Mentoring Mondays: Mission of Motherhood Chapter 4 Part 2

So, I lost my book for awhile…well, more than awhile.  And that is just like me in this season…that has spanned these many years. But thankfully! in the midst of Thanksgiving clean-up, it was rediscovered and I am back.  (and now it’s February! But I am on it! 🙂 ) 

This is Part 2 of Chapter 4 from Mission of Motherhood: The Servant Mother

And yet somewhere, over the years, the Lord convicted me that the future was not where real life began. Each day was God’s perfect will for me. There would be no wasted years of “just taking care of the needs of my young children.” (page 68)

O! This spoke to me! As I stand on the cusp of my first graduation, and I look down many years of my mothering journey behind and before, these words are for my very heart this day and this season.  Each day is God’s perfect will for me. Each day, making juice cups, and brushing hair, eyeing college applications and emails, and supervising online classes, teaching grammar and writing, and science, and Bible. Talking with teens and tucking in littles. O, that this would sink deep in my heart and that I would do better!

For thought and reflection:

These are the four Scriptures offered at the end of this chapter:

Matthew 20:25-28 English Standard Version (ESV)

25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,[a] 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,[b] 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

John 15:12-13 English Standard Version (ESV)

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Philippians 2:14-15 English Standard Version (ESV)

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

Luke 1:38 English Standard Version (ESV)

38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant[a] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

 

Passage 2 and passage 4 are the ones that resound most strongly for my heart at this time. John 15:12-13 is a motivating call toward ministry flowing out of love. It delights my heart and fills my soul to know that I know Jesus more intimately when I walk with Him (as He walked in ministry) with my precious family. I know the power of His life laying down for me, when I live likewise. I know Him in His love poured out, as I pour out in Him.  Luke 1:38 speaks to my heart of surrender and it has been a passage that has been close to me through many years of child-bearing. Sally speaks of reflecting about what it cost Mary throughout her life to respond in this manner to the Holy Spirit. “What did it cost Mary throughout her life to be available to God?” (page 76)  This is timely for me as the surrender is costing me in new and different ways in this season. My focus is wrong if I am expecting or thinking that leisure and ease are to be mine. The precious blessing is in giving up my rights and this is a surrender that occurs again and again. The truth is, the intimacy and fulfillment in God are far greater and more satisfying than anything the world can offer- and Mary walked in that reality when she surrendered. May that reality be mine, too. As seasons change, and child-bearing ends, it is timely for me to remember that this godly heart response can be and is still mine.

May Jesus draw you close, precious Mamas. May your week be full of grace. May you know what it is to be precious and cherished as you prize the ones in your care,

~Rebecca

 

Mentoring Mondays: Mission of Motherhood Chapter 4 Part 1

All quotations taken from 2003; Waterbrook Press

Chapter 4: The Servant Mother

This chapter is so very convicting for me and I know I need to renew my mind to serve with joy and for Jesus.  This is such a timely chapter for me as I stand at the forefront of a new school year, and the many opportunities for service are truly unending.

(Note #1:  We are now about half-way through the school year and I refresh myself in these notes I have written here… as I face the start of a brand new week- which will hold many opportunities to serve and witness Jesus through that service, I renew my mind in the Lord!)

Note #2: I have to take breaks. You might have to, also. Pace yourself Mama. Tend to yourself, too.

I recently read a friend’s post on Facebook -and she said- in reference to homeschooling her large family- “…I’m giving it my all. All for You.”  What a witness this caused in my soul. May this be the cry of my heart, too, and the overflow of my life.

As I have grown through the last eighteen years of  motherhood, however, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of the many thousands or routine moments in a mother’s life, for it is in these moments that real greatness tends to be caught and taught. It is certainly important to grasp the great calling of motherhood and respond to a vision for what a family can be. But it’s the way I respond to my children in everyday moments that gives me the best chance of winning their hearts.  If I have integrity and patience in the small moments of life that are so important to my children, and if I approach them with a servant’s heart, I have a far better chance of influencing them in the larger and more critical issues of life.  page 63

This chapter was encouraging, convicting, and renewing for me. I am in a similar season of life that Sally was in as she was writing this book. Her oldest was eighteen and her youngest- 6. My oldest is seventeen and my youngest- 4.5. It was sweet to read something so relatable. I especially felt this when I read the story about her son who was in search of a last minute shirt/uniform for an evening event. O, yes. I need to see these situations as opportunities. I know that Sally Clarkson has been faithful in this area in her family and I also know that her ability in this area has come from her relationship with the Lord. He fills her and then she has something to pour out.  I have always treasured an understanding that the heart of my children is precious and the heart is the landscape where I want to dwell and walk in love.

Attitude, I have found makes all the difference when it comes to serving our children. Serving with joy in the midst of messes and difficulty can only be done when we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. When we are joyful and see each minute with our children as an opportunity to worship God through our service of him, our children sense our joy and feel secure and happy. page 72

I do not serve with joy. I struggle to serve. I am not a doer by nature. I marvel at those who are so efficient and task oriented. I have been also been blessed by the work of such ones’ hands. I find I do best when I cast a vision for myself and my home. I am able to serve more fully and with greater joy when I infuse the tasks with meaning and beauty.

At the same time, we mothers need to recognize what a powerful effect our attitude has on our children. Laying down our lives for them can indeed mean giving up, for their sakes, our right to wallow in our negative feelings. And choosing the path of servant leadership certainly means making the effort to respond in faith to our circumstances and feelings, turning to the Lord for help in maintaining a hopeful attitude. The beauty of such an effort, of course, is that it has the power to lift us up even as it sustains our children’s spirits. page 73

Serving for beauty and for joy does elevate the tasks with meaning and hope for me, which in turn, lifts my spirits and countenance. I do not take joy just from doing.

As a homeschooling mother, I have many, many daily opportunities to serve with joy and gladness. I also have many, many opportunities for my children to encounter my weakness and frailty. I experience His grace in and through it all. I need to reset myself for service.

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

I can only know this joy by knowing Him.

12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12: 12-14 ESV

I find my best self when I find myself in Him. In order for me to be the servant leader the Lord has called me to be, I must refresh my soul in Him. This is the main focus I am pondering from Chapter 4.

What about you?

All my love,

Rebecca

Endless Gifts-January into February

Scouts ranking up: Tenderfoot; Life… on, on.

a sleep-in day

ballet class carpool and it is blessed relief

ACT test prep take two (son #2)… smarter than he thinks he is and O! such a wonderful son

my foot healing ( sort of- trying to avoid doctor visit)

his insistence that I read the book I gave him so we can discuss it

66books and Sundays…find me here

A dozen red roses and my face pressed against their velvet

All of us on center court- to celebrate with him! Senior Night.

All the birthday pictures adorned with teapots and tea cups, rainbows, and flowers and their beautiful love

A birthday brunch with my birthday brother, Mom, and Dad

Jonah

Plum Paper and a new year ahead of me… perhaps my birthday will be my official new year….

Berry Crisp and Scrambled Eggs. One of my favorites to prepare for my darlings.

A gift of venison. So grateful and So good.

Silver Keys and God’s grace

School planning for 2018

 

 

A Panagram- by Micah

Today, I was preparing to write this blog post- feeling in my heart that it was time to share a link to some of Micah’s creative writing. Then discovered later today that he won four regional awards for four writing pieces in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. It is fitting indeed. 

Micah has been taking Creative Writing through The Potter’s School this year. It has been a wonderful “capstone” class for his senior year; one that he has thoroughly enjoyed and has helped sharpen his abilities.

Throughout the course, students build a blog to showcase their work and interact with their classmates. They submit assignments through their study place account and also post them on their blogs.

I have often pondered sharing a link or two-

but today, I was delighted to read one of his latest assignments- A Panagram.

And so, I would like to share this piece here via a link (with his permission) to his own personal writing space.

~Rebecca

Mentoring Mondays: Mission of Motherhood Chapter 3 Part 2

Chapter 3 part 2: Mission of Motherhood: An Undivided Heart

From Waterbrook Press 2003

For Thought And Reflection:

These are the Four Scriptures (ESV version) referenced in this section:

Proverbs 14:1

14 The wisest of women builds her house,
    but folly with her own hands tears it down.

Matthew 6:20,33

20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Galatians 6:7

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

Romans 12:1-2

12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] Do not be conformed to this world,[c]but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]

Today, I am going to reflect and respond to Romans 12:1-2

Questions from the book: “According to these verses, what does God consider to be the most effective kind of worship? In what ways can we do this, and how does it apply to the way we live as parents? According to verse 2, how do we keep from being conformed to this world? In what way can we transform our minds? (See 2 Timothy 3:16)” page 57

I think that the most effective worship is the one that is of the whole self. My life, my mind, my body. How can I do this? …by the mercies of God… in light of and in view of God’s mercy, I am granted grace to present myself a living sacrifice. We keep from conforming to the world by orienting ourselves in a correct posture unto the Lord and by renewing our minds according to the Word. The renewal of the mind by the Word is transformative according to this Scripture. O! This is life-giving. Lately, I have been feeling very discouraged by some of my tendencies. This verse offers such hope! Transforming power! I have been believing a lie but this verse ushers me into truth.  I can be transformed by the renewal of my mind and I can discern the will of God. Praises!

Something to Try:

I am refreshing and renewing my commitment to be the mother God has called me to be. I am not sure how I will flesh this out yet. I have several things on my heart but I am not sure what or which I will actually be able to bring to life at this time. However, I do need a mind renewal and re-dedication in this area.  What about you? I was recently in a home that made a strong impact on my heart. On many walls, there were beautiful Scripture verse art. The art was full of grace and truth. Wherever I sat, there was a feast for the eyes and food for the soul. It made such an impact, I still feel all the beauty, light, truth and goodness when I close my eyes and quiet my heart. I would like to build such beauty and grace in my own dwelling. There is precious treasure and oil in a wise man’s dwelling. Proverbs 20:21. 

Lord, thank You for grace and renewal. Revive me according to Your will.

 

66 Books on Fridays

I am honored to share Fridays at 66books with my son Nathanael in 2018.

I am hoping to post links to our posts regularly.

You can find him here (posted 1/26):

Genesis 49-50; Galatians 4

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” Genesis 50:15 ESV

In Genesis 50, Joseph’s brothers are terrified because their father died. Joseph is one of the most powerful men in Egypt and they are worried that without their father, Joseph will take revenge for all the wrong his brothers did him. However, Joseph does not have revenge in mind.

Read the rest here!

The School that Started It All

This came yesterday, January 24, 2018.

0124180924a

This is the school that started it all. The journey to AP classes. The full-hearted, full-on, all in, test prep. The school that planted a seed of hope for what the next step of Micah’s life could look like.

We do not know if this is the end point, but this is a landmark, a monument, a remembrance stone.

This is (at this time) his first choice.

When we stared down the tunnel of college applications/admittance last year (winter 2017), we were fully aware that he might not get in to this school. But, like a flame of golden light, we lit up with hope at the thought of a rigorous school where intellectual inquiry was valued and he could have the satisfaction of interacting with classmates who were serious about learning; the joy of a robust, intellectual environment- with a cohort of like-minded students. There was/is this emphasis on… the pursuit of the good, the true, and the beautiful.

I heard about Hillsdale because a young couple at our church went there (met there and later married) and I was impressed by their intellectual and spiritual vigor; much as I was impressed by a couple from Grove City I also met at church.

I received very good advice from a trusted academic friend who told me to call the Admissions Office (when I had a question about a particular course requirement for senior year.)  When I called, they said they screen applicants carefully for aptitude and ability to succeed in their rigorous classes.(it wasn’t necessarily about whether he had physics on his transcript or not.)

Thus, began a true journey- for him and for me.

And…  now-

he got in. 

The beacon ever before us; the light ahead of him… helping him to press on and press in.

I know, regardless of whether Hillsdale is the final destination of this part of his journey, and the next step for the next one…

he will say: it was all worth it.

Yes. It is and it was.

Homeschool to College. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mentoring Mondays- Update!

I lost my book for a bit. For more than a bit actually- as I write about in the beginning of my post: Chapter 4 part 2.  Lost it, and now it is found… and Chp 4, part 2 is finished—

when I went to see where I left off- I discovered that I only posted Chapter 3 part 1 – and that was in August. O my! I have Chapter 3 part 2, Chapter 4 part 1, and Chapter 4 part 2 all ready and waiting. And unpublished.

The school year has been very intense. And, I didn’t schedule the posts I have had waiting in my drafts.

Sometimes, most times, I tuck deep in and go very quiet when things are at work on the inside.

But I am back and at work, once more.

Steady on, forward, go!

-Rebecca

 

 

a new year… a new word(s)

In 2016… I chose {nourish}… it was a gentle call, a whisper… and I didn’t give myself fully. I wish I would have- because everything I could have learned, I still have yet to gain.

In 2017… I chose {freedom}… it was a rally cry… a calling. An ephemeral glimmer always floating on the outskirts in every decision.  It was a wind in the air, in my sails, in my hair, against my face, whispering in my ear.

2018… and… I chose {invest}… although it is seconded always and continually by {tend}… and I think the two will dwell hand in hand… a tend(ing) invest(ment) in many! areas of my life.

How this word is informing me this year:

{Invest} in (this is in no particular order)…

  • the Scriptures
  • my marriage
  • my children
  • my relationships
  • my health
  • my mind
  • my body
  • my soul
  • my spirit
  • my church and community group
  • my family

{tend}

my physical self, my homeschool, the physical needs of this life(these lives), the house, the people

I have, in general, been quiet on the blog. I have been quiet about a “word.” I have been quiet in my life. I keep pondering my purpose and intent. I miss certain bloggers who have “gone away,” silenced their voice, or “hidden” from view. I don’t want that to be me.

One thing I know: I want to be real. Forever and always.

2018: the journey is {to invest}… what’s yours?

~Rebecca

 

 

Heart-Call

Next Day

I sit on the floor with a wee, still small- but growing O! so fast, four year old tucked on my lap, her hair against my cheek. Picture book in hand. She helps turn the pages. By my side, the six year old twins squish in… listening. The comfort of this moment reaches deep into my soul.

And I am glad. Glad. Glad. And my heart and mind race down years. Seventeen years. Years of reading to small children tucked next to me… and us all being soothed in mind and heart. Together. Making connections and weaving a story. Gold threads in our own tapestry. I look ahead and I hope for small grandchildren gathered round me, who I can impact for eternity. I only hope, because I have loved. And I am busy about this present day… with many too faces growing too quickly before my clouded eyes. There is much work to be {continually} done.

I look at the present faces all around me. Each one’s precious life a gift from God.. and my heart set to minister. To “see” each one… however, imperfectly- so very inadequate…but by faith.

I think of all… all! the imperfect and sloppy days living this life. I think of the relentless press and pursuit forward with all that I am. I think of how I lay down my life for Jesus’ sake. I think of how that is misunderstood in so many ways; again, again. And how poor I am at communicating the full impact of the vision of my heart; the obedience of my life; the unending questioning, analyzing, suffering of the path that is ever before me.

*************************************************************************************

Prior Night,

I sat in a small group of Christians who I do not know very well, and who do not know me. They know about me. They know what they think of me. Perhaps some unwittingly admire me or think I am “something” that I am most assuredly not… because of *very outward*  circumstances of my life.

They ask interested questions. And I try to answer. All the ways I have answered over all the years. And all the corrections offered and the judgments given. How do you convey an entire life given to God, however imperfectly,- no.- so very imperfectly- in a fifteen minute- or even a 60 minute sound bite, when the journey has traversed so much hardship, difficulty, suffering, angst, frustration, confusion, and pain. I can’t.

How do you let people in who look at you with bright, rosy eyes expecting a picture you cannot provide? And how do you guard your heart from the shudder of hurt felt when the warmth turns chill- which it always does. Because.

The story above has also been played out down years. Years and years. Perhaps not seventeen- but close to it. Yes. Close.

I feel sometimes sick at the replay of these conversations. In the end, I determine to continue on. In obedience, by striving ever more to watch my words and guard my heart.

I think of all the words I choke back. The ones I blurt out. The ones I wish two days later, I would have shared. I think of last year’s word: Freedom. I let it wash over me. Freedom.

Free in Christ. Free to live. Free to choose. Free to do. Free. I am free. Free to not ever think again about anything said to me, and every misunderstanding, and bright eye- dimmed.

Free to run toward ALL the fullness of Christ for me that no man can ever lessen.

***************************************************************************

In these new middle years of my life, I find so much different.

I don’t regret one moment of laying down my life for my family through faith in Christ and giving my whole self to this ministry and calling. My imperfections and weakness; my failures leave their mark. But that is not the fault of the call or the choice(s).

I know I will stand before Christ and the fear of God is real in my soul. But I also know His understanding knows no bounds. He knows EVERY crack, crevice, mote of dust; all the tears, all the pain, all the broken-ness. He is informed by all and above all.

*********************************************************************************

To state that “I have been going through something” this year, is such a shadow of the full impact in my life.

My whole life (since 1999) has been connected in and through each of my children and Todd. I gave my body and I gave my heart. I gave willingly. I gave in faith. I surrendered. The fact that the full surrender has led to pain is not wrong. God is with me in the pain. In every season, Christ.

I do believe that I am most fully developed as I exercise my ministry in and through my family. And, in these days, I see this played out again and again as a new season of employment has been upon me for over a year. And in this employment, it is the strength of my family behind me that provides wings for the excellence before me.

I have learned that

when I surrendered to Christ, I surrendered to difficulty I could not see and I could not predict. I gave myself to going through the things He allows. When I said, like Mary, “Be it done to me according to Your will.” I invited Him, His holy Presence, to overshadow my life. And so He has.

The choices I have made find their source; their root; their seed here:

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  John 15

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  1 John 3

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. Matthew 16

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. John 12

I know that I can trust the Lord through every season and rest in Him as He orders my circumstances. I know that the gifts and the calling of God is irrevocable and He will quicken and bring life to me appropriate to my days.

I know that the pouring out of a whole heart and life was not and is not wrong. Nor will I be left helpless, alone, with no identity, and/or lost, because in all things: Christ and in every new season: the work of my hands, heart, and soul for Him.

What do I say to the young father who asks: Should I keep a portion of my life just for myself? These children grow and are meant to leave.

I say: Lay down the whole of your life for Christ. Lose your life, to find it.

I say: Children require the full focus of a life. They are designed to need it so. The impact of this choice is eternal.

God’s design is good, even when it hurts.

In all things, Christ.

Let it be so.

~Rebecca