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Friday, August 8, 2008

Four Years

The thought has been constantly with me lately that I only have four more years of homeschooling my oldest - actually, less than that because she plans to start college early (however, I'll still be overseeing her education for four more years).

Four more years! Can you imagine? After it's all said and done, what will have been the most important thing I did as a homeschool mother? What will benefit her the most? Will it be completing every course with an A+? That's not a bad thing,but will the effort be the best use of her time? Will it be scoring top honors on the PSAT or the SAT? That's a nice thought, but will the preparation for perfect scores be the best use of our precious hours over the next four years? What is our goal with this child with whom God has so mercifully blessed us? What is His goal for this child?

I know that nurturing her walk with God must be number one. We must be the kind of parents that she can trust, parents that respect her and treat her the way all teenagers hope to be treated; this will increase her receptive heart towards the things of God.

Without neglecting academics, but not allowing them to interfere with our relationship or dominate every moment of her time, these years should be focused on leading her into a closer walk with God, a genuine dependence on the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. This should be more important than academics. For only the Lord knows what her path will be - Her whole life is written in His book - every day. If she learns to genuinely walk with Him, she will stay on His perfect, narrow path. She will not make drastic mistakes. Without a true walk with God - if straight A's were her focus, instead of the Lord - life can be very difficult. For, an Ivy League university, nor a PhD cannot promise you all that God promises you.

When a young man proposes to her, how will she know if this is the right person? Only if she has developed a lifestyle of walking closely in the counsel of God, will she know how to discern His will for her life. I want her to learn to recognize the Holy Spirit; I dont want to be her Holy Spirit. If I spend these next four taking the place of the Holy Spirit, she's in danger of mistaking His voice for mine, thinking it's my voice in her head nagging at her! She is a Christian, after all, and the same Spirit dwells in her that dwells in me. He is capable of leading her just a certainly as He is capable of leading me. Before she leaves this house, nothing will benefit her more (not perfect grades or SAT scores), nothing can compare to knowing how to be led by the Spirit.

I might have a temptation to worry about my own lack of sanctification, or fear that I've not done all that I should have done, been all that I should have been, said and taught all that I should have taught. I could easily fall into the well of despair, considering all my regrets and what I've done wrong over the years. Honestly, I don't want to spend these next four years wallowing in that pit.

If I give in to worry, dwelling on the hypotheticals, listening to the terrifying catastrophic voice of fear, it will drive me to spend these next four years in angst, striving with her over uncompleted assignments, messy rooms and undone chores. Instead of dealing with the inevitable attitudes with grace, mercy and loving talks (and sometimes gently instituted consequences) I might explode with angry words and harsh penalties; love always produces better fruit than a fear-based reaction. With fear as my guide, I would find myself rapidly fast-forwarding into the future, visualizing the ultimate destruction that every imperfection and unsanctified character trait could possibly bring. Fear has a tendency to show us worst possible case scenarios and insist they will happen. Faith tells us differently. No. I do not want to waste these last four years walking with a spirit of fear, I so desire to walk with the Spirit of Truth.

If I, as her mother, walk in the Spirit, staying close to God - not forsaking a genuine relationship with Him in favor of principles, philosphies, teachings and guidelines, listening to His still, small voice in my heart, quieting my soul, allowing Him to impart a gentleness, mercy and hope unknown to my fleshly nature, He will guide me as I guide her; He will give me fruitful wisdom with my words and decisions; He will show me how to deal with the issues that will occur with merciful discernment.

If I stay close to Jesus, abiding in the vine, gathering manna daily, tuning my heart to the Shepherd who gently leads those who have young, I know for certain that I will spend these next four years without regret. Oh! may it be so!

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Jude 1:24-25

"Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit," says the LORD of hosts.
Zech 4:6

2 comments:

YooperMama said...

Jeannie, Amen! As I said in an earlier blog, I almost feel as if you are reading my mind. I often find myself in a "what if" world. For example, "What if my kids don't excel in this area?" or "What if after all we've done, they end up rejecting Christ?" When I begin to think this way, my family suffers because I push them and micro-manage. I am, in a sense, motivated by fear of what may or may not happen in the future. Thank you for your continual reminder to "live by the spirit."

...they call me mommy... said...

Great post! Thank you for reminding us of what is truly important!