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One Year From Now

Life with a preemie #24

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Life as a parent requires one to think of the future. If we want our children to be able to play the piano like a concert pianist when they are 20 then we better be getting them some lessons when they're 8! If we want them to know how to work hard when they are 16, we need to be teaching them to work hard when they're 3.

When Jeremy and I have talked about what we want our kids to look like when they're young adults the one thing we consistently mention is we want them to LOVE GOD and LOVE PEOPLE. Specifically, Love the Lord their God will all their hearts, souls, minds and strength and love their neighbors as themselves. Yes, we want them to be able to fix a nutritious meal, balance a checkbook, read good literature and a myriad of other things. But when it comes down to it the most important thing is to Love God.
So how do we teach this to little people? We currently have a 7, 5, 4, and nearly 1 year old in our house. How do we teach these little guys to Love God and others? There are many ways that we do this, but tonight I want to mention just one: we homeschool. No, I'm not super-spiritualizing homeschooling. It's not a panacea to cure all the problems of the world. No, other forms of schooling are not evil. But when Jeremy and I started talking about how we could help our children learn to Love God, we knew that it would take time. Lots of time. They needed to see their parents living it out. When we started adding up the hours that our children would be away from us while at school we knew that this was unacceptable to us. We wanted to be our children's primary teachers and disciplers and how could that be possible if they spent most of their waking hours with other people? So, we homeschool.

The last few weeks I've had a huge breakthrough with one of my kids. As tends to be the case, my child that is the most like me is the one with whom I have the most conflict. Over the last couple years I have worked hard to strengthen our relationship. When it came time for her to start school I seriously considered sending her to school, thinking that our issues would hinder her learning. But we pressed on. We snuggled together while we read stories, I rubbed her back early in the morning, we talked about why our tongues move around in our mouth when we chew. We talked about forgiveness and how much God loves us even when we make mistakes. We talked about how God forgets our sins when we ask him to forgive us. And at night when I tucked her into bed I prayed that she would Love the Lord her God with all her heart, soul, mind and strength. I would pray that we would start the next day fresh and new, with no mistakes in it, forgetting what might have happened the day before.

Recently, in just the last few weeks, I have seen a huge softening of her heart. I am still disciplining her when that is necessary, but more and more she will come to me with tears streaming down her face to confess her sin. She says to me "I want to obey God so badly but sometimes the ugly words just come out before I can stop them." I give her a hug and hold her tight and we pray together. I've talked to her about how I make mistakes too, even when I don't want to. I've talked to her about how I am SO glad that God wants to talk to us all the time.

I thank God so much for these moments. And every single time this has happened has been during traditional school hours. What would I have missed if she wasn't at home?



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