We had just finished breakfast and decided to take a hike in the woods on the “West Lake Trail” behind our campsite. Just me and my two youngest boys. As we entered the forest the world around us changed. It was beautiful. The morning sun was shining through the high leafy branches, sending rays of light beaming onto our path and illuminating the greenery around us. Birds were chirping out their morning songs and squirrels scurried around the hilly terrain.
As I watched my sons interact together on that broad trail in front of me, laughing and sharing imaginary stories, my decision was once again confirmed in my heart. I want more of this. I want to share God’s world with them and stand beside them each day in amazement of God’s creation and orderly plan demonstrated over and over in the details of life. I want to teach them how that light pressing through the trees above hits the plants below, initiating photosynthesis so that these plants can grow and produce oxygen. Why? Because that is how God designed it to be on creation day number three.
I want to begin with the Creator, Author, and Perfector of life and not allow him to be a post script at the end of their busy days. I want to share truth with them and allow their natural curiosity to bloom and stir in them a love of investigation. I want them to settle for nothing less than absolute truth in life. I want to teach my children to center their lives around God. So I am.
It seems like such an obvious decision. God has sovereignly assigned them to me to nurture, discipline and train. He specifically chose me for this position and yet I have sent them to the World for their formal education, assuming we could “add God in” as needed. I haven’t yet found scripture to support God being a side note to real life or an extracurricular activity that is optional. I only see him commanding to be the main focus of every aspect of our lives (see 1 Cor. 10:31 and Col. 3:17).
Despite what I have tried to tell myself over the years, I have come to understand that education is never neutral. Jesus himself said in Matthew 12:30, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” There is no hint of neutrality in those words. Public schools have kicked God out and taken their stand with the World. Therefore it follows that the educational system in our country today (not necessarily individuals) is against God and scatters.
What do we truly want for our children? My husband and I made ourselves sit down and seriously answer this question. With an eternal perspective firmly in place, we discussed and wrote down what we desired to see in the lives of our boys. There were no sappy answers of just “wanting them to be happy.” God was the focus of every goal we had and this had to change how we moved forward in raising them.
Psalm 127:3 and 4 tell us, “Behold children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” These arrow-children of ours have great purpose. There is a spiritual battle waging whether we see it or not; whether we acknowledge it or not. I want my arrows to be as sharp and as dangerous as they possibly can be. I want them to pierce the Enemy in such a mighty way that he flees in fear, not of them but of what their Maker can do through them. Having been honed for usefulness by years of sharpening and training. The warriors that hold them are their father and I, given a gift laden with responsibility.
So I am leaving a position I have loved for ten years to yield to the calling of becoming a metal worker. I have heard myself telling others that this seems crazy, but as I write this today the opposite seems to be so true. It would be crazy to ignore the call and leave these arrows I claim precious to me, to be dulled by worldly ways and teachings. Trying to do quick, hit and miss sharpening in their ever decreasing spare time. If Christ is what life is all about, then Christ is what I will teach. All else pales in comparison to him and yet is only illuminated by his work.
There was a bench overlooking the river at the midway point in our trail that day. I asked my sons to sit next to me and we prayed together for God to guide us in this new venture knowing full well, as excited as we are, it will not be an easy path to take. We then walked on, and as I listened to these two brothers sing made up songs trying to make each other laugh, I again stood in amazement of a Creator who would package up such potentially dangerous weapons in such a joyful (although often ornery) way. Not long from now the bowstring will be pulled tight and these “arrows in the hands of a warrior” will be launched forward into a raging battle. I want them ready in every way to serve their King valiantly.