Oh what many blessings the Lord has given us. Join me as we turn our hearts towards Him in gratitude for his love, mercy and blessings this Thanksgiving season.
The Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
(Edgar Albert Guest, 1881-1959)
It may be I am getting old and like too much to dwell
Upon the days of bygone years, the days I loved so well;
But thinking of them now I wish somehow that I could know
A simple old Thanksgiving Day, like those of long ago,
When all the family gathered round a table richly spread,
With little Jamie at the foot and grandpa at the head,
The youngest of us all to greet the oldest with a smile,
With mother running in and out and laughing all the while.
It may be I'm old-fashioned, but it seems to me to-day
We're too much bent on having fun to take the time to pray;
Each little family grows up with fashions of its own;
It lives within a world itself and wants to be alone.
It has its special pleasures, its circle, too, of friends;
There are no get-together days; each one his journey wends,
Pursuing what he likes the best in his particular way,
Letting the others do the same upon Thanksgiving Day.
I like the olden way the best, when relatives were glad
To meet the way they used to do when I was but a lad;
The old home was a rendezvous for all our kith and kin,
And whether living far or near they all came trooping in
With shouts of "Hello, daddy!" as they fairly stormed the place
And made a rush for mother, who would stop to wipe her face
Upon her gingham apron before she kissed them all,
Hugging them proudly to her breast, the grownups and the small.
Then laughter rang throughout the home, and, Oh, the jokes they told;
From Boston, Frank brought new ones, but father sprang the old;
All afternoon we chatted, telling what we hoped to do,
The struggles we were making and the hardships we'd gone through;
We gathered round the fireside. How fast the hours would fly--
It seemed before we'd settled down 'twas time to say good-bye.
Those were the glad Thanksgivings, the old-time families knew
When relatives could still be friends and every heart was true.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
As I thought about how Rev. Billy Graham reflects on the time he missed being with his family throughout his life, I thought about how the Lord has given me an opposite situation. My calling has not taken me away from my home and family, as Billy Graham's has. Instead it has required me to be almost 24/7 with my children. And the very thing that Billy Graham was asked to sacrifice for his calling (time with his family), is a gift in my life... the gift of time with my children.
What a precious gift it is, that the Lord has allowed me to spend TIME with my children, through this blessing called homeschooling. I want express sincere gratitude for the opportunity to love and enjoy and BE WITH my kids every day. It really is a gift. However, while God has given me the opportunity, the time, to be with them, what I do with that time, is up to me. It can be squandered away, or grumped through, or spent on twaddle type activities. Or I can miss the preciousness of the gift, and resent that time, and look for ways to farm my children out to others who are willing to spend time with them. (And on some days, my selfish bent can lean in those directions.)
Yes, time with our families is a gift, to be cherished, used responsibly and not squandered. I know this, and believe this, yet there are seasons where I still struggle to appreciate that gift. Usually, it is because I have allowed my schedule to pull me in too many other directions, creating an exhausting existence, where service to my family (meals, laundry, teaching, playing) seem to be getting in the way of the other things I am trying to accomplish. What a shame when that happens, and I must repent and reprioritize my time and our family commitments.
One thing that will often instantly remind me of how much I really do cherish this gift of time, is when something that threatens it enters our lives. Severe illness, auto accident, cancer, violence... all thieves that loom just outside my comfort zone waiting to rock my world, and threaten to rob me and my family of time together. Turns out that all of these particular thieves have indeed had their grip on me in the past. And these experiences do tend to be a sobering reminder of the fact that my time with my family and children may not be as long as I think, so I had better be deliberate with every minute and guard this precious gift.
Another lesson from Billy Graham, was the idea of sacrificing in order to fulfill a calling on our lives. As I walk this journey of marriage and parenting and specifically home schooling, I must revisit this time and again. For me, it is a calling, and I am committed to staying the course, and finishing the work God asked me to do in raising and discipling my children.
This is why I think it is important that we have a vision for our families… a picture in our mind of where we see our kids going and a destination in mind. Otherwise, we are really prone to being led by our emotions, or fatigue, or the crowd, or laziness, or difficulty, or just plain “wanting to do something else!“ etc., into something other than the calling God has given us.
The word sacrifice:
a. Forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater value or claim.
b. Something so forfeited.
Without sounding like a martyr… because I don’t feel that way at all… but still, we do choose to sacrifice certain elements or paths or activities for others that we deem more valuable, or that we believe God places more value on. We make those choices all the time.. Sacrifice the good for the better.
We sacrifice things we value ( or our flesh values!) like…
Our time… Specifically, time with our friends, time to pursue hobbies or personal pleasures (like reading, gardening, crafts, exercise), time to pamper ourselves, time to shop, etc.
Money that could be either earned by working out of the home, or money that is spent on “other” things, is spent on curriculum, books, and oodles of teaching resources. But sometimes we don’t necessarily sacrifice money… hubby still makes good income. So it is something else.
Peace of heart and mind
Sometimes our peace of mind is stretched to the very limit and sometimes even beyond, as we disciple, love, and train our kids… meaning all ages! How tempting sometimes to abdicate that job to another… maybe a teacher, youth group leader, kid’s peers, or just look away and pray for the best. For some, spending 24/7 with high maintenance or difficult children is a huge sacrifice of our heart and personal ease of living.
Have you ever felt like you just can’t do it again today… maybe not the actual teaching of school subjects ( but sometimes that too)… but the discipling, training, refereeing, coaching, discipling that is required of us all day, every day. Sometimes it is a strength of spirit, and sometimes physical strength, and often both that we are lacking. For this area especially, we MUST turn to the Lord to fill our cup and remember that He will not ask us to do more than He will equip us to do, even if we are close to the end of our rope.
It will look and feel a little different for each of us... the sacrifices we make to obey God and answer His call.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Dr. Rev. Billy Graham turned 93 yesterday, Nov. 7th. (That happens to be my husband's birthday too!). There was a 2 hour special tribute to him on TV and it was sure incredible to look back over his life and see how he has dedicated it to the calling he felt God placed on him. He has been all over the world and is one of the most respected people by people everywhere. Truly, it is just amazing that this one man, from one small town, could make such an impact on the world. There is no doubt that many came to know Jesus through his testimony and preaching of the Word.Yet it was also sobering to hear him say, that one price he paid dearly, was time and relationship with his children. He seemed to question his life's work, just a little, due to that factor. It was a bit sad. Yet, perhaps that is what God asked him to give up, to sacrifice, in order to serve Him. I don't know that he was aware all along of the toll it would take on his family, as it seemed more of a revelation in his older age, rather than a conscious sacrifice at the time.
Hearing him speak of this, made me think about the gift of time with my family and children, but that will be another post.
For now, a heartfelt Happy Birthday to Billy Graham, and a thank you for his many years of ministry.