07 April 2008

timely encouragement~

I went over to a very dear friend's (Heather Norman) house yesterday afternoon for lunch. It was just me and a few other ladies. At every seat, my friend had made beautiful scripture printouts that she had wrapped around the napkins with various Bible verses. They were all unique. She had asked the Holy Spirit to cause each woman to receive whichever verse was to be for her encouragement. This was what I received:

"God is able (Able is God) to make all grace abound to you,
that always having all sufficiency in everything,
you may have an abundance for every good deed:
as it is written,
"He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,
His righteousness abides forever."

Now He who supplies seed for the sower and bread for food
will supply and multiply your seed for sowing
and increase the harvest of your righteousness;
you will be enriched in everything for all liberality."
2 Corinthians 9:8-11

When I first read mine, I had a few moments of regathering my emotions (I'm awfully emotional these days). You see, just in this past week, since I last blogged, the Lord opened a door for Anna regarding her schooling that I did not expect and I am not sure quite yet how I feel about it. I had been excited and very at peace (relieved is really a better way to put it) with the decision to leave New Song and the idea of a year of having my children home to really focus on what is on my heart. All the details had not quite been worked out, but the Lord was imparting and focusing my vision and I was very excited about it. A lot of this desire and vision is married to sowing and reaping (that has been a recurring theme throughout my life, I've had verses and prophecy given to me regarding it, so that meant a lot.) Then, through a conversation with my sister in law, I found out about a different two day per week home school tutorial that begins in the 5th grade. I decided to just briefly check it out as her three older children go there and enjoy it. (I have always planned to eventually switch to this type set up as it is what I did when I was home schooled in high school, provided we felt that's what we were supposed to do at that point. A tutorial differs from New Song in that you choose which classes to take, whereas at New Song, you enroll into a grade and take all the different classes. You are putting yourself under the school's entire curriculum and calendar as opposed to picking and choosing which classes to take.) Anyway, through a series of a lot of things falling into place very quickly, including speaking with the director, taking a tour, all the classes she would need still having a spot for her as well as them scheduling her for an interview that same day, and just a general peaceful spirit there, I began to feel that this is what the Lord has for Anna this next year.

There is a lot going on in my head and my spirit right now, and lots of talking back and forth between me and the Father. This is a quick recap of some things I'm thinking and some things I feel like He has been answering and saying to me. This is still a source of ongoing conversation and is not decided for sure at all, but this is where I am in the process:

This does not fit into my vision for next year, so I began to talk to the Lord about whether this was His plan, if part of my vision was just that, my vision, and how it would all go together. I know without a doubt, a lot of things for next year are from Him. I just thought it would look a little different. I had planned on home being more of our focus, with one fun "school day" at Bethel on Tuesdays. This school would introduce the two day per week things back into our life. But...at the same time I have been really seeking the Lord for Anna and what she needs in her life. My heart was to accomplish some things and build relationship and I was thinking it needed to be accomplished through lots of time at home being together. But she is floundering kind of (not to mention hormonal..ugh...). She needs some focus and something to really put her energy into. She really needs something in her life she has some control over. I am very, very controlling. She is very, very like me, this causes for some tension and control battles. This would give her an area of her life that is her own, she would be the only one from our family there, she would be accountable to teachers other than me on a more grown up and formal level than New Song, and she would be responsible for learning to manage her time and complete her work the three days she is home. In other words...an area of her life that she has a lot of control in. Her own thing.

Now, this school thing is exciting to me also. It has a very sweet spirit. (New Song is sweet, and the families there are sweet, but it has a very strong spirit of authority and control. When you are there, it is all about what they are doing and you are expected to order your home school around their plans. BCA (the school Anna may attend) and Bethel are there to be in more of a supportive role, coming under your plans for your home school in a role to support parents. They recognize my place as my children's primary teacher and authority, and are set up in a way that allows me to prioritize my life according to how I see fit.) BCA also meets in an older part of a church in a hallway, which is exactly what my tutorial was like in high school. That just feels familiar and brings a level of comfort.

Anyone who reads this probably knows that I place high value on family life, togetherness, and discipleship. I think that is the foundation for bringing up our children to know the Lord. So a large part of me feels like I am giving in, like I am handing Anna over and abandoning what I feel is right. Like I'm giving up and haven't been able to accomplish in her what I feel is important with the methods I feel are right. So I am reevaluating some things. How much of what I believe is from scripture itself, and how much of it is from what other people I know (mainly the MOMYS thing) say is the right way to do things? We have to be careful to not idolize what other Christians say and really search scripture and seek the Lord for ourselves. I know a lot of why the Lord had me in such a secluded place in the early part of my marriage and parenting years was for me to learn to go to Him for all things and not rely on parenting books, other people I know, etc. and what they think is right. There is definitely a place for godly counsel, advice, and wisdom, but it should ultimately come back to what the Lord desires. There is a lot that is clear in Scripture, and a lot that is not so black and white as we would sometimes like to make it. We all have our pet causes, and I know I have to be super vigilant to be aware of where that line falls between what is clear, what is not black and white but what the Lord has for us as a family, while acknowledging that sometimes that looks different for other people. I have very high standards for myself, and that coupled with what my vision of success and the what road to achieve it should look like causes me a lot of frustration, guilt, and often feelings of failure if I don't measure up to my ideals.

So, my immediate reaction to the whole idea was basically, "I like it, it looks good, but God, this isn't really what I was picturing next year looking like. Is this from you? If it is, I really, really need You to show me, talk to me, confirm to me that this is right, because it looks different than what I thought you had already told me." I asked for some specific confirmation, as well as just a general awareness of His confirmation through open doors, the direction I felt the Spirit leading my thoughts and prayers, and for Him to show me the parts of my vision for next year that were maybe my own and not all His, or at least not necessarily His way of bringing it about. And He has done that. He has been faithful to honor our desire to follow His plans. He has opened doors and brought about some specific confirmation that I asked for. He has talked to me some about the fact that yes, my vision for next year was and is from Him, but parts of how I thought it should be accomplished were just that, how I thought it should be accomplished.

The final decision is not made, but at this point, if the doors continue to open, we are planning on Anna going there. There are still a few things about what I feel like the Lord had showed me for next year that I'm not sure how they will fit in, but I am just trusting Him and putting those things in the category of "His ways are not our ways and leaning not on my own understanding, acknowledging Him and trusting Him to direct our path." We are still going to have three full days with everyone home together, which is one thing that I was really feeling needed to be a priority. We are going to be in a place where what Glen and I think needs to be important can take priority without causing conflict with a school. Anna is going to get an area of her life to have an identity that is her own and allows her to have a measure of control. A bonus is that she is going to get to take at least two "fun" classes, possibly three (drama, art, chorus) that she has great interest (and some talent) in that she has always wanted to pursue, but is not really able to be incorporated into large family life very easily at this point while still maintaining the level and amount of togetherness time that is a huge priority for Glen and me. And I still get a day alone to clean, plan school, blog, whatever... :o)

So, going back to the verse that Heather gave me, I have just been really torn up feeling that my deep heart desires for my children, and particularly Anna at this stage of her life, depended a lot on what we are able to sow into them and that by sending her to another two day program was going to allow too much outside influence and culture (when I say culture, I usually mean something along the lines of too much importance on clothes, music, appearance, etc.) to allow for the amount of time I felt was necessary to build and cultivate relationship and the level of discipleship I was desiring to incorporate into our life. I have great concerns about outside "culture" being sown too much in her life. So, I had asked the Lord to talk to me specifically about those things while I was at Heather's house. I asked for two things, that someone would say something in the course of conversation that would stand out and I would consciously know was Him talking to me, and that He would talk to me, while I was there, in a way that I knew was from Him. So when I received that Scripture, I was floored. That said many different things to me, it was just generally encouraging in many areas of my life (by His grace I can have sufficiency and abundance for everything I need to do), but what it said to me specifically about this situation, what I felt like He said to me in that moment, was that yes, He would supply the seed I needed to sow into my children, as well as the spiritual bread I needed to feed them, and not only would He supply it, but He would multiply it and increase the harvest of righteousness in my children, and that He would enrich me in the sowing process so I could sow liberally and He would multiply. So even though I may have a little less time with Anna than I previously thought, He would multiply that seed and increase the harvest! Wow! Then, in the course of a totally unrelated discussion, a woman was talking about how they thought they were done increasing their family (one bio child, three adopted and had asked to be put on the inactive list for foster parenting), received a call one morning to place an infant that same day. She said, "God's plans are often different than our plans, when we thought our life would look one way, God actually had different plans." And God said, to me, "Here you go, you asked for it, here it is." This all happened without me talking to anyone about the situation. Except for Heather and one other friend, the other ladies were not people that I know. Needless to say, I came away from yesterday afternoon feeling encouraged. I've felt as if I've heard the Lord pointing out numerous other thoughts and highlighting comments from conversations around me and saying, "that's for you," which is also highly encouraging. He has been so faithful in gently talking to me about where my thinking and plans need to change to come in line with His big picture for next year.

So, that's what's going on this week :o) Now that I've been working on this all day, it's time to get dinner started. Citrus fish, rice and veggies in garlic butter sauce..yum!


Lori said...

I've had to come back two or three times to the past two posts to be able to read them all (and comment!). I LOVE reading what you write and getting a glimpse into your thought processes. Just this afternoon I let the priority of getting the lawn mowed take precedence over not letting the kids go to my neighbors' house without me. In this case, they were both outside and so was I, so I could see what was going on, but still; it's nice to know that other moms are struggling with values and priorities and ultimately wanting what's best for their little people.

Rachel Wilson said...

I love how you blog. Nothing, nothing, nothing, BOOM book! I was so glad the kids got to spend a little time together on Sunday. Wes keeps asking me "when can i see caleb?" I am hoping soon. I have to tell you that I think your grandmother is wonderful. she is just one of the sweetest people I have ever met. Even in her condition she always remembers my hubby and in-laws and ask about the kids. I know you already know how precious she is but I just wanted to tell you that I think so also.

julianalovespy said...

I love this post. Your heart for your daughter (and all of the sweeties) is so big and shines through all your words. I love it.

In response to your honey question: we've gotten our latest honey from Whole Foods, but we have gotten the same honey before at the Farmer's Market downtown. It is from a place in Goodlettsville. They may sell it at the Franklin Farmer's Market also, but I don't know. It comes in plain glass container with simple red, white & yellow labels. The maker is Ed Johnson. I hope it works for you!!

julianalovespy said...

(In case you didn't get the comment on my blog...not quite sure how that works!)

Yes, exactly. It is not the honey in the big bins but in jars on the shelf. Ours looks just like a mayonnaise jar with different labels. The labels are small also. (You can get smaller sizes, but we use so much we need the bigger one.)

Lori said...

Shyla, I'm sure if you ask around, you could find a local farmer who sells honey near you. I know the Blacks get theirs really cheap and so do the Johnsons. We get the same kind as Julie: raw, local, Ed Johnson, Goodlettsville.

"How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about arithmetic, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness." ~GK Chesterton

2012 November

2012 November