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...

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...

Free to Parent

  It’s finally here….. ……the book I have been writing for over 40 years and actually accomplished recently, as a co-author with my precious daughter Erin MacPherson. Free to Parent isn’t based on clever strategies or lifeless rule-driven control. (It very likely would have been had it been written years earlier.) Instead it’s about how parents can break free from parenting tactics that do little to nurture a child’s heart, and instead raise up their children in the freedom and joy of the Lord. Writing a book as a mother-daughter team has been a delightful journey, uniting not only our hearts around this project but also weaving together stories from both of our generations. You can order a copy today on Amazon! The best preparation for me to teach from this book, (as well as gain insight for the accompanying workbook coming soon ) have been the trials of this past year. This is especially true of my most recent challenge while traveling in Finland, when I suffered a retinal tear that left one eye temporarily blind. In hindsight, it is no surprise that Free to Parent was completed under the strain of challenges, where I would first need to authenticate the message in my own heart. I am still recovering from the resulting Vitrectomy, an eye surgery that involves the placement of a vision-impacting gas bubble within the eye, that slowly dissipates over time. Thus, for the past few weeks, I have viewed the world around me through very distorted lens. But God is using my distorted vision on the outside to bring clarity and focus for me...

Preparing for and Handling the Adolescent Years

As a parent of young kids, you may already be worrying about this phase. Or perhaps you are a parent currently trying to stay afloat in the midst of it. Or maybe you are looking back with relief having survived it relatively unscathed! Without a doubt, this is often the most challenging, confusing and frightening time for parents, as their children move from childhood towards adulthood. Because they are neither child nor adult,  parents find themselves in a continual balancing act: of needing to allow more freedom while maintaining wise limits of doing less hand holding but seeking more heart connection The height of challenge tends to occur in the 6th-8th grade years.   It’s in this season, that I sense the most angst and get the most agonizing questions like, “What has happened to my son?” or “What have you done to my daughter?” Everything is changing: Efforts to control them bring about rebellious power struggles They may resist increasingly difficult school work preferring instead what comes easy and is entertaining They stiff arm your attempts to lecture them They readily find things to grumble and argue about What their peers think matters more while what you think matters less Your efforts to teach them are often met with cool indifference or impatience Your role needs to adapt as they grow older. When your children were younger, they watched you and took in basic information about life, about faith, and even about character. As adolescents, they are now “trying on” what they learned and at times they also experiment with “taking it off.” They want to walk in their...

From Kindergarten to Graduation

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 Picture your son as a graduating senior? Picture your daughter stepping onto a college campus? These are the most intriguing questions we ask parents in their admission’s interview to Veritas Academy. I enjoy hearing the hopes and dreams that moms and dads hold for their young children. Then when graduation time rolls around, I sentimentally reflect on how their sons and daughters are now walking into the vision painted for them years ago. I know the struggles some of these students have had to work through in different seasons of their lives and I know the times of hopelessness their parents have felt as a result. Each graduate has a unique story, one that includes both refining of individual strengths as well as prevailing over personal weaknesses. Each has experienced both success and failure; wise choices as well as mistakes; good times and bad times. I see how God is bringing clarity to their personal identity, via their strengths and interests, but also how He is developing resilience as they confront their imperfections and overcome obstacles. I believe that God paints vision for children into the hearts and minds of their parents. Moms and dads are His chosen ones to guide, train and nurture these little ones. As I consider our youngest students to those who are graduating, they represent segments of the same journey of growth towards a heavenly vision that God has called them to. This vision has less to do with what they will become career-wise and more to...

Hold Fast to What is Good

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” Romans 12:9 A Veritas Family suffered the unimaginable this week in the sudden and tragic loss of their 13 year old daughter.  As a community we share in this grief and mourn with the family. What can one even say in the face of such sadness? And how does a school community respond to the questions students have who are not only sad but also confused and frightened? In pondering this, I came across a very helpful sermon by John Piper.  You can find his  sermon or article titled “Abhor What is Evil: Hold Fast to What is Good” at ©2013Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. It is based on Romans 12:9, a verse filled with simple yet life changing truth.  Mr. Piper concludes by saying “Love for others must hate evil.  Because evil hurts others directly, and evil hurts other indirectly by hurting you.  Evil obscures the beauty of Christ. And Christ is our greatest good.  Our greatest joy.” Read his article.  Ponder the truths found in this one simple verse with your children.  John Piper exhorts the reader to “go deep with the Bible and believe and absorb and teach what it means and what it implies in its straightforward statements.  If you do that – if you think your way down deep into the warp and woof of the Bible, and let it shape your mind and heart- you will be spared many trendy detours that sound so up-to-date, but end in the destruction of lives.” As I mourn with the family, I...