I love this post, and I was so happy that Joy was willing to share it with us. I think of it as a meditation on the concept of atmosphere.
Joy, just another homeschooling Mama.
Since we are all educating in our homes, the atmosphere of our home affects the atmosphere we are trying to create for better learning. All sorts of things affect the “feel” of our home-life, but a major one is Mama.
I am one such Mama, and what a responsibility I have taken on, the daily care and training and educating of eternal souls. I so want to protect them and keep them from harm: physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually; but more so, I want what is right and good for them. More than just not having negative in their lives, I want their lives full of positive, and spend much time in thought and search to provide them the best I can for all the ways in which they need to grow; to the end that their days, minds, and hearts would be full of that which is good, lovely, pure, true, honest, of good report, worthy of praise, and virtuous. (Phil. 4:8) Not that they just wouldn’t be a grief to the Lord, or even just do their duty as a Christian, but that they would be profitable servants for him.
But so much of what comes to them, comes through me. Me. Faulty, sinful, selfish, lazy me. Charlotte Mason, a Christian woman whose teachings I’ve learned much from, humbly acknowledged:
That he should take direction and inspiration from all the casual life about him, should make our poor words and ways the starting-point from which, and in the direction of which, he develops — this is a thought which makes the best of us hold our breath.Vol. 2, p. 37
Oh, my, don’t I know that. Sometimes, in haste and impatience, my tongue rattles off, when it ought to be held, and held tightly. Often careful over what words they read and what they hear, and even the pictures they see, I allow careless words from my own mouth to enter their hearts.
I can remember an incidental situation where my Mom said in passing, “Joy, that is so like you.” As she walked from the room, the Holy Spirit smote me with her words. I am not supposed to be like me, I am supposed to be letting Him shine and work through me.
And therein lies the key — Him through me — dying to self and living in Christ. When my finite patience ends, His begins. When my gentleness is worn, His lovingkindness endures. His mercies are new every morning.
May Christ, who is our Life, create the atmosphere He desires in our hearts and homes.
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Amen. I struggle with an occasional rattling tongue too. I’m grateful for the Holy Spirit working in me, and in my children. I rest in His grace and forgiveness (and occasionally in theirs when I transgsress and need to go ask for it).
It seems that the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification in our lives is key not only to our own growth, but to the growth of an atmosphere. I appreciated this very much. God isn’t finished with me yet, and there’s hope! 🙂
I haven’t read very much Charlotte Mason yet, and I don’t know how much she gets into this, but it seems to me that as God has given each of us unique personalities and gifts, everyone’s home atmosphere is also going to be unique. Your statement “I am not supposed to be like me…” is true in one way, but not in another, because He made you to be like you, right? He made me quite a peaceful and quiet personality, and my home is quite peaceful as a result (and that’s a gift!) On the other hand, we don’t have as many friends through our home as my sister does, who is very outgoing. I can see that as a negative (maybe we don’t have as much fun…), but at some point I also have to accept that God knew what he was doing when He placed these children into my home with its own unique atmosphere.
Nelleke, I think you are saying something important here! On the one hand, we become less “ourselves” because we learn to die to self and all our selfish passions. But on the other hand, it’s as if we get to become the “ourself” we were meant to be — who we would have been without original sin. Not that we become perfect, because I don’t think that can happen this side of eternity, but that God starts to push us in that direction.
Fantastic thoughts, Joy! Love this so much! Great reminder for all of us too.