Saturday, August 28, 2010
Coming Boldly to the Throne of Grace
This painting is by Emile Munier
Miraculous things happen when we pray with believing hearts. Encouragement from God's Word and church are key.
Here's the thing...I have never had peace about homeschooling Gracie. She never did either. We were going to make the most of it because, financially, that's where we were. I didn't want to teach her at home, not because I think I can't do it. That's not it. I know I can. But, just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you should. It hadn't been going well. And it only got harder when Rachel started back to ACA on Wednesday, August 18th. Gracie continually asks, "Why does Sissy get to go to school and I can't? How come I have to stay home all day with you, Mama?" (Ouch.)
I have explained to her many times that Rachel's is all taken care of. Praise the LORD! Gracie is unwilling to accept this. I agree quietly. It's not fair. Yet, instead of praying to God, I keep whining about it.
I want Gracie to have EVERYTHING the LORD has for her. I never want to stand in the way of what He has for her. SHE BELONGS TO HIM! He brought her to us on her one month birthday. We realize He hand-picked us to care for her and bring her up to know HIM and love HIM with a loyal and willing heart. That part, I can do. That is the reason I believe God chose me to be her mother. I can impart a loyal and grateful love to Grace towards our Heavenly Father. But, teaching her academically...nah. I stink there. You can ask Rachel about that.
The family joke is that I haven't any patience. I tell them, "I don't have any patients, I'm not a doctor." Ha ha. But, it's really not too funny.
Enter the Holy Spirit and He stirs up my tenaciousness. My husband hates my tenacity. He tries to run and hide when he sees it rising up. Here's what happened.
In February, while Gracie was attending preschool at ACA we applied for financial aid to pay for her Kindergarten. She was tested and approved to begin Kindergarten there in August. Our financial aid came through based upon Rod's income in February. The school offered us a nice grant in April. Rod lost his job just around the time we found out about the grant. It was going to be a total stretch now. We did not sign the school commitment letter for Gracie. We waited all summer for things to turn around for us financially. I prayed lazily that God would just help me be patient while He comes through with the next job for Rod.
We had a nice summer hanging around our lovely home. (Thank you, Lord for this wonderful place you've given to us.) The deadline to sign the commitment letter for ACA passed. We decided to homeschool. I was bummed but that was nothing compared to Gracie's reaction. Fast forward to mid-August.
I don't want anyone out there to think I am against homeschooling. I'm not. I know some lovely homeschoolers who are adults now (Sunny Williams, Rachel Osigian). I know it's a wonderful gift that some very dedicated mothers give to their children. But, I believe in our case, my girls are better off with a variety of God-loving teachers who are trained to be teachers and a mama who trains them at home about loving God and family. This is what works best for us. But for the moment we had one shoe on and one shoe off, so to speak.
Pastor Mike began preaching about Boldness. Four Sundays in a row he preaches nearly the same message: Boldness. Living boldly for the glory of God. YES! Not skulking around in the shadows sinning quietly as a habit and then slinking into church on Sundays to repent (again). Boldness is being courageous enough to recognize that you must humble yourself like a little child and keep your eye on the Prize. Boldly reign in your flesh. Boldly share your faith. Now is the time for boldness!
During this time Pastor Glynn Bachelor brings a teaching on the awesome work of the Holy Spirit. He quoted R.A. Torrey, "Many in the church claim for themselves only a small part of what God has made possible for them in Christ because they know so little of what the Holy Spirit can do--and longs to do--for us."
And Pastor Glynn also gave us this quote from Lloyd John Ogilvie, "Sadly, many Christians settle for two-thirds of God. They are what I call 'bi-tarians' rather than Trinitarians. God the Father is way up there somewhere, aloof and apart from their daily lives. Christ is out there somewhere between them and the Father. The Holy Spirit is some kind of vague force or impersonal power, but they do not know Him personally." (Ugh. That kind of made me feel sick.)
After church I go pick up Gracie from my mom's class. Here comes another ACA mom who we also go to church with. She has a daughter Gracie's age. She looks me seriously in the eye and asks, "Where is Gracie?" I knew she meant, why wasn't Gracie in Kindergarten at ACA? I told her we were homeschooling because of Rod's job situation. She shook her head in understanding and as she was I heard the voice of the LORD say to me, "Hezekiah. Hezekiah. Hezekiah." Hhhm. Hezekiah.
While I made lunch I thought about what I know about King Hezekiah. The LORD told Isaiah to tell him he was going to die. He went home and curled up in bed and faced the wall and cried. He plead his case to the LORD. The LORD heard him and sent Isaiah back to tell him he had been given fifteen more years.
I whispered to the LORD, "Am I curling up and taking it instead of pleading my case with you, LORD?" That night Rod and I went to church because Bill Delong was preaching. I love Bill. I can't tell you all the reasons why. He and his wife Edith are some of the most dear people I have ever met. Bill and I share a birthday, so I feel like we have this special connection and also, I just love to hear his wonderful stories.
That night Bill said he heard a Word from the LORD about boldness and he wanted to share it with us. He said that God told him that boldness isn't just about sharing your faith but there are so many unopened blessings in Heaven because God's people just won't ask. He reminded us that we are to "...COME BOLDLY TO THE THRONE OF GRACE, THAT WE MAY OBTAIN MERCY, AND FIND GRACE TO HELP IN TIME OF NEED." Hebrews 4:16
Needless to say that message accompanied by my Hezekiah prompting and Pastor Glynn's sobering quotes weighed on me Sunday night. By Monday morning I was filled with HOLY SPIRIT-led BOLDNESS to state my case before my King.
"It's not fair, LORD. This is YOUR DAUGHTER! You want the very best for her. I want the best for her and we both know she is withering here at home with me. I trust You, LORD that YOU chose the best mother for her in choosing me. I thank You for that extreme privilege, however, I am not the best teacher for her and YOU KNOW IT! Please, LORD, please make a way for this child to go to ACA. I am coming to YOU boldly and boldly asking for mercy and grace for help in time of need. Gracie needs a DIVINE INTERVENTION that only YOU can provide, LORD. You're leading me and I'm following, now please, throw open that door for her...in Jesus' Name I come boldly to You with this request! Amen."
By 8:15am I had an ox-goad pressed into Rod's back as he phoned the headmaster at ACA. Rod asked him to "re-evaluate us financially" so that we could possibly get a larger grant since our finances are different now than they were in February. He said he would call us back. Rachel was sitting in class. Gracie was working on her math workbook I bought for her at Ingles. Rod waited. I waited and then I prayed some more.
In the meantime a relative of mine called out of the blue. He said he wanted to do something for Gracie. I told him what we were trying to do at the current moment. He laughed and said, "I want to contribute monthly to her tuition." I thanked him and told him how nice that was but no, that wouldn't be necessary. He said, "It isn't for YOU, it's for her. Now, just say thank you and tell me your address again." I did and I got all hopped up in faith.
I pictured the LORD down on his knees with his arms outstretched to me saying gently, "Come on, come on, you can do it. That's it. Keep coming. Come on, come on, you can do it. That's a girl, keep trying." His gentle urging reminded me of watching Gracie take her first steps. And it made me smile.
Friends, by 3:00 pm last Monday I was walking around the ACA campus with my arms full of tiny size 5 uniforms. Gracie started Kindergarten the next morning bright and early. I've never seen her happier. I am so filled with gratitude at our fabulous LORD for listening to my plea and answering my prayers (and Gracie's)!
I never want to become an unbelieving Holy-hand-tying "bi-tarian". The first scripture verse I ever taught Gracie was, "With God ALL things are possible, yaaaaayyyy!!" (Of course I added my emphasis to Mark 10:27.) God can do anything He wants to. And He uses his Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. We must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. I want to believe Him for anything, and everything. When He answers my prayer my faith in Him grows by leaps and bounds. I hope my daughters see it too and their faith grows as well.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: "Praise Jesus!"