Sunday, June 1, 2008

Pursuing The Beauty Of Unity

For those who don't come around SFE very often, this post is a continuation of ongoing through over the past many blogs (4 or 5 I think). If you care about following the train of thought, I just thought I should heads-up you on that.:)

I don't want to become fretful about sharing as I have here lately on this major change God is leading us in (that being the move into the public school) because I am confident that God wants me to share. However, I am earnestly desiring that I not give the impression that what I am doing is better than homeschooling. If anyone is getting that impression.... IT'S NOT MY INTENT.
It is hard for me to put this into words so I would like to just copy what I just shared with a friend so I don't have to figure out another way to say it.
Here is part of my letter:

"I worry in sharing that we will all do what we tend to, and think we all have to look like that one body part. That is exactly what God is showing me NOT to do. I hope I have not been giving you that impression. I thought Tami Rutledge's post on not homeschooling being sinful (and I just saw whilie linking here that she has a follow up to this post called "Number One Reason Why You Should Or Shouldn't Homeschool Your Child" ... I have not read it.. so I'll be heading over there soon!) addressed this biblically. I don't know if you read it, but it's good.

'The church is often a pit of judgment and division over things that are not supposed to be universally obeyed. Make-up, movies, dancing, clothes, nail polish, music, hair styles, T.V., bed times, dating, allowances…. God leads us all in different ways at different times – focus on your own obedience and let God take care of His other sheep!'

That is where my heart is right now...focusing on the intimate leading of God to my husband first and then to me... show us your will Lord! We ask you lead us, we don't need to worry about others, just our obedience.

'White stands for RIGHTEOUSNESS WITHOUT a DOUBT. For something to be righteous we can prove from scripture that it is pleasing to God. The fruit of the Spirit is a clear example here. But because Christianity is a relationship not a “religion” God has made sure that there are some “gray” areas that require each of us individually to come to Him and say, “Lord, how do I please you in this.” He doesn’t call us to come and ask him how our friend can please Him that is between God and your friend. And He leads us and we are not to make others conform to what God has directed us to do.'

And this is why I want to make sure I am not making readers think I want this to apply to them. It is my story. I don't have an opinion on what others do. I use to. God has been so good to lift me of this lately. I have been shown that what I think is best should really be snuffed out of existence. In it's place should be a goal for unity and encouraging my sisters to seek the will of God, and therefore joy. What I think really doesn't matter at all and really is just a distraction from focusing on what God has for me.

It's a radical new way of thinking that is astounding me. I grew up with such southern/midwestern mentality of everyone sitting around on the porch sipping tea and talking about the Jones'. Through Christ I AM SO DONE WITH THAT!

I don't want to bring across any other impression. How can I best be your a friend? By encouraging you to obey your husband and God and that is your goal so I rejoice in God for that! I want to speak unity, live unity, and encourage unity. I don't want to look like other "body parts" and I don't want anyone to think they need to look like me.

I delight in your desire to walk in the way God has for you. I hope to encourage you always in that. No matter what it practically is defined as.
alicia "

I have so very dear, dear friends who homeschool. I want to cheer them on! I want to cheer ALL my brothers and sisters on to live the gospel out in their lives by walking by faith. Whatever he defines as their path, I want to encourage!

Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
John 17:23
I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Romans 15:5
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,..
Eph 4:3
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Col 3:14
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

It's also interesting again to me, that the passage in I Corinthians's 12, which the Lord lead me to, speaking of the different parts of the body of Christ, is immediately followed by I Cor. 13 and before it starts talking about love Paul states at the very end of chapter 12:
"And now I will show you the most excellent way."

Oh, let us live excellently!

Lastly, this lead me to thinking on displaying unity to my children. It is an issue the Lord is convicting me of beyond this small issue here. Do I speak with an air of unity about families in my church to my kids? Do my kids hear me criticize aspects of families or behaviors of children in my home? Or do I have grace for these children and families and speak joyfully of what the Lord is doing in their lives? Do they develop from me the impression that one way of doing things is the "christian way" and therefore, my brothers and sisters fall short according to me? Not only are they seeing me break down unity, but they will begin to compare their own "righteousness" to their friends "righteousness" (according to mommy and daddy anyway) and therefore they begin the pattern early in life of developing pride.
I can instead, use these opportunities, as Rick and I plan to, when we tell the kids once the final decision is made, to teach them of the beauty of the body of Christ. The intimate God who leads each of us.... HOW powerful is HE! I can teach them about unity and the distraction of our own opinions.
On the surface, I could be motivated by a fear of something being said about what they heard me say regarding someone. Or, that they would tell their little friend what mommy REALLY thinks of them. Telling them to keep it quiet (and yes, I've been guilty of this before!) only teaches them that it's okay to criticize our friends as long as we don't let them know about it. It does not get to the heart of the matter, our pride. Our tendency to take our focus off God and put it on what each other is doing or not doing. This lesson can easily be taught to the Glory of God in the midst of every day living with really no effort at all. Mostly by example, but also by speaking what is pure, and true, right. Speaking unity.


Zimms Zoo said...

Recently I had a very dear friend tear me apart, because I refused to agree with her on something. The kids heard me tear her apart to myself. They in turn said they wouldn't be friends with her kids. Wrong for me to do! So I made sure that they were within ear shot when I called and apologized for my pride in the matter.
Man how our attitudes affect our children's attitudes. It is a vicious cycle if we let it and I appreciate the reminder.

Alicia said...

what a humbling but wonderful way to show your kids you messed up but wanted to do the right thing in the end. that speaks volumes too! :) that is not an easy thing to do.

tricia said...

I was a very critical person when I was in my twenty. I found joy and took pleasure criticizing other people either to myself or to whoever was near. God has shown me over the last 12 years how wrong I was. He used my son. IW would leave everyone's house and just complain about everything and everyone. God was good to point out to me that is what I was doing. Through God's strength I have changed. I have tried to refocus IW and my other children that we need to show that person grace when they criticize. I let them know that it is God and their parents responsibility to correct the behavior or attitude not theirs.

I am far from perfect I still stumble on this one. I have apologize to my kids for what I said and let them know that is not how God wants me to behave.

Alicia, keep on pursing what God calls you pursue.