Saturday, October 2, 2010

Narrowing The Path

It's been a while since I have posted anything on this blog. Our family has been busy "getting back into the swing of things" as we attempt to bring structure and routine to the day. Homeschooling two children this year is proving to be as time consuming as I thought and yet I see the beauty of God's hand in it all... the struggles, the joys, the relational building that is occurring and the failures. I am so thankful for these four precious lives God has placed in Steve's and my hands to care for and nurture. It has caused me to think of our priorities, my priorities, and share these thoughts with you.

I began to think of the "new school year" as I prepared the little "school room" we have in our downstairs family area last summer. It's not much, but it has been fun to add a school desk and bulletin boards, a place to put all our supplies and post the artwork that is made. I cleared the walls to begin fresh and moved a few pieces of furniture around trying new arrangements. I didn't make any major changes, only minor ones. I began to go over the curriculum we'd be using and putting together the supplies I would need. At times I felt overwhelmed and even wondered if this was just too much to tackle with two smaller children in the house as well.

It was at that moment that I remembered to assess my priorities. Well, I'm sure it was the Holy Spirit giving me a nudge, so I stopped preparing and just sat in the little school room for a minute. I asked Jesus to guide me each day in what he wanted from me to invest in my children. I asked him to strip away the things that were worthless, material, shallow, selfish and deceptively "good." I asked him to put my feet on the "ancient path... to walk where the good way is." (Jer. 6:16) I knew that meant doing things very differently than the world, than those around me. But I knew it was crucial to my children's understanding in who God is and deciding whether or not they would want to follow him.

For my husband and I it is not as important whether our kids "fit in" or are popular with their peers. We don't mind if they don't know what all the other kids are talking about when it comes to t.v. shows and characters, musical stars or the latest must have collectible toy. We know that the "ancient path" we are choosing will distance them from others, but we believe God's word when it says "narrow the road that leads to life." (Matthew 7:14) We believe that preparing our children's hearts for eternal salvation far outweighs the commitments we as parents often feel our children need to be involved in. We trust that as God shows us this unexpected path that he is doing so for our good. It might not be the easiest, the most convenient or the most comfortable, but we are keeping our feet in the race and our eyes on the prize. We are looking toward the day when we will meet him face to face and account for every decision we made as we trained up our children.

It causes me to wonder... as we live our lives in this lost world, how have we been misguided? How have we been pulled in and pressured to blend in. If we could take just one step back what would we be stepping away from? What "important in the world's eyes" commitment or habit or lifestyle choice would we be most relieved to step out of? Or maybe you don't think you'd be relieved... maybe it would feel like a loss to step back. But maybe that loss would open up a new space for the Lord to fill. A space to allow you to push further into knowing Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. A space that would allow you to further walk the ancient path with your children, guiding them and teaching them in His ways, not the world's.

I want to challenge you as I further challenge myself. Steve and I are both laying down things that the world and sin has imprisoned us with. Old habits can be hard to break, but with the Holy Spirit's help we are to be full of "power, love and self-discipline." (2 Tim 2:17) "Living in the world, not of the world" can sometimes become blurred to a very dangerously comfortable level and without us really noticing. Our priorities, however, can be very revealing. Take some time today and ask the Lord how He wants you to prioritize your family time and re-evaluate the choices you are allowing to influence your children's lives. Let's all encourage one another to take a step back from the world and one step closer to the cross.

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