"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
I just completed a great day with my 4th grade homeschool student, Randall. Let me just say to all the moms of curious, energetic, fun little boys...you will be blessed. God is obviously teaching me something different every day through my experiences with the little guy. It is truly a joy, but I am realizing every day how much more I need to desperately abide in Christ so that he can cultivate the fruit of patience in my spirit. It is clearly more a reflection on me than on my student, which is quite humbling. Every day this year has been a great lesson in learning to rejoice in the unique worth and character of every sweet child, and I am so thankful to be able to devote all my daily attention to this very special one. Perseverance in teaching can sometimes be hard, (as well as remembering to be the adult!), but it is so worth it.
So back to today...a great example. One huge blessing of my school year so far is Randall's love of whenever I read to him or teach him from the Bible. He is enthralled with the stories of Creation, Noah's Ark, and how God has displayed His power throughout history. It is a powerful learning experience for me to get to present this to him for the first time. He is constantly asking questions, and he is amazed when we can look up the verse that applies to our discussion, such as Psalm 139 when talking about God's beautiful purpose and intention for his life, in contrast to the idea that we could have come from nothing. I have been a slow learner, but am catching on to the fact that it makes a much stronger statement when I try to teach Randall with scripture, rather than my own words. We've dealt a little bit with the issue of complaining, and today I strongly "encouraged" him to repeat a task until he could do it without complaining. At first he was frustrated with me, then realized the joy that could come from hard work. (I call it joy, he calls it relief!) I learned how essential it is for me to stay strong through that frustration.
This led me to look up a resource that would help me teach him Philippians 2:14, "Do everything without complaining or arguing." It is amazingly powerful how the Holy Spirit does his own work through scripture, when we submit ourselves to it. When Randall says he can't possibly do something like not complaining, it gives me a great opportunity to tell him that he is correct - on his own, it is really hard, perhaps even impossible. Yet if he continues to ask God to grow this in him, God will be faithful to do so. Although he jokingly tries resists, he thought it was cool that I could find that verse for him.
My point is this - God's word is powerful; alive and active, and we must be bold with others about the goodness he has to offer. We should be running to it as our daily bread, as one of the most powerful ways we have access to our Father in heaven. There doesn't have to be a perfect plan for doing so, or any sort of rules to follow; simply opening up the Word is life changing, and more importantly, life-giving. And when we have the opportunity to impress it on the heart of a child, we have to remember that those little hearts are often softer than ours; primed and ready by the one who gave them life. And though they might resist, when we demonstrate a gentle strength, they feel secure, loved, and led well. Because I don't have my own children yet, I've only experienced a fraction of what "faith like a child" can look like. I would definitely love to hear any advice you all might have about cultivating the heart of a child in this way.
My response to what God is teaching me is going to be to create a memory verse scrapbook with Randall, filled at first with simple verses that he can hide in his heart and build his faith on. I'll let him write, color, or draw a portion of the verse and we'll simply glue in the rest. I am going to let the verses I choose naturally flow out of the situations that come up in our "classroom." I found the page I used today at Hubbard's Cupboard, where she has created many wonderful resources such as memory verse charts, and memory verses written to a familiar tune. If you scroll to the bottom of her page, she links to some awesome online resources, including memory verse songs and cd's. A few blogs that are also awesome resources for this are on my sidebar, such as Homeschool Creations and 1+1+1=1. I also LOVE "The Excellence of Wisdom," the blog of an awesome mom with a beautiful family and an even more amazing heart for God. Recently she linked to these two fabulous resources. (Just as helpful for guiding adults as well as children!!):
(I found both here)
Though I'm not a parent, I do know God, and realize daily my desperate need for him. My encouragement to you is to run quickly to him, realizing that it is out of abiding in Christ that all good fruit grows. Not to make this any longer, but I have to link to an old song that I've loved for many years, as Amy Grant's music was a big part of my faith as a child. Happy Wednesday!