So… let’s start with a wee disclaimer shall we?
I’m not a mommy blogger.
I don’t think that’s a mystery to most of my readers but if you’re new to me, I wanted to be sure to put that right out there. I am privileged to be a mother to three nearly grown children and while we home- schooled for most of those years, I also wouldn’t call myself a home school blogger.
The fact is, I don’t feel truly “qualified” to offer any advice in these areas because on most days, I feel like I just did it all kinda crazy-wrong. However, by the tremendously gracious grace of God, somehow it’s turning out to be alright.
That’s basically where I write from: the humble place of a sinner-saved-by-grace, home schooling Mommy, who hopes God will shine through the cracks and gaps left behind and bring His light to another. It’s been a life mostly lived….
Honestly, parenting has been the most blessing-filled and most difficult thing I’ve ever attempted to do. The only thing MORE blessing-filled and difficult has been home schooling! No doubt about it, this journey with my children has definitely deepened my dependence upon God and my relationship with Him and it’s allowed me the opportunity to model humility before them more often than not.
I’ve shared this often so you may have heard we went on media mission trip to Africa for three weeks. In fact, by the time you read this, we’ll already be there and back. What most folks don’t seem to know is that we took our teen son with us. He, like his brother and sister before him, has grown up in the midst of our Spirit-led life on the fringes with Jesus as we’ve sought to serve and tell the stories of God at work.
Once upon a time, we wanted to go into full-time missions as a family. We know we are called. Four applications and 4 rejections later have left us wounded and wondering but never doubting what we know God has called us to do.
So we worked while waiting, plugging in with our local church on short-term trips stateside and abroad, volunteering and serving locally. It’s been a family thing and over time, it’s becoming their thing as well.
In fact, encouraging their relationship with God to become…theirs has been our most important parenting goal. We’ve taught and modeled it before them (through successes and failures), and have had many discussions through the years entertaining their doubts, questions and fears.
Probably the most important discussions have centered upon how our faith cannot substitute for their faith. While standing close by, we’ve encouraged them to seek God for themselves trusting He will continue to reveal himself to them as they grow.
This has often meant living life “outside the box”, so to speak, and seeking opportunities to strengthen our faith and help us all to grow. These are the times we’ve learned to rely heavily upon God and own what we truly believe, times when we could see and experience the truth of Who God is and discover our place in this world in relationship to Him.
It takes a conscious effort to daily live this way versus getting absorbed into the “status quo” or stuck a quiet life of “churchianity” and it can be expressed in so many valuable ways all around us.
It’s not been easy.
The challenges to this type of living are both huge and subtle. This is the era where adventure and most of life is marketed, framed and contained within little boxes: in the theatre, the living room, on the desktop or now held in the palm of your hand. It takes a great deal of effort to live outside the boxes and into the reality of what God calls us to do.
That’s why we’re taking our son with us to Africa.
I pray that God will use this experience to open his heart, mind and eyes not only to the ugly realities of the effects of sin on this world but also to the beautiful work of God’s redemption, healing and salvation taking place everywhere you go….
Across the ocean, across the street, across the room.
So what was my greatest hope?
- I hope he learned how to live a life of gratitude and throw off any spirit of self-centered entitlement so common to people today.
- I hope he experienced mercy so rich and real that he will recognize it’s richness in his own life and seek to share it with others.
- I hope he learned that the stories about God are not only real and alive today but that God actually is the story and his own life is written into every line.
Most of all, I hope he— all of my children— will eventually seek to live their lives outside of the box and always for something much bigger… much better than themselves recognizing only God is big enough to fully satisfy.
Indeed, it’s the very best this sinner-saved-by-grace, outside-of-the-box home schooling Mommy can hope for.
This article first appeared at Teaching What is Good.