A Personal Letter (Continued)

Dear Readers, Thank you for your encouraging responses to last week’s post.  It helped to open up about the struggles related to caring for my mom.  Your uplifting words not only lighted my spirit, but also helped to alter my perspective. The cry of my heart is to see things from God’s perspective – to have the eyes of my heart enlightened, so that I may daily know His hope and the immeasurable greatness of His power.  (Ephesians 1:18) God reminded me of another season in my life when a different set of circumstances felt difficult to bear… and how He graciously intervened to alter my perspective.  Back in 2005, I had been hired to be the administrator of a brand new, uniquely-styled school – Veritas Academy.  Doors opened that fall to a larger-than-expected first year enrollment of over 130 students. I was excited to see what could be accomplished, although I only planned to stay on for the two years I had committed to. Not a day more. Little did I know then that God had far deeper – and longer –  plans that eventually would include the rest of my family in some form or fashion. God also used (and is still using) my tenure at Veritas to grow and purge me of perspectives that had gotten in the way of my relationship with Him – namely being too much of a people-pleaser and a propensity to manage things in my own wisdom and strength. I will never forget that first year back in 2005-06: The exceedingly long hours. The daily problems that required immediate attention. Striving to meet the expectations of...

New Beginnings Each Year

I like January. As much as I enjoy the holiday season, I relish the chance to slow down, reflect on the year gone by and to ponder the up and coming New Year. I look through my previous year’s journals, and then record all the answered prayers. I marvel at God’s faithfulness. I take time to ponder unanswered prayers and unmet goals. Plus I acknowledge my personal failures and shortcomings in the past year. But then I let it all go. I thank God for His faithfulness and allow His grace and forgiveness to wash over me. That’s what January means to me – a new beginning. I think of what the LORD said to the Israelites in Isaiah 43, that they were not to consider the things of old because He was doing a new thing for them. So I put down the past year and anticipate with hope what the New Year may hold and how I can personally walk in newness. What growth will take place in my heart this year? How will I be different by year’s end? Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Actually each day offers us a chance to restart…. ….to put aside the previous day, will all its struggles and regrets,  and begin with renewed energy the next day. “His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning and great is His faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3: 22-23) I can’t change the past or erase my mistakes. Nor can I take on tomorrow...

Teaching Kids the Fear of the Lord—Wisely.

It didn’t go as I had envisioned. Haddie was in tears. Kate clearly did not understand. I had botched what I had intended to teach them about God’s transcendent nature and the “fear of the Lord.” As many of you know, as part of a University-Model School, I teach my grandkids their school lessons at home one day each week. This year I decided to begin each Tuesday with lessons on the attributes of God. For the most part, it has been delightful. We’ve discussed how God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. It’s been fun to break down the words into their Latin roots. We have pondered His sovereignty and His immutable nature. We’ve had great discussions, which I believe have reached their hearts. Last week, by teaching about God’s transcendent nature, I wanted them to view God through a lens of awe and respect. I told them how Moses responded when he saw God in the burning bush and how Daniel responded when he saw God in a vision. I explained to them how both had grown profoundly afraid when they encountered God and then, out of deep reverence, they chose to obey Him. As a follow up, I asked them to respond in their journals to this question: “How does a healthy fear of the Lord make you want to obey?” Joey was close. “If you have a fear of God you will really want to trust Him and believe in Him.” Haddie sat there, with tears in her eyes and fearfully cried out, “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.”  She was clearly stressed...

What a Blessing!

Back in August of 2005, when Veritas Academy first opened its doors, I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my first grandchild. We didn’t even know if it would be boy or a girl, but we knew that come Christmas, we would hold that baby in our arms and start a new chapter in our lives. And so work began, I dug into my new job, building a school that I really believed in, that I hoped, maybe one day, that precious grandchild would be able to attend. Joey was born in December. That fall, Erin brought him into my office wrapped in a blue and white checked blanket to visit. I remember holding him and praying that maybe some day, maybe, I would have him with me in this place where I had poured my heart. But it seemed like it wasn’t to be. Cam and Erin made it clear that they would be enrolling Joey and their kids in the neighborhood public school. My son Troy and his wife had moved to Kentucky to attend seminary. And Alisa and her husband were struggling with health issues and infertility. Yet, I felt something in me niggling at me to pray. And so pray I did. First, Troy and Stevi made the decision to move back to Austin. Then, Alisa and Peter had a miracle baby. (Follow by, later, another, then another…. and then another.) Then, four years ago, after Joey had completed two years in public school, Erin woke up one morning in a cold sweat feeling definitively that she needed to move Joey to Veritas. At that...

Jesus Restores Me

“What does the word restore mean?” I asked my four grandchildren who were memorizing the 23rd Psalm over lunch. It’s like making something new again,” they concluded. “What does it mean to restore my soul?” I questioned further, “And what is your soul anyway?” “It’s who I am. It’s my personality,” Haddie exclaimed. “It’s me inside,” Joey added, pointing at his chest. “Yup,” agreed Kate, “that’s what it means.” Meanwhile, four-year-old Will sat quietly listening to the discussion with a smug look on his face. “What do you think soul means?” I asked him. Pulling his foot up as high as he could, he proudly exclaimed, “it’s the bottom of your shoe!” I wondered what he had been thinking about the phrase “he restores my soul” and suddenly I saw a connection. Yes, Jesus restores my soul. But He also restores my soles. In Deuteronomy 29: 5, we read that “Yet the LORD says, ‘During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.’ ” He sustained the Israelites through their entire wilderness experience. And he will do the same for us. I believe the Bible promise that “His yoke is easy and His burden is light” and I am trying to make this my daily perspective. For a driven person who is prone to being overly responsible, life becomes too heavy without this life-giving view. Therefore, then I begin to feel burdened and overwhelmed, I am learning to pause and examine what it really is that concerns me. What am I carrying in my heart...

Getting From Then to Now

   The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. Psalm 138:8  Watching my children and their spouses line up to present their anniversary gift to us evoked a deep sense of gratitude, but also excitement over the unexpected trip to San Francisco we would take the next morning. The evening had already been special with a new dress to wear for the surprise party they had thrown for us. I was stunned as Erin stood up to explain that for years they had each been putting aside a small monthly sum in order to send us on this special 40th anniversary trip. Holding Glen’s hand, I stood there gazing proudly at all six of them and marveled at who they had become: Erin, our faithful oldest daughter with a deep servant’s heart, who looks out for the needs of everyone in our family, and who motivated me to co-author Free To Parent with her Cameron, her husband, whose calm, unruffled disposition brings balance to his vibrant wife and children, as well as tranquility to all of us Troy, our son, whose diligence and steadfastness are evident not only in his role as a father and husband, but also as a school administrator serving over us at Veritas Academy Stevi, his beautiful wife, who sees the good in everyone and whose sweet, kind disposition radiates from within, bringing joy to all of us Alisa, our youngest daughter, who is consistently thoughtful, sincere and kind, and always a good listener which makes her easy to turn...