For those of you who haven’t met one of my favorite role models, I would like to introduce Saint Therese of Lisieux. If I was to have a patron saint it would be her. She is so much like me…in her weakness. And I want so much to be like her in her devotion and love of Christ. Surrounded by very capable and strong people she found she could not “keep up.” So she gave what she could, all her adoration to Christ. She called it her “Little Way.” At the command of her superiors she kept a spiritual diary which we have to this day. Rome has since declared her a doctor of the church…it seems her writings so capture an essential part of The Way…the way in which followers of Christ should set their hearts before him and rest in Him.
These are some quotes I found of hers from the site www.littleflower.org . There you can find photos and info about her. She is part of the “great cloud of witnesses” that encourage me daily to “throw off the sin that so easily entangles and run with perseverance the race marked out for [me]” Hebrews 12:1 Here’s two of her thoughts:
Love!…that is what I ask…I know but one thing now – to love Thee, O Jesus! Glorious deeds are not for me, I cannot preach the Gospel, shed my blood…what does it matter? My brothers toil instead of me, and I, the little child, I keep quite close to the royal throne, I love for those who fight.
Story of A Soul, Chapter XI
There is one ONLY THING to do here below: to love Jesus, to win souls for Him so that He may be loved. Let us seize with jealous care every least opportunity of self sacrifice. Let us refuse Him nothing – He does so want our love!
I knew this day would come. I thought about it ten years ago when we decided to homeschool our oldest. It took ten years to happen but happen it did. The New Year’s paper declared it to the world: gay-lesbian-transsexual-bisexual education is officially in California school systems at last. To some it is a cherished victory, to others it means finally admitting that privately educating their children is now a must. It is also the mother of all discipleship opportunities.
Historically, the church in America has been a champion of education. Schools and universities in early America rose almost as fast as the corn grew. The importance of having a hand in the education of its citizens was not lost on the Church. Somehow I have to wonder where that enthusiasm went. By the time it came for us to look at education opportunities for our own children only three options existed. Fearsomely expensive private education was one–high enough to force most mothers trying to stay home with their children back into the workforce. The public education system was another–a place of undoubted opportunity but also littered with land mines many parents wonder if their kids can navigate around–drug use, sexual experimentation of all sorts, a God-less worldview, etc. And behind door #3? Homeschooling. Homeschooling? A private education for a fraction of the cost–in money. In time, in love, in patience, the cost is high. We believed that a mother at home was ultimately more important than anything so we chose homeschooling. I thank the Lord that we could.
But what about those who can’t? What about parents who are sick or alone? What about the unemployed or the underemployed? What about those in a dysfunctional marriage or with a substance-addicted spouse. Or the homeless? Should a Christian education be only for the wealthy and the healthy? How many kids will stay in the government school system simply because a parent can’t get them out? Why should these children not by discipled? Because that’s what Christian education really is–teaching someone over time to see the world like Christ does and to act within it as He desires. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. But anytime someone helps someone who needs help it is always two things: a ministry and a sacrifice.
So here’s my challenge to Christian leaders–guys with vision who champion causes that further the proclamation of Christ and the reconciliation of souls to Him. What can we do as a church about these parents who need help? What five loaves and two fishes can we offer to the Lord for Him to bless for the feeding of many? Many parents will be looking for options. Can the Church be one?
“X” marks the spot. The spot where you are. The perfect spot for you. The spot He has planned for you to be in. I learned that the way I so often learn new things…after descending to the dumps where God never fails to shine a light to help me.
After the holidays there is always a let down of some sort for me. After the family leaves and the pretty packages are exchanged for a few new piles of stuff to organize, the new year looks daunting and gray like the fog that envelops our neighborhoods in the early morning. The challenges of the new year come to the forefront of my mind and I survey my surroundings and resources with a critical eye. That dastardly spot on the carpet that will not come out laughs at me knowing that the family budget allows him at least one more year in my house. Lesson plan books lay waiting for me to fill in their blank squares and I feel more than a little overwhelmed knowing that four growing children depend on me to chart a course for their spring. Couple that with the ever encroaching realization that my daughter will be graduating in two short years, the pressure to make the most of these precious moments gets to me. I usher in the new year shedding tears of frustration with the inadequacies of myself and discontent with my resources. It’s this stinkin’ thinkin’ that got me in the dumps. Acts 17 got me out!
Here’s a great thought for the new year. God has preplanned your environment especially for you. Yes. Your little house crammed with kids, your quiet house without them, your too-small budget, your city, even the time in which you walk across this stage called Life. He didn’t plan it that way so you would have a chance to do something awesome…He did it with one goal in mind. To have you meet Him. Pretty amazing! In Acts 17 Paul shares that God ” made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” And isn’t that what should happen? When we face our weaknesses and the shortcomings in our environment–it’s really a chance to meet God and get to know Him better. How blessed we are that God desires us and wants us to find Him! So this year, let’s not yield to frustration with where we are and what we have, but seek God and invite Him into our lives. By the end of the year, we’ll know Him better and be stronger in 0ur faith because of it!