Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jeroboam and Me: Part 1 . . .

Bible and Journal (BW) 8-28-2009 7-19-33 AM

I love it when the LORD speaks to my heart, seemingly out of the blue. Well, I don’t actually love it, but I do in the sense that it reminds me that He is real, and that He knows me and cares about me, and that He hasn’t forgotten to continue making good on His promise to keep on conforming me more and more to look like His Son, Jesus.

Here’s a little background: During our family’s morning devotions we have been reading through 1 Kings. The other day, we read about Jeroboam. If you aren’t familiar with the story, let me summarize it. King Solomon had died and his son, Rehoboam took over. But God planned to bring judgment on Solomon’s throne because he had turned away from Him, so he sent a prophet to Jeroboam and told him that He would give the kingdom to him (Isn’t that crazy?), but that he would leave 2 tribes with Rehoboam. And that’s exactly what happened. Jeroboam didn’t have to do a thing. It was all God’s plan. Next thing Jeroboam knows, he is leader of Israel.

Now here is where it gets interesting for me. Jeroboam takes his 10 tribes and goes home. And then the story goes that he became nervous about the people having to travel back into Jerusalem to worship God at the temple, so he made two (not one, but two!) golden calves (sound familiar?) for the people to worship. Hmmmm . . . You see, he didn’t want the people to go into Jerusalem and be wooed back by Rehoboam. He felt he needed to work hard at keeping what he never worked for in the first place. God had given him the kingdom. God had made him king. God would keep him king, if that was His plan. All Jeroboam needed to do was to faithfully lead the people of Israel in following after God. This story has always fascinated me.

Then God gently told me that I was guilty of the very same sin. Working hard to keep what I had freely and graciously been given.

When our children were young, Earl and I had no problem telling them “No” and setting tight boundaries in light of what we felt was best for them. We set the schedules, decided on social interactions, and worked hard not to have what some have termed a “child-centered home”. We tried to make all the important decisions as wisely as we knew how and we endured the frequent tantrums and the scowls in the beginning. We weren’t fazed by the folded arms and declarations of “I’m not happy!” Yes, there were times when it actually was “cute” and we smiled inside. But we remained strong and determined (Oh, how glad I was that Earl and I were a team – I told him over and over that I could never do this parenting thing without him!) and we are now have more “happy” days than “sad” days. We laugh a lot, we enjoy being together, we are learning to work well together, and it doesn’t seem as “hard” in the way it did when the kids were younger. I know that I know that I know that this did not come about apart from God’s abundant grace . . .but it sure feels like “good parenting in . . . and good children out”.

I wrestle with that.

Did Jeroboam wrestle with that? Did he begin to think in his heart that God chose him because he was such a mighty warrior, and because he had such “kingly qualities”? Did he begin to take pride in his decisions as king and therefore along the way come to fear making the wrong decision and then losing his kingdom?  My worldview says that God equipped Jeroboam to best fit into His plan of what He wanted to do with Israel and Judah. Jeroboam didn’t equip himself hand it certainly wasn’t Jeroboam’s plans that were being accomplished . . . at any time.

I wrestle with that.

I’m a product of this culture . .. to a large degree. I have been raised to believe that an honest day’s work deserves an honest day’s wage. If I work really hard at something, it should produce the desired fruit. But that is not how it is with God’s economy. His economy isn’t based on works . . . but purely on grace.

By faith, I know this is true. But on a practical level . . . I’m still wrestling with that.

Part 2 coming as soon as I can articulate the rest of what is swimming around in my heart regarding this. I’m working hard to wrap my head around these truths that I pray will transform my view of my role in parenting and will free me up to love my children better (and my husband!).

But I know where I am headed: Jeroboam sinned in trying to “keep” what he had never “earned” in the first place. I too am tempted to sin when I think that I have to “work at” keeping the hearts of my children when God has graciously granted them to me (and Earl) apart from our works.

My thoughts have been spurred on from reading Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Some Summer Projects

 

Before the summer vanishes completely, and we are going full-blown into our school year, I wanted to post some photos of some of the summer projects that the kids worked on.

This was a different kind of summer for us. We didn’t get to spend as much time with “school friends” as we have before or as we would have liked. Jonathan was in swim lessons about 5 weeks out of our 7 weeks off (which cut into our Friday beach days), Molly and Annie went to sewing camp (Molly blogged about that earlier), David and Emily and I went to CHEA (Christian Home Educators Association) – our homeschooling conference, I had jury duty (4 days), and before we knew it it was time to start school back up. We didn’t even get down to my mom’s to swim as much as we have in the past. It was a very different summer. And though we had fun, we are not sure yet still how we feel about it. We really missed some things.

But . . . another highlight was that David got to work with Scott Johnson  again (a man from our church) on a fun woodworking project:

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David was able to borrow Scott’s hand sander and he enjoyed working a little on the project at home. He would love to own some of his own tools . .. we need to start now keeping our eyes open for some good used ones to begin building up his “tool box”.

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The girls and I also got together with a lady from our church (Barbara Garrett) who opens her home once a month for people to bring their sewing projects to work on together. The girls and I were finally able to make one this summer and we brought a fun project that turned out GREAT!

I have a 1982 Bernina sewing machine that I inherited from my grandmother years ago. My mom and sister bought the girls a sewing machine this past Christmas. And THEN . . . someone at church gave (GAVE!!) us a sewing machine that they didn’t need. And so now we have 3 and it makes it much easier for all of us to sew. (Well, I didn’t sew, but I was needed to help out, so it was good. I doubt there will be many times when all 4 of us will be sewing at the same time.)

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This was Annie’s first time to really have a machine to herself (outside of her sewing camp class) and she really enjoyed it and she did so well!

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What did we make, you ask?

Well, they were these cute fabric covers for a composition-sized notebook with a pocket on the front for a pencil. We all had a wonderfully fun day! Thanks, Barbara!DSC_0034 I’m itching for when the days cool down and grow shorter. I’m itching for those dusky after-school hours before dinner when we set up the machines and work on Christmas gifts. Hmmmm . . . got to think of some ideas.

Earl and I are so incredibly grateful for the amazing people that the Lord has put in our children’s lives for them to learn from. How rich we are, and blessed indeed!

It’s Been Hot!

 

The past month it has been very warm and extremely humid for our area. The humidity has made it very difficult to “do school”. The break up to Stockton was actually a relief due to the fact that there was little to no humidity, even though the temperatures got up to the 100’s during the day.

However, our kids have done AWESOME in being diligent to plug along in their school work and we were all so glad when Thursday afternoon arrived, because it meant we could put away the books (mostly) until Monday morning. We do a 4 day academic week with Friday being reserved for chorus and academy days (when they start up again in September) and for field trips and biology labs.

Yesterday, Emily and David had a biology lab trip in the morning. It was nice to get outside.

They had to gather pond water samples in glass jars and then observe, through sketching, their surroundings.

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David and Matty were convinced they had a better vantage point for observing up in this tree.

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After biology, we went home, grabbed some lunch and then loaded everyone up and headed to the beach. Oh . . . it was so cool and so very nice. The kids frolicked and I sat and just breathed deeply (when I wasn’t talking with a lady next to us whose grandson played with our kids or cooling off in the surf up to my knees).

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Jonathan is either trying to “part the waters” or just expressing his utter enthusiasm for being at the beach. Not sure.

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This guy was very entertaining as he was really getting his exercise while doing all kinds of amazing things with his frisbee. Can you see it?

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This was Max, who really latched onto David. David is a GREAT big brother to Jonathan and it was fun to see that “funness” extend to this other little guy who most likely doesn’t get the chance to play with other “big guys”. We could hear Max squealing with delight all the way up on the sand where Em and I were sitting.

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It was a VERY relaxing afternoon, and we stopped for McDonald’s sundaes on the way home!

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