faith

Is God good?

A recent comment, words of encouragement.

“You will again call God good.”

Pause for reflection.

is god good

I’ve cried out in anguish with a sorrow so deep there were not words to attach to the prayer. I’ve cried out in anger over sliced hot dogs, snipped drawstrings and safety fences that in the end were not enough to spare my little boy from a terrible accident. I’ve wrestled with why. Why? Why isn’t my little boy here, asleep in his little bed with his bottom in the air and a car tucked under his arm?

But did I ever stop calling God good?

I think of recent conversations, Facebook statuses and Twitter updates with others extolling the virtues of God.

“Car needs over a thousand dollars worth of work. Didn’t know how we were going to afford it. Then we did our taxes and the money we’re getting back covers it almost exactly.

Isn’t God amazing?

“Had lots of errands. Forgot to fill the tank. Low fuel light came on as we came into a part of town where I did not want to stop. Ran out of gas, coasted down a hill, into a gas station and right to the pump.

Isn’t God faithful?”

“Hubby got the job! After over a year, our savings held out and he got the job!

Isn’t God good?”

Pause for reflection.

What about when things don’t turn out so well?

As I knelt on the floor, the weight of a dresser on my back, trying to keep my son’s head and neck straight as I rolled him to his side so he wouldn’t aspirate on his own vomit . . .

{Was God amazing?}

As I stood shaking in the ER, wanting to be with him (needing to be with him), terrified of being in the way as I heard them trying over and over and over to get him intubated . . .

{Was God faithful?}

And, only minutes after a nurse had told us he would be in room 201, went over the use of the respite rooms, admonished us to be strong for him, as the surgeon came in and told us he couldn’t save our son . . .

{Was God good?}

It isn’t really something we post to Facebook quite like that, but even in tragedy, God is amazing. He is faithful. He is good. Because His character is not dependent on my circumstances. His character is not revealed through my wealth nor through my safety nor through my comfort.

His character is revealed through the cross.

And as I think of my son crushed, his skull broken, his form lifeless, I can think of only one thing.

Our Father did it willingly. For me. For you. For the world He loved so much He gave His only begotten son.

Happy Easter.

(This was reposted for Easter.)

I homeschool for liberty

I homeschool for liberty . . . their liberty, our liberty and the liberty of our nation.

homeschool liberty

Their liberty

I want my children to have some control over what they are learning. They need time to follow their passions and sometimes even to just be bored. My eldest’s obsession with horses led her to read every book she could find, even after we finally bought her one. And her love and hours in self-directed study seem to be turning themselves into a career.

I enjoy the freedom to take them to the zoo or the museum or even just for a hike in the woods. We have all of Nebraska as our classroom and the lessons learned in the woods are just as important as those learned in a text book.

They learn from living books, from others who are passionate about their fields and from life. What better curriculum is there?

Our liberty

I am Christian and I do believe that the education of our children is our primary responsibility within our family. I don’t see sending your child to public school as sin and I hold no judgment against those who choose that option. However, sending a child off to school (public or private) does not absolve a parent from the responsibility of teaching their children in the Lord. I happen to find that much easier at home.

And it’s not that we isolate them. I just strive to hold Christ as the standard and encourage them to compare what they see in history, in literature and in our culture to what the Bible says about how we should live.

I wish to maintain this liberty we have from how the state believes children should be educated. The state is primarily interested in producing good workers for industry. I am primarily interested in expanding the kingdom of God. That’s why I write about the problems with vouchers for homeschoolers. That’s why I keep an eye on our own state legislature. And that’s why I am looking for more ways to join the fight for educational liberty in the United States. If the minds of our children cannot remain free from the influence of the state, what area of our lives can?

The liberty of our nation

That sounds rather dramatic, but really, what is the greatest threat to our liberty today? It isn’t government overreach. It’s voters who ask for it. It’s citizens who don’t bother to vote. And it’s people who lack the self control necessary for liberty. Because at some point, the state has to step in to protect the lives and properties of others.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” ~John Adams

Liberty is only possible when the citizenry is capable of governing themselves. We have to learn to value liberty and to exercise self-control in order to be worthy of it. That’s why I homeschool to educate my children for liberty. I strive to foster in them a love for liberty and inculcate in them values and habits worthy of that liberty. Because in the end, the only true liberty is that found in Christ.

This is part of the Blogging Through the Alphabet Challenge, where I am sharing some homeschool encouragement, from A to Z! Check out what I’ve written so far!

A is for Adventure
B is for Boredom
C is for Christ
D is for Daydreaming
E is for Every day
F is for Failure
G is for Grow
H is for Homework
I is for Impromptu field trips
J is for Just enough
K is for Kindle their fire

Image courtesy of wikimedia under a Creative Commons license.

I homeschool to give them just enough

Parenting is a tough job and homeschooling is like parenting on steroids. You have these llittle beings in your care that you love more than life itself. You strive to guide them, to teach them, to encourage them, to inspire them. You want to help them build strong foundations that will carry them through the storms of life. And sometimes you just need them to stop fighting over who is touching whom fifteen minutes into a four hour drive.

why I homeschool

 

I don’t have this parenting thing figured out. Not by a long shot. It seems like it should be about time. After all, my eldest ist 18, left for farrier school and is transitioning to adulthood. All I know is that it takes a lot of prayer and a whole lot of faith. Mostly, I feel like I’m parenting in the dark. When there is conflict, I still don’t always know exactly what constitutes “normal” and what is cause for concern. It’s complicated by having lost a child. Some things I see in my children I trace back to that night. And the accuser entering my thoughts is always ready to blame my own grief and years of struggling to be present at all.

But I know what I want my parenting to look like. I want it to be “just enough.” Not in a lazy, get out of the hard parts of parenting way. To me, “just enough” is harder.

I want to give them just enough freedom to fail, but enough support that getting back up is easy.

I want to push them just hard enough that they surprise themselves at what they can do, but not so much that their victories are no longer theirs.

I want to work them hard enough that they learn discipline, but provide enough unstructured free time for them to get bored and begin to daydream.

I want to answer enough of their questions for them to learn how the world works, but leave enough unanswered questions to allow them to ponder and to wonder.

I want to give them just enough direction that they don’t feel lost, but not so much that they never learn to find their own way.

I want to give them just enough responsibility to develop their character, but enough grace that they can just be kids.

I want to give them enough instruction in our faith for them to build a firm foundation and just enough liberty to meet Christ on their own so that their faith is theirs and not just an expression of how they were raised.

And as I strive each day to be enough so that I can give them enough, I fail. Daily. So I cling to a simple prayer . . . that love really does cover a multitude of sins. Both mine and theirs. Then each day can start new with just enough strength to get through.

This is part of the Blogging Through the Alphabet Challenge, where I am sharing some homeschool encouragement, from A to Z! Check out what I’ve written so far!

A is for Adventure
B is for Boredom
C is for Christ
D is for Daydreaming
E is for Every day
F is for Failure
G is for Grow
H is for Homework
I is for Impromptu field trips
J is for Just enough

I Homeschool to Keep Christ in All We Do

I’m Christian. It shouldn’t be a surprise that our faith is a large part of why we homeschool.

Christian homeschooling

When I say I homeschool to keep Christ in all we do, I don’t mean that we pepper Scripture verses throughout the lessons. I mean that I try to keep my teaching spirit filled.I try to model love, patience, gentleness and grace. And for all the times I fail (in a day . . . in an hour!), I try to model humility as I apologize and try again. My goal is to take them alongside me and teach them, here a little, there a little, precept upon precept (Isaiah 28:10). It is a gentle approach that builds a little each day and focuses more on character than on worksheets.

I try to find books that are factual, that tell the story of our history, our literature and our world from a basis in truth. That doesn’t always mean that it is overtly Christian. But as we’re reading about Jamestown and they are getting caught up with the hero John Smith, I ask them now and again to stop and to think. He’s a hero because he helped save a colony that became a part of our national heritage and our family’s pesonal heritage. We have family buried there. Victims of a native attack. But these settlers were on their land and these settlers did not always behave in the most Christlike manner. I want them to know that side of history. Because not all of our heroes always acted heroic. And not all of the church always acted Christ-like.

When we read a novel, I do not hold myself to the classic list of great Christian books. We do not look for Christ where he isn’t. But we do look closely at the characters and their motivations. What does the author hold up as good? What is evil? Everyone has flaws, but do the characters work to improve or overcome their flaws or do they work to accept them? I view literature as the first opportunity to introduce the philosophies of our world, to analyze them and to compare them to Christ’s teaching. All their lives, they will be inundated with messages from our culture. I strive to protect them from some of it, to be sure. I strive even more to teach them to evaluate and discern.

For science, we now have a purchased textbook, largely because I needed a break from creating my own curriculum. But I still try to supplement that with quality books from the library and real life exploring in the woods, on the prairie, at the pond and under the majesty of the night sky. We roll over logs, dig in the dirt, follow tracks in the snow all to catch just a glimpse of the breadth of this creation we are all a part of.

I try to introduce them, a little at a time, to this God we worship. And then support them in their growth, challenging them, reassuring them, comforting them and helping them to grow as much as I can. But with each step of the way, I try to let go just a little more and let them take those first wobbly steps of faith, moving away from me and toward their Creator.

This is part of the Blogging Through the Alphabet Challenge, where I am sharing some homeschool encouragement, from A to Z! Check out what I’ve written so far!

A is for Adventure
B is for Boredom
C is for Christ
D is for Daydreaming
E is for Every day
F is for Failure
G is for Grow
H is for Homework
I is for Impromptu field trips
J is for Just enough
K is for Kindle their fire
L is for Liberty

Also check out the Homeschool Nook Link Up!

Capturing the wonder of Christmas

This year, I bought myself a present.

weihnachtspyramide

I took pretty much all of the money I had left from my blogging account and purchased myself one of my favorite Christmas traditions from my time in Germany: a Kerzenpyramide.

Each eveving when I light the candles, the children sit, waiting in anticipation for the blades to begin to turn. The shadows dance on the ceiling and the figures of the nativity begin to make their trek around and around. Asa’s eyes fill with wonder and I begin to tell him the Christmas story.

He hears it in snippets. One night, it is about the little lambs, under the care of their faithful shepherds while they graze. Another night, it is the angels singing. They are his favorite because he is still young enough to love listening to his mother sing. Each night we add on or repeat small pieces of the story as his eyes fill with wonder and his heart with joy.

I am a story teller at heart. I love how simple objects and favorite stories can capture the imagination of a child and carry them with you on a little adventure. The Christmas season is filled with object lessons and traditions passed down from generation to generation. There are so many opportunities to share the stories of my childhood, tell them about family members they hardly know and to draw in lessons from our faith.

It gives continuity between past and present . . . and each year it challenges me. Because this is more how I want parenting to look all year, not just at Christmas. “Here a little, there a little,” stories shared by the wayside, teaching about life while simply living it.

Because this is where connections are made.

Merry Christmas!