Homeschooling, Parenting


February was one of the hardest months when my children were living at home. Some days, nothing worked. I didn’t like my kids or my spouse or certain friends or homeschooling or my curriculum or my house or perhaps all of the above. And none of them liked me back.

All of us lived and eventually liked each other again. (The love never stopped.)

No one ever said that they learned their deepest lessons of life or had their sweetest encounters with God, on the sunny days. People go deep with God when the drought comes.

John Piper

How is your February?

Decisions, Family, Friendship

Repaying Evil with Blessing

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called that you may obtain a blessing.

1 Peter 3:9 (ESV)

My husband and I memorized 1 Peter 3:9-12 with our Sunday School students in 1988. Later, we taught our own children those verses. I knew they were true because they are God’s Word. However, one afternoon, I especially felt their power.

As I stood on a balcony and gazed at a beautiful view during a vacation opportunity, I Peter 3:9 came to mind.

A favorite spot

When I do as I ought—not repaying evil for evil but rather blessing—God does not owe me anything, but in his mercy, he gives me blessings. That afternoon, I remembered God’s blessings for pursuing peace.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

I Peter 3:12

Remembering lately?

Book Recommendations

Trouble by Gary Schmidt

He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.

ISAIAH 11:13B-14 (ESV)

A day after I finished Trouble by Gary Schmidt, I reread it, and then, immediately called one son and told him to add it to his “must read” list. I pestered my mother-in-law to read Trouble. Why?

The characters are compelling, and the plots twists numerous and the prose as beautiful as you would expect from a professor of English at Calvin College, but Trouble offers more.

I learned the perspective of people overwhelmed with circumstances and grief. The reply “Fine” means “Please don’t ask questions I can’t answer.”

My understanding of the discrimination that refugees face in the United States increased.

Most importantly, Trouble illustrates Isaiah 11:13-14. The characters—and therefore the readers—are misled by what their eyes see and their ears hear. Righteousness prevails. Justice is given to the poor of the earth.

After the last page is read, the characters will still wrestle with Trouble, but accompanied by Hope and Happiness.

Thank you, Gary Schmidt.

Decisions, Friendship

The Victim Is Not Always The Victim

He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear

Isaiah 11:13b (ESV)

I think one of the saddest things I wish I had known was that the victim is not always the victim. Much is hidden that cannot be discerned—even by people who are daily witnesses.

The apparent victim may tell the best story. Or have the most pathetic or sweetest voice. Or an appearance that invokes trust. Or experienced a tragedy. Or a serious illness. Or always makes sure his or her version is told first.

I have been fooled by all the above.

The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.

Proverbs 18:17

Many times, I did not have an examiner. The version I or a friend heard occurred miles away or years ago. The truth was not discovered until I or another had sympathized with or given aid to an instigator or bully or liar.

I learned along the way to be wary of the “wounded.” They may have been the one wielding a sharp sword.

Have you been misled?


Speak Up

One evening, I looked around my crowded living room where families had gathered and wondered, “Am I crazy, or are they crazy?”

My husband and I continued to wonder if others saw the same dysfunctionality that we did. When the group gathered for a meal, we wondered if our host and hostess were naïve.

Finally, my husband met with a leader. The man was working quietly to rectify the situation. The young couple who had hosted our meal left the organization. Later, we learned that they had found the situation intolerable.

I learned a lesson I have never forgotten. Even in silence, I am not alone in my perceptions. Some may not have the disposition or courage to speak up or have done so and been shut down.

A decade later, a friend expressed frustration about a situation and asked, “Why won’t others say something. I’m told I’m the only one concerned.”

“That’s not true,” I said. “We’ve complained.”

Another decade passed. Another friend told me about a school situation and asked, “Why won’t other parents complain?”

“Maybe they have and have been told that no one else cares,” I said. “Add your voice and support them.”

Speaking up?