Chapter Six: Surprised by Joy
Things that stood out to me from this chapter:
Page 86, "I believe God meant us to feel fulfilled in family because it satisfies our need for a place to belong, a place where you know you fit in."
Page 87, "The joys get lost in the blur of too many activities, and dimmed by a nearsightedness that sees only the housework that must be done, the educational goals that must be achieved, and the needs that must be met."
Page 88, "...I stumbled upon a truth that seems obvious now, but was a new revelation at the time - I didn't have to teach my children how to learn. God had already prepared them to learn, and I just needed to give them room. I am simply a facilitator, releasing skills and abilities already there in my children."
Page 89, "It (their learning to read) had much less to do with my skill and knowledge as a teacher, and everything to do with their God-given, inherent abilities. ... And to think it happened all within the walls of my humble home, without a student desk in sight. "
Page 91, "I don't think it occurred to me before we began this homeschooling journey just how jealous I would be for their hearts, and how protective I would be of the ideas and values we give them that would be challenged by others outside our family unit. But how glad I am that I have them to train and to shape."
Page 93, "...with my own family, I am becoming more aware of the power of traditions to shape my children's mental picture of family. I see myself as an artist, of sorts, drawing and painting in my children's minds a beautiful picture of family that will remain there for the rest of their lives on this earth. ... It has been such a joy in discovering my new role as a painter of memories. My paints and brushes are all the things I do to build traditions into our home and family life, and my canvas is the minds of my children. That has given me such a renewed joy for refining and strengthening our family traditions. I just love being a family artist!"
Page 95, "...the home should be a place to reinforce creativity. The Creator God has left His mark in my children's spirits. I believe my home should be a place where their creativity will burn brightly through all their childhood...I certainly haven't taught my children how to be creative - I've simply created the opportunity and watched with joy as their creative juices flowed."
Page 96, "In God's good, acceptable and perfect design, the mother is at home, nurturing and loving her children, contributing to the spiritual, character and intellectual training of her children. God's blessings - his joyful surprises - are the natural result of choosing God's will."
Thoughts from the Living Word:
* Is your life "fruitful" or fruitless? Because I know that I am attached to the vine - Christ - I can say that my life is fruitful. I can only be fruitful in His strength and grace, but He is faithful to use one that is resting in Him.
* How are you attached to the "vine"? By remaining in Him and being in His Word. When I choose to submit my heart to Him and receive Him as my Savior, I become attached to the vine - the source of life.
* How important is "love" in your life? Without love I am nothing - His love is the greatest gift I could ever receive.
* How do you and your family "remain" (or, "abide") in Christ's love? Choosing Him and His ways, reading and studying His Word, memorizing His Word, prayer, fellowship with other believers, and deciding to live in His will - obeying Him.
* How does that make your life joyful? There is no better place to be than in His will, when I choose that - I am filled with joy.
*What would you think if you were in the crowd and heard the words of Jesus? I would be drawn in by the words "streams of living water". These words imply life, peace, and a continuous flow of love. When I picture a stream of water flowing - it brings a picture of beauty, restoration, health, life, and a calmness that I desire.
* How would his "streams of living water" change your life? The thirst that can never be quenched any other way - would suddenly be overflowing with satisfaction.
* How are you offering that living water to your children? By reading God's Word to them - teaching them His ways and by setting an example in going to Him for these streams of living water instead of to the world.
* How confident are you of God completeing the "good work" that he has begun in you? VERY! He says in His Word that He will and His Word is completely trustworthy.
* Why is Paul's affection so deep for the Philippian church? Because He was there when it began - he has been with them since the beginning and has watched them grow and flourish in their faith.
* What kind of life does he pray that they will have? A life abundant in love, insight, knowledge, discernment, purity and blamelessly waiting for Christ's return.
* What kind of life do you pray that you will have? That it would be our goal and desire to "live a life worthy of Lord and may please Him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being sterngthened with all power according to His glorious might so that (we) might have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified (us) to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:10-14)
* How can you and your family offer yourselves as "living sacrifices" to God? Being available and willing to be used by Him, being open to sharing ourselves and our faith with others.
* What kind of life does Paul imply comes from being "transformed"? One that is not conformed to the world - a new way of life.
* What does it mean to have your mind "renewed"? To be focused on the things of God rather than the things of the world - to have a new way of thinking, one that is reborn from the old way of thinking.
Thoughts on Living the Word:
Personal Application: She suggests taking some time to slowly and reflectively look at your family photos and remind yourself of how God has been working in your family through you.
Family Application: Make a spiritual fruit tree (use your creativity). Jesus is the center vine, each branch a family member. During the week, "fruit" is hung upon the tree when a family member does something that brings joy. Goal: to hve others fill up your branch.