any lap book project.
Lovely and practical desktop calendars are free for the taking with the click of a mouse!
Are you looking for new ways to memorize Scripture? The Seeds family will keep your wheels turning and your toes tapping! Checkout their “media” page for samples.
And for a more traditional approach you might like Sing the Word.
If you live in Illinois or are wanting to know more about the state, my homeschooling dad friend, Curt, has put together an amazing travel blog as he shows his children the delights of the Prairie State. It’s worth checking out as a great resource for ideas for putting together your own state study, wherever you live.
A variety of inspirational resources:
Moody Radio’s Midday Connection recently welcomed a former quivering daughter to share her story! So happy to see yet another reputable ministry recognizing the perils, particularly for women, within the patriocentric movement.
Our friend, Don Veinot, had some interesting thoughts on Bill Gothard and the young men and women who are offering a terrific blog for those affected by ATI and IBLP.
My friend, Becky, shared her testimony about modest dress on her blog recently and I think she offers some great thoughts, especially in light of the current modesty discussion being raised nearly everywhere these days.
Ann Voscamp shares some good thoughts on forgiveness of parents. This article should be chewed on and slowly digested!
Some more interesting thoughts on socialization.
I’m not sure if I shared this really good article on how we should talk with little girls before or not but it deserves being shared again!
If you are a country girl or would like to be, check out Deborah’s wonderful blog and be sure to read her life story! I have gotten to know her over the past few months and she inspires me!
And last but not least, a little mama bragging!
Our daughter, Mollie, has had her mobiles featured again in a Greenville gallery and they are lovely! She is coming to see me in a few weeks and on our to-do list is to make one of these for my house! She also has a new project in the works and I intend to offer a couple as a giveaway here in a few months. Trust me, you will want to win!
Our son, Ben, participated in his first 48 hour film project last month in Nashville and his team won first place for wardrobe design and end credits. They received their topic on a Friday evening and had to write, act, direct, produce, edit, and present their final project all within 48 hours. We got a kick out of this and I had to share!
Karen Pollitt ~ 2011 Canton Friendship Festival Queen
I have met quite a few first time homeschoolers over the past few months. Excited to begin this amazing journey, they are gathering supplies, ordering books, and making lists of interesting places for hands-on learning. They are also fielding those all-too familiar and nonsensical questions we have all heard: “Do you really think you are qualified?” Is this legal?” And the ever-popular “What about socialization?”
Contrary to the way fashionable culture and the liberal, pro-education union folks spin it, the majority of homeschoolers are anything but the poorly socialized, stereotypical backward nerds depicted in movies and TV shows. If there ever was any doubt about that, I would love to have introduced the naysayers to the past couple of classes of public speaking students I have had the privilege of teaching.
You get to know kids pretty well after spending hours listening to them talk and it quickly became apparent that this was a group of young people with character and conviction, a pretty powerful combination. I heard speeches on the importance of adopting orphans, being involved in pro-life work, a zeal for foreign missions, a theological perspective on The Shack, and a powerful apologetic on the value of homeschooling. There were many, many presentations on people and events in history that still affect us today and it wasn’t unusual to hear endearing stories of family relationships and gratefulness expressed for their parents. I was amazed at the diversity of interests and the passion they expressed as they shared their lives with each other.
But what probably meant more to me than anything else was the gracious and encouraging way they evaluated the other students’ presentations, continually challenging each other to become better speakers, gently correcting each other, joyfully spurring one another on, and sincerely enjoying each other. These homeschooled students understood how to one another each other and reveled in the gifts and talents the Lord has given to them. Every hour spent with them was a delight and a picture of the hope homeschooled young people offer to our society. Not once did I feel the need to correct behavior, see any inappropriate treatment of each other, or hear a vulgarity. How amazing is that in this crass and unkind world in which we live today?
I often remarked to my husband and friends that I wish everyone could experience the maturity and grace I saw on those Tuesday afternoons. Thankfully, this past weekend provided an opportunity for that as one of my students, Karen Pollitt, won the title of Canton Friendship Festival Queen. It was a privilege to hear her speak and to watch her beautifully pointe dance to Jacques Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld. And the cherry on top of the evening was seeing Karen also receive the Miss Congenialty award, a true testimony to her gracious encouragement to all the other pageant participants. What a joy it was to sit with a group of homeschoolers who had come to cheer Karen on and to offer our congratulations to her mom and dad, Kevin and Susie Pollitt, for their investment in her life, the fruits of their faithful labor through the years!
So, naysayers, put that in your socialization pipe and smoke it!