The Boat is Sinking!

” The boat is sinking, group yourselves into 2..4…8..3..!” And so on it goes depending on the gamemaster until he declares the winners, most likely the last 2 left in the bunch of eager children playing in a parlor game. The game shows that when a boat is sinking, someone is in charge. In this case, the gamemaster. He can do as he pleases – call a number, 2, 4, or 8 – it really doesn’t matter even if he wants 10 in a boat, it will never sink! In the end, others are booted out, winners are declared.

This brings to mind the time when Jesus calmed the storm. (The disciple Matthew details it here). A sudden storm came up, the disciples were so afraid, thinking that Jesus was “sleeping on the job.”  Then Jesus rebuked them FIRST.  ‘Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!’  Then he stood up & rebuked the winds & waves and suddenly all was calm.  It is amazing that in the middle of the storm, Jesus rebukes them first, before He commands the winds and waves to stay still. Unlike the game, He is not a “gamemaster” who chooses who to boot out and who will stay on course to keep the boat from sinking. He wants us to stay on course. Stormy situations in life will rock us but He tells us to stay on course. Looking back, going through the “storms” in my life, He said the same to me. He rebuked me first!  He acts on me first, before He can even change the situation around me, or He may choose not to at all.  But He will act on me! He teaches me to act in faith rather than in fear!

“Why are you afraid, my daughter? You have so little faith!” And I realized, yes Lord, I shouldn’t be. You are in the boat all along, all this time. You are my Captain. You will not desert me. The “storms” may last for days, weeks, months or years,I don’t know…others may even see that You seem to be sleeping on the job, but You are not! I am confident You will ferry me safely to the other shore.

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God is not sleeping on the job!
(photo via wordpress)

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My 1st Homeschool Parent Training

Recently my days are filled with catching up lessons for the first quarter of our homeschool (add to that, the recent Typhoons Labuyo and Maring that hit our country and a minor head injury of our youngest, 8yr-old Boj). With our home transfer, we were delayed for a good 3 weeks. Being a first-time homeschooling mom, I was panicky at first when the cut-off for the 1Q was announced a few days ago! I now realized I must have worn out my 7th and 3rd grader kids who expect mom to be kinder than their teachers when they were enrolled in regular school. Sigh… But that of course, was the other part of the story. Homeschool allowed them to have a “more” relaxed schedule – meaning – they can wake up as late as 9am( yes, their body clocks were timed differently the moment we transferred !), master a subject (like Math) or do experiments in a day, and swim and/or attend MAPE (Music, Arts ,PE ) and HELE (Home Economics and Livelihood Education) once a week. As we progress, I am also learning and so is my character being tested. One time I asked my husband, “Tell me again,why did we decide to homeschool our kids?” in exasperation. I felt short of knowledge and patience. Good thing that he reminded me not of the why’s but of what God can do as I entrust my limited skills and knowledge to Him. And of course, that ” You’re doing a great job, Mom!” always works!

Today, I attended my 1st Parent Training organized by our provider, ENLI Homeschool. To be surrounded with parents who homeschool their children for the past 3, 10 or 14 years, is AMAZING! I realized I was never alone in my struggles – from waking up the kids (yes, even at 8 or 9am!), completing the worksheets, planning lessons, and doing house chores and/or part-time work alongside, rising tempers, etc .. – everything I am going through are normal occurrences! The topic was as timely ” Development Goals for High School Students”. Goals that are backed with biblical truths and are useful not only for homeschooling parents. Let me share a few.

Our resource speaker , Ms. Catherine “Cathy” Borja, a homeschooling mom of 3 boys, outlined the Focus Points based on Luke 2:52 ( Developmental Model Verse):

” And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

Key words/ phrases are : Wisdom, Stature, in Favor with God, in Favor with Men

I. Wisdom

  • we teach them to be wise according to the Word of God – to make them more Christlike
  • Character – “heart change” over “behavior modification”
  • Life skills – stewardship, house chores , safety & first aid, driving/ commuting
  • Academics and Arts  – excellence vs. mediocrity , appreciation of God’s creation, discover / develop God-given skills and talents ( yes even at age 10 or 13)

II. Stature

  • Health and physical development  – regarding our bodies as temples of the Holy Spririt, not as our own . ; engage into sports, eat a balanced diet, routine check-ups ( I just learned that check-ups with the Pediatrician or Family Doctor is recommended until they reach 19yrs. old , and also a visit to an eye doctor is commendable, especially for homeschooled kids who are engaged with books on their own and are in a one-on-one setting most of the time), enough rest and sleep , discussion of addiction to vices/ excesses
  • personal hygiene
  • Biblical sex education – who are the first teachers? parents or school or media? who should be teaching them? what are the truths about it?  This includes explaining God’s purpose of sex, the sanctity of marriage, personal holiness ( being set apart from the world), purity in mind and body, vigilance in exposure to media, internet and other influences ( practical examples like not having FB accounts at a certain age, using the K9 web protection or allowing the children to use the computer/internet at a limited time and with monitors easily seen by parent or guardian ; not being hidden from us). “Innocence lost is lost forever.” Only by the grace of God can we all be redeemed, so do our children.

III. In Favor with God

  • Intentional Discipleship – we are the first teachers. we do not delegate discipleship of our children to the youth pastor!
  • making it a lifestyle/an attitude of worship 
  • leading by example – example in the matter of obedience vs. willfulness, even as adults we still at times wrestle with God in obeying His will for us. Or in the area of forgiveness, as parents, we can model to our children how we are able to handle conflicts and resolutions in our family or relationships

IV. In Favor with Men

Why (gain the favor with men)?

  • to point everything back to God. Our children’s glorious moments are for God’s glory. They will shine bright so that others will see and glorify our Father in heaven. ( I will elaborate on this in a future post).
  • to have an entry point for the Gospel! The good news is ought to be shared! When our children are “puffed up” with all the praises in the world, it is our responsibility as parents to “bring them back to earth” and to let them acknowledge that God is behind all the big production and glory

How (to gain favor with men)?

  • build/ value personal relationships
  • understand other cultures/ ethnicity – maybe expose them to travels even in our own country
  • practice good manners & proper etiquette – example, if the budget allows, bring them to fancy restaurants where they can dress up and behave properly.

Other Practical Points:

  • start exploring / discussing undergraduate courses
  • take exams that will show  strengths & aptitude
  • find out requirements of Colleges / Universities (scholarships, etc.)
  • proper documentation of files , report cards, transcripts , for easy reference

In the end, I am reminded with the following truths:

1. Our children are not ours, they are the Lord’s.

2. Our children are a gift, a reward, blessing. They are never a curse nor a burden!

3. Our standard for success is by feeding our children (and us!) with the Word of God.

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” – Joshua 1:8

True enough, I went home refreshed, inspired and empowered.
I thank the Lord for this beautiful Tuesday!

Angry at Second Chance

“Give it another chance!” We oftentimes hear this line when we are disappointed – perhaps of a job done short of our standards, of a person’s limitation, of broken relationships, etc. When I read again one of the famous Bible stories that I grew up with, Jonah and the Whale (here’s the story for kids!),  I think about the times in my life when I asked for a second chance and when I also gave a second chance.

Jonah, who experienced a second chance, couldn’t quite believe that God gave the “sinful” Nineveh a second chance, too!  When we are the aggrieved party, it is really tempting to  get angry at a second chance. Like Jonah, we have those “pouting-under-the-shade-of-the-vine” moments. But like what the apostle Paul said, “we who are rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians3:17-19)  When we  experience God’s mercy and love, by His grace, we can also extend the same to others. If there was one aggrieved party that I remember well, it was Jesus, whom Peter denied not once, but thrice, on the road to His death. Yet, after His resurrection, He asked Peter again to “Follow Me.”

Why can’t we rejoice for others’ second chance? Instead of an ill thought or word, why can’t we think and speak of a blessing instead?

When faced with similar circumstances , I will remember what God said to Jonah –

“Is it right for you to be angry about this? “(Jonah 4:4).

Why, we are more precious than a short-lived plant!

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photo via biblestudyoutlines.org