How Our Words Can Be Like Rocks

What is it about boys and rocks? You know what I mean. There is just something innate in a boy! When he sees a rock, he wants to throw it! It is simply the way boys are made. Ohhhhhhhh, and what consequences there can be. When I was four or five, I caught a rock with my forehead and immediately was covered with blood. Two little boys had some consequences. Mine was the stitches. The other boy’s was courtesy of his parents.

Unfortunately, I feel our words are often like rocks in the hands of boys. We carelessly give them a good toss, and thereafter they are out of reach. We desperately wish we could take them back. But once they are in motion, there is nothing that can be done. It is so easy to think I can apologize, and it will be okay. Ever throw a rock through a window? All of the “I’m sorry’s” in the world will not put that window back together like new. Even with painstaking gluing, the cracks will be seen forever.

I can remember something I said to Teri over fifteen years ago, which can bring tears to her eyes even now at the mention of it. More recently, there was an incident when I said something harshly to one of my children. It breaks my heart as I recollect the hurt expression that enveloped their face, almost a look of betrayal. I wish I could take it back, but it’s too late. With both of those incidents, I have humbled myself and asked forgiveness. Asking forgiveness is a critical step as it stops bitterness from growing and destroying a relationship, but it does not eliminate the pain. The only way to avoid others’ pain is not to hurt them in the first place.

As dads, we are called to nurture and encourage those entrusted to our care. Yet careless, angry words can tear down, in a minute, what has taken weeks to build up. May our words be filled with praise as we train up these precious souls God has given us.

Posted in: Dad's Corner

Waiting on the Lord

Most of our homeschool support group knows we have been, as a family, waiting; we are waiting longer for this baby to arrive than for any other birth yet. This has been good for each member of our family in developing patience. We trust completely in God’s sovereignty over the timing for bringing our baby. We are daily given opportunities to be gentle and patient, to think about others’ needs rather than our own, to keep murmurs and complaints to ourselves, and to keep our attitudes positive.

We don’t know why this baby did not come before its due date as six of our seven children have or why it is lingering longer than the one other that went past due date. But there are some things that, from our perspective, could have played a part. The week before the baby was due our four little children came down with colds that lasted for a week and a half. Had our baby been born at that time, the sick ones would have had to look at the baby from a distance, not being allowed to touch it so it would be protected from their illness. Having the baby wait also gave me the pleasure of not missing the first homeschool meeting but getting the opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones.

As we have looked to the Lord for what He wants us to learn through waiting on a baby, I have seen how waiting applies in our homeschooling situations. There we are often waiting too: waiting for direction on a curriculum decision, waiting for a child to grasp a concept, waiting for character growth, waiting, waiting, waiting.

With a baby, as in some homeschooling waiting opportunities, we have no choice but to wait on God’s timing. What we can choose in the waiting is our attitude. I can complain each time I am asked about whether the baby has come or not, or I can have a positive response. I can focus on my discomfort, lack of sleep, and impatience for a tiny baby, or I can focus on the Lord, praising Him throughout the difficulties.

During any waiting process, I want to make sure my heart is constantly on the Lord with an attitude of praise rather than murmuring. My tendency is toward self-pity and complaint during a difficult waiting situation. I want to manipulate the circumstances, force an answer or solution, and mutter my frustrations to my husband. Is that God’s way or my way? God wants to use that time period to turn my heart and reliance to Him. When that happens, He receives the glory.

Recently, we had a decision to make concerning which of three phonics programs to use. I wanted the decision made quickly so I could get on with my planning for the new school year, but the decision was not an easy, cut-and-dried one. I pondered over it, poured over the programs several times, discussed the pros and cons with Steve, and complained about how hard it was to decide. Finally, Steve suggested that I start praying about it, waiting on the Lord for an answer. That was what I should have done in the first place.

I can excitedly report that when I did what God wanted me to do, the decision was not nearly as hard as I had made it to be in my own thinking. I saw God’s direction and leading, but it didn’t come the first time I prayed about it. Each time I started to feel anxious about no decision, that would be my signal to pray for God’s will rather than worrying. As Steve and I discussed those phonics programs, it was clear to us that one of them could easily be blessed by the Lord because of the content used to teach the phonics. That was where we felt the Lord guiding. If I doubt the decision, it is an opportunity to go back to praying and put my mind on trusting God. The decision was made under His direction; it should be left in His control.

As we face these waiting situations in homeschooling, may God teach us to accept them with a positive heart and expectant attitude just as we can choose to wait with joy for the arrival of a baby. His answers to needs that involve waiting for homeschooling are just as trustworthy as His answer to when a baby is brought into the world.

P.S. Our time of waiting for Mary ended eight days after her due date. We had some challenges with the labor that we had not experienced with any of our other babies. Since she came after due date, we had many friends and family interested, concerned, and praying for her delivery. Do you think God had us wait so He could answer the prayers of His people on behalf of Mary and me? We praise our Lord Jesus, giving Him the glory for Mary’s arrival.

Posted in: Mom's Corner