Friday, April 25, 2008

Teaching them

This is that time of year for our homeschool to be sort of straddling the school year that is almost over and the one that is just about to begin. We are wrapping up some of the things that we have been working on for the past year but also beginning some new things for the year coming up. We school year round now and have found that it just gives us more freedom to study some things more in depth and take the time to enjoy what we are learning. (Yes, I said "we".... I really enjoy learning right along with the kids and am shocked at all that I never did even hear about during the time I was in school myself.)This is the time of year for me to be very critical of what I've been doing and really take the time to evaluate what I'm doing with the kids and why I do it, and to take the time to really seek the Lord about what to continue and what to leave behind.

At a home school meeting recently one of the ladies gave a devotion on "maintenance" which really struck a cord with me. I seem to have completely forgotten to maintain some of the most basic foundational principles that caused me to want to teach them at home to begin with. I have found myself deep in prayer so many times since that afternoon just really crying out to the Lord with all my heart asking Him to show me where to begin in getting right what I had let deteriorate in our home, in our schooling, and in my relationships with my kids. I have also found myself wandering down memory lane with my Savior since then and, finally reading a very old journal from those first months (the first two years actually) after I got saved. What a blessing!

Right after I got saved Troy was working nights and it became my habit to just sit for as long as I could and read my bible with a notebook in my lap. I would make notes as I read, jot down questions, write down things that I wanted to focus on in my prayers and all sorts of things like that. It was such a sweet time for me and I would often just sit and read and pray and worship the Lord all by myself in the middle of the night while Troy worked and the babies slept. At the time I had no idea that the Lord was teaching me and helping me to grow or giving me the strength to withstand some of the trials that we would soon begin to face. I just knew that God's word revealed things to me that made perfect sense after living for 24 years and finding that nothing else in this world ever made perfect sense.

Jessi was 11 and full of spunk, and Josh was a kindergardner and so curious about everything all the time and immediately after being saved I was overwhelmed with a very deep desire to do better by them.Our sweet little Fred was just a toddler then, and Jared was only a couple of months past being just a little pink line on that plastic test strip so naturally one of the first things I wanted to know was how to be the mother that I should be. As I read back over those notes and prayers and thoughts I had written down I was so heartbroken to see how much I had been shown by the Lord in those times and how far I had come in serving Him in my home and family and how richly He had poured out blessings on us, yet I had failed to maintain those things in my life, and the end result of that had been the struggles that my children have had to face over the years.

To have found that journal now as I was again seeking the Lord's help in teaching my children and getting my house in proper order was such a sweet blessing to me that it literally brought tears to my eyes. But then to re-read all of those passages of scripture and to see them as though I've never seen them before and to feel that thrill in my spirit as the Lord again gently prompts me to re-build those things that have failed due to lack of maintenance was even sweeter. I had written in the section of the notebook that I had labeled "kids" so many wonderful plans and questions and different verses of scripture all of which have served so well to encourage me and convict me all over again.

It has been extra sweet to see that the passages of scripture that I was reading then are the same ones that I've been reading now, only now the Lord has shown me things that before I had just not seen there! It almost seems like those verses just instantly became deeper and even more special as they guided my heart all over again to strive for diligence in teaching my children the ways that the Lord would have us to go in, and that "By little and little" all of the things I am feeling so far behind on and so overwhelmed by will be taken care of and caught up on and conquered.

I can honestly say that I've actually enjoyed being thoroughly reminded by the Lord just how much He does love me and what exactly it is that He expects of me in teaching and training my children. I'll never forget the first time I read Deuteronomy chapter 6! I was so taken with the simplicity of the instruction in that chapter and with the fact that the Lord was so loving and kind to give such clear instructions to us that I asked Troy to engrave the entire chapter on plaques to hang on either side of our front door. Bless my sweet Hunk O Honey's heart, he considered it and I think he may even have tried to figure out how to do it and make it work for our tiny little home but in the end he bought me a really nice framed print of a different passage of scripture that he liked and hung it on the door for me.

Reading through that particular chapter this time was different though, especially when taken in with the chapter before it and the one right after. It just seemed to jump right off the page and bless my little heart in ways that I have not been able to speak about coherently all week long! The same goes for Exodus chapters 23 and 24. I am so thankful that when I turn to God's word with a heart to be obedient and teachable I never fail to find the blessing I need, even when I don't really even know what it is I'm looking for! Ain't God Good!! I really wish that I could put it all into words but right now I think my heart and mind are just busy digesting all that I've been fed this week. Maybe soon I'll be able to make sense of it all for you but right now I'm savoring every morsel myself.

I will tell you this much.... I have never been so thoroughly convicted before that now more than ever it is imperative that our kids know and understand why we live the way we do and why we make the choices we make and why we shun those things we shun. I have never been so thoroughly convicted that now more than ever it is imperative that we live an even more separated lifestyle and that the kids know why that is and are given all the ammo that they will need to make right choices for themselves as well, even if their daddy and I were totally unavailable to help them. I believe that I have been terribly irresponsible in not having trained and taught the kids more consistently all along but my Savior is faithful and forgiving and has reassured me that He will help lead them to understanding as we study His word together.

It's my plan and purpose and promise to teach them to cling to the cross, nothing less will do!


Angela d said...

also great verses to support your study--Titus 3:8, and Titus 3:14.

Janie said...

What a wonderful testimony your Bible time in the night was to me! What a sweet time that must have been between you and the Savior. I know I have seen some areas with my youngest that are not as they should be and have realized myself that I have slacked off in areas of his spiritual training. I am not using this as an excuse, but I have to admit that I am tired and old! I don't do the things I did with the older kids and I don't take the time I should. I can't just let the little ones go to the wolves, though, just because I am tired. And it all does start with me digging into the Word and asking Him for strength. Thanks for this post!

Also, thank you for the kind comments on my blog and your prayers!!!

Jeannie said...

Thanks for the verses schmange!!! I was just telling someone else yesterday how much I am appreciating the studying I've been able to get done lately and how sweet it is to find those passages that just speak so directly to *ME*. I'm just so thankful that the Lord would bother with a nobody like me in the first place that it all just gets sweeter and sweeter from there.

I hope you are feeling at least a bit better Janie!! It's good to "E" you again at any rate!

Those nightly times of study and prayer were (and are again) such a wonderful gift! Maybe my prayer time is sweeter then because I don't have the distractions of the days "to do" list looming up in front of me, or maybe it's just that I am too tired to be guarded in any form at all or maybe it's just a combination of a bunch of different things. I'm thankful for it whatever the reason!

I'm realizing more and more that much of how my kids perceive and receive the world around us and the truth of it all in scripture is linked to how I see and value each part of it all. I don't want them to grow up looking at their lives in hindsight with remorse as I so often have done and I'm praying that if I am more diligent in teaching them and maintaining our stand on scripture and standards and behavior and bathing all of it in prayer that they will develop the foresight and faith and perseverance and personal discipline that I lacked in my younger years, and am only truly beginning to appreciate.

I may have felt more energetic when I was younger... but I hope I am learning (at least a little bit) that my energy doesn't have to affect my passion about what it is that I'm trying to impress in their young hearts. The days that I am sick and in bed are sometimes some of our best days of studying and praying together.

I keep wanting to find a book about Charles Spurgeon's mother.... I had read somewhere that she suffered chronic illness as she was raising her family but that it rarely changed the way that she went about teaching and training them or the way that she ministered to others. I wish I could say the same for myself!!