The Tongue of Those Who Are Taught

Sunrise

This year, the Lord has given me a passage that has been a theme for me.

Isaiah 50: 4-5,7

“The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward…But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint,”

I stumbled into homeschooling four years ago.  It was not in the plan.  I had never considered it.  I had always assumed I would go back to work when my kids where school-age.

But as the time grew near for us to place our oldest child in school, I felt a disquiet in my heart.  I was not at peace with letting her go.  It took some time, and some prayer, and some searching- and at the end of it my husband and I found ourselves feeling peace about pursuing homeschooling.  I had no idea what I was getting into.

The story of how I stumbled into Classical Conversations is one I have repeated many times.  I was reading one of the blogs I followed written by a Mom, and she mentioned CC.  I had never heard of it, so I followed the link to their website.  “To know God and make Him known,” was their mission statement.  I wondered how this applied to education?  I decided to ask for someone to contact me.

Fast forward to lunch time a few weeks later.  I am sitting across the table from Kim.  She is sharing with me about CC, and I am on information overload.  But a few things stick with me.  God is at the center of education, not the student.  The purpose of education is to know God- for all things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made (John 1:1-5).  And one final piece, community is essential.  We need the body of Christ, the support and love of like-minded families to encourage and strengthen us in this task.

I signed up with her group shortly after.  My first year I stumbled through CC, not fully understanding the program, but knowing that my child was memorizing amazing amounts of information, and so was I.  I was feeling stressed out and overwhelmed at times, not sure what I was doing, if I was doing enough, if I was doing it right.

Our family relocated to another state for the next school year.  We found another CC community easily and enrolled.  Some lights finally started coming on.  I was beginning to understand some aspects of CC, but the classical model was still a mystery to me.  It seemed too simple.  Could I really do this through high school?

Over Christmas 2015, our CC director mentioned the need for more directors in our local area.  Would I be interested?

And that’s when the transformation truly began in earnest.  I look back to that moment, and see now that God was giving me a gift.  I wanted to understand the classical model, to capture the vision of CC, in a way I never had up till now, because I knew I needed to cast that vision for others.  I wanted to understand what I was so excited about- to be able to answer questions.  Sometimes, I just couldn’t put into words what was happening to me, and to my children.  I just knew it my heart it was good, and holy, and beautiful.

We were being changed.  Up until this point, much of my spare time had been spent in idle entertainment.  I wasn’t really reading a whole lot that fed my mind, and I spent quite a bit of time watching shows on TV.  Not that these things are bad, but they were not feeding my mind.

I began to  see the rewards of curiosity, of mulling over hard questions, of reading things that stretched me and called forth greater effort- a conscious choice on my part to reconsider the purpose of my life and the way I spent my time.

It is important to share that I was also in the middle of a spiritual awakening.  The Lord was stirring up a desperate thirst for Him in my heart.  I was spending more time reading Scripture than I ever had, and it was coming alive to me!  It was exciting to meet the Lord in His Word-to feel that personal touch- knowing that He led me to a certain passage pertaining to a very specific circumstance I was facing.

With each year, I have learned from my mistakes.  I have sometimes emphasized the minutia and missed out on the larger picture.  Sometimes I forget that more than any other thing, I long for my children to walk with the Lord their whole life.  I want a personal, vibrant, loving relationship to exist between them and God, and I want to do all that I can to cooperate with God’s will and purposes for their lives.  This is not about me, and my hopes and dreams for them.

I started to realize that the end goal that I cared about revolved more around their character, not their grades.  I was more concerned about raising compassionate, diligent people of integrity than I was worried about whether they would get a good job.  I wanted to know that they were equipped with what they needed to get through hard times, for they will come.  I wanted to know that they were confident in their identity in Christ, and that there was work that He called them to do here (Eph. 2:10).

And this year, for the first time, I started to rest.  I believe that God has called me to be right here.  There is nothing extraordinary about homeschooling parents, except when you couple that with a heart bent low to the purposes of our God.  When we see this time with our children as His, to do in them and in us what He wills, to purposely form us for the years ahead- it becomes sacred work.

I see the fruit in me, in them.  I am filled with wonder and gratitude.  I can see clearly many things our family has given up- and all those things pale in comparison to the all-surpassing joy of knowing Christ my Lord and learning alongside my children.  We are tackling hard things together– rejoicing in our successes and learning from our failures.  I have become a more humble learner.  One of the only things I am certain of these days is that I don’t have all the answers.  Thank you, God.  That’s been true for a long time, and it is one of those truths that becomes clearer the longer I live.  I see how necessary- yes, the one and only thing necessary- is time at my Savior’s feet.  Someday, when this life is over, and I am in the presence of my Savior, I don’t want to meet a stranger.

I pray more.  I pray to remember what’s truly important. I pray to release my checklist and embrace God’s priorities for my day.  I pray for grace and strength when my kids are arguing, and the day seems derailed.  I pray for wisdom when I am not sure what to say, how to handle the challenges before me.  I pray to remember to call a friend, to write a card, to send an e-mail- and God has faithfully aided me as I have submitted to His priorities for my days and not my own.  I trust that He will help me remember what’s necessary, and allow me to let go of the rest.

There is greater freedom here, freedom from fear.  I know that God is with me.  And my heart longs to surrender deeper and more fully to His purposes, to slow my pace to match His.  To take the detours, to slow down and savor monotony, to see the sacred in everything- yes, God is everywhere.  He is calling us, inviting us on this adventure, and reassuring us with His promise- “surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 

 

Lessons in Humility

Quiz

It all started with flashcards this week.

Ok, truthfully, flashcards have been a problem longer than that.  But this week God spoke to me through flashcards.

Sometimes, I get frustrated when teaching my daughter.

My frustration primarily lies in my inability to teach things in a way she can understand.  There is a break down in communication.  I see the confusion in her face.

And in this emotion I act out wrongly.  I get snippy and short with her.  I say things that I shouldn’t.  Words that hurt, words that criticize.

Not too long after, I felt deeply convicted for my poor attitude.

I apologized to my daughter and asked forgiveness, but as the day wore on, I felt God continuing to speak to me about this interaction.

The fact is, I want to be an example to my children.  I want to model a Godly life for them, for them to see Christ in me.

When I fail, it is so devastating.

I love them more than I ever dreamed I could love someone.  It’s painful sometimes, how it overwhelms and floods me.

But the reality that God was showing me is that I cannot be God to my children.

I will not love them perfectly.

I will let them down.

I will say the wrong thing.

My words will hurt them.

But I can direct them towards someone who will NEVER fail them.

Someone who will ALWAYS be there.

God.

God will ALWAYS give wise counsel.

God is the faithful one, their ever present help in trouble.

So, as my daughter and I headed to church on Wednesday night, the Holy Spirit guided me into a wonderful conversation with her.

The summary:  I will fail you and say words that hurt you, even though I love you so much.  But God will never fail you.  He will love you perfectly and always be there for you.  Remember that when you feel sad and alone- when I disappoint you.  God is there and he loves you with a (Jesus Storybook Bible) “never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.”

It is hard as a parent to confess and acknowledge that we will daily fail in what we long to do.  But we can choose how to respond when we sin, when our sin hurts our children. 

I am praying for greater humility, patience, and love- and for God to have his way in me more today than yesterday.  By the power of His Spirit working in me, I hope that despite my faults my children will see glimpses of Christ in me and most of all know that I do love them.

Lord, thank you for walking daily with me.  You faithfully teach me and guide me on this journey.  Thank you for never leaving me or forsaking me.  Thank you for the promise that you will always be with my children- and that your love for them is perfect and never-ending.  Blessed be your Name.  Amen.