Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Valentine's Poems and Homeschooling

As a homeschooling mom, I am always dreaming up assignments that challenge and entertain my children as they learn new skills. Yesterday I told them that, because it was Valentine's Day, they ought to write a love poem about someone they love in our family. After listening to the groans for a bit, I told them that writing poems was easy. I wrote one just to prove that I could do it, too.

I know it is not brilliant, but it expresses my heart towards my husband.

Dear Rick:

Today my thoughts are filled with you -
Your smile, your hugs, your kisses, too.
My mind goes back over many years
and ponders all of our hopes and fears,
Then I am led to praise my God
Who led us on the path we've trod...
I thank Him for the trials and joys
we went through, raising girls and boys,
And growing in amazing grace,
as we learned His word and sought His face.
So, husband dear, protector and friend,
I love you now, and will to the end.

- Love, Janet

Nice and loving, right?

Then Tiana, aged 8, wrote:

Valentine's Day is warm and snug
When you give your family a great big hug.
If my sister is sad, I make her happy,
Soon she will be very laughy!
I love my sisters and my brothers -
Don't want to live with any others.
When I grow up and move away,
I'll always remember this happy day.

Then Linda, 16, chimed in with:

So Valentine's has come again
And here we are, the same,
But really, do we truly know
The reason for the name?

We can all speak of pretty flowers,
Chocolates, and sweet meats,
But is that what it's all about--
The getting of good treats?

Is it really about hearts
And every sort of flower?
I think that it is more than that -
More than a candy shower!

God gave me family, and friends, too,
And I am very happy,
For I love them and they love me,
And that's not VERY sappy!

You may think that it's about
Sunshine and people kissing.
But I will tell you truthfully,
You don't know what you're missing.

So while I will not write to you
To ask if you'll be mine,
I'm saying to you anyhow,
Happy Valentine!

But, the boys kept complaining about how hard it is to write a poem,
so Linda whipped off another one:


Chocolate is good to eat
It's a very tasty treat
I wish that it would all be mine
So eat your heart out, Valentine!

I'll steal away those candies, too
From all the stores; none left for you!
So what if I will get too fat;
I don't really care about that.

I'll never send out any cards
I'll cut them all up into shards
I'll give you apples off the tree--
But all the good stuff is for me!

I'll never take your arm in mine,
I'd say 'Go spit, dumb Valentine!'
And if I'd make you cry with that,
I wouldn't care; cause I'm too fat!

I can't care less for crummy poems
I'll feed them all to ugly gnomes!
I don't care for words so sweet;
Just give me all the tasty treats!

You have to realize that Linda is a very loving and kind girl...she
had help being so mean from her two brothers!

Elena, aged 10, wrote:

Tiana, Tiana,
Love her like lasagne!
She is my sister
and shiny like glitter.

When she gives me a smile
Life is simply worthwhile!
We have lots of fun
in the field when we run.

She is my best friend
and will be till the end,
I think she's so fine
Happy Valentine, sister of mine.

Then Patrick, 12 years old, added this poem to the collection:

I love my brother like no other,
And here's the reason why:
Of all the fellows in the world,
He is one special guy!

He comforts me when I am sad
Corrects my heart when I am mad!
When my room's a mess, he helps me clean
And never is too terribly mean!

The best thing about him is the way he plays
Lego and war guys in interesting ways;
He is a bit bossy, it is true,
But Daniel, there's no better friend than you!

Now, I know that these are not the least bit professional, but did you catch the most important message in each of them? My children love each other. My children are best friends with their siblings.

One of the greatest things about homeschooling is the close relationships that are developed as kids work together, day in and day out, doing chores and schoolwork and projects and housework. They all have friends outside our home, but their very best friends are their sisters and brothers.

I thank God for that.

Lord, thank You for leading us on this amazing journey of raising and teaching 12 beautiful children. Thank You that You showed us long ago that our children were to be raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Homeschooling has given us time to teach our children how to love You and love each other. May they always continue to glorify You, and may they enjoy You forever.

In Christ, I pray, amen.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Which Book of the Bible are you?


I took this little quiz to see what book of the Bible I am.

I am Ephesians

"Chances are you've made a couple of whopper mistakes in your life. . . 'cause it's usually people like you who really understand their position in Christ. You know it's not by might, not by power, and certainly not through works, but only through the blood of Christ. That's all there is that's standing between you and the Father. . . and that's all you need. People find you to be more generally grace-filled than most. You are attractive to the faith, and usually a bit on the non-traditional side."

Well, I'd say that comes very close to summing it up. I am not sure my mistakes were "whoppers", but I am very much aware of my own depravity. I know that it is only by grace that I am saved, and that this grace is purely a gift from a Merciful Heavenly Father, who chose me in spite of my flaws.

Yet, even though I am constantly in awe of the grace of God, in my life, and in general, I can be exacting and determined to teach solid doctrine. Some would say I am a "prophet", in the Bill Gothard sense of the word. I love the Bible, and have little patience with those who just "love Jesus" and want to get along with everybody, regardless of what the Scriptures would say.

As far as being a bit on the non-traditional side, let's see. I have 12 children...I guess that is a bit strange. I have homeschooled since 1983, and although homeschooling is much more prevalent today than it was back then, still it is a small percentage of the population that practices it. I read theology books for fun, and am pursuing a Bachelor of Theology at the ripe old age of fifty. That is not exactly traditional, I guess.

So, if I were to classify myself as a book of the Bible, Ephesians would be it.

Ephesians 2:4 ¶ But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Lord, thank You that you are rich in mercy, and that You brought me out of darkness into Your marvellous light. Thank You that I can delight in You each and every day. Help me to indeed be filled with grace when I interact with Your image-bearers. Keep me from being impatient, and help me to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and ready to encourage others to follow You.

In the precious name of Christ, I pray.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

God's Providence

Parenting rebellious or wayward children is one of the most difficult things God calls us to do. I know. I am the mother of a couple of girls who turned their backs on all they had been taught, and strove to find life in relationships rather than in Christ.

I am here to remind parents that even when their precious children are in the throes of wicked, rebellious behaviour, God is still in control!

I wrote to one such mom:

"God is still in control. He has ordered your daughter's steps. She has lessons to learn that she can only learn while in rebellion, perhaps. It is easy for a parent to despair when their child does things that are contrary to everything they have taught, but you must learn to step back and see the big picture.

Look at the story of Esther. If I were Esther's mom, would I thinkthat it was a good thing for my daughter to be taken into a *harem*??? Would I think that her marriage to a pagan, brutal king was something to celebrate?Yet God was ordering her steps for a purpose.

God, in His perfect providence, gave Esther beauty above all of the other women. God caused the heart of the king to turn towards her. Mordecai, her uncle, "just happened" to be sitting in the gates and "just happened"to overhear a plot to kill the king, and was able to tell his niece,who just happened to be in a position to warn the king.When the king couldn't sleep, and asked for the record to be read tohim, his servant just happened to read the story relating to Mordecai.When the king decided to honour Mordecai, wicked Haman just happened to be in the court. The king just happened to decide to ask Haman what kind of honour should be bestowed on a man the king delights to honour!

Later, when Esther pointed out that wicked Haman was the one who planned to kill her and all her people, the king left the room in a fury. He just happened to come back in just as Haman had just happened to lose his balance and land on the Queen!

Read the book of Esther, and marvel at the Providence of God! Then remember that God is the same; He never changes. He is ordering the steps of your daughter, just as He has ordered all of your steps, all of my steps...and all for the good of those who love Him, of those who are the called according to His purpose!

We have gone through some very difficult trials with our older daughters, but I am here to tell you that God has blessed tremendously. He really does restore the years the locusts have eaten away. Christians who rebel and are led to repentance understand more of God's mercy and more of His grace. They stand in awe...Who is a Pardoning God like thee??? Or who has grace so rich and free?

Lord, thank You that You are in control. Thank You that nothing ever surprises You, and that You are always working in the hearts of the kings and the peasants, in order to bring what You have planned to fruition. You are a trustworthy Father, and all those who put their trust in You shall be kept safe.

Lord, You know the way that I take. You also know the path my children will walk on. I pray that You will lead them in an upright and godly path. I pray that You will pour out grace on their lives, and that each one will marry a godly spouse and raise up children that will shine like stars in the universe.

If any of my loved ones rebel, chastise them and bring them back, according to Your great mercy. Thank You that when they see the light, they will also see more of Your amazing grace. Your mercy endures forever!

In Christ,