{Ministry Mom} Worth More Than Diamonds

MandyWritten by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

….worth far more than diamonds. (Proverbs 31:10 MSG)

The definition of worth is: “the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated.

Our culture is insistent that we find our ‘worth’ in various ways. Where do you find your worth?

Do you find worth in your education? Perhaps you have a degree or two from a prominent university, framed and boldly centered on your office wall. Do you find your worth in your job? Maybe you’ve climbed the ladder and have worked REALLY hard to earn the position you possess today. Do you find your worth in a growing platform? Maybe you have double the number of fans on Facebook or Twitter as your competitors. Do you find your worth in your family? I’ll bet you are pretty proud of the hard-working husband and beautiful children you call your own. What about a car? A boat? Your hair? Your home? Your passion? Your talent? Your ministry? (Ouch)

Now, what if the very thing in which you found your worth was stripped away. Would you still be worthy?

What if you have none of these things? Does that make you worthless?

1 Peter 1: 3-7 says this: God has something stored up for you in heaven, where it will never decay or be ruined or disappear. You have faith in God, whose power will protect you until the last day. Then he will save you, just as he has always planned to do. On that day you will be glad, even if you have to go through many hard trials for a while. Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns. (CEV)

Worth has nothing to do with anything you can possess or obtain in the physical sense. Nothing you can buy, earn or create on this earth will increase or decrease your worth. The value you feel in any of the things I mentioned above, or anything else other than God Himself will soon fade away.

It is only when you put your hope and faith in God, without reservation, without holding back, that your worth is far greater than diamonds, my friend.

Don’t settle for anything less.

{HOMESCHOOL WEEK} The gift of homeschooling.

By: Joanne Rivest

Before sunrise, the oil lamp flickered bright in the middle of the dining room table. Coffee and tea were poured in steaming cups, the aroma gently teasing our senses luring them to finally wake. My son and I began to work. The books were opened and together we started our lessons. The house was quiet with no phone calls or doorbells to draw me away, and the absence of lawnmowers or buses outside of the windows to distract my boy from the advanced level mathematics on the table enabling the lessons to begin. I was able to focus one on one with my boy, and he was able to focus one question at a time in his math lesson.

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Those early morning wake ups were tough, for both of us. But desperate times called for desperate measures, and the multi level teaching and multi person speaking was just way too distracting for my boy to effectively learn his advanced mathematics. So what is a mom to do? We took action.

I am a second generation homeschooler, and have been immersed in the home school culture for many years. When I started teaching my own children I began to devour book after book, resource after resource in order to perfectly craft my children’s education. Since I am the firstborn in my family I tend to like order, so I would draft schedules and make charts and lists for every conceivable need, and my lesson plan books were colour coded by grade and subject so that everything would be ‘perfect’. The advent of the internet brought a whole new world of possibilities to my fingertips as I would search website after website marveling in this wonderful new resource that brought many more options to the table for my children’s education.

I started to compare different homeschooling philosophies. There was the Classical Method with its use of the trivium that spoke to my heart. It’s well ordered and highly academic program with its rich base of history was a dream for me to teach in those early years. Sally Clarkson, spoke words of wisdom in her series of books that she wrote for mothers, “The Ministry of Motherhood” and “The Mission of Motherhood“. She challenged my carefully drafted education plan with her philosophy of education in her book, “Educating the Whole-Hearted Child”. Once again I had to revise that colour coded binder.

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Our third and then fourth baby were soon ready for formal education to begin. With my younger children I seemed to have more time and patience for the ‘messes’ of everyday life, which probably stemmed from my letting go of having a magazine-like home. We spent much time painting portraits of bunnies like Albrecht Durer, while listening to classical music. It no longer mattered that paint was messy; messy became beautiful (at least when talking about painting). Ambleside online became a constant resource for our many library trips each month. My carefully planned Classical Method seemed to have morphed into a Classical/Charlotte Mason approach and my children thrived. Nature walks in the many local conservation areas became our favorite activity of the week, as we took time to notice the beauty of creation.

With our oldest children beginning high school, the importance of essay writing and science class took precedence. We began to research different ways to achieve higher education. My carefully laid out plans and that binder needed to be revised once again. With our oldest son graduating high school, and now entering his second year of college, it has become abundantly clear how the educational path that we followed was exactly what he needed. The time we spent walking on those nature trails allowed much opportunity for discussion. We talked about the stuff of life; our goals, his goals, and the biggest goal of all, which direction that he felt God calling him to pursue.

When I first began homeschooling I envisioned a 9 to 3 schedule. Never would I have thought that I would be lighting a lamp and making coffee before sunrise in order to provide an atmosphere that helped my child to learn. I also expected that my children would learn best the way I learn best. Boy, was I wrong. Each of my children have learned to read using different methods, methods that worked for them. Some of our children love to learn by themselves, and others require one on one teaching. The gift of homeschooling allows me to tailor my teaching to each of my children’s needs.

Teaching our children is my passion. I knew from the time I was young that if I was blessed with a family I would want to home educate my children, and I am so thankful that God has given me this opportunity. The one aspect of my home school binder that has remained constant is the Biblical approach of each area of our studies. Our steadfast goal has been to learn each subject from a Biblical worldview. When teaching science, I would look to the Bible and see how Gods Word and science align. History has been especially enlightening as we would compare the events of the Classical World and the events that were happening in the Bible during the same time period. The Bible has come alive in the hearts of our children as we discussed Sargon of Agane and the Great Pyramids near Gizeh, and see that these events and rulers were taking place in the biblical times of Jacob and his children. Watching my children learn and grow in faith has brought me such great joy over the years.

There have been many special moments that have been given to me during our home school journey, and like many paths that are travelled, the rough terrain and bumpy spots tend to bring the greatest accomplishments. As our home school journey has come to an end for our firstborn son, some of the fondest memories are of the two of us sharing a steaming cup of coffee in the lamplight so many mornings ago. What a precious gift I was given to be able to pour into his life, encourage him and cheer him on.

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That lesson plan book of mine has taken many turns and detours throughout the years. I look with anticipation to the new choices and philosophies I am yet to discover. As we approach the beginning of a new school year I am prayerfully considering the curriculum choices and scheduling that each of my children needs. The task sometimes seems overwhelming, but my strength is renewed when I am reminded of the scriptures ~ Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3

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Joanne Rivest is a wife to the love of her life and best friend, Jeff and together they have four children Kyle(19) Lauren(17), Conner(14), and Katherine(9). Joanne is actively involved in her church and community, with a passion to serve Christ with her whole heart! Joanne home schools her children, loves to read and can always be found in a pair of heels with a tea in hand! 🙂

{Marriage} Do I support his passion?

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By Sal and Cindy Morrone

I have shared with you in my last post entitled, “{Faith} A Miraculous Happening” how even spotting a deer is now an amazing event for this family, all because of my husband’s passion. Whenever driving at dusk, especially in the fall season, we are all aware to look for these beautiful animals and although we all have been successful to find one, my husband with his keen sense surpasses us entirely!!

I eat meat, just to be clear. However, I prefer my meat unrecognizable from the source, frozen in a clean as possible package, found in a grocery store. I am not kidding!! My husband is a hunter. Yup! We have a deer head (sorry, mount) hanging in our garage. Feeling really submissive one day, I brought his trophy into the house and attempted to find a location for it. I tried it over the fireplace and in my most favourite room where my praying takes place…… but I just couldn’t do it, so back out in our garage it stays.

In our early years, I was happy to ‘allow’ my husband to go for a few days during hunting season to hang out with his family. It gave me time to do ‘my thing’ and I actually found this manly side of him attractive. Ugh! Ugh! I didn’t understand it; there was deer urine that you can buy and the thought of not showering on purpose, or using any kind of soap or deodorant was foreign to me; but he enjoyed it and it made him happy and so I supported his happiness.

My husband has given up hunting for several years now. This submission was eventually by his own choice precipitated by a calling greater than going into the woods. Just this year, he shared this story with me (see below) and although I thought I knew how much this sport mattered to him, I never, truly realized the importance to him. The memories that he so holds dear.
I asked my husband to share with us how he feels (I know, I know, already the wrong question) about hunting and here is what he has written.

My First Deer Hunt by Sal Morrone

It is kind of hard to explain a feeling. I was 13 years old the first time I was allowed to go deer hunting with my dad. Now you have to understand that the whole experience of going to deer camp in November actually starts in September…. at least with my dad it did. I witnessed this annual ritual as far back as I could remember. Even when I was too young to go, I would see the excitement in my father’s eyes and I could sense it in his spirit. I would patiently sit and watch as he would create a list of supplies to bring on the trip, I would go to the store with him to buy the staples and special foods that were reserved especially for deer hunting…. fresh salami, ripened cheese, canned peaches, Italian coffee which my uncles always requested, among other Italian goodies he would lovingly buy at La Stella Italian market. All of this just added to the experience. I remember watching him clean his rifle and asking him when I could go. He would smile and say “you will, when you get a little older”. I held on to those words every year. I can still smell the solvent he used to clean his rifle. It may seem strange or even silly to most, but to me it was like a bouquet. You see, it never was about hunting. It was the time that I could share with my dad, my uncles and my cousins. My dad had the ability to create an almost magical atmosphere surrounding a seemingly simple trip. His excitement was contagious and it spread to my uncles as well. I really think that they counted on him to be that catalyst to spark the fire of the deer hunting season.

Have I painted a picture for you yet? The year was 1978 when I finally came of age to go “up north”. I completed my hunter safety course as did my two closest cousins. We were hyped to say the least. Not one to disappoint, my dad was true to form. We went to buy our hunting license in September. Again, my dad could have gone to the local Kmart to buy his license but of course he made a special trip out to a DNR office out of the way. The office gave the impression of the outdoors with a wall mounted deer, Pheasants and a Timber wolf on display. We took side roads and stopped at a sporting goods store to buy wool socks for me and an orange vest.

The following months we would continue to add to our list, build a very cool bed in the back of my dad’s truck where we would be toasty warm. I would talk to my cousins weekly and we started our own plans for the fun we would have. I forgot to mention that I was on the junior football team, and as November came around I could not help but be thankful we did not make it to the play offs. I have waited way too long for this. Oh yes, and as a bonus, I got to skip out of school too. The forecast for Northern Michigan for opening day called for cold weather and a chance of some snow. This by the way would be ideal conditions. As November 14th came, (opening day is the 15th), my dad and I got up at about 4:30am, like I actually slept. We loaded the truck and left for my uncle’s house in Ortonville, but not before we stopped for fresh hot donuts. There was not a soul on the road, remember it was 1978. When we finally got up north, there were two more stops, Glenn’s supermarket for some awesome steaks, Baby Ruth chocolate bars and Faygo Rockn’ Rye pop. Then to Jerry’s General store where there was an artesian well that was always flowing and we filled our water jugs.

It was everything I had imagined. The smells, the cold air the little cabin with a wood stove that was way too big, the closeness that we all felt as family. I was “up north” with my dad! We went to sleep that night in our specially built truck bed, and when we woke up, there was a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. It was still dark, and the snow was falling very gently. It was cold but strangely comfortable. After we ate something and my dad had his coffee, we set out in the dark to a place we had scoped out the day before. I sat right next to my dad on a fallen tree trunk and we waited for first light. I sat quietly and could hear my dad’s breathing. I then felt a gentle tap on my shoulder, my dad pointed about 25 yards next to us and then I saw a beautiful doe. We did not have a doe permit so it was a pleasure just to watch her. More time passed. Another tap on the shoulder, and we saw a group of Does. We saw more deer than anyone else that day; we did not get even one shot at a deer. Did I mention that it has never been about bringing meat home for me, but of the moment, the chance to be a part of an incredible experience with my dad that I will never forget.

The End

When I asked my husband to jot down some feelings about his passion, I never imagined he had so much to say. It’s so not about the hunt but about the sense of belonging, the memories; part of his heritage and who he is.

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

In my next post, entitled, “{Parenting} I Gotta Give that Up…..Say, what???” I will discuss the reason why I did not fully support him leaving to hunt. Respectfully, I will also share his process of willful submission. Stay tuned…..

Dear Heavenly and Gracious Lord,

Forgive us Jesus for ever hindering another’s passion; another’s giftings; especially our spouses. You have created us all uniquely and specially and ‘all your works are wonderful’ (Psalm 139:13). Help us to appreciate that about one another; to not ridicule or resent but to help foster and encourage these talents. Help us Lord, even if we don’t understand or appreciate. We ask for the necessary wisdom and some real, practical ways to support passions. Help us to love like that!! In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.