Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Thousand Deaths

We’re still visiting churches in Waco. We’ve identified a few churches that could be a good fit for our family in terms of beliefs, values, and activities. I am so ready to have a church home and develop deep relationships.

As we were deciding where to go to church this past Sunday, PJ told me where he wanted to go. I replied that I would die a thousand deaths if we had to go there. (Dramatic much?) I have no idea how, but this somehow led to an argument and left me grumpy for much of the afternoon. We were expecting guests for dinner, and I got the house and food ready with plenty of exasperated sighs thrown in for good measure.

Our guests were PJ’s friends in college, and they have spent the last few years serving in a country that is not friendly to Christianity. As we ate, we talked about their daily lives and what it looks like to live as a believer where they live. They told us that they worship with their team—two other families.

Suddenly, my pouting about the next day’s church selection seemed…small-minded. Selfish. Sinful. Here I was pouting about attending a church where I could freely worship Jesus and hear the gospel preached while sitting with friends who have sacrificed this freedom so that their little corner of the world might believe in Jesus. Ugh.

Oh, how thankful I am for grace from the Lord who would take this ugly mess and respond with love. He corrected my wayward heart, disciplining me with His perfect Fatherly love. (Hebrews 12: 5-11) I was able to go to church the next morning with a heart ready to worship Christ, even if the practicalities of the church weren’t my absolute ideals.

And notably, I didn’t die a thousand deaths. Or even one.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Soft Sheets and Fluffy Pillows

I subscribe to the Voice of the Martyrs email list that provides updates on those imprisoned for their faith. When the updates come in, one particular name always catches my attention: Asia Bibi. She is imprisoned in Pakistan for proclaiming the gospel. She has a husband and children. She is currently sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Earlier this week, an update on Asia came through regarding a court appointment in which her death sentence would be appealed. I felt burdened to pray for her during the hearing, so I set an alarm at 11 p.m. that matched up with her appointment at 9 a.m. in Pakistan. Seth woke up screaming at 10:30, so by the time I settled him it was almost 11. I begged the Lord for justice for Asia, for comfort, for courage, for peace.

While I was praying, I became acutely aware of my own situation. I was snuggling into a bed with soft, warm sheets, surrounded by multiple fluffy pillows. My air conditioner was programmed to keep the room at exactly 71 degrees, my perfect temperature for sleeping. My room was filled with suitcases ready to go on not one, but two vacations.

Seriously? I was begging the Lord to bring justice to a woman on trial for speaking of Jesus while surrounded with every comfort the world has to offer. The disparity left me unsettled, and I don’t yet have an answer for why I live in luxury while so many people lack necessities. I want to live gratefully but not complacently, and I think this means wrestling with this tension in prayer and cultivating a heart that is sensitive to the Lord’s prompting.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Leave me a comment below!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Let It Go: Classical Education

I’ve been a huge fan of classical education since reading The Well-Trained Mind in 2011. I used the classical model to homeschool Vernon and Brooklyn until this spring, and I think it’s a fantastic way to educate children. However, the time has come to LET IT GO…at least for now. The classical model requires a lot of hands-on effort from the parent/teacher AND kids who are moderately invested in their own education. That’s not us right now! After crashing and burning in February prior to the move, I tried to re-start our curriculum in April when we were settled. Yikes.

The plans for online school that I had for this fall got moved up and put into place immediately. We’re now using Alpha Omega Publication’s Monarch program, and it is a perfect fit for us right now. The curriculum covers subjects in the traditional manner, learning a little bit about a lot of subjects while repeating and building on the topics year after year. This is different from the classical model of learning topics on a four year cycle, but it works better for my kids with short attention spans. I cannot say enough good things about this program! (No, they’re not paying me!) Now that we are all adjusted to the program, the kids are fully capable of using the program independently. Combined with other online activities through Quizlet, XtraMath, and Seterra, the kids are exposed to quality learning opportunities with minimal hands-on involvement from me. I think it is a wonderful option for families who want to homeschool but are pressed for time to teach multiple children.

However, I still favor the classical model, and we are still committed to homeschooling unless there is a compelling reason not to. We are looking into public school for Vernon, as he will most likely benefit from a variety of services that are only available in the public school setting (possibly including special education). We plan for Brooklyn to continue at home with the online program, as it seems to be a good fit for her needs and personality. Emma will be entering kindergarten(!), and I will be teaching her at home along the lines of the classical model, although that really doesn’t kick in until first grade. Really, schooling choices are a year-by-year decision for each kid based on their needs and the needs of the whole family.

For now though, King Academy has needed to let go of a commitment to classical education and pursue different options that are a better fit for our family.