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I hope you’ll forgive me for writing you a letter rather than talking to you. It seems that it’s hard to find time to talk and that when we talk there are always interruptions and distractions. Sometimes we sit down to talk meaningfully and later on I realize I never got to the point.
First, let me tell you how much I love you. (You already know that, but you might wonder, sometimes, when I lose my temper or when I have to say no to you regarding something you want to do.) I remember the moment when each of you became a part of our family—the wonderful feeling of holding you as an infant and realizing that God had given your mom and me an awesome responsibility—one we could in no way fulfill without His help.
So that’s the first point. I love you and I always will and nothing can change that.
Secondly, I want to be very straightforward with you about something. I know you see my flaws time and again. I feel very bad about that. I want you to know that the Lord is helping me work on them.
You know, I used to think that adults entered a long period of, well, near perfection where they didn’t really change over the years. As a kid I looked forward to that, even if it did sound a little boring. I thought, “When I’m grown and out of college, I’ll have it all together!” It hasn’t worked that way. That was hard for me to accept for a long time.
Actually, I recognize now that it’s a wonderful thing to realize that you never stop growing spiritually, even when physical growth stops. God continues to grow His children all their lives. Through His Word and through preaching and through life experiences themselves, God patiently teaches and teaches and teaches.
Philippians 3:13–14 is a continual encouragement to me: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
If I spend too much time thinking about the failures of the past, I get discouraged. I have to ask His forgiveness for them and then “press toward the mark,” the “prize,” the end of the race.
That’s the point of this letter. I hope that in spite of my failings, which you probably see on a daily basis, you will see that I am endeavoring to imitate Christ—and I hope, with His help, that I’m imitating Him a little better each year. I hope this is true for all of us in this family—that together we’ll “[reach] forth unto those things” that lie ahead of us, loving and forgiving one another all the way.