Home is the place of refuge, comfort, inspiration, where great souls can be formed, work habits shaped, models of marriage, love and relationship passed on and eternal spiritual purposes are formed. One of the great losses of this century is the loss of imagination of just what a home was created by God to do.
When I consider the role of motherhood, as well as shaping my children into warriors for His kingdom purposes, I have to consider what God had in mind when he designed women, marriage, and home, as a place to raise whole hearted children. The home and the life in the home, to a great extent, determine the future of children as adults.
Becoming a mother is a role that most women are least prepared or trained to embrace and yet the role that will determine the outcome of history. Clay and I were talking about this the other night and he said, "I wonder if the mother's role might be the most determining factor in our history today as to how history will unfold. I think he could be right.
When I began to understand that the best and most lasting "work" I would ever do, was to build little souls, in my own home, for the kingdom of God, it gave me grand scope for my life. Understanding that I would be responsible for accepting them into my arms and their very health from feeding at my breasts; to emotional well-being by attaching deeply to me as an infant; or stimulating their brains by talking with them, touching them, snuggling them and predisposing them to know the love of God by building pathways in their brain formation of love, acceptance, words of life, affection were the beginnings to my understanding of just how profound God had created the role of a mother to be.
Later when I read thousands and thousands of pages on issues that created intelligence, moral groundings, strong character, habits, vocabulary and more, social skills, leadership skills, I was challenged to my core to see that the scope of what I could give to my children was indeed profound. It is only lack of education and imagination that prevents a woman from understanding the foundational elements that would cultivate in her children a great soul.
Many have asked me if I think it is God's will for all women to homeschool. I cannot answer that question. I could not possibly limit God's will to the choice I have made as the only choice He will bless. I believe that His holy spirit can work abundantly and miraculously in a myriad of situations in different countries and in a variety of historical situations through out time. God honors faith, diligence and hard work and dependence on Him. I have realized that it is not my responsibility to inform people of God's will for their lives, but as a Titus 2 woman, I believe I must teach wisdom principles that I have learned through out my life.
We must understand, however, that choices do have consequences, and one must make an educational choice for their children based on their walk with God and what would be the best choice for their children, their life puzzle and their family in mind. At the forefront of the decision is the understanding that we will have to give an account to God someday for the way we invested for His kingdom in the lives of our children. The responsibility is to parents to influence their children for Christ.
However, the reason I did choose to homeschool, is that once I understood the Biblical mandate for me as a mother, to be accountable to God for raising these precious children for His glory, (with all of these things in mind), homeschooling seemed to me to be the best choice for our family. I knew that there was no one in the world who held the ideals, Biblical truths, and family values like Clay and I did, and no one would be able to pass on the messages and convictions that God had put on our hearts. (I believe there are excellent teachers in this world, but God had put on our hearts the very kind of education and messages we wanted to give to our children.
Seeing my children's hearts and souls as treasure chests so to speak, I prayed and pondered, how could I so invest in their lives so that they would have eternal and true values and memories, and foundations of truth and godly purpose to carry with them and to draw from the rest of their lives. This meant reading them the best books, exposing them to the best writers to store important ideas and a Biblical world view in their minds. I wanted them to have the most wonderful family traditions, values, celebrations that would keep them accountable to the foundations of our family the rest of their lives. Cultivating the gentlest and most loving relationships, the best and most personal model of valuing family life and children and passing on manners that valued and respected all human beings was essential. I planned the broadest experiences of hearing the most wonderful stories of people, exploring God's creation from a Biblical point of view, have opportunities to work side by side with us in ministry, learn to value music and art and history and government and be given the freedom to develop their personalities and gifts to the fullest of what God had created them to be--these and more were areas that I knew no other teacher could give them as I wanted to do.
Whether a 12th floor apartment in Hong Kong, or an old weather-beaten farmhouse in England or a suburban home in America, home is the place all over the world where the scope and magnitude of souls will be shaped and nurtured. Each of us, as mothers, have the ability to create the life of God, in our own homes. We can cultivate samples of His own creativity by home art--pictures on the walls, books in baskets, arrangements of flowers and nature strewn through our rooms, books filling nooks and crannies, pianos or flutes or violins for them to practice music, paints and crayons for drawing pictures of life,--a veritable endless amounts of ways to pass on the reality of our living and vibrant God.
Time is limited and so we must evaluate our children's lives in light of how much we want to allow culture to determine their foundational values, and how much we are willing to work to pass on.
But, I did realize that choices did have consequences and if I wanted to be the one to most determine these values, ideas, ideals, then I would have to sacrifice my own life to the benefit of their lives.
I was speaking to a mom recently who had raised all of her children and had seen them become godly young adults, passionate about their lives and about the Lord.
She said, "I don't think many are talking about Biblical sacrifice any more. When I was a mother of three and my oldest was 6, all of a sudden, I realized that if I were to embrace giving my children the finest and the best, I would have to work harder than I had been prepared to work, sacrifice my own goals and time, and invest in eternity by giving all of myself to the raising of a godly generation."
I personally was not prepared for all that it would require of me, but God expanded my capacity a little more every year as I trusted Him and learned and confessed and grew.
So, the starting point is to see our domain as a Kingdom. We are the queens who rule over our domain. We are the authorities who will determine, to a great deal, the provision of those in our kingdom, the character, the hope and confidence and success as we lead them and rule over them judiciously and generously. As sovereigns over a domain, we have the responsibility to rule over it with excellence, intentionality, shaping the outcome of the life that is lived there. A good queen always leads in the way that will provide best for those under her dominion, and so we may lead well, as we have observed many in history have done, or we may lead poorly with devastating results for those under our charge.
So, learning to embrace the vision is the beginning point of understanding the influence and capacity we have been given by God to lead, build, inspire and train a generation of kingdom workers who will bring His light to bear in their generation. But this kind of result is not happenstance.
Excellence of any kind comes from focussed intentionality. I have said over and over again, we would not throw seeds out into the wind and expect them to become a lavish, cultivated garden. And so, we must not throw our children out into the winds of a humanistic culture and expect them to become healthy, spiritual souls. We must take care for the planting, cultivating, protecting, picking out the weeds, ridding the ground of pests, so that the garden of our children's souls might flourish and bear much fruit and beauty for eternity.