Friday, April 17, 2009


I am so thankful that I have a teachable spirit. I didn't always want to be learning the lessons the hard way, but I'm just glad, really glad that I can learn them nonetheless.

It was a rough week here at the Engel homeschool. Brendan had testing this week. He absolutely LOVED it! (He is my child...I always loved standardized testing too)! I had the opportunity to proctor the exam for the 4-6th graders for three days and Brendan had a chance to take the exam for 2nd grade. He had never tested before....we are not obligated to do any testing of our children when we homeschool, but as I told is more for me to see if my curriculum is doing the job that needs to be done. (So in theory Brendan thought he was taking this test to see how Sonlight was doing in our home). ;) Well, after the first four hours of testing, he came running to find me..."Mom, I can't wait to come back tomorrow, this was SO much fun!" Ahhh...he loves to be tested! He finished his 3 day exam in 2 days and can't wait to do it again next year!

Well, needless to say, after testing and getting up very early, he probably deserved a break from reading, writing, history, math lessons this week....but NO, Brendan's Mom can be...ummm...a little inflexible sometimes when it comes to getting in the school time. I probably crammed too many things in the last two days of the week...he was just exhausted. If you were in close proximity to my home you might be able to hear someone humming the tune "So, I had a bad day..." and it would have been Brendan! OH my he was off today. A little talking back, a little whiny, a little disobedient...need I say more. So, at the end of the day, I had no choice but to stick to my guns and take away a few things and change his afternoon plans.

Each time I called him to the carpet he would say, "OH I am soooo sorry Mom!...I don't want to be this way!" "Please forgive me!" My first response was..."I do forgive you, but you cannot go on the computer today." That was just the first thing. By the end of the afternoon, I had to resort to changing his afternoon plans. "Sorry son, but you obviously don't understand how this behavior is just not acceptable." Mind you, Brendan is my most obedient child, rarely gets into any trouble, and is always very willing to repent and seek forgiveness. He is the pleaser of the bunch! So, he explained to me, through his tears that he just doesn't understand..."I really don't want to be this way...really! I'm trying to do what is right, but I just don't!" (Can you hear the apostle Paul in Romans 7:15 "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.")

At this point I had no choice but to take him in my arms and tell him I thought we just needed to pray. This is his beautiful prayer, cried out to Jesus in the arms of his mother: "Dear Jesus, please forgive me. I am such a sinner! I don't want to sin and be disrespectful to my Mom, I know that breaks your heart Jesus. Please forgive me and wash my heart clean and help me not to be this way anymore...I really want a good attitude. In Jesus name, Amen." This is what I prayed, with tears streaming down my face, being held by my 7 year old son: "Heavenly Father, please forgive me. I am not a perfect parent, forgive me if I have been too hard on my boy today. If I in any way crushed his spirit, please mend it quickly. He is far too precious of a gift to me. Lord your word says that when we need wisdom we are to just ask for it, so I ask for your wisdom Lord. Help me, help my son. I thank you Lord that you are with us right now, in this moment holding both of us. Teach us both to be more like you in everything we say and do and in how we act. We want you Jesus, we just want you! Thank you Lord for my sweet Brendan and may he continue to grow in his faith in you! Such a gift you gave to me in this 7 year old boy! Now lift up our heads Father and restore a joyful heart in both of us! In Jesus name we pray...Amen!"

I just held him after that and we exchanged our love for each other. Shortly after this, we went to pick up Kyle. When Kyle got into the car, Brendan felt the need to tell Kyle that he had a bad day...he was disrespectful, talking back to Mommy, not listening....I pulled the car over and turned around and looked right into those blue eyes and said: "Brendan, you know that you don't have to go over all those things that you did right? You don't have to worry about those things anymore, because when we repent and ask Jesus to forgive us, he doesn't remember those things anymore! He doesn't keep of record of wrong doing!..You are forgiven!" He knew that he had been told that before, but he just couldn't really believe it...afterall...who "really" forgets? When we got home, I knew the Lord spoke to my heart about Brendan's afternoon plans. One word spoken very clearly in the quiet place of my heart....Mercy! Oh when we not only don't get what we deserve, but we get something even more special! MERCY!

I got Brendan to the side before we got into the house and whispered this to him: "I have called your friend's Mom and she is bringing him over today." He looked at me with huge eyes...questioning..but not verbalizing the question. I simply smiled at him and said...."Mercy sweet boy...mercy." He hugged me and thanked me! Isn't that exactly what Christ does for us! We see more Mercy than we do consequences. When we deserve to suffer the consequences of our wrong doing...He, more times that we know, shows up with one word..."Mercy"! Thank you Father for your Mercy!


Michelle said...

What a beautiful example of mercy. This is the part of parenting that stinks but is as equally as glorious. PTL for you and His mercy shining through!

Marisa said...

Great post! I love the wisdom that God has given for mothering.

Amanda said...

I had been very good at crushing my 8 yr olds spirit. I didn't really "get" that Mercy was for me and did'nt relaize I was withholding it from my son. Wow. Thank you for the post and the honesty throughout. Glad Jesus teaches us His way even during mistakes made.