real encouragement for real homeschool moms

Mr. Perfect

(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!

17 Responses to the sweet life of a homeschooling mom comes through the law of kindness

  • Cara Coffey says:

    Thank you, Karen. I wasn’t able to read every word of this, but I read most of it. Very convicting.

    I can say there is much freedom attained by repenting of fear, unbelief, and pride. This causes me, as a mother, to free fall in the redemptive work of Christ. I have learned to turn and ask my children for forgiveness of past sin, alter our lifestyle choices along with my husband, and otherwise see through the glasses of the love of Christ. We maintain some standards though, but I think that is needful for every family. I think care has to be taken to keep our enemy, the Devil at bay. In America that is a full time job for Christian wives and mothers. Our homes fronts are so precious in this journey. I pray we know the power, love, and direction of our Lord Jesus Christ as we relate to our children and our husbands. May we have the discernment which comes with the relationship with the Holy Spirit.

    I know one family who told us to “pray for” their son. I knew perfectly well that son wasn’t the one who needed the prayer. The parents needed prayer unto repentance. The son was saved but they were denying it in him because of what you say….a paradigm. It happened to be people within more Mennonite ways of thinking. Do you know in these incidences what I feel is the major issues? These wives are erroneously taught to submit and obey (yes, I know the Bible says “in all things”) at times when their helping role needs to take on a little different job description. It is the quandary within much of Christianity of being a Christian wife: We are overtaught in some regards whilst underloved as a whole. Sometimes, a Christian wife and mother needs to stand against doctrine tying the family down, but it must needs be by the direction of the Holy Spirit and in the right time. It is not something that can be taught. It is something which is a love issue such as what your “8 cow” woman example is conveying to us.

    This throwing out of older children for trifling doctrinal pettiness is so very heart wrenching and disturbing. Do we really need even more refugees of the Body of Christ, and from the younger generation? Our generation, we need to fall in repentance toward God.

    Love your little guy, he’s a keeper.
    Cara

  • The pancake/waffle story literally turned my stomach and brought tears to my eyes. That poor little boy. May God draw very near to him whoever he is and wherever he is today.

    Karen, I’m just appalled at so many stories I read about how people think they are training their children in righteousness and it is the most graceless thing you can imagine. So much error and bondage around us. :-(

  • Ugh. I kept thinking about this waffle story as I was getting Caroline ready for bed. First, it was a good reminder to me to watch myself that I am being gracious with her. But the real issue for me is why the father didn’t give the kids a choice in the first place. If the cost was the same, why not ask who wants waffles and who wants pancakes? Oh, sorry. That would imply that the children are all individuals and might have their own preferences. Silly me. I forgot that the goal is not to recognize and celebrate the individuals that God created them to be, but to create blindly obedient children who are taught to grovel and “thankfully” accept whatever they are given.

    I feel a post coming on for my own site… Ugh.

  • thatmom says:

    Sallie, the worst part of that story is that it was actually told by a father to a homechooling conference speaker over a curriculum booth. It was told in the spirit of “I’ve got my family under control!” The speaker shared that story publicly and, thankfully, in disgust.

    I recently had a conversation with a mom who shares our sorrow over this attitude toward children that seems to be growing and, amazingly, is often seen in families who eschew birth control. (Interesting thought, no?) We were discussing some of the flack I have received for considering a non-punitive approach to children and my response to her was, “If someone’s beef with me is that I encourage parents to demonstrate to kindness to their children,is it really me with the problem?”

  • thatmom says:

    I am reminded of the story that Anne Ortlund told in her book Children are Wet Cement. A little boy was eating at a restaurant with his parents and when the waitress came to take orders, she began with him, looking at him as he told her what he wanted, smiling and acknowledging him. After she had taken all the orders and left the table, the little boy exclaimed, “Wow! She thinks I’m real!”

  • Nancy says:

    Karen, great post as usual.
    Your story about the two young women in their early 20s made me think that as painful as that kind of shunning is, at least they got out and are able to build their own lives while following Christ as He would lead them. I am more concerned about those young adults (especially daughters) who are effectively imprisoned by their parents in circumstances similar to the 23 year old, to the point of being legally actionable if discovered. It almost makes me want to find a way to establish an underground railroad of sorts! A few years ago, I knew a family with a son and a daughter in a very similar situation. Out in the exurbs, in a rather isolated area. The son, in spite of a physical disability, eventually managed to leave home with the help of friends. Don’t know about his sister; she would be in her early 30s now. I know she was interested in marriage, but it was difficult to meet men period, let alone one who was good enough for her parents. They weren’t necessarily patriarchalists, just former Catholics who had trouble finding a church home that was sufficiently Reformed to their personal standards–which doesn’t make things any easier on the social front. Now I’m all for adults honoring their parents, staying in relationship with them, and eventually taking care of them in old age one day, but there needs to be some degree of separation for there to be relational health.

  • Amy says:

    Karen, I am SO thankful for your ministry! This is another great article encouraging me as a homeschooling mom and wife. I’m fairly new to your blog, and I am so grateful the Lord brought me to it. As I’ve scoured your archives and listened to your podcasts, I’ve finally been able to be comfortable being the wife and mom that I am! Is there room for improvement! Always. But, you see, I’ve always compared myself with others, or tried to “fit in” with the molds/models created by others, and doubted myself when what they espoused didn’t set right with my spirit. These were people more spiritual than I, right? Yet, there were a lot of red flags waving in front of my face! You have expressed what my spirit was feeling, but couldn’t verbalized to my brain. Now that I have a fuller understanding, I am more confident in my path and that it leads me solely to Christ and His plans and directions for my family and me, not someone else’s. I no longer need their approval. I am so thankful to the Lord for using you to free me.

  • Anthea says:

    Thanks for this timeless and wise article. People look for quickie solutions to the herculean mandate we take on as mothers, so it’s spanking/non spanking, celebrate Christmas/celebrate Jewish feasts, trousers/no trousers, Veggie Tales/Henty novels, etc…

    Changing the heart takes time. It takes prayer. It takes repentance and humility. No wonder we don’t want to do it.

  • Lisa says:

    Ha! I remember “Mr. Perfect” in a Bob Russell sermon at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville several years ago. He was hilarious then and now. I think there’s a Miss/Mrs/Ms model, too.

    Now for the rest of the post. We watched in horror as the Texas government went into the FLDS compound. Families, like those whose children you mention being shunned, are the next round of this type government investigation. They are giving homeschoolers–especially Christian homeschoolers such a bad name.

    I feel for those kids–no education that they can document (maybe not even a BIRTH they can document), no experience making any type decision (since they can’t even decide whether or not to obey due to early “child training”) and so culturally out-of-synch they are potentially figures of ridicule. I’m sure a few will give up and reconcile and others…I shudder to think. Hopefully some such young people will find the strength long dormant in their souls to navigate the “secular” world and get a job, an education and therapy to help them adjust.

    I am watching in horror as a family we know is going this route. I occasionally MAKE my daughter do things with her so she can keep some hold on “real world.” Her life is online school, chores, caring for little siblings, chores, chores, Church, Church and Church. Friends can be invited to Church only. Her mom is wavering, Dad is strident. Sad.

  • thatmom says:

    Amy, thank you so very much for the kinds and encouraging words. Your testimony blessed me so much and is such an inspiration! {{{{{}}}}}

  • thatmom says:

    “Changing the heart takes time. It takes prayer. It takes repentance and humility. No wonder we don’t want to do it.”

    Wow,Anthea, this is SOOO true!

    Are things calming down in your neighborhoods?

  • thatmom says:

    It is interesting to see how many people have these situations with birth certificates. What a mess for as adults who will, at some time, need one!I am not in personal contact with anyone who has been through this but if you have been or know someone who has had to do this, please drop me a note. I have had people ask me to make those contacts. Thanks.

  • Anthea says:

    Hello Karen

    Here in England (the rioting was confined to England) we are in the post-rioting cleanup. Local groups helped to sweep up, the govt is offering some help to the shops that were damaged. The big news is that the courts have had about 2000 defendants to process. In two cities there were all-night sittings of the magistrate courts to keep up. Our courts are usually 9-5 affairs. The defendants are receiving v stiff sentences, which some are celebrating and some are criticising.

    Our most pressing problem is how to identify the causes and find solutions. Thankfully, the churches have a chance to help. In complete contrast to the US, our govt *asks* churches to help with community projects, esp as it’s important to save money right now! About 20% of the youth workers in the UK are provided by churches. We also have a volunteer project called Street Pastors, which is doing lots of good in urban areas.

  • Anthea says:

    Hello all

    Can you lovely people explain this for me while Karen is in California?

    “It is interesting to see how many people have these situations with birth certificates. What a mess for as adults who will, at some time, need one!”

    Are there people in the US who don’t register the birth of their children? Why would you do that? My husband was so pleased and proud to register our kiddies. One of our politicians was heavily criticised when it emerged that he had been “too busy” to register his son’s birth, especially as he and his lady had not got around to marrying,either. I certainly feel that if he can’t be bothered to look after his family, I don’t want him looking after the country!

  • judi says:

    Anthea, there is a small minority of Americans who don’t register their children’s birth. Most of them are paranoid about the government having any knowledge of their family. By hiding the birth of a child that child is completely out of the government’s radar and that’s the way they want it.

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Family Integrated Church podcasts
The Family Integrated Church ~ Are you frustrated in your search for a church home? Are you considering a family integrated church? The podcast series on the FIC movement is just for you! This series includes Pastor Shawn Mathis who explains the "theological basis" for the movement, Pastor Steve Doyle, who was once an FIC pastor and left the movement, and Bible scholar and author, Jon Zens, who looks at the underlying doctrines that permeate many FIC churches. The series concludes with thatmom's encouragement to homeschooling families as they seek to be part of the entire body of Christ. You will also want to read the series of articles on the pros and cons of the FIC and my exhortation to homeschooling families who are looking for a church home!
thatmom’s thoughts on curriculum

And you can learn about my thoughts on developing your own philosophy of education as well as finding the methods of homeschooling that work best for you and your children by

looking for my presentations on the Home Educating Family media site!
Three Cheers……..
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truth from the Word
"Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73: 25-26
Phillip E. Johnson says:
“When pressed in interviews to name my heroes, I have spontaneously responded that they are homeschooling mothers! To me, the heroic mothers who nurture the next generation of faithful Christians are among the leaders of the church.” ~ Phillip E. Johnson
John Stonestreet says:
“C.S. Lewis said that for every new book we read, we ought to read three old ones. But I think for every latest, greatest new homeschooling book you read, go find three old homeschooling moms and ask them what happened and what worked.” ~ John Stonestreet
Oswald Chambers says:
"If we simply preach the effects of redemption in the human life instead of the revealed, divine truth regarding Jesus Himself, the result is not new birth in those who listen. The result is a refined religious lifestyle, and the Spirit of God cannot witness to it because such preaching is in a realm other than His." ~ Oswald Chambers
Carolyn Custis James says:
“The power of our theology comes alive when we take the truth personally. Holding God at arm’s length—no matter how much theology we think we know—will never make us great theologians. We have to learn to write our own names into the plot. God will always be the subject of our theological sentences but our sentences are incomplete until we make ourselves the direct objects of his attributes…..Simply knowing a lot of theological ideas, no matter how orthodox and sound they are, will never turn us into great theologians. Theology isn’t really theology for us until we live it. Not until we learn to make explicit connections between what we know about God and the race we are running will we taste the transforming power of our theology. Fixing our eyes on Jesus means reminding ourselves of all that He is to us now. He brings meaning to our routines and energizes us to tackle the difficult tasks at hand. Fixing our eyes on Jesus gives us hope to offer disheartened husbands and hurting friends, and the wisdom we need to raise children who will fix their eyes on Him, too.” ~ from Carolyn Custis James in When Life and Beliefs Collide
William Carey says:
"Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter."
Tim Keller says:
"God’s love and forgiveness can pardon and restore any and every kind of sin or wrongdoing. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter if you’ve deliberately oppressed or even murdered people, or how much you’ve abused yourself… There is no evil that the Father’s love cannot pardon and cover, there is no sin that is a match for his grace." ~ Tim Keller
Tim Keller also says:
“The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.” ! Tim Keller in The Reason for God.
Anne Ortlund says:
“So what do we do to encourage them to grow inwardly, to become resourceful and creative, to think, to meditate, to lay the foundation for growing up well? Don’t push, but affirm them! Give them the sense that all is well, that their rate of progress is acceptable to you, that you like them just the way they are…..Guide them but be delighted in them. Let them know that life is to be reached for and drunk of deeply…..Enthusiastic, that’s how you want them to grow up! The word comes from “en Theo,” or “in God.” Support them with words of faith, hope, and love, and in that framework “in God,” they’ll be ready to tackle everything. Fears and cautions are built in at an early age but so is courage! Tomorrow’s world will be different if your child has been released to experiment, to risk, to lead others, to pursue righteousness, to be an affecter for good in society, to go courageously after God.” ~ Anne Ortlund in Children Are Wet Cement
J.C Ryle says:
"Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to take part in childish joys, these are the cords by which a child may be led most easily, these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart." ~ J. C. Ryle in The Upper Room
Kathy Thile says:
"I say this gently, as the parent of grown kids, knowing *insert parenting guru* is also the parent of grown kids: we have wonderful children — he does, I’m sure — and so do I. But without even knowing his children I can know this about them: they are not perfect. They hurt. They make mistakes. They struggle. They are prideful and overly simplistic at times; and crippled by shame and hesitancy at others. Yes — they are beautiful examples of human beings, his children (I assume), and mine (I know.) But they are not perfect. If they were, they would not be human. If it were possible to raise children to perfection, then God would have sent a parenting method, not Jesus. Our marching orders are not to raise our children by a method to be like *insert parenting guru* children. Our marching orders are to be Christians to and with our children." ~ Kathy Thile
Clay Clarkson says:
“Many Christian parents, myself included, tend to speak to children as though they were Pharisees. We can speak harshly and with judgment, implying by our manner that their hearts are hard and resistant. But this attitude is not justified by Scripture. There is no record of Jesus ever speaking to a a child in a harsh tone. When the Gospels record Him speaking to a child, it is always with gentleness. Our children are not our adversaries. Though our children’s hearts are corrupted by sin, they are not hardened sinners who have made conscious choices to reject the Savior. Our children are simply immature and childish. That’s why children need love and compassion, not harshness and guilt.” ~ Clay Clarkson in Heartfelt Discipline
Tim Kimmel 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 grace is to offer it in place of our selfish preferences.” ~ Tim Kimmel in Grace-Based Parenting
Chuck Swindoll says:
"You want to mess up the minds of your children? Here's how - guaranteed! Rear them in a legalistic, tight context of external religion, where performance is more important than reality. Fake your faith. Sneak around and pretend your spirituality. Train your children to do the same. Embrace a long list of do's and don'ts publicly but hypocritically practice them privately...yet never own up to the fact that its hypocrisy. Act one way but live another. And you can count on it - emotional and spiritual damage will occur. "
Anna Quindlen says:
“The biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less." ~ Anna Quindlen
Winston Churchill says:
“My education was interrupted only by my schooling." ~ Winston Churchill
John Taylor Gatto says:
"The shocking possibility that dumb people don’t exist in sufficient numbers to warrant the millions of careers devoted to tending them will seem incredible to you. Yet that is my central proposition: the mass dumbness which justifies official schooling first had to be dreamed of; it isn’t real." ~ John Taylor Gatto
Fred Rogers say:
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” ~ Fred Rogers
thatmom says
"The truth is that the way a marriage becomes truly heavenly is for each husband and each wife to pursue, really pursue, a relationship with Jesus Christ, to commit to obey the Word of God, to set aside each of their own agendas and paradigms, and then as they walk in the Holy Spirit, as they are sanctified, a little at a time each day, they will grow closer to one another. Godly wisdom will manifest itself in purity, peace, gentleness, mercy, a willingness to submit to one another, the fruits of the spirit, and no role-playing (the true meaning of hypocrisy). (James 3:17)" ~ thatmom
thatmom says:
"We need to approach our children not as character projects, but rather, we must see them with hearts of sympathy, with compassion and understanding, and with ears that listen. You see, homeschooling is not about lesson plans and research papers and standardized tests. Homeschooling is about building a relationship with our children, friendships that will last our entire lives on earth and clear into eternity. Homeschooling is merely the tool whereby we build those relationships." ~ thatmom
thatmom knows:
As a homeschooling mom, I have realized that everything, ultimately, is outside of my own control. I have learned that the unique circumstances that happen in my family have occurred because God’s plan is so much bigger than my own. It is knowing this truth about God and in experiencing that truth with those in my home that has enabled us to face past challenges and that will prepare us for all those difficulties that still lie before us.
thatmom says:
"Real books from the library, a tub of art supplies, being read stories rich in vocabulary, a variety of good music, the daily discussion of God’s Word and how it relates to the world around him, and the attention of a loving parent who includes him in all the activities of real life are the secrets to a great learning experience for children." ~ thatmom
thatmom realizes:
If I think about nearly 40 years of marriage, times the number of loads of laundry I have done for 2 parents, 6 children and 1 grandma, I am amazed to know that I have washed, dried, folded, (sometimes ironed) and put away roughly 27,526 loads of laundry. That is over 215,000 socks! Or, in that same amount of time, provided 38,324 meals for a family and sometimes guests. Or that I have overseen nearly 21,500 hours of education of one sort or another during that time. Just thinking of these numbers takes my breath away. ~ thatmom
thatmom says:
"Being a mom is sort of like being all the people who crowd into a basketball arena all at once. Sometimes we are the players, the ones who are responsible for everything that is going on and our presence is front and center. Sometimes we are the coaches, giving comfort and encouragement, instructing with a clipboard in hand. Other times we are the referees, no striped shirts required but whistles are a must to break up the disputes when the game isn’t played as per the rules. Still other times we are the fans, cheering wildly from the stands, shouting from a distance but not from the floor. And then there are the days when we are the cheerleaders, the ones who scream 'Yeah, you can do it.' " ~ thatmom
thatmom says:
“The beauty of homeschooling is building relationships within our families and inspiring our children to become lifelong learners, gently leading them into the truth of Scripture and trusting that the work we have begun will be brought to completion by a sovereign God who has a plan for building His heavenly kingdom.” ~ thatmom
thatmom also says:
“After parenting for 36 years, I have come to realize that all paradigms are basically a list of do’s and don’ts that someone 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.” ~ thatmom
thatmom says this, too:
“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, children whose job it is to worship in spirit and in truth." ~ thatmom
what does thatmom believe?
" What is thy only comfort in life and death? "That I, with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with His precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him." ~ Heidelberg Catechism
What does it mean to be a Christian?

1.We must acknowledge that we are all sinners. “For we are all become as one that is unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment: and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6) and “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

2.We are all accountable for our own sins before God. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

3.There is only one way to be forgiven of these sins and that is through the blood of Jesus Christ. “Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

4.If we confess our sin to the Lord and repent of it (not allow it to rule in our lives) we can be forgiven and be in right standing with God. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousenss.” (1 John 1:9)

5.Genuine salvation will result in living lives of good works but none of those works contribute in any way to our standing before God which is based solely and completely on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God. (Hebrews 10:12) and “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5) and “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

6.We all, men and women, boys and girls, have direct access to the throne of grace because everyone who is a born-again believer in Jesus Christ is called a “priest and king” in God’s economy. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (I Peter 2:9)

I believe that many of the false teachings within the patriocentric movement are in direct contrast to these Scriptures and I would encourage each of us to first examine what we believe about Jesus and His work on the cross, its implications and its marvelous power.

Secondly, I would challenge anyone reading here to examine your own heart and ask yourself whether you have been trusting in good works….baptism, homeschooling, church attendance, modest dress, the list goes on and on, or if you have placed ALL your faith and hope in Jesus’ blood and righteousness alone.

And finally, I would challenge you to examine the teachings within your own church system, whether it is Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, etc. Ask yourself what your church teaches about ecclesiastical authority and family authority. Does it line up with the Word of God? It is a top down system that requires certain works in exchange for a relationship with Jesus Christ or do you have the assurance that you are saved for eternity by His death on the cross in your stead? Does it teach that the fruits of the spirit and obedience to all the one anothers is what our lives will demonstrate or is there a list of man made rules?

If you desire to talk with me about this, please send me a note to shesthatmom@gmail.com. My desire is that no one who visits this website will leave without knowing the glorious truth that we can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and can enjoy a life filled with His goodness and grace!

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credits
Adoration of the Home was painted by regional artist, Grant Wood. The original hangs in the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. Ben Campbell and Lon Eldridge deserve extra cookies for writing, performing, recording, and mixing Mom’s Prairie Song for the podcast intro and outro. Great job, guys. Garrison Keillor would be proud.

Copyright © 2014 ~ thatmom.com. ~ Karen Campbell ~ All Rights Reserved.