Friday, August 29, 2014

Nice, or Kind?

I very much dislike the word "nice."  It brings forth images of people with no real life in them.  No opinions, no truth, no ideas.  I believe it's the foundation of Political Correctness, of "Your Truth" and "My Truth."

Kindness, however, is a part of the fruit of the Spirit.  Kindness is sometimes not at all "nice".  It sometimes requires hurting someone's feelings when there's been a wrong done.  Kindness steps on toes, extends grace, and comes from a heart of obedience to God.

Niceness is a self-centered plea along the lines of, "Everyone, please like me!"

Kindness does not care about being liked, but simply desires what is truly best for another person.

Kindness often involves hard conversations and awkward silences, allowing the other person space, and the Holy Spirit time to work.

Kindness is what drives me, as mom, to expect obedience from my children.  It is what pushes me to raise the standard high for them, to push them to try and not give up.  Kindness is what impels me to speak the truth lovingly to my children when they are in the wrong.  It is the same thing that protects them when others would harm them.

"Nice" is not what I expect of my children.  "Kind" most definitely is.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In the Wilderness

In the life of every homeschool family with more than one child, there is a day -- a day where the children bicker, where the end of mama's patience has been reached, where grace is needed more than ever, but it seems that there is less than ever to give.  When obedience is just a pipe dream, and mama begins to question her calling to this journey.

We typically call that day Wednesday.  At least so far this year, Wednesdays have been our wilderness.  They seem to last from the dawn of time until eternity, and every. last. minute. seems to be wrought with trouble.

I don't have any easy solutions.  No steps to stop sibling strife, or fool-proof ways to teach absolute obedience, or even just ways to make it through the day without major tears.  None.  And really, even if I did, it would only be management tools.

Because at the end of the day, the trouble is the heart.  And I cannot change their little hearts.  I cannot change my OWN heart.  I can only point them (and me) to the One Who Changes Hearts.  I can fix my heart on His, and pray that will spill over into my family, into our Wednesday wilderness.

I am not saying that managing behavior is unimportant, just that it isn't the main thing.  The main thing is the gospel.  Pointing little hearts to the One who can change them, mold them into His image. 

In the end, I pray that through all of this, my girls hear, see, taste, touch, and smell the gospel each day.  And when I fail (and I will, more than I will succeed), I pray that they can see true repentance and grace lived in a fallen world, with frail and imperfect people.

You see, we're all the same -- my children, me, you, your neighbors, their kids (and yours, too!) -- we're all sinners in desperate need of a Savior.  And pointing each other to Him is the most loving and kind thing we can do.

Monday, August 25, 2014

What if...

          The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is "What is the chief end of man?"  The answer -- "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." 

          What if that became our prayer, that we glorify God and enjoy Him -- now, tomorrow, next week, while we're still here?  I don't believe that just because it's the end that it cannot also be the now.

          What if, instead of focusing on all those other things -- things that divide us, like clothes, food, child-rearing, family size, schooling method, and so forth -- we focused on teaching our children, teens, and even fellow adults to seek to "glorify God and enjoy Him" now.  Instead of chasing the latest "Christian" fad (or anti-fad), what if we used the timeless standard of Scripture to encourage one another to do what Christians have been striving to do for two millennia? 

          What if, instead of looking cross-eyed at each other because Christ has called and equipped us as different parts of the same body, we allowed that to be the means of glorifying Him and enjoying Him?  What if, in disagreements over opinion, we encouraged each other the glorify and enjoy God right now, right here in spite of -- and because of -- our differences?

          How could God change us if we focused on glorifying and enjoying Him?  Too many of us either glorify self, or fail to enjoy God, or (in my case) both.

          So, it is my prayer that I begin to glorify God and enjoy Him daily.  I will fail.  I will get discouraged.  I will not "feel" like doing it.  But, with God's help, I will glorify and enjoy Him while in the here and now.  For that is where true joy is found.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tough Week, and Random Thoughts

It's been a tough week this week.  The Engineer has been in the hospital, and that means juggling the girls, hospital visits, updating family and friends (our family is all "away" from us), and trying to fit in school and housework.  Plus sleep...  So, forgive me if I'm a bit incoherent.

First of all, I have never been more thankful for my own mother!  When we were little, she let us "help" whenever we asked.  Even if that meant our "help" doubled or tripled her workload.  Why am I thankful?  Because her example has led me to do the same for my girls.  From the time they could say, "I hep, peese?"  I let them.  And this week, it has paid off in spades!  All those hours of letting tiny-littles load and unload dryers at a snail's pace, clean the lint trap, load and "unload" the dishwasher, fold washcloths, etc., have been time well spent:
The Doctor and the Cowgirl can run laundry from start to finish all by themselves.  Fidget cleans the lint trap like a pro.  While they haven't actually had to do all the laundry this week, it is such a blessing to be able to ask them to switch over a load, start a load, and empty the dryer, and know it will be done well and thoroughly.
The Doctor and the Cowgirl can do a load of dishes from loading to unloading.  Even Fidget can load her dishes, add soap, and start the washer.
The Doctor and the Cowgirl can clean a bathroom.  Without oversight.  It's not "white glove" clean, but certainly clean enough for company.
During a week of turmoil, this is a major blessing.  From my mom to me, many years later.  And I am grateful.

Another random thought -- night nurses are my new heroes.  They look after people at their most vulnerable -- sick and at night.  Any mom knows that nighttime is when illness gets worse, sometimes much worse.  These ladies and gentlemen perform many thankless and undesirable tasks day in, day out.  And generally, the only time they hear anything is when there's a complaint.  Yet, they keep working.  And I am grateful.

Those are my random (semi-coherent) thoughts for today.