Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Compassion and Condemnation and the Sinner

There is a chapter in the book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, in which Francie and Neeley get vaccinated in order to attend school.  In the hours beforehand, Neeley gets nervous, so Francie consoles him with making mud pies.  Of course, they get incredibly dirty.  At the appointed time, a neighbor leans out the window to remind them of their appointment, and, without washing, Francie and Neeley go to the clinic.

At the clinic, the doctor sighs and complains to the nurse of their dirtiness, assuming it is a byproduct of poverty and ignorance.  He is a Harvard man with a socially prominent fiance who thinks of his service at the clinic as time in Purgatory.  The nurse is from Francie's neighborhood and has worked hard to leave it behind.

Little Francie, stunned by the doctor's cruel complaint, expects the nurse to say something loving and kind, like:

"Maybe this little girl's mother works and didn't have time to wash her good this morning."


"You know how it is, Doctor.  Children will play in dirt."

But the nurse fails.  She says, "I know.  Isn't it terrible?  I sympathize with you, Doctor.  There is no excuse for these people living in filth."

These people.

Betty Smith writes:

A person who pulls himself up from a low environment via the bootstrap route has two choices.  Having risen above his environment, he can forget it; or, he can rise above it and never forget it and keep compassion and understanding in his heart for those he has left behind him in the cruel up climb.
I've been thinking about this in relation to sin and being a sinner.  The analogy is not perfect, but sometimes I think we are so scared we might revert back to old ways, or be identified with sinful practices, that, like the nurse, we fail to have compassion for others.  And by we I mean me.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I have another post on homeschooling mercies in my drafts, but I can't bring myself to edit and post it.  All I can say is, we are blessed!  We are so blessed.  I don't know why we are so blessed, but we are.

Pleasing colleges may not be the best measure of educational success, and I don't mean to imply that.  We didn't care about the educational establishment thought for a long time... at least until high school.  Then it got tense.

I don't know what is going to happen next, but I love watching my kids Become.  They are becoming beautiful girls, and girls with honest struggles and questions as well as virtues, and I hope we will always talk and pray together.  Lord keep me from doing anything to change that!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Brightest and Best

Low at His feet we in humble prostration
Lose all our trouble and sorrow and strife;
There we receive His divine consolation,
Flowing afresh from the fountain of life.

He is our Friend in the midst of temptation,
Faithful supporter whose love cannot fail,
Rock of our refuge, and Hope of salvation,
Light to direct us through death's gloomy vale.

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning!
Dawn on our darkness, and lend us Thine aid;
Star in the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer was laid.

Reginald Heber 1783-1826

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Here I Raise My Ebenezer: Part 1

Here I raise my Ebenezer,
Hither by Thy help I've come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home.

Our oldest is a senior this year.  She turned eighteen in September.  She is a legal adult.  She owns her car outright, works a part-time job, and voted in the Presidential election.  She has applied to colleges and been accepted.  Scholarships (and applications for more scholarships) are arriving.  The order of the day is excitement, anticipation and essay writing.  Lots of essay writing.

In the midst of her success, I am thinking back over the last fifteen years or so, how the Lord's provision has blessed her to thrive with a home education.  Many times over the years I have wondered, "Lord, how are we going to do THIS?"

Embarking on a venture never undertaken by family or friends will bring you to your knees in prayer!

The Lord has always answered the question in His own time.  This always surprises me, though I don't know why it should.  He delights in giving good gifts to His children.  Every time it happens, I think, "Wow, He still wants to work with us on this!"

So I plan to write a series of posts on how the Lord has provided through our homeschool journey thus far.  I hope the posts are an encouragement to you.

Someone once advised us to work as if it were all up to us, and pray as if it were all up to God.  We try to do this, although my dad would tell you I often "worry as if it were all up to me."  I try not to worry.  It is a sin, as my dad says.  The best thing for worry is to pray to God, and keep praying when you find you have that worry back in your mind.

My dad was a huge reason we decided to homeschool.  The Warrior Poet and I would never have considered it.  We don't even have college degrees!  But in his travels, Dad met homeschooled students and appreciated their maturity and thoughtfulness.  In his inimitable way, he began working on us, using logic and statistics, as well as constant gentle nudging, until we said we would give it a try.

We honestly did not think we would be successful, but Aravis was young (age 3 1/2) and we had time to put her in school if I failed at teaching her to read.

She was reading the KJV Bible by age 4, so I was stuck.  ;o)