Monday, August 11, 2014

Welcome Back... To The One Room School House

It's another first day here at the One Room School House...

I've been prepping my heart this week with these words...

"And the truth can come like a something brewing rich and right and warming, the Truth about the First Day Back to School, about the First Day of Anything, and every day is the first day, Every Day is Always Day One.
Your sin can’t separate you (or your child) from Christ.
Your Father is bigger than your failures, your flesh and your faults.
And your strengths can’t save you (or your child) in Christ.
Your ego, your excellence and your efforts won’t ever be big enough to be a Savior.
Your sins aren’t enough to keep your child from God and your strengths aren’t enough to get your child to God.
Your sins aren’t enough to keep you from God and your strengths aren’t enough to get you to God.
Your sins aren’t enough to destroy your life and your strengths aren’t enough to determine your life.
Your sins aren’t enough to separate you – and your strengths aren’t enough to save you.
That’s the bottom line: Your sins aren’t enough and your strengths aren’t enough. You are not enough— for this parenting gig, this marriage relationship, this homeschooling year, this work project.
Write it on the wall, ink it on some skin, because Christ wrote it with His blood:
Grace is the only thing that is ever enough."
{An exert from}
At the One-Room School House our number one goal is discipleship... soaking up Christ, so we can live like Christ. 

I have been thinking about these people up on that mountain in Iraq nonstop for the past few days. The story has been all over the news...

My Siah and I clean out his room each year before school begins. 

It was just him and I and a giant trash bag filled with broken pieces and used tissues and all the other things that we had found stuffed under the bed, up in that attic room.

My boy, he could tell that I had something on my mind. And he's never afraid to ask {which happens to be one of the things that I absolutely love about him}...

"Mom, what's on your mind?"

I hesitate to tell him because something in me wonders if he's still too small, if his heart is not quite ready for what's on his Mama's heart. I think about it for a moment and then I think about the very kids that are on my mind and how some of them just might be the same age as my boy. 

I think about them standing on that mountain with their parents. I think about the decisions that they're facing at this very moment; starve to death, or go down the mountain and get their head chopped off by people who don't want to have anything to do with Jesus.

Then I think about my boy and I, up in the quaint attic room of our old farmhouse, and I look outside and I begin very slowly, cautiously, and hopefully courageously to tell the boy about these kids, to tell him where they are and the choices that they are having to make and how it's been a morning of deep, agonizing prayer for this Mama over these people, how it's been a struggle to just move forward in the everydayness of this place because how can I just clean out the attic room as if nothing is happening to my brothers and sisters up on that mountain?

I look straight into my boy and I tell him...

"Do you remember a few weeks ago when that woman looked at you at that party and asked you if you were having fun, then told you how much fun Jesus is? 
Do you remember what you said to me on the way home that day?"

"Is Jesus always fun, Mom?"

And well, I've been thinking about it, thinking about your question. I've been thinking all morning about the American Christian family and the Iraqi Christian family and I've been wondering what it really is that our children need to know about Jesus, about the Bible, about this life, and about the cost of discipleship. 

"Remember the story I told you about Mr. Bates, the man who escaped from North Korea and was able to tell his story. He told of how his mother would wake him and his five siblings up in the middle of the night to tell them the stories that she had memorized from the Bible... because in North Korea, everyone is watching, and Christians are sent away to camps far from everyone and everything, with little to eat and not much hope of getting out. There are no Bibles, there are no churches. THere is little to no fellowship amungst believers, and there are very few that believe at all. This is happening now, boy of mine. 

This is not the past. 

This is the present. 

And the truth is that sometimes I'm afraid to tell you things because I'm afraid you won't understand. And maybe you won't, but boy of mine, today I want you to know something. Its gonna sound crazy boy, but it's a very true and real part of our faith in Jesus. 

Once Paul described the Corinthians...

"In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity." 

And this was said of Jesus Himself... 

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

And these people up on the mountain... some, yes some, might be loosing their very lives today, but there is something that I want you to know boy... 

If ever the day comes when someone looks you in the eye and asks you to deny Jesus, or else; let me tell you something boy__ you never have to be afraid. Why? Because the one and only thing that matters in this world is something that nobody can ever ever take away from you. 

And that my dear boy, is a life sold out for Christ. 

And that is why Christians are fearless. Those of us that claim Christ, have nothing to fear, not even death itself. Because Christ conquered death and claims us as His very own.

His, is the upside-down kingdom.

Then my boy asks me, 

"Then why do I feel afraid?"

When we have Jesus in our heart, He gives what we need, when we need it, never a moment too soon, nor a moment to late. I think there is a reason that he tells us not to worry about tomorrow, because today has it's own stuff. Boy, I think you might just be braver than you think. Remember that black snake that you found yesterday out in the forest with your brother and sisters? When you say that snake you used the garden shears and chopped it's head right off. You didn't even think  about it. IN the moment when you needed to be brave, you were brave. And I was proud of you. And if the time ever comes when you need to be brave about your love for Jesus, the Holy Spirit will give you all that you need in that moment.

He sat quiet for a moment...

"Mom, do you think those people up on the mountain have joy right now?

Maybe boy. 

Maybe not the way the world defines joy. Maybe Jesus isn't always fun, but maybe with Jesus there can always be joy? Maybe Jesus provides your heart with an overflowing joy in the least likely of circumstances?

Maybe, in what seams like defeat, there is really great privilege and we can only see that privilege when we are brave enough to go where ever he might lead us.

Boy, this year, in the One-Room School House... I pray that you would somehow grow in the knowledge of the cost of discipleship... that you would soak up your Savior so that you can live like your Savior. 

My boy and I we set the trash bag aside. We were already on our knees in the little attic room and we began to pray for our brothers and sisters half way across the world. 

And that's how our first day of school began.

It's not the way I had planned.

I had big plans to check off a list of accomplishments today. 

But hearts are more important than lists... And the best days at the One-Room School House, are the ones that you couldn't plan if you tried. 

Today the Lord was gracious enough to help me remember the gift of this time that I've been given with these treasures. 

This year, I will teach them Grammar, but I will lather them with the Word. 

This year, I will challenge some to Addition and Subtraction, but I will also seek my Savior, that I might live like my Savior, that these treasures might see His beauty and fall hard after Him. :)


Welcome back to the One-Room School House... A place of grace... a place of joy.

It's gonna be a rich year...

Grace all around because His grace is always enough... WOOOOOHOOOOOOO! :)

Goals: Each year the kids and the Cowboy and I sit around the farm table and chat goals..

Handsome Sol...
His goals are simple...
1. Come when I call you.
2. Learn to obey when we tell you no.
3. Stop yelling and find some words!

The Spunky Girl...
1. Read. Read. Read.
2. Focus on the task at hand.
3. Practice your patience.
4. Serve, rather than be served.

The Charmer...
{Last year you grew so much in obedience, choosing to obey the first time. This year we are going to work on bumping it up a notch.}
1. Obey the first time, quickly, AND joyfully. {We're looking for your heart attitude to match your actions.}
2. Learn your letters and their sounds.
3. Show your little brother how to really soak up the farm life. {You're a big brother now so you've got big responsibilities. :)}

The Dancing Girl...
1. Persevere.
2. Learn how to cook with your Mama.
3. Master Addition and Subtraction.

My Siah...
1. Read through the New Testament.
2.Practice receiving correction, with joy. {We correct you because we love you and want to see you grow into a godly man. :)} 
3. Take responsibility for your actions, the first time you are asked. {A godly man desires to be a truth teller no matter the consequence... Remember George Washington and the cherry tree!}

The Farmhouse Sisterhood...
The Farmhouse Brotherhood...
May your friendships
 with one another flourish this year!
The Lord gave you each other as a gift.
Bless don't burden. 
Listen to each other the first time.
Honor one another above yourselves.
Soak up the gift of now, of this place, and this privilege.
You are extravagantly loved treasures of mine! Extravagantly.

And the Mama..
My goals this year are simple...
Go outside everyday.
Get dressed everyday.
Listen more, encourage more, hug more.
Speak words that make their souls stronger.
Offer grace. Receive grace. 
Be brave enough to trust Jesus without borders.