Amazon has a new feature that enables viewers to access a live preview of Kindle Books. Working on this book, Born to Deliver, with Kathy Brace was truly a life-changing experience for me. I am so grateful for her willingness to share her story openly and honestly so that others can benefit from the hope and redemption that God offers us through Jesus Christ. Here’s a close-up view of it where you can also read the first couple of chapters:
The following quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer is both insightful and challenging. I was especially struck by his assessment that a propensity to doubt and incessantly re-evaluate why we are traversing a particular course is often spurred on by an aversion to the patience and testing being required of us in a time of difficulty. The very patience and testing that we are told to expect and joyfully embrace as followers of Christ. I am all too guilty of this as a homeschool mom.
“I’m not quite sure how, we have largely got into a way of thinking which is positively dangerous. We think that we are acting particularly responsibly if every other week we take another look at the question whether the way on which we have set out is the right one. It is particularly noticeable that such a ‘responsible reappraisal’ always begins the moment serious difficulties appear. We then speak as though we no longer had ‘a proper joy and certainty’ about this way, or, still worse, as though God and his Word were no longer as clearly present with us as they used to be. In all this we are ultimately trying to get round what the New Testament calls ‘patience’ and ‘testing.’ Paul, at any rate, did not begin to reflect whether his way was the right one when opposition and suffering threatened, nor did Luther. They were both quite certain and glad that they should remain disciples and followers of their Lord.
“Dear brethren, our real trouble is no doubt about the way upon which we have set out, but our failure to be patient, to keep quiet. We still cannot imagine that today God really doesn’t want anything new for us, but simply to prove us in the old way. That is too petty, too monotonous, too undemanding for us. And we simply cannot be constant with the fact that God’s cause is not always the successful one, that we really could be ‘unsuccessful’: and yet be on the right road. But this is where we find out whether we have begun in faith or in a burst of enthusiasm.”
The truth is I don’t like waiting patiently for my children to develop the character I think they should have right now. I don’t like being tested in my resolve by their complaints and resistance to the instruction and assignments I work so hard to plan and impart to them. I don’t like the petty monotony of addressing the same issues day after day after day…
The higher truth, though, is that this is the path of faith that God has called me to walk. Faithfully, patiently training and discipling my children to seek the Lord and love Him with all their hearts. When my patience is tried and difficulties abound, rather than shrinking back and succumbing to doubts and the escapism of reassessing my path, I want to lay aside all of these weights and instead run with endurance the race that is set before me (Hebrews 12:1).
One of my favorite poems is one by Matthew Arnold called Morality. I don’t remember where I first heard or read it, but the first stanza has been etched in my mind for years:
We cannot kindle when we willThe fire which in the heart resides;The spirit bloweth and is still,In mystery our soul abides.But tasks in hours of insight will’dCan be through hours of gloom fulfill’d.
I’ve been tossing around the idea for a few days of reviving this blog as a way to share my journey and the things I’m learning in my new adventures as a wife and mom. For anyone who’s still here who has no idea why the blog has been silent for the last year and a half, you can read up on part of the scoop here: Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder…? And then if you’re interested in a little more, you can check out the following videos:
Anyway, as you can imagine, this past year has been spent adjusting to and focusing on my new role. I love being a wife and mother, and I’m so grateful that God has given me this honor! Even though it was our desire to homeschool, because Julian was a single dad getting re-established and re-integrating with his children, they were enrolled in the local public schools up through this past spring. We (along with some family and friends) were praying that God would provide the finances and schedule changes to make homeschooling possible. Through an unexpected job offer from a wonderful company, God answered both of these prayers and we were able to begin our homeschool journey last June!
As much as I wish I could say I was the perfect homeschool mom from the get-go, that was not the case. Many of my ideals went unrealized and many days were shot with other issues that took precedence over what I had planned. But I praise God that He continues to strip me of self-reliance and selfish ambition to propel me constantly back to His loving arms where He upholds me and reminds me that He is everything, and apart from Him I can do nothing.
I have no idea how much I’ll be able to post, but I am looking forward to having a place where I can record some of the things that I find inspirational and instructive as I learn and grow. In particular, this year I am trying to keep in mind that homeschooling, like everything in life, is to be done “as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24
In doing some research for Adventures In Character this year I came across the Torchlighters website. Wow! I love the vision of this ministry, especially because of how much my own life has been impacted by the stories of men and women who gave their lives to serve God and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. In addition to the animated films, there is a leader and student guide for each episode that is extensive and excellent. This would make a fabulous curriculum for a homeschool family, church children’s ministry, VBS, etc. Just trying to come up with a way I can use it myself! 🙂
Here’s an informative and inspiring interview with the Torchlighters producer, Robert Fernandez:
About time for my quarterly posting here… 🙂 Kathy Brace and I released our book, Born to Deliver, at the end of last year, and are so encouraged at how God is using it to touch lives and bring healing. My good friend, Molly Williamson, of Imago Photography generously offered to help us put together a book trailer that we hope will serve to spread a message of hope and redemption to even more people. Here’s the wonderful result of her creative talent and work on our behalf:
Several months ago, I came across this post, Depend on God Daily, by the Kansas director of The Navigators ministry, Richard Spann. I have returned to it several times and finally just printed the whole thing off tonight to keep in my journal for regular reflection. I’ve spent considerable time wrestling and praying this year about how to keep up with many responsibilities and tasks on a daily basis, so Mr. Spann’s recounting of what he learned from Lorne Sanny, former International Director of The Navigators, was very inspiring. I especially love this point at the end of the post:
“The Lord delights to meet our needs; however, the supreme matter to our lives is not that these issues be resolved. That is of lesser importance. The supreme matter is that in so doing, we may see the hand of the Lord; that we may come to know Him more deeply, love Him more completely, and worship Him more perfectly.”
The whole article is very encouraging and practical for anyone who is struggling to know how to handle the responsibilities and situations that are part of their daily life (and isn’t that all of us?!).
As a pre-Christmas present to myself :-), I ordered a variety of books that piqued my interest. One of them was a small volume by William Penn titled, Some Fruits of Solitude: Proverbs, Wisdom and Principles for Better Living. I’ve been digesting it in small bits, and I especially love Penn’s insights on Disappointment and Resignation:
32. For Disappointments, that come not by our own Folly, they are the Tryals or Corrections of Heaven: And it is our own Fault, if they prove not our Advantage.
33. To repine at them does not mend the Matter: It is only to grumble at our Creator. But to see the Hand of God in them, with an humble Submission to his Will, is the Way to turn our Water into Wine, and engage the greatest Love and Mercy on our side.
34. We must needs disorder our selves, if we only look at our Losses. But if we consider how little we deserve what is left, our Passion will cool, and our Murmurs will turn into Thankfulness.
35. If our Hairs fall not to the Ground, less do we or our Substance without God’s Providence.
36. Nor can we fall below the Arms of God, how low soever it be we fall.
37. For though our Saviour’s Passion is over, his Compassion is not. that never fails his humble, sincere Disciples: In him, they find more than all that they lose in the World.
What beautiful, meaningful, and challenging thoughts to consider as we each face various situations that could easily lead to disappointment or resignation in our lives.
Make me ready, willing, Lord
To sacrifice and suffer more
To send the name of Jesus forth
To every one throughout the world.
Make me faithful daily, Lord
To walk in love, my life outpoured
To speak with grace in every word
To all men kind, and none ignore.
Make me pure and holy, Lord
To be like Him whom I adore
To shine the truth till all’s restored
To dwell in joy for evermore.
Despite my best intentions, I have not done a very good job of keeping up with this blog. But it’s not for a lack of writing; it’s just that my writing efforts have been directed elsewhere. In fact, Lord-willing, they will culminate in the release of a book that I’ve co-authored with Kathy Brace called Born to Deliver.
Born to Deliver is Kathy’s story – one that has been life-changing for me, and we hope and pray it will be for many others as well. You can read chapter one for free on the website. And as of today, pre-orders are officially open, so if you’re dying to find out the rest of the story, just click the Buy Now button and you’ll receive one in your mailbox as soon as they arrive from the printer!