Cooperatively Compassionate

Have you ever found yourself getting frustrated with someone over their behavior? Perhaps a child, spouse, sibling, church member, retail clerk, slow driver in the left lane… I’m sure we all have different buttons that, when they are pushed, cause us to not always be the example of Christianity we desire to be. Today I want to share how we can have victory over our frustrations.

I love being a homeschool mom…

AND I don’t like when things don’t run smoothly…

BUT sometimes that’s just the reality of life…

SO I am thankful I have Jesus to get me through the storms and bring real peace into my soul.

It’s like that children’s song, Whisper a Prayer, with the repeating last stanza, “to keep your heart in tune.”

At times I feel like the Lord is whispering a certain character trait that I need to work on in my life. Lately He has been repeatedly bringing this one to my mind.  Thankful our Heavenly Father is such a patient parent; He never yells when we need to fix something. I think that the reality of it is because we can’t do the fixing. Only God can! He doesn’t fix our problems against our will, and we cannot do anything without His help.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13.

So, this catchy character trait is the one I’m currently wrestling with, and I am very excited to share about what the Lord is teaching me.

COOPERATIVE, adj

1.  Involving mutual assistance and working toward a common goal. “Every member has clearly defined tasks in a cooperative enterprise.”

Yes, yes, YES!!! Don’t you love the sound of that? I love that our church believes God is a God of order. God can bring order to our chaos; that is a promise He is willing to stand behind. Jesus understood the first law of Heaven is the law of order, and he demonstrated that in everything he did, even folding his bed clothes when he was resurrected and left the tomb. Jesus did not leave a trail of chaos. This has been an awesome object lesson for my children lately. I want them to think about what they leave behind them when they leave the table, when they leave their room, when they leave their toy space, and especially when we leave somewhere we have been guests.

“As He passed through the towns and cities He was like a vital current, diffusing life and joy wherever He went,” DA p.350.

COMPASSIONATE, adj

feeling or showing sympathy and concern for others

Someone recently shared with me that when we see the sins of others, we can choose to recognize them as common sins we too may have once struggled with. This helps us to see them/their behavior with compassion instead of frustration. This realization in my home has been transformational in how I view challenges with my children (and even those outside of my immediate family).  For example, we were struggling with my oldest to be thorough and attentive. I was catching him not completing his work or finishing his chores in detail (i.e. taking the laundry down but not sorting it, putting laundry in the corner of his bedroom but not hanging it up, not giving the same energy to his school work as usual). I was catching myself getting very frustrated about this new challenge which didn’t seem characteristic of him. When I heard or perhaps finally listened to my Encouragement to be compassionate, I realized my own struggle recently with thoroughness and attentiveness. This was very convicting for me, and I spent much time in prayer for my son and myself. I am excited to say we both are experiencing victory in these areas today through the power of Christ in our lives. This doesn’t always mean it’s your fault your child is experiencing certain challenges, but when we view them and their struggles as common struggles we too have faced or perhaps are facing, we are then able to feel and show sympathy and concern instead of irritability and exclamation.

So in summary, my challenge for us all is to practice COOPERATIVE COMPASSION, noun

Tender desire to assist others despite our common shortcomings (my own paraphrase)

With this approach, I think we will be better able to teach them to experience victory through order in their hearts. We can claim the promise of reaching a common goal and see it flow out into our new behavior!

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 3:14.

Blessings, Allison

The Making of a Longsuffering Parent

In this post, I will attempt to explicate ways to discovering the balance of love and firmness in our homes. My growing desire is for my children and me to share a mutual experience of Christ’s character. Together. Day by day. And, even on those bad days. AND, find joy in the process! 😉

Two Ways and Their End

“There are two ways to deal with children – ways that differ widely in principal and results. Faithfulness and love, united with wisdom and firmness, in accordance with the teachings of God’s word, will bring happiness in this life and in the next. Neglect of duty, injudicious indulgence, failure to restrain or correct the follies of youth, will result in unhappiness and final ruin to the children and disappointment and anguish to the parents,” Child Guidance, p. 258.

Recently the Lord has brought the love chapter, found in 1 Corinthians 13, to my thoughts with increasing regularity. We all know it well or have heard it recited often, but do we cultivate the many synonyms given in our daily experiences and interactions with our families? I know I am found lacking here! So, lets dissect this one:

“If I have… (insert any amazing feat you desire to achieve, any amazing to-do list you desire to conquer, any amazing curriculum or resource you desire to incorporate) …but do not have love, I gain NOTHING.”

This is not to discourage us but to point us to our training manual. If we desire to “gain” in our homeschool, to be victorious over nap time and multiplication tables, and slay those bad attitudes that occasionally rear their ugly heads, we must seek this love Christ offers! Who wants to gain ground for Christ this year in their homes?

“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” Phillipians 1:21.

We have to put our feelings aside and pray when our children walk off the path of obedience. Recently I touted to myself, during a challenging day, “I should NOT have to put up with this?! I should NOT!!” Then, the Lord almost immediately gave me a math problem. 🙂 I’m serious. It was clear as day in my mind.

“Then Peter came to him, and said,  ‘Lord how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Til seven times?’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until 70×7.'”

Ok, so any other parents hear the rebuke there? It doesn’t mean our children offend and disobey and we forever ignore them along with said inappropriate behavior.

“For whom the Lord loveth, He correcteth,” Proverbs 3:12.

It means we learn to be longsuffering with them. That’s where the extra long training has come in for me: “Love suffers long and is kind…is not puffed up.” My heart hurts at the thought of allowing myself to puff up toward my child. I want to draw them in with the love of Christ, not use the offense mechanism of an animal to discourage its prey.

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child.” My children are children, and so they are immature in many aspects of their speech and understanding. I forget that I once was a child too. I too needed a patient guide to teach me, to shine a light on the path that I might go successfully, that I might understand the joy found through service and obedience to Christ. This is the sum of our longsuffering duty.

“If you seek the Lord and be converted every day: if you will of your own spiritual choice be free and joyous and God: if with gladsome consent of heart to his gracious call you come wearing the yoke of Christ — the yoke of obedience and service — all your murmuring will be stilled, all your difficulties will be removed, all the perplexing problems that now confront you will be solved,” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, p. 101.

To be an effective teacher you have to be a doer of things taught, or the lessons you are teaching will be like seeds planted where they could not find deep roots. They will be crowded out or shrivel up in the heat and die. To teach the character of Christ to our children, we must learn to be longsuffering, and that is when the teacher becomes the student and the student a teacher.

Your fellow student-teacher in Christ,

Allison

Surefooted After the Holidays

dreamstime_xl_35184731 Sure-foot’ed, adjective

  1. unlikely to stumble or slip
  2. confident and competent

I don’t know about you, but I feel lacking in confidence after the holidays when it comes to our home school. We’ve spent much of the last two months absorbed in holiday cooking, do-it-yourself gift making, weekly church musical practices, etc. AND…I did count those as learning opportunities of course! But, at this point in time, I am eager to get my feet back on the ground and into routine with a new focus.

I do love the holidays and the warm early evenings indoors with a good book and my little people gathered around to listen. That being said, I also will admit that holidays stress me out a tad because I get anxious we may lose sight of the true meaning of these events while getting caught up in the pace the world tries to set for us. And so every year, I plan ways we might make these events a blessing to those around us, and an opportunity to be blessed in return. But, this post is about how to gain a strong footing again if we’ve found ourselves losing balance post holiday flurry.

cozyfeet

Count Your Blessings

After you’ve cleaned up and put away the holiday decor, serving ware, etc., have a family date night where you make cookies again (to enjoy for yourselves) and reminisccookiedatenitee over the holiday season and what you’ve enjoyed most so far, and the looks on the faces of those you saw open gifts, or experiences you were happy to share with others. Talk about what you’d like to do again the following year and what it meant to each family member.

Make New Goals

Yes, I do make new years resolutions! I’m saying pick three things you want to do before winter’s over, like go sledding or snowshoeing or make ice cream out of snow — some fun activities that don’t cost money that you can do as a family to continue to enjoy this time of year that you may not have had time or snow to do so before the holidays. This year I’m hoping to try ice skating, which I haven’t done for ages. I also love to pick some personal goals in our home school for each family member, and this year I have some fun ideas which I plan on posting in January as we embark to pursue them.

Declutter and Organize

No matter how much I commit to having a simpler Christmas every year, we always are blessed beyond my imagination, and after the holidays I take the opportunity to find a place for each thoughtful item gifted. The children and I evaluate where we will keep our newly acquired treasures, and often they use this time also to donate items they are replacing or no longer want/need. This sort of coincides with the for-every-item-in-one-goes-out thinking. We do a scan of gently used items we can donate to local charity before the holidays so those things can be a blessing to others in need. But, we often can do it again post gift-giving season. When everyone in the home has received new items, I tend to get overwhelmed if we do not do this final step in closing out the year. “A place for everything and everything in its place!”

I pray these three simple steps help you find a sure footing in your homeschool journey as you prepare for another year of adventure learning beside your precious pupils. May the love we shared over the holidays, as we took comfort in the birth of our Savior and gave thanks over the many things He has done for us, shine forth afresh from our homes and the hearts of each member residing therein!

Blessings,

Allison

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Waiting: A Thing of the Past?

waiting-for-the-bus

When I was a little girl and was complaining about having to wait for something, I remember my mother telling me, “Patience is a virtue great, and little Alli must learn to wait.”

In the culture we live in today, waiting seems to be becoming a thing of the past. With smart phones and iPads, there appears a real decline in the need to learn patience, because we have access to almost everything at the touch of a screen! Today “waiting” anywhere consists of people on their phones updating social media, checking email, and shopping online. I am guilty of this very trend… But, I have felt a real push, or pull perhaps, to unplug for the majority of our day and live in real time with real little people, and find real JOY in the process!

happychildren

I am writing this post because I still struggle to find joy in practicing patience. And, maybe you do too? At present, my struggle is in teaching this character to my children by example. So today, I want to encourage you to seek to practice patience with your little ones at your side AND find JOY as you continue to “wait” on Him.

big-shoes

Learning to be little, and waiting to grow up:

My children often exclaim what they’re gonna do when they’re “older,” and I remember those very thoughts when I was a child. As a mother I want them to enjoy the experience God has for them now! But, I think it takes purposeful attention from us caretakers to enjoy the seemingly mundane with Mommy or Daddy by their side. I don’t want to miss the moments He is giving us today. We are studying Samuel in family worship time, and I love the story of this little boy’s life. From a very young age, he saw himself as God’s servant, and his work as God’s work. I want to help my children see each opportunity presented to them throughout their day as the work of a royal servant of our Most High God, and in that work to shine for Him as bright today as ever.

“He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much,” Luke 16:10.

Learning tbusy-parentso listen, and waiting to be heard:

This is a big one for me. How often do you find yourself not listening to your child excitedly pour out their heart to you? So, this is where we as parents commit to teach our children by making eye contact with them, even placing our hands on their shoulders and engaging in their world. This builds trust and teaches them to listen to us when we talk to them as well. I have found so much joy when I practice this simple technique of engaging. I have to choose to stop listening to the million thoughts going through my crowded brain for a moment, enjoy the simplicity of their innocent chatter, and commit to conversing with them. This is especially excellent when practiced at meal time or when commuting because we’re all in one place at one time. We also have a technique for when they need to be heard and Mommy’s talking or busy: They can place their hand quietly on my elbow and I cover their hand with mine, recognizing they need me. I take the first opportunity to answer their need, and again trust is built between child and parent.

In summary, I hope you agree that “Patience is still a virtue great, and be encouraged to learn to wait!” (my paraphrase)

Would love to hear how other families experience waiting in their homes.

Blessings,

Allison