Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Time Out from Organizing to Get Rid of a Little (or a lot of) Sin

The last two weeks have been crazy-full of preparing for the new homeschooling year, plus getting my older two (oldest 2 of the youngest 7? whatever..) ready to launch on their post-high school endeavors.

Then last week was even worse - I was forced to actually start teaching. Everything was going so great until the students showed up :)

 I've confessed before that the planning and organizing (and purchasing!) is much more fun for me than when my children come into the picture and start messing with my plans and my organization and my purchases.

Here's a few pictures of my messy schoolroom. I have no excuse - this room is great. It's the reason I wanted this house. A library with orange grass-cloth wallpaper and two walls of glossy black, built-in bookcases. And it's amply big (that farm table in the picture is 9 feet long.)  Don't hate me if you're doing school in your dining room. This is my 25th year of homeschooling. I consider this room part of my survival package.

I'll try to redeem myself by posting some "after" pictures when I've put everything away. Our guest bathroom is in this room - so I usually keep it fairly neat. But not during the first few weeks of school. I just pray for No Guests those weeks. At least not guests with small bladders.

 They say that homeschooling is a lifestyle - but my goal is always to get to the place where it's just a part of our life and not the crux of it - translation: I don't want to have to think about it on the weekends. Especially not on Sunday.

All that has very little to do with this post I'm linking to for your reading pleasure - and definite edification...and possible conviction.  I doubt if I'm even in the target audience for The Gospel Coalition blog since I believe it's aimed at full-time Christian workers (which is actually all of us, right?!), and the authors are over-the-top intellectual, so sometimes I spend too long looking up their words in dictionary.com and I forget what they're talking about.   But I don't unsubscribe because many times one of the posts REALLY, REALLY speaks to me and answers some sort of deep, theological application question that's kept me up nights. (Yes, that is exactly the kind of spiritual mom I am - the type who ponders deep issues as her head hits the pillow at night ...  unless I'm wondering what to cook tomorrow...or if my children will be abducted...or sneak out.)

The question/fear/anxiety this post answers for me is "Will my children be sanctified young adults since we  go to a less exciting, yet God-centered, church where they hear the whole counsel of God preached, in adult-speak, sans crafts and drama and easy-to-sing praise tunes?"

Wouldn't they have a better chance to walk the narrow path if we went to the fun church with the Discipleship program and the T-shirts and the accountability groups and the culturally-aware Pastor who cracks (appropriate) jokes and wears clothes they've seen on commercials?   Don't get me wrong, I love my church. Every single solitary sermon speaks of Christ; Who He is, and Who we're not  - and occasionally our beloved Pastor (who doesn't read my blog, praise Him!) even hints at application - but many, many Sunday lunches are spent trying to bribe my children into remembering something....anything (!)  from the sermon. (We used to offer dessert to those who could tell us what they learned...but we got tired of eating cake alone.)

I realize my real problem is a lack of trust in God's love for my children..and me. And His abundant provision and mercy and plans to prosper them...In His timing. But a mom's gotta fret over something other than how many meals she can get out of a whole chicken, right? (and the answer to the chicken question, at least for our family, is....half a meal. A whole chicken is practically a snack food around here.)

Since I know some of you will not click on the link and read the article (the non-commenters are probably non-clickers :)  - Even though the author basically tells us how to put away sin -  Here's a small part of the blog post from the beginning....

"So when we preach or teach passages that exhort our listeners to turn from unrighteousness and pursue holiness, to put to death their patterns of sin and walk in godliness, inevitably, we will get questions along these lines: But how do I change? How do I stop looking at porn? . . . losing my temper? . . . despising my husband? I want to put to death my sin, but I can’t."

And this part towards the end...

"Should we conform our minds to the truth of the gospel and remind ourselves of its truth? Yes. Should we bring to bear all the imperatives of the Bible, with the knowledge that Christ has already qualified us for heaven? Yes. But let us also open up our Bibles and search for Jesus, meditating on his glory, rejoicing in his perfections, tasting and seeing his goodness, and, then, let us put to death our sin as we are being transformed into his image, from one degree of glory to the next."

Now go read the whole thing! And come back and tell me whether you agree that knowing God, and showing Him as irresistible, to my precious children, is the answer to all my fears.


Kahlua Keeping Koala said...

Do I get bonus points for commenting early in the morning? Put off sin, put on the new man... Renew your mind... Act your way to right feelings not vice versa. It's easy to _____(the sinful way). It takes conscious effort to ______ (the righteous way). If one sticks to the essence, love God and love people, it's really easy to measure your actions.

Cheaper by the Baker's Dozen said...

Yes, Kahlua, you get bonus points! You win a free loan of my bathing suit :) (...a personal joke that is not as weird as it looks when typed.)

Your summary is excellent, too. A+ :)

Sarah said...

I have to admit that I am indeed envious of your homeschool room. Love those giant bookshelves!

Laura said...

Oooh, I could converse all day but we have dentist, orthodontist, audition, etc. appointments today. I feel very encouraged by the gospel post yet am still seeking answers in another area of concern. It seems, based on the post, that if we continue to encourage our children to seek Christ, His truth, they will be transformed as they continually glimpse Him. As will we. As children they have an even harder time acting (righteously) against their feelings, but they will grow and mature.

I might have something else to add but it isn't coming to mind right now. Something about being 40 ;)

tori said...

I appreciate that you make decisions about what church to attend not because of the children's ministry or youth ministry or women's ministry, but for doctrinal integrity and how the church will help to mature you and your husband to be more Christ-like. With that as your primary desire, and hearts of love and submission to Christ, how could you go wrong? No more fretting, but rejoice...

"Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed." Psalm 112:1-2

Jamie said...

I love this blog post. Very funny and very real. We attend a reformed Baptist family integrated church and I often ask my boys to narrate back to me what they heard in church. They rarely can as of yet. But I am hopeful that God's Word does not return void. We used to attend a church like the one that you described. You know, the really "fun, culturally relevant" kind of church. Our oldest son (9) still asks if we can go back to our old church because they had skits and candy and Easter bunnies and t.v. and on and on. It was very "fun". However, the Lord clearly led us to our present, very simple, Scripture sufficient (?) God fearing, church.

I have the same fears and feelings that you wrote about in this post. But I believe that if we try to live our lives in obedience to Him (even though we will fail on a regular basis) we will be salt and light to this bland, dark world as well as to our children. I have not read the article that you linked to yet but I look forward to reading it. Thanks for the link and for sharing your Titus 2 wisdom. I look forward to reading your next blog post! :-)

Nancy said...

Hey friend,

I am a self confessed noncommentor.
But I am a clicker. ;)

Loved the Gospel Coalition Post.

Another timely thing for me.

Recently I am reading Knowing God J.I. Packer...and have reached the chapter on Sons of God. The same kind of encouragement is found there.

Pointing back to knowing God, Who He is, what He says about Himself, Who Christ is and only after looking at these things do I dare consider who I am...and only through the lens of who God says I am, was and will be.

So many struggles fall away and pale in comparison to our Holy God and Father, the propitiation for our sin through Jesus Christ...Who is one with the Father.
God sacrificing Himself for us...to consider such a thing knowing how wretchedly rebellious and sinful we are...it is amazing beyond my ability to comprehend.

The things I most fret over lose their hold on me...and knowing that God will complete His Work...that is truly a blessed relief.

Thank you for the encouragement, and the blessed reminder of the Gospel message and glorifying God in all things.

Jess said...

thanks for sharing the article. i too sometimes shy away from their posts because I don't understand it all. A wise woman from my church with some child-raising under her belt, encouraged me with the reminder that as a stay at home mom/mom in general, I have the responsibility to know the theology I believe and be ready to defend it. With this being said, I am trying to have a more positive attitude when it comes to reading what I don't always understand.
We too go to a very gospel centered, very program free church. I have felt the same way at times but I remind myself that it is my Lord who will save my boys, in His time. But I thank Him daily that he has given me the opportunity to share Him with them, and that His mercies, in this too, are made new every morning. I love your blog, and I we plan to homeschool next year in our tiny little dining room, turned playroom. But He will provide a means for that too!

jodi said...

first of all, those shelves looked much neater when i unpacked the boxes of books the day you moved in.

second, how come i always used the boys' bathroom when i visited? am i not "guesty" enough?

thirdly, our church is one of those who flirts with the whole counsel, has the Discipleship program (which uses the 12 steps...) and the T-shirts and the accountability groups and the culturally-aware Pastor who cracks (appropriate) jokes (but he does not dress hip. he is 72). this past sunday, courtesy of hurricane irene, our church was cancelled due to no power. i went to the church my oldest daughter attends, a humongous less exciting, yet God-centered, church where they hear the whole counsel of God preached, in adult-speak, sans crafts and drama and easy-to-sing praise tunes and i. was. fed.

and i was awed by the number of people who stood around after the service discussing the passage of james 5 (what the young, hip, dresses in clothes like we've seen on commercials pastor preached on). it was a community.

and that is what you're giving your children that other churches don't (those other churches hurry home because they are exhausted by all the excitement/drama/crafts). your children have Godly mentors around them that truly care and pray. they have a pastor who knows them well enough (and their parents) not to let them get away with sin. or not living Biblically.

but then you know i'm a want-to-attend-your-church-if-only-dh-agreed-and-we-still-lived-in-the-same-state.

love you/miss you-
jodi (who absolutely cut and pasted from your op)

jodi said...

first of all, those bookshelves looked a lot neater when i unpacked the boxes of books the day you moved in.

secondly, why did i always use the boys' bathroom: was i not "guesty" enough?

and last: i am one of those people who (submissively-heh heh) attends "the fun church with the Discipleship program [based on the 12 steps] and the T-shirts and the accountability groups and the culturally-aware Pastor who cracks (appropriate) jokes" (he is 72. he does not dress hip).

this past weekend, thanks to hurricane irene, our church was cancelled due to no power so i went to the church where karis goes: big, "less exciting, yet God-centered, church where they [preach] the whole counsel of God, in adult-speak, sans crafts and drama and easy-to-sing praise tunes" and i. was. fed.

i was also amazed by how long people stood around and talked afterwards, fellowshipping and discussing james 5, the scripture that was preached that morning (by the hiply dressed, young pastor). our church members are too tired from the entertainment/crafts/drama to discuss such things.

and so this is how our Sovereign God has led you to raise your children. in a community of believers who know the whole counsel of God, mentor your children through their example at sunday dinner, pray for them, love them enough to not let them (or their parents) get away with sin or living unbiblically.

justification/sanctification indeed.

love you/miss you.

p.s. how did you like "Give them Grace?"

Cheaper by the Baker's Dozen said...

Loving all your comments. I'm encouraged to have fellowship (even cyber-fellowship) with other moms who care, feel, and think deeply.

Jodi!!! I don't think I could ever look you in the face again if I knew you had used the dreaded boy's bathroom! Surely you jest about that. Even though you were more like family than a guest - I would've/should've/must've directed you to the guest bathroom. And yes, indeed, my school shelves never looked better than the day you arranged them for me :)

Have I told you lately that I miss you and I think we should live closer than 116 states apart?

Cheaper by the Baker's Dozen said...

P.S. to Jodi - I liked Give Them Grace very much, which surprised me so there are so many grace books out right now. It must be important! :)

My only criticism of the book is the contrived speech the author has the reader use when talking to their child about sin. I imagine she is only giving us specific examples because she wants us to understand the message she's trying to get across, but if I took her literally...I would be speaking to my children about sin for most of the day. Which would be a sin LOL

Trisha said...

Your comments about the Gospel Coalition made me laugh! I, too, love their posts, but don't always "get them" or have the time to "get them." HA! And what an amazing school room you have. I love that table!

And I love those times when my children suddenly burst forth with something they heard months ago....and I didn't think they were listening. Our churches sound similar, and I'm so thankful my children aren't dependent on flesh appealing tactics that are trying to get to the heart.

Beautiful closing words....yes, that's what I long for too.