Last week was a challenging week in our house. The rain came down several days in a row and everyone was beginning to show signs of being indoors way too much! The children were snapping at one another and Mom was feeling like catching the next plane to wherever...as long as no one who needed anything from me would be there!!!
But, just as I was beginning to lose all hope that my children are actually walking along the path we are laying out for them, God blessed me with a sweet reminder that they are getting it!
My oldest son, Ben, was scheduled to leave on a 2 day trip to Savannah, Ga on Monday morning. He has been studying Georgia History all year and this event was to be the culmination of all the things he has been studying. Of course this required an early morning as he had to leave our house by 6:00 a.m.. I went to his room around 5:30 to wake him but instead he was already up. He was sitting at his desk with several folded pieces of paper around him and as I entered, he declared, "I'm writing each of my brothers a note, like Daddy does when he goes on a trip."
Each note told of how he would miss them and challenged them to behave and be helpful. It also promised a gift when he returned and he shared how he would miss them and be thinking of them. It was sweet, to say the least, and it was a reminder to me that I am glad we have chosen to homeschool because it truly has strengthened the relationships of my children over the years.
Moments like these are like glimpses of hope to a weary mother. All day, every day I pour my whole life into my children in hopes that they will rise above some of the struggles I gave into when I was young and that they would choose to live differently than the culture they are surrounded by.
The culture says that little brothers and sisters are aggravating and that teenagers should surround themselves with other teenagers and hang out. But in our family, we believe that family is a gift from God and the older have the privilege of guiding and influencing the younger to grow in wisdom and maturity. We have always taught that each person in our family has a responsibility to the others to lead them and love them and encourage them on to good works. However, teaching something and seeing it embraced are two different things. There comes a point in our children's lives when they have to choose to embrace what they have been taught or not. When children are young, they don't have alot of choice...they must live by our standards. But as they grow older, they must choose to believe in our wisdom and walk the paths we have laid out for them. I think we are at a place where some of our children are entering into this phase of choosing and, to be honest, I am anxious about it more than I would like to admit.
Perhaps it is a fear of failure, perhaps I despair as I see the culture around us, or maybe it is the sinfulness I constantly see in myself and my family members, but either way there is always the nagging voice in the back if my mind wondering, "Will they choose to live for Christ or not?" It is not a one time decision, but a moment-by-moment decision and in their immaturity I often see that Self wins out.
However, God is faithful and when I am at my weakest point, He will take the veil off of my eyes for just a moment and enable me to see that we are on the right path...my children are maturing (however slowly)...and our family unit is stronger than I see on a daily basis. I am thankful for these moments because it encourages me to look beyond what I see - to walk in faith, not by sight - and to trust what God is doing in the hearts of my sons. Though it is not evident every moment, it is still there and growing stronger every day.