Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ta-dah’s, Olive Plants, and Other Musings

Our sixth child, Benjamin, has been the most active and mischievous of all our children. He’s the kind of child who climbs the shelves in the pantry so he can stack soup cans six and seven high; he runs any place he wishes…not walks, but runs; and he goes to sleep kicking his foot against the mattress (but he’ll sleep no more than eight hours at a time, regardless of how active the previous day has been). Sigh. This forty-four-year-old mom is feeling the effects of such an energetic little guy.
Last night, as I was attempting to put Ben down for bed, he kept calling out, “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom…” Finally, I said, “What is it, Ben?” He promptly pointed to a stuffed animal he had suspended high between the rungs of his crib and sing-songed, “Ta-dah!” Goofball. (He gets it from his daddy, I’m certain.) Of course, I had to chuckle and give him a kiss, thanking him for reminding me why it’s so wonderful to have little ones in the family. And then I thanked God for giving me another olive plant to grow.
My heart is frequently reminded of Psalms 127 and 128 as I look around my quiver-full of arrows or table-full of olive plants. In this case, the idea that comes to mind is it takes fifteen years of cultivating an olive plant to become a tree that produces fruit. Ben has another thirteen years or so under our training and tutelage to prepare him for the fruitful service we pray he will choose to give our Savior. Have I used the two years already behind us as wisely in that training as I should have? What will the next thirteen years hold? I don’t know the answers for certain to those questions, but I know the best place to be is to be a woman “who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways” (Ps. 128:1) because that is where the blessing is assured (Ps. 128:4).
One more thought about our olive plants, while it takes fifteen years of grooming and cultivating to produce a plant that is fruitful, it’s encouraging to know that an olive tree will produce fruit for over a hundred years. That means we’re heading into another generation of godliness and productivity, by the God’s grace and will. Wouldn’t it be great to have an olive grove of numerous ages or generations of trees producing fruit for our Lord and Master? May it be so for all of us. “Ta-dah!”

Friday, June 11, 2010

One Down, Five to Go….

Fifteen or so years ago, I distinctly remember thinking, “Okay, Lord, I’ll be willing to teach my children at home, at least up to high school.” And then as junior high and high school approached, I prayed, “Yes, Lord, I’ll consider teaching the children through high school. Please, just don’t make me teach them chemistry or government.” Now, over a decade into our actual teaching adventure, I’m standing on the other side of the bank and saying, “I have a high school graduate who survived me as his teacher for twelve years – even through chemistry! How did we get to this point?” Well, it suddenly occurred to me as I was watching my oldest son hugging people and shaking hands with those who were congratulating him on his achievement: We got to this point the same way we got through learning to read, memorizing multiplication tables, and practicing how to write a logical paper; we got here by God’s grace. Did I think that His grace was not sufficient enough to get us through chemistry, for heaven’s sake? By God’s grace, Derek (our eldest) will continue to develop academically, to grow in his understanding of God’s will for his future, and will desire to do God’s will. And by God’s grace, we’ll get through the five students who are remaining in our little “academy” in the woods of Elyria, Ohio. To God be the glory, because it is only by His grace!