Today was a fun day. Since we can't all get together for devotionals anymore during the week with everyone's various schedules, we do a big breakfast and devos on Sunday mornings. Candlelight, music, coffee and pajama'd folks circling around. Today was a soufle, fresh fruit, cinnamon rolls and hash browns. It was fun to see how excited and loud everyone got when we got into a discussion from I John. I do have great memories of how our family has developed over the years into highly opinionated, articulate people. Sometimes it is exhausting, but today was fun.
It was snowing profusely and swirling in dancing gusts. A great day to stay inside and sit by the fire. Sometimes at 54, I think I should be sipping tea and contemplating my memoirs. But, I still have 12 year old who wants to play, so we just had to go out into the 22 degree weather and play. I followed in her footsteps (she had gone ahead to hide in a tree) and found my way through knee deep snow on a path that led to Sir Noble--the tallest pine tree in the area where Joy was hiding from me. We were originally going to meet at the top of the world (the top of the hill where we can look at the view of the mountain range), but after I trounced through Merryman's passage ( the first part of the path), and on to the tree, I thought better of getting any deeper than knee high as I was already falling through her footsteps to the ground below. Joy and her exploring friend have named every section and landmark and played Robin Hood and thieves and princesses and orphans amongst the trees and paths amongst the houses. Great, rousing blowing wind and sparkling snow and a fun memory with my elf who keeps me young and celebrating the important moments of life.
What a privilege it was to be in our conferences in Colorado, California and Texas to be amongst such wonderful mothers. My fellowship with all of you was so precious and being in the company of such committed women gave me more strength to keep going in my own role as a mom. Many sweet moms are up against such obstacles with illnesses, difficult marriages or working through the journey as single moms, knowing the weariness of the journey of constant with little or no support and financial constraints, and many having no background or model to follow. And yet, I was so encouraged by your stories and seeing many pictures of your children—you are my heroes because I know personally the work such a life requires, but I also know that your labor is not in vain and eternity and history will be different because of your great work of faith.
As always happened, when I returned from being on the road off and on for six weeks, including a trip for a funeral, I found my energy was somewhat depleted and the piles needed taming. But I am used to this from 10 years of doing it. I give myself and our family grace—we sleep later hours, leave piles unattended, school undone—knowing that in due time we will attack them all and get it all done in due season. I give us time to catch back up to life. We eat easy or store bought meals and paper plates for ease of cleaning, do leisurely, fun, “cup-filling” activities to give all of us who are depleted in the expending of so much energy, traveling and serving, a time to restore. It used to overwhelm me, but as I have studied the whole concept of seasons and even as I worked on the new parts of my book, I have found grace in submitting to the limitations of each season and leaning into it instead of resisting it. My passion is rekindled by being with all the sweet moms, my body begins to catch up, my emotions smooth out and the piles gradually disappear and I am then caught up again in the grand call that I have learned to love so much! Blessings and sunshine to all of you this week! Love and grace to you in the midst of walking with Him, who so wisely appointed us to this grand call! Sally (Sally@wholeheart.org)
PS Below is a dictionary definition, and a quotation as well as some of my own commentary on some excellent words written over 100 years ago—that still apply today! Enjoy!
The Civilizing of Our Nation
civ·i·lize 1. to create a high level of culture 2. to teach somebody to behave in a more socially, morally and culturally acceptable way Enlighten, cultivate, improve, advance, subdue in terms of a people or nation.
“The home is the fountain of civilization. The value and character and appetites of a people are greatly determined by the reading, training and cultivating of moral and spiritual appetites in the home.
Mothers, you are the divinely-appointed teachers and guides of your children; and any attempt to free yourselves of this duty is in direct opposition to the will of God. If you neglect them, the consequences are swift and sure. …, Spend most of your time with your children. Sleep near them, attend and dress and wash them; let them eat with their mother and father; be their companion and friend in all things and at all times.”
From Mother, Home and Heaven from Poetic, prose and literature Of all ages and all lands. Copyright 1878-1880
The above quotations were gleaned from a wonderful book that a friend gave to me at our Dallas conference. The words written over a hundred years ago are still very powerful today. This, in a culture where the imagination of the importance of mothers to the overall well-being of soul of the next generation has been lost. How affirming it is to see that truth of past generations still applies to us today.
Often, I find that in the absence of a clear enough vision for their children and homes, mothers replace conviction and vision with lots of activities and distractions for their children. This hyper-activity and rushing around to an endless list of expensive lessons and experiences and the buying of the newest expensive curriculum and technological options make moms feel like they are accomplishing something. However, when the home-life of children is rich with excellent, classic literature, passionate Biblical devotions, rousing dinner-table discussions around sumptuous, tasty meals, lots of love and affection given and household chores attended to—and a child will become committed to all that is good and excellent and develop a moral and compassionate soul for all the divinely important values.
From the beginning of time, God created the home to be a place sufficient to nurture genius, excellence, graciousness and grand civility. But the key factor is nothing that can be purchased or owned. The accomplishment of this grand life is found only in the soul of a mother, through the power of the Holy Spirit, personally mentoring her children.
It is a personal relationship with a real person whose soul is alive in which the deepest imprints of life are given. The secrets and deep emotions shared during the goodnight hours in which a the soul of a child is tender and open; the comfort of warm, home-made food shared in the early evening as ideas are shared and discussed and prayers and devotions given; the laughter, stories, advice given in the midst of washing dishes together or sharing of a meal; the heroic and riveting stories read aloud and shared together that establish common patterns of morality, values and dreams in the comfort of the blazing hearth, mugs of steaming hot chocolate and squishing against each other on a den couch are those heavenly things which are food to the soul and nourishment to the mind and conscience of a child fully awake to all that is important in life.
There is no computer, television, software or text book that can pass on such passion, love and motivation.
It is indeed the personal touch of a mother’s heart that creates grand civility, deep affection, care and commitment to the foundations of a family. When the invisible strings of a mother’s heart are tied to the heart of her children through loving sacrifice and nurture, the stability and foundations of a nation become secure and stable. A mother, living well in her God-ordained role, is of great beauty and inestimable value to the future history of any generation. Her impact is irreplaceable and necessary to the spiritual formation of children who will be the future adults of the next generation. Fun, comfort, humor, graciousness, spiritual passion, compassion for the lost, hospitality, chores, meals, training, life-giving words, hours and hours of listening and playing and praying and reading—all are parts of the mosaic which go into the process of soul development.