Mentoring Mondays: Mission of Motherhood Chp 1 Part 2

This is Part 2 of Chapter 1 from Mission of Motherhood: A Journey Like No Other

Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson; Waterbrook Press; 2003

For Thought And Reflection:

These are the four Scriptures from the Reflection Portion of Chapter 1:

Psalm 127:1 ESV

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the watchman stays awake in vain.

Psalm 127:3 ESV

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.

1 Thessalonians 2:7 ESV

But we were gentle[a] among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.

Titus 2:4-5 ESV

and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. the word of God may not be reviled.

Chapter 1 calls for a response to any one of these Scriptures. I am going to respond to the third verse/questions: from Thessalonians.

Sally writes on page 17:

When Paul wanted to communicate how dearly he loved the people in Thessalonica, he used a picture of motherhood. What is the attitude or the heart of the mother reflected in his example? How does this picture compare to the way that you care for your children?

I love this tender verse and it is my desire that I be a gentle and caring mother. It is easy to be harsh, abrupt, rigid, and unsympathetic. God values the careful tending of children and I desire that my life reflect that value.

A Personal Response to A Journey Like No Other:

Every woman comes to motherhood from a place of personal uniqueness.  What was the sequence of events that led to the start of your own journey?

I will share just a snapshot from my own journey like no other:

There were many events that led up to the late night that found me suffering through the hardest, strongest labor I would ever have and the only early baby I would birth. (Yes, not even twins were early for me!) I pushed him out in fifteen minutes- which did indeed- forecast the future. 15 minutes being the maximum I ever endured- mostly likely because the twins were surgically extricated via caesarean and we bypassed that whole stage of labor and birthing.

Perhaps some day I shall write of those personal events…of childhood dreams… of dating conversations and engagement convictions- of maid of honor prophetic speeches and Spirit inspired leading. But for now…let me say that the next morning, after that fast and painful birthing, I found myself cuddling my own little bundle of blue. My face still twisted by Bells Palsy that had struck less than two weeks prior, and  sitting in a sunny hospital room filled with my beloved tulips – an unexpected tribute to a first wedding anniversary (where tulips were the flower of the day and a symbol of resurrection life) that was a mere six days away.

Everything new in that perfect, sweet bundle who would turn out to be an absolute dream of a baby… to which I would in turn think I knew what I was doing as a mother and entertain the very false perception that life was, of course, controllable.  Sweet child slept through the night for 12 hours at 9 weeks old and would have slept sooner- if I had only known what I was doing! Slept through ever after.  Rarely cried and was read aloud to from at least six months old if not sooner. We could take him anywhere and everywhere. He was perfectly content.

It would not take long for those false illusions to be thoroughly dismantled! They were dismantled in the form of a second bundle of blue less than fifteen months later- not early at all- and completely different in every way from his brother. Nine months into mothering two precious babes and the newest still not sleeping through the night… found me drearily and full of exhaustion- trudging to a Borders bookstore. There I bought a renowned sleep book and learned that my sweet boy was completely normal, that it was not my fault or his that he was not sleeping through the night, that it would get better, and that it was a normal phsyiological/neurological development stage.  This sweet baby needed completely different tending.

I learned a lot of flexibility and I learned to cry out to God. I learned about caring for children in relation to who they each are individually. I learned this in even greater measure through the pregnancy, birth, and first years of the next child to bless our family. And again, again. But that is a story for another day…

God is faithful and He does attend the cries of His people. He gives Himself. His literal, felt Presence.  And He has used Mothering as a channel and avenue of grace in my life.  And perhaps this is the most precious gift of all -His Presence-and this is available to all mothers or not.

“He gave His Life….what more could He give…”

The Things They Say

We are driving to church. All together.

The sky is bright, the breeze is cool.

Three little girls sit in the row behind.

Little blond girl, always front and center. She’s always in the middle of three. (Car sickness preventative) Melodee on one side, Norah on the other. All dressed up and pure, darling cuteness. Bows in the hair and each sweet, denim skirt clad.

Suddenly, a plaintive voice…

“My mouth is empty! My mouth is empty!” I look back. She has “frowny” eyebrows and a distressed face.

“Why is your mouth empty?” I ask.

“Because it needs my thumb in it!” She says.

All, utter seriousness. We laugh. She is looking for permission to put that thumb in her mouth. Her empty mouth – the persuading reason.

The Things They Say. (A)

Endless Gifts

the gentle son who rides with me, loves the deep talks, and has such supportive understanding, and the Cello music he shares (N)

his very apparent joy and happiness… the skip in his step; his cousin is coming for more than 24 hours. Never have chores been done with such willing joy. Prized company makes everything sweeter. (A)

The way they only had praise for their brother; both full of genuine respect, praise, and support.

A talk with my teen Boy Scouts about the Troop bugler and all that role entails. Those lips and The Things They Say. Forever laughter.

Micah- he’s SPL for 2017-18.

The way the Office and Main Bathroom are finally, finally clean and off isolation quarantine. It is no “joke” how certain illness can lay a large family down. We were behind with laundry for weeks…and weeks. Yes.

My sister and two of her beloveds with my darlings for just over 24 hours-

Birthdays. Cinnamon Rolls. Special Meals. Blue and Green Candles. Kiwis, and Strawberries, and Blueberries. 9 & 13. Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Icing and Chocolate Chips. Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Icing and Vanilla So Delicious.

Abi’s feast

A flute, fully repaired and all of his joy in playing. I will love it forever.

A brief, scurried reflection: I am now the Mom of four teenagers. In many ways, this is more momentous for me than being the mom of 4 children four and under- which I was when Micah was four. They were 4, 2, 1 and just born. Now they are 17, 15, 14, and 13. I need a picture!

The pressed and fragrant grace of forgiveness. It is an offering. It is unconditional. It is open hands. It is given and received in unceasing flow.

May’s Sunshine Days and Cool Spring Rains

A visit from Aunt Kay

All good things from the kitchen

Ringing out the familiar call: “It’s time for Evening Clean-Up!” They do not enjoy it and they will probably not remember it fondly- but to me, to me… it means- we’re home… I am presiding i.e. I have enough wits about me to even call out the evening chore time and enforce it, there will be some of us in, let’s enjoy the evening! And what can compare to the peace of spaces put back into some order at the end of the day? The roar of the vacuum, the scurry of feet, the clank of dishes. The glimmer of candles (when I am really back at the helm). Now, if I can only get a clean kitchen routine.

The way marriage hurts and heals. again, again. Heights and Depths. Always. And I am choosing to give thanks in it.

Listening with mind, heart, and ears

Speaking with a dear Mom of grown children at church… feeling what a treasure she is and wishing I could know her more and learn from her

Bacon-wrapped chicken and sweet potato fries

Maryland cloud studded sky and sunlight and that breeze; and the yard trimmed and mown and weeded and beautiful; and he- happy.

Sweet words at 66books

Just- choosing Grace. Choosing to walk in it, believe it, live it, and extend it.

Endless Gifts

 

Numbers 24; Psalm 66; Psalm 67; Isaiah 14; 1 Peter 2

I have been feeling steam-rolled a bit. Struggling to stay atop of many things. I am not sure entirely why… is it because there truly is so.much.going.on. right now… or is it a sway in my physical self?…. I am valiantly trying to float and get back on top of things.

All of that said, I am at 66 books today- with a reading that is staying with me and speaking to me still- again, again.  Even today, I gained a heart revelation about a verse I shared in the post- for a different area of my life!

I hope you will join me there. I am in 1 Peter 2.

Blessings,

Rebecca

 

Mentoring Mondays: Mission of Motherhood Chp 1- Part 1

All quotations are taken from copyright 2003; Waterbrook Press

As I journey through this study and ignite my heart to dwell and apply truth, I am going to highlight some key passages (not the only key passages by any stretch of the imagination!) and offer some personal reflections. Then, I will post a second entry that will respond to a section of ‘For Thought and Reflection’ as well as share a personal response from the Chapter’s Presenting Idea.

Chapter 1: A Journey Like No Other

The beautiful design of nature itself shows us that a child grows inside its mother’s body hearing the specific sound of her voice, comforted by the beat of her heart, intimately connected to her very being. Upon arrival into the world, the mother’s arms are her first cradle, and the mother supplies the first food and comfort and security. Because of the intimacy of that first relationship, the child’s heart is naturally open to the mother. Children automatically turn toward their mothers as their first source of protection, love, and spiritual, emotional, and mental support. This is all part of the design of mother, child, and family as unfolded for us in the Bible- a design, that, from the beginning God pronounced as very good.- Sally Clarkson, Chp 1 page 8 Mission of Motherhood.

I have found that it takes an intentional focus and effort to keep hearts turned toward one another. The closeness and connection inherently found in babe and Mother pulls away and I must choose to love first and to pursue. In this way, I am modeling Christ’s love for me… He who loves first and continually pursues me. A mother loves unconditionally. In this, God provides such an opportunity for closeness with Him. It is not always easy to love a child- especially during certain seasons and stretches of growth.

God designed motherhood to be a deeply spiritual role. We mother’s have the opportunity to influence eternity by building a spiritual legacy in the lives of our children. Through our teaching and influence, morality can be learned and , love and kindness are taught and received, purpose and vision are ignited and passed on.

The real ability of a mother to secure such a legacy is based on the strength of her relationship with her child. As we tenderly care for our children, meeting their needs, teaching them and guiding them, praying for them, and modeling our faith, we are also anchoring their hearts to our home, our values, and our beliefs. These ties are built over many years, through the small ways we spend the minutes of our days and the large ways in which we celebrate the momentous events of our lives. -Sally Clarkson, Chp 1 page 13,14 Mission of Motherhood

Have you considered how or if you should build a spiritual legacy in the lives of your children? For me, I think it is often the merciful grace of God that protects and propels this influence. I encourage myself- and you- to listen to your heart and the desires that quicken before the Lord. During very busy times, I often can’t even fully think as to why I am “supposed” to or even desire to do something like light a candle breakfast Mon-Friday. I just know I am supposed to and I seek to obey. I trust God that in each small obedience, He is building this legacy in all of our lives; mine and my children. It is never too late to start new traditions, revamp old ones, or begin something entirely fresh.

Building a solid, loving, and strong relationship with each child is an important key in discipleship. It is not about a rigid framework of rules and outward behaviors. It is about words of life spoken to living hearts. I have to continually remember to seek the hearts of my children.

As I have thought about these issues for years, I have to come to picture the heart of a each child as a treasure chest. Each chest is empty and needs to be filled with the riches of unconditional love, spiritual nurture, and the emotional heritage of family and traditions; with the mental stimulation that comes from excellent sources of truth, morality, and inspiration; with a sense of physical and emotional security; and with guidelines for all of life , including purpose, relationships, and proper behavior. – Sally Clarkson Chp 1 page 14 Mission of Motherhood.

This image of the treasure chest has stayed with me in various ways over the years (since I first read this chapter.) It is a powerful visual that inspires a purposeful approach to investing good in the hearts and lives of our children. This visual serves as a good reminder for me to organize my efforts in specific categories. Unconditional love. Spiritual Nurture. Emotional Heritage. Excellent Intellect. Security. Manners. Strong Relationships. Life Purpose.

Onward and Upward and Held,

Rebecca

Homeschooling High School: PA Homeschoolers Online

This post is long. It is a ramble through part of my journey. I am sharing it because if you are homeschooling high school- there is a wonderful, reputable online option for Advanced Placement courses. These classes are credentialed College Board Advanced Placement classes and this place has a stellar reputation. The College Board provides statistics and students consistently receive 4’s and 5’s on the AP exams who take classes from this online provider.  AP classes translate into a rigorous transcript…and college credit if you attain the appropriate score on the exam. Some colleges accept 3’s on the exam for credit. Pennsylvania Homeschoolers AP Online– for homeschooled students ALL over the world!   – more below. 🙂

It is hard to believe but my first born son will be entering his final year of high school in the fall. Senior Year. It is almost upon us! And already, we have begun prepartions and many plans for this final year.

I am choked with emotions when I try to consider all the things I feel in this season.

I am so grateful for online writers who have gone before me- especially homeschooling sons- because their words have been a help, a community, and a support to me when I have not had an IRL one.

The best advice I received (from online writers 🙂 ) was to seek outside accountability for sons in high school. Yes. This has been so true and helpful for me. Next year, I will have three sons in high school. It definitely helps our relationship and enhances their success to have tutors other than just me. I have also found this is the perfect time for small group class settings. Performing labs with several other students and engaging in strong literature discussions with other students has been great for our sons. I am interested to see how this dynamic will flow in our new venture next year as Micah studies two classes that are asynchronous. More on that later.

I have found that maintaining accountability, support, and guidance counseling to be my important role. Also, providing motivation, support, and the continued call toward excellence is important.

In a season that has, in many ways, been very hard-I want to share that God has been faithful. He has been faithful with every step of the journey and this life. Homeschooling.

A few months ago, I stepped out of my car and onto the pavement of our academic co-op. Actually, I think it was right before Christmas break. My mind was swirling with many different academic thoughts. I was receiving direction to consider AP classes for Micah next year and my mind was spinning these thoughts around.

This was like nothing I had ever done or experienced. 

And then- this thought-

This whole journey has been like nothing you ever did or experienced. Why should this next step be any different?

And, like a soft sigh, a peace settled over me. AP it would be.

I homeschooled Micah from grade 1 until mid-year grade 7 in North Carolina.

We began high school in Maryland. When we lived in North Carolina, I had a possible plan all laid out in my mind. Maryland turned that plan, and many other things!, absolutely upside down and inside out and sometimes, most times I didn’t understand- but I did know I was supposed to walk by faith and I kept making faith-filled decisions even when they didn’t make sense- and especially when they didn’t flow with what other families, other Maryland families, were choosing.

We started utilizing an Academic Co-Op in tenth grade. This was a terrific (even though sometimes hard) decision for us, for sons. We did not and have not utilized the local Community College because other decisions made that choice null and void.

I worried about this. I did and I have. I will not pretend.

Then, this year, around January, vistas started to open before me and the Lord, quite literally, put options for AP classes before me.  And very clearly showed me that my son was ready to take certain subjects and skills to a next, new level.

And so, He has provided a way for Micah to earn college credit, to maintain a rigorous transcript, to be competitive for a selective school (that doesn’t accept all community college courses but will accept these AP courses),  and maybe most importantly, to stretch even further and advance his writing, reading, analytical, and historical skills. He is definitely ready. And so am I. And I am hopeful that, maybe, just maybe, there will be some community there. There will definitely be active minds.

I trust that now is the right time and this is the day and He has worked everything out according to His purpose. I do the best I can with what I have. And I leave everything in His Hands. The provision is for now. The direction is for now. Look forward. Not back.

And Advanced Placement is more than I ever had.

I am still praying my way through the rest of his courses.

-For the Journey!

-Rebecca

Endless Gifts- May Day

The bright flit and flicker of gold among the tree branches and lighting the grasses- the goldfinches- wee, vibrant bodies- and I find myself continually apprehended by Maryland birds,

and not just birds… but trees. There are Wild Dogwoods here… just like the mountains… and they light up roadside and field with their bridal colors.  There are beautiful, ornamental trees of all sorts. And roses. And pansies. And… I would really like to slowly learn and build some beauty here.

I stepped out on the porch  in the midst of a strained phone call… and there they were- a sweet golden flock of beauty. My heart.

And the sunset off the deck…ladles of gold. The season change is in the air and in the skyscape and in the soil and in the creatures.

The photos of Spring bedecking a loved home in Georgia; my pansy flower friend and beauty kindred. When I close my eyes, I can see the colors.

the grace gift that ballet has been for my daughter and the way her violin sings

Strawberries, blueberries, and red raspberries

Dandelions: Stars in the Grass

writing my way to peace- and why did I wait so long?… it is okay that I need to write it.

The laundry *almost* all the way caught up and a plan for the next few days that has clean, clean, clean on the top of the list.

A little girl, well again.

Ben Hur discussions

the slow trickle of good news

he plays piano… and it is always like David on his harp… soothing a mind and soul in torment; relief

Culturelle for Kids

His tall, tall frame in the doorway

And there she is… at the window again. Hovering. Camera in hand. Those birds-we are all entranced.

Her bird feeder, finally in a place of its own. And everyone’s delight: The birds are eating our seeds!

A yard mown, places prepared for plantings and beauty, a Big Van- vacuumed

A day to rest

Positive feedback

Spring Recital- and he is all, “This is the most glorious day!” -the things they say

A smooth HisWay Monday in spite of fatigue

the prospect of slips of lilac and forsythia from my growing up home

the ‘ladies’ of our home and family… “come on in, ladies”…. “Ladies!”…. 8-10 years ago… it was “Gentlemen!” I love my family.

Talk time with Todd

It is May.

~Endless Gifts~

-Rebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Numbers 8; Psalm 44; Song 6; Hebrews 6

Psalm 44

 O God, we have heard with our ears,
our fathers have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
in the days of old:
you with your own hand drove out the nations,
    but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples,
    but them you set free;
for not by their own sword did they win the land,
nor did their own arm save them,
but your right hand and your arm,
    and the light of your face,
    for you delighted in them. ESV

I am at 66books today…responding from my heart: a stream of reflections in response to today’s scheduled readings.  Join me there?

The Things They Say

I never want to forget:

how she creates so many sweet stories that feature “Ellie” in the center as the main character… she plays stories about Ellie, she tells stories about Ellie when she is “reading” a book… she tells me about Ellie. Ellie is this precious, special character created just by her. She brushes me aside when I try to discover more and investigate further… yet, how darling, how precious when I hear her… and she is telling about Ellie.

I love it.

She could be Ellie. And sometimes… I wonder.

The Things They Say and Do

Homeschooling High School: Online Options

Next year, my family is going to be experiencing three new-to-us resources.

The first is PA Homeschoolers AP Online. 

The second is The Potter’s School.

The third is Debra Bell’s AIM Academy.

I will check back next year (around this time, I hope) and give a report on how these resources have worked out for us.

I detail some of the journey to this place in a post that will follow next week.

For me, homeschooling high school has been all about expanding the doors of my tent and opening my eyes to gaze upon the horizon ahead. Each child continues to enlarge my life and heart (and Lord willing, my capacity).

Isaiah 54:

“Enlarge the place of your tent,
    and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
    and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
    and your offspring will possess the nations
    and will people the desolate cities.

This verse was shared so long ago with me… when I was expecting baby number three and terrified. And, it is still speaking (always will be speaking) to my life.

In spite of my failures, weaknesses, oversights, humanity- God is and does. And in this, He is glorified.

Be glorified, O my God and let my heart be tranquil with and in Your Peace.

Fellow High School Homeschoolers, you are not alone in the journey!