Elements of Waldorf Education: Inner Work

inner-work-4When I tell people I homeschool, one of the first reactions is for people to tell me why they don’t. Interestingly enough, the reasons most people give me have nothing to do with best educational practices or money or time. The most common reasons I hear for not homeschooling have to do with the lack someone feels they have in themselves. The two most common reasons being, “I don’t have the patience” and “I’m not organized,” with the third not so far behind, “I’m not smart enough myself.” Funny – but don’t public school parents, and childless adults need these things as well as home educators?

 

One of the really cool aspects of a Waldorf Education, and one of the reasons I am a proponent of it’s use, is that the teacher (or parent-teacher, in the case of homeschooling) works on his/her own personal character. This is called Inner Work, and the concept is that one must work on themselves in order to teach children.

inner-workRudolf Steiner, the philosopher and founder of Waldorf Education, wrote, “You will not be good teachers if you focus only on what you do and not upon who you are.”

A Waldorf Education is onto something important here. Personal growth should be a goal for all of us – not just home educators – but as home educators, it is the core and starting place for educating your children.

Why is it so important for educators?

So we are worthy of imitation. Children do what we do, not what we say. Therefore we should do and be what we want our children to do and be.

 

Deut. 6: 1 – 9

Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Hear, O Israel:The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

inner-work-3This is one of the most commonly taught passages of scripture on parenting. But the parenting part is a result of the personal part. God command YOU to love the Lord and to obey him – and then as you live out your life doing so (as you sit, and go about, and go to bed, and get out of bed) you teach your children to do the same as you are doing. Imitation.

I love the concept that as you follow God, “you will multiply greatly.” This is not just talking about having more children – it is talking about your children have an abundance of what you have (a love of the Lord), and your children’s children having even more. I know one of my greatest joys in life is watching my preschool age grandkids talk and sing about loving God!

inner-work-2The most important aspect of homeschooling (or teaching, or parenting) is focusing on my own relationship with Christ and my own personal growth – Inner Work.

How do I do Inner work?

Rudolf Steiner recommended meditation. I agree – but only if you meditate on the right thing!

In Psalm 119:15 David is speaking to God when He writes, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.”

The true means of Inner Work is to meditate on God’s Word, and to fix our eyes on Christ and His ways.

In the New Testament, Peter tells us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18)

inner-work-9One of the interesting things about personal growth – is that our focus should not be on personal growth. Let’s look at the verses above for example –

In the Deuteronomy passage our focus is on loving God and keeping His commandments – or on obedience to Him. In Psalms, we meditate on God’s principles and ways. And in II Peter, we build knowledge of Jesus.

Our personal character, and building our self-esteem is never our focus or our goal. Instead, it is the result of focusing on Christ and obeying God’s Word.

Galatians 5:22 – 23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

When we focus on God and obey Him – love, joy, peace,patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control will be the resulting fruit that the Spirit produces in us.

Now I’m going to get real. If you don’t have enough patience to homeschool – then you have a deeper issue than your inability to teach your kids – a spiritual issue – and issue in your relationship with God.

Waldorf Education starts with a teacher’s Inner Work. As Christians, our Inner Work needs to be spending time with our Lord and Savior by studying His Word and obeying it. And God will grow you into a person who is worthy of the imitation of your children.

inner-work-8

*Over the next few blogs, I’ll be going over some of the basic elements of a Waldorf-inspired education. Stay tuned for: Delayed Academics, Rhythm, Block Learning, Circle Time, Handwork, Art, Nature Learning, Stories & Books,

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Best Thing You Can Do for Your Kids in 2017

It matters not if your kids are 3, 9, 15, or 26. It matters not if you are the mother, father, grandparent, or foster parent. It isn’t starting a college fund, or reading more, or even spending more time with them – all of these things are good, but not the best.  The number one thing you can do for your kids in 2017 is draw near to God.

holding-hands

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)

imitation-6When you draw near to God, and He draws near to you – God enables you to make better decisions.

Parenting is a serious of questions. Should I give birth in a hospital, birthing center, or at home? What do I do when my toddler throws a fit in the store? What do I do when my child is bullied? Should we allow our child to date – ever? How will we ever fund college? How do I relate to my adult child? Those are the important questions – then there are the day to day ones you don’t want to admit you ask – Will eating boogers harm my child? How many days in a row can my child wear his superhero shirt before a well meaning philanthropist gives me a bag of hand-me-down clothes? Why do I feel more like a stalker than a parent while chaperoning a date?

Got questions? God has answers. He will lead you every step of the way as you parent your kiddos.

Isaiah 40:11 says, “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” and James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Couple that with Proverbs 2:6 “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Draw near to God and He will guide you and give you wisdom.

mother-daughter-1

When you draw near to God, and He draws near to you – you will be a better parent. Another verse that says much the same thing as “draw near to God” is John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” When we draw near to God, abide in Him – we bear fruit. Galatians 5:22 -23 tells us what the fruit we bear looks like, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  Notice: 1) The fruit is singular – they are not individual character traits. 2) The fruit is a result and not a goal. We should not try to be more loving, have more joy, learn patience – etc. Instead, we should abide in the vine and the result will be the Holy Spirit living in us – which appears as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to the outside world. 3) The fruit is not for us. Fruit which hangs on the tree too long rots. Fruit is meant so others can be nourished by it and enjoy its sweet taste. Draw near to God and the Holy Spirit will produce fruit in your life that your children will taste and see that God is good. (Psalm 34:8)


father-son-2When you draw near to God and He draws near to you – you will be worthy of imitation.
87% of youth raised in church walk away from the church and from their faith in college and most do not come back. The 13% who stayed strong in their faith all reported having at least one adult – usually a parent – who demonstrated a close relationship with the Lord and discipled them to do likewise.

In The Education of a Child, Rudolf Steiner states, “Most people would ask how a child should behave, but …adults should learn how to behave in front of children, even in words, attitudes, and thoughts. . We must have and live the thoughts that we feel could and should live in the child.”

The apostle Paul  believed in the importance of Imitation as well. He wrote in I Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

If we want our kids to draw near to God, we must do so first.

The best thing you can do this year for your kids is to put God first yourself. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you – in 2017.

 

Grace: Mommy Superpower

Mother 10

I just finished reading I Timothy and started II Timothy in my daily Bible reading, when something hit me: Paul, the author, greets his reader the same way in both books.

“Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” (I Tim 1: 4)

“May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.” (II Tim 1:2)

So, you know me – I had to research it. Paul literally uses a similar salutation at the beginning of all of his letters, and he ends them almost the same way. I Timothy and II Timothy end by saying, “Grace be with you all.” In the New Testament Paul blesses his readers with grace 26 times, peace 12 times, and mercy merely twice.

I could make light of it and say it was just a common greeting (which it was) – but I think it is more. I don’t think either Paul, or God the Ultimate Author, meant it as nothing but a flippant salutation. In fact, I would venture to say that because it is mentioned so many times – it is an important truth God wants us to grasp. God wants us to live in and live out His grace and peace.

I’d like to look at what it means to be given grace – as a parent.  (In my next blog post, I’ll do the same for peace.)

What is grace?

Simply put – grace is the unmerited favor of God.

Grace is often linked with salvation – salvation being a free gift from God.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Romans 2: 8 – 9)

So often, I stop grace there. God saved me because of His unmerited favor towards me. And that is awesome, and so hard for me to grasp – but it is not the only thing grace does – if it were, Paul would not have needed to tell Christians to have grace – it would have been redundant.

So what does grace mean to me on a day by day basis as a mom?

Mother 51) I am a Mom by the grace of God.

Jacob realized this. (Not that he was a mom – but that his children were given to him through grace)

“And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, ‘Who are these with you?’ Jacob said, ‘The children whom God has graciously given your servant.’” (Gen 33: 5)

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalm 137: 3)

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17)

My children are a gift from God to me, given to me not because I did anything to “deserve” them – but because he favored me and wanted to bless me.

Mother 62) Grace replaces my pride

My six year old memorized more Bible verses than anyone else in Sunday School; my four year old could sing the Books of the Bible – both Old and New Testiment; and my teenager went on more mission trips than anyone else in youth group – and of course, that is because I am such an awesome mom! Or maybe, I’m not so awesome –My sixteen year old son wore a speedo to the community pool; my five year old ate a stranger’s sock at the McDonald’s playground; and my four year old screamed so loudly at a local restaurant that we were kicked out for the sanity of the other patrons. Being a mom is my greatest pride – and what keeps me humble.

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Cir 12: 7 – 10)

My very loose translation of these verses: To keep me from having a big head – God gave me children who act childish – to keep my pride in check. I pleaded with the Lord to give me kids who always behaved and were better than their peers at everything, but He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast in my parenting – not because what I have done, but because Christ has given me the power I need to parent. I am content with not being the perfect parent, because when I am unable to deal with messy situations (and parenting is messy) – I allow Christ to “deal” through me – and others can see Christ more clearly.

mother 93) There is grace for my failures

I don’t know about you – but I am hardest on myself in the realm of parenting.

I realize the gravity of the task. I realize I am not supposed to feed my child a donut and chocolate milk for breakfast; I realize I am not supposed to yell at my kid when he puts gum in his hair; I realize that I’m not supposed to promise my child I’ll take her to the park – then get so busy I forget. I realize all the things I am supposed to do and don’t; and the things I’m not supposed to do but do. I realize these things – but sometimes/often I fail.

Sometime, somehow, someone told me it is not ok to fail as a parent – ever. So I beat myself up when I do. I image that my kids will grow up and be in some recovery group saying, “Hi, my name is …”

I cannot forgive myself. Literally – I don’t have the power to forgive myself, God is the only one who bestows forgiveness of sins – through grace, His free, undeserved grace.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7)

Christ takes my sins as a parent – forgives me, and exchanges my failures with his lavish favor. How incredible is that.


mother 83) Grace is my Mommy Superpower

My main ministry is to my family. God has called me to raise my kids for His glory. With a job – I may work 20, 40 or even more hours per week – but mothering is a 24/7 job. When I have “one of those days” – when the baby wants to do nothing but nurse, the two year old throws his spaghetti noodles on the wall, and the 5 year old just released the hamster from captivity – I dream of someone pointing at me and saying, “You’re fired!”

When Donald Trump is not around, when I can’t hand off the job to Dad, Grandma, or the sitter – God’s grace will give me everything I need to accomplish the task.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (I Cor 15:10)

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)

God’s grace gives me the energy I need to hold and sing lullabies to my colicky baby when I’ve had little to no sleep; to clean the vomit after my child snuck into the pantry and ate the whole bag of Oreos; and to hug my screaming 5 year old when she believes she saw an ant at the grocery store.

Grace is my Mommy Superpower.

Sing, Sing, Sing and Make Music in Your Home

Sing MomCall it middle age, or menopause – I can’t remember the lyrics to the songs I listened to yesterday on the radio – or the choruses I sang in church last week, or last month or last year. I find myself singing the songs of my childhood. Hymns I sang in Church, Songs from Musicals I was in as a teenager, Folk Songs I sang in elementary school, and songs from my mother’s childhood that we sang together at home.

That got me thinking … the songs I sing with my child today will be the songs she sings in fifty years.

Waldorf promotes singing all day – about everything. Which is just fine by me, because that’s how I’m wired anyway. My older son once wrote a speech making fun of his family – for me he wrote, “My mom lives in a Musical. At any moment in time, she’s likely to break out in song.”

There are countless articles telling why and how to sing in Waldorf schools – how singing engages the soul, gives children a rich vocabulary, enhances reading by opening up the vowels, aids in memorization, and creates a peaceful and joyous environment for learning. I’m not going to repeat all that – I’m going to delve into why it is Biblical to sing.

Sing 7There are over 1150 verses in the Bible which refer to music. Since God wrote the Bible – that means He believes music to be an important element of life.  As Christians our entire life’s purpose is to bring God glory.  Psalm 149:3 – 4 says “Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! For the Lord takes pleasure in his people. ” God takes pleasure in our making melodies to Him! Therefore, since we were created to delight God and bring Him glory – and singing makes God happy – we were created to sing and make music.

Music outlasts our time on earth. Music is eternal. Revelation 5: 8 – 10 paints a picture of heaven: “And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, ’Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.’”

God created music as an eternal means of worshiping Him. Therefore, we should sing. So what should we sing about? Everything – Waldorf has this one right.

In the Bible, music was used:

Singing 1

  1. To Wake Up (Psalm 57:8)

One of my earliest memories was my mom opening up my curtains and singing to me to wake me up in the mornings. I’ve modified the tradition, in that I allow my children to sleep as long as their bodies tell them they should – but I cuddle and sing with Rose when she first opens her eyes.

  1. For Teaching (Colossians 3:16)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” In this verse – singing is linked with teaching, disciplining, being thankful and having wisdom.  Singing in such a way overflows from Christ and His Word within you.

  1. To Encourage Others (Ephesians 5:19-20)

Music is uplifting. When we sing we raise the spirits of those around us and bring our children joy.

Singing Mom

  1. To Create Unity (II Chronicles 5:13, 14)

There is a magic that happens when voices blend together and become one. Multiple voices merge into one beautiful harmonious sound. There is a connectedness between each individual singer. Our family is bonded together when we sing and make music together.

  1. To Transition (Matthew 26:30)

Many kids – including mine – don’t do transitions well. Singing helps move from one activity to another. In this verse Jesus moved from Passover Dinner to walking to the Mount of Olives to pray – and the transitional point was Jesus and the disciples singing together.

  1. To Gather Together (Numbers 10: 2 – 3).

We can sing or play an instrument to call our children together for circle or story time – or whenever we want everyone to gather in one place.

singing happy birthday

  1. In Celebration (I Chronicles 13:7-8)

We can sing special songs to prepare and celebrate holidays and birthdays

  1. For Thanksgiving (Psalm 69:30)

Raising kids with a sense of entitlement creates selfish people, who have a hard time getting and keeping a job, are less likely to stay married, and who are personally unsatisfied with life. Singing Praise to God for EVERYTING – who He is and what He’s done – helps children realize that life revolves around God and not themselves. Realizing God is in control and deserves thanks will create more secure, loving children – who realize their true purpose in life. So sing thanks for every new day, and everything within the day.

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  1. For Comfort in times of sadness (Psalm 59:16)

Rose has had a multitude of surgeries – and there is nothing I can do but hold her in my arms and sing songs of comfort to her as she heals. The psalmist knew this as well, as many of his psalms – which are songs – are written about his trials in life.

  1. For Memorization (Psalm 119:172)

“My tongue will sing of your word.” Although singing can and should be used to teach all memory work to kids – it is especially important to memorize scripture. Read Psalm 119 and mark all the benefits of doing so –for example -being blessed, making wise choices, and staying pure. Add scripture verses to your singing repertoire not just songs about the Bible.

Singing Mother 3

  1. MY PERSONAL FAVORITE: As an Expression of Love (Zeph. 3:17)

Our Father God rejoices over us with singing. “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” I love to sing over my kids – place their names in silly songs and sweet songs – as well as singing love songs like “You are my Sonshine.” God is our ultimate example of parenthood – and if He sings over us, then by singing over our children we are following His example. Singing over our children demonstrates the character of God to them!

This certainly doesn’t cover all 1150 verses – but it does give us an idea of the importance God places on singing and how we can incorporate it into our home schools. Our kids don’t care if we have perfect pitch – although we can work and improve our voices just as we can work any other muscle in our bodies. God also doesn’t expect perfection (he created you – with or without perfect pitch) – He says in Psalms 100 “Make a joyful noise,” He doesn’t say “Only sing to Me if you were a music major in college.” He created you to sing – so don’t be shy – start singing!

Psalm 2

“Most Christians salute the sovereignty of God but believe in the sovereignty of man.”

― R.C. Sproul (and God laughs – Joyce Pinero)

Read Psalm 2

Pss 2.1What’s it say?
List everything you learn about God:

What’s it say about me?List everything it say about who we are as God’s followers. What we should do.

What’s it mean?

There are two verses in this Psalm  I’d like to look closer at: Psalm 2:4 and Psalm 2:12

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision. (2:4)

I love the concept that God sits in heaven and laughs. But what is He laughing at?

God is laughing at what happened in verses 1 – 3. God is laughing, mocking (thus the word derision) the fact that people think they are in charge. God is in control. We are nothing but His creation. He holds the world in His hands and sustains it. He gives each person the ability to breath and live each day. The concept of earthy man being in control and being able to break bonds which God has created is laughable, thus God laughs at man’s stupidity.

Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (2:12)

Since this was the verse that popped out at me first, I originally studied it first. I looked up ancient Hebrew cultural practices of kissing. Basically, there are two reasons for kisses – intimacy and to pay homage to one in authority.

Although a case can be made that we should have an intimate relationship with The Son, looking at the verse in context the meaning is to pay homage to.

The entire Psalm focuses on the Kingship and authority of God. He is in control; man is not.

In verse 2 God laughs at those who think they are in control, in verse 12 God goes even further to say that those who do not pay homage to, recognize, bow down and worship Him will perish from His anger and wrath.

What’s it got to do with me?

Do you believe God is in control?

Are you acting on the belief that God is in control, or are you trying to control things yourself?

Are you bowing down and “kissing the Son” in homage to His Lordship?

Is God the Lord of your life, and not just someone who created the world and then sits back and watches from afar?

What specific issues in your life do you need to turn over to God and give Him control?

Children’s Lesson

Print a picture of someone kissing (I used Cinderella and Prince Charming)

Read Psalm 2.

ps 2Who do you kiss? (parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.)

Why do we kiss? (We love someone)

The Bible says to “kiss the son” – we do that because we love Him, but we do it for another reason too.

If you lived in olden times, when there were kings and queens, you would have bowed down and kissed the hand or ring of the king to show the king that you would do whatever he wanted. He in turn would protect you.

Let’s pretend to be Kings or Queens and subjects. You be the Queen first. Bow down and kiss your daughters hand. Now switch roles.

In this verse – we are told to kiss the Son because God is the King. He is in control. We kiss Him to tell Him we know He’s in control. And He will protect us.

Psalm 1

“Man must have some delight, some supreme pleasure. His heart was never meant to be a vacuum. If not filled with the best things, it will be filled with the unworthy and disappointing.” (Spurgeon)

Read Psalm 1.

Psalm 1.1

What’s it say?

* Read it without interpreting it. I really like to make lists for this.

Make a list of everything it says about God, what He does and who He is.

  1. Blesses
  2. Has a law
  3. KNOWs ways of righteous
  4. Punishes way of wicked

Make a list of everything it says about man (me/us). In this passage, make a list of the man who delights in the Lord, because that is the central character of this passage.

  1. Blessed
  2. Does not walk in counsel of wicked
  3. Does not stand in way of sinners
  4. Does not sit in seat of scoffers
  5. Delights in law of Lord
  6. Meditates on law of Lord day and night
  7. Like a tree planted by water
  8. Yields fruit
  9. Does not wither
  10. Everything he does prospers
  11. Won’t have to stand with sinners at day of judgement
  12. Righteous
  13. God knows his ways

What’s it mean? This is where you interpret, maybe cross reference, or read commentary.

As an English teacher and writing coach what sticks out to me is that this is a comparison paper.

The comparison is made between –

  1. The wicked and the righteous
  2. What the man who delights in the Lord’s laws should and should not do
  3. The results of delighting and righteousness

This is really just a summary of the lists, so no further explanation is needed.  What I really want to take a look at and study closer is the central theme of delighting in the law of the Lord.

Most Bible scholars and commentaries say “the law of the Lord” is all of God’s Word, not just the rules and regulations. I’ll go with that, simply because it sounds better to my American libertarian self. It also makes sense in context of the message of grace throughout the Bible, and that James 2:10 states, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” No one completely delights and keeps God’s laws, so this passage would apply to no one if not for the grace of God.

I love the word “delight.” It’s almost an onomatopoeia (there’s the English teacher in me again). It was similar in the original Hebrew word. The word originally was an Arabic verb which meant to “be mindful of, attentive to, to keep and protect.”

Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Gesenius, a Biblical scholar and linguist in the early 1800s, states that the original meaning of the Hebrew word “delight” meant “to bend, incline toward.”

In other passages of scripture the word is used to describe a great desire, intense feelings toward, such as a man delighting sexually in his wife.

Interestingly, and probably the most important aspect of the word is that the verb “delight” always points the reader toward what is being delighted in. The emphasis is not on the verb itself but the object that is being desired. For example, if I were to say “red ball” – the ball is what is highlighted, not the color red. In Hebrew the word delight was more often used as an adjective than a verb – “delightful stones” Mal. 3:12.

So what’s that got to do with this particular passage? The Word of God is what is highlighted. The word of God is delightful. It is to be delighted in. It is to be mindful of, attentive to, kept and protected. We are to bend towards, and incline out life towards it. We are to have a great love and desire for God’s Word.

What’s it got to do with me?

We’ve seen the rewards of delighting in God’s Word, and the punishment for those who do not. We’ve seen what we should and shouldn’t do if we delight in God’s Word. So now I ask you:

  1. Does the Word of God make you happy?
  2. Does it get you excited?
  3. Do you feel obligated to read His word – or can you not get enough?
  4. Do you hunger for more of His Word?

Pray that God would allow you to “delight” in His Word.

“Man must have some delight, some supreme pleasure. His heart was never meant to be a vacuum. If not filled with the best things, it will be filled with the unworthy and disappointing.” (Spurgeon)


 

Children’s Study

Psalm 1Print off a picture of a tree to color. Write on the paper: “

Read Psalm 1 aloud to your child.

What’s it mean to delight? Love, cherish, be extremely happy with.

God wants us to love to read His Word and “delight” in it. (You can sing the B I B L E)

Can you stand tall like a tree? God tells that when we LOVE God’s Word, we will grow strong like a tree, with lots of sweet fruit, we will always be strong.

Hello Kitty or God … Should Have Been a No-Brainer

Bible JournalingToday I had an “Aha” moment. I was journaling in my Bible and Rose was sitting next to me coloring in a Hello Kitty coloring book.

Rose: What are you drawing, Mommy?

I show her my drawing and read the verse

 Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears.” Ezekiel 3:10

She points to the picture. I read

Me: All God’s Words

Rose: All God’s Words

Me: Receive in your heart

Rose: Receive in your heart

Me: and hear with your ears

Rose: and hear with your ears

She’s so attentive! She loves it when I journal, she wants to know everything I am drawing. She’s so open. She is hearing, and I pray she is receiving God’s words.

Wait for it …. Here’s the “Aha” moment – Why is she coloring Hello Kitty?Bible Journaling 2

So tomorrow, she’s Bible journaling too! I’m going to print off coloring pages that go along with the verses I am journaling. Next paycheck, I’ll order a loose leaf Bible from amazon and I can place all her coloring sheets in her very own Bible journal.

Bible Journaling 3

I’ve wanted to go through Psalms myself again, and God convicted me that it would benefit Rose to go through Psalms with me.

Why would I start in Psalms with a five year old? Don’t people normally start with Bible stories?

My desire is to teach Rose to love God with her heart, mind, soul and strength. To love someone you have to know them.

I believe Psalms teaches who God is – at least it is easier to discern who He is. It also teaches how to respond to the knowledge of who God is – through praise and worship. It provides an example of what a relationship to God looks like – pouring out our heart to God within the confines of understanding His character.

Bible stories are great. We’ll get to them eventually (probably next year). But sometimes when telling a Bible story I tend to focus too much on man and not enough on God.  For example, if I’m telling the story of Noah, I concentrate on what Noah did for God and how he was “righteous in the eyes of God,” instead of focusing on God’s righteousness, His justice, His saving grace, and His sovereignty which are all clearly seen in the story as well. So, it’s easier for me to stay focused on God while studying Psalms.

So if all goes according to schedule (God is likely to redirect me, so this is not set in stone) – This year (Kinder 5) we will focus on Psalms – knowing and loving God. Next year (Kinder 6) we will focus on the gospel. Using “The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name” as a guide.  We’ll read Bible stories showing how they all point to Jesus and from the beginning of time God had a plan to lead us into a relationship with Him.

Those of you who would like to join me on my journey – I will be opening a new tab on my blog titled “Inner Work.” I’ll be writing an adult Bible studies and a child Bible study, and posting pictures we’ve journaled.

Humpty Dumpty

Sometimes I feel like Humpty-Dumpty
Sitting upon the narrow wall, smiling –
as if I hadn’t a care in the world–
But don’t be fooled by my facade

 

Because inside, I’m scared I’m going to fall
and crumble into pieces that no one will be able to put together again.
Outside I look whole – but inside I’m coming undone. What can I do?
The the Word of the Lord came to me saying:
I know your hurts. I have collected all your tears in a bottle. (Ps 56:8)
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again–my Savior and my God! (Ps 43:5)

He sends forth His word and heals me. (Ps 107:20)
O Lord my God, I cried to You and You have healed me. (Ps 30:2) 

Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. (Is 53:4 – 5)
He picked up all the pieces and put me back together again.
He not only heals my wounds, but renews my joy.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).(John 10:10)

 

Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” (Luke 24:39)
Nail scared hand and feet, remained on Jesus’ perfected resurrected body – so people would see and believe. Likewise, I pray that as he heals my wounds, He leaves scares – so others can see God’s healing power and believe in the God who is my Counselor, my Abba Father, my Comforter, and my Healer.

 

Resolve to Not Resolve

I could make a resolution to

Mad Tea Party
Eat Healthy and Clean –
You try doing this while cooking for 3 families living in your home, three to six extra teens,
a grown child and grandchild – and still having money
for the occasional Starbucks

  Keep the house spotless clean –Ha! I live with a toddler and a teenage, and on an average day have a dozen people coming in and out of my house.

      Romeo and Juliet

      Never get mad at my husband – I’ll make this resolution if he resolves to never make me mad

       Always be patient –Even when a child pees on my floor, colors on my walls, or a teen misses the “basket” with the Dr Pepper can, then leaves the trash on the floor

    Keep the car clean – I can’t make this on for the shear selfishness of it – what would my husband do for fun on the weekends if I did?

      Get more sleep –I could drug Kymee, shut down the teens gaming system, and kick the newborn living with us to the street

    Have more facebook friends – seriously, I have no time to keep up with my current friends, why do 
    I care what people I knew 30 years ago are doing? (No offense current “old” friends – you’re the ones who made the cut)

      Have more time to myself –
      Should have thought of this one when we were almost empty nesters
      and decided to adopt a baby

    So much for resolutions I won’t make. So what is my resolution?

    In 2014 I resolve . . . not to resolve.

    I am a planner. I love to plan everything to a tee. I set goals, schedules and plan accordingly. I have a list of long term, short term and immediate goals. Then God messes them up. He never allows me to stay in my box. So often he has greater things in store for me than I could even imagine. If 2013 taught me anything it was that sometime the interruption is more important than the goal down the road. I don’t regret a minute of the time I changed my plans to sit with my Mami while she was dying. I don’t regret the counseling thrown into our schedule, but not planned for.
    So this year, I’ll make plans. I’ll follow them until God tells me otherwise – but I resolve to day by day be open to whatever He wants me to do, and be willing to change direction whenever He calls me to do so. I resolve to wake up every day and say, “God what do you have in store for me today?” And if I don’t hear back from Him, I go about my plans – which have been prayed over as well.
       I resolve to stop cleaning my house if a “chatty” friend stops by to talk about her troubled child – and just sit and listen.
    I resolve to  stop mid-sentence and pray when led by the Holy Spirit
    I resolve to stop “schooling” if a friend or family member is in need of help – this is a much greater lesson than math anyway.
     I resolve to stop watching my favorite TV show when my husband calls from a business trip
    I resolve – Not to resolve what God wants me to do, but to be open, waiting and willing for Him to lead me daily into the unknown. 

    2013: The Year God Became Personal

    “And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:6)
    2013 will be a year I will never forget. It has been the hardest year of my life. It has brought the most pain. And in the midst of that pain, God has drawn near to me as never before.
    I call Him, Wonderful.
    I call Him,  Counselor. When my world fell apart and I was so depressed I didn’t want to get out of bed – He listened to me and His voice and Word spoke wisdom to me. I had the opportunity to spend a whole day with Him – fasting and basking in His presence. I had ample time to cry and mourn the death of my son-in-law and mother-in-law, and the loss of dreams for my daughter and the presence of my grandson. I cried out in the wilderness and God heard my cries.  I could almost feel the warmth of His arms around me as I sobbed. He directed me to passages of scripture which helped me face a new day. And He put a song in my heart and gave me back the joy of my salvation.

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    Herman van Swanevelt – Saint Jerome in the Wilderness
    I call Him, Mighty God. He is Sovereign. What other’s planned as harm for our family – God turned to His glory. I have prayed for my husband’s for 25+ years. In April, He made the decision to be “All in for God!” Satan has thrown everything at him and tried to destroy his passion for serving Him. Everything others might view as trials, God has used to draw Nelson closer to Himself. Despite everything, I see him growing spiritually every day. God, in His sovereignty has used the trials of our life to answer my prayers and to grow Nelson into a Mighty Warrior for Himself. He also answered another 25 year old prayer and gave me assurance of my mother-in-law’s salvation before she went to be with him.
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    William Blake – The Vision of God 

    I call Him, Everlasting Father. A father I call “Abba” “Daddy.” He has not been a Santa Clause in the air who sees me when I’m good and bad, or who I just sit on his lap and ask for his “gifts” for my life.  He has been the Daddy who sees my needs before I could even ask, and has done “immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine.” (Eph.3:20). He put a song in my heart and gave me back the joy of my salvation when I was depressed and despondent. He gave me a new relationship as well as a new admiration for the man I love. He gave me a beautiful new grand-daughter. He has given me family and friends who have stood by my side instead of turning away when they saw the ugly truth about me. He confronted me with my own sins, and He and I both wept over them. Then he took them away as far as the east is from the west, and he looks at me a sees me as righteous.

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    Circle of Pierre Mignard I – God the Father
    I call Him, Prince of Peace. When my heart was heavy with grief, I was haunted my memories. Memories of my last day with my mother-in-law. Sitting by her bedside as she faced death. The happy memories of 30 years faded into the background as I obsessed with this picture in my head. The picture popped into my mind each time I would shut my eyes to sleep, and sleep became only a dream. Then, at the end of my “day with God” I was singing and worshiping Him and I saw a vision (my first one ever). I was sitting at Mami’s bedside. Then I saw an angel descend, pick Mami up, and ascend with her into heaven. It was beautiful, and the Peace of God washed over me. I slept for the first time in 6 months that night. And although tears still flood my eyes as I think of Kenny and Mami, because I will forever miss them – I have peace that passes all understanding. Peace to live on another day and peace that I will see them again in eternity.
    Portrait - Illustration - Sleep -  (3)
    God is not just THE Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – He is My Wonderful, My Counselor, My Mighty God, My Everlasting Father, My Prince of Peace. God became personal to me this year, in a way He never has before.

    Forever Loved & Missed

    Kenny –
    I am so happy you were a part of my family.

    Mami – I am only beginning to imagine
    my life without you. You were my friend,
    mentor, teacher, my Mami,
    You loved your family well &
    God more.