by Audrey on May 20th, 2019

Homes can't be managed in a woman's spare time. Being a wife is not a diversion. Children can't be raised in a mother's leisure hours. These undertakings are not our hobbies nor should they be considered our outside interests.

Can you imagine filling out a form and in the space where you are asked you to list your hobbies, you think for a second, look up at the sky, and then write, "Mothering?"  Is mothering Just something to do when we're not busy doing something else? Something to fill our days when we're bored and not too involved with more important work?

It saddens me to know that somehow, it seems, we've come to a place in our nation that we think we don't need full-time mothers in the home anymore.

No, it seems we've been told that we are better served as a nation to encourage our women to leave our homes and young children, and spend the better part of our days doing something else - contributing to the greater good because anybody can change diapers and anybody can wipe noses and anybody  can serve lunch.  Anybody can read childhood books and take children to the park.  But a smart woman?  Why does she waste her time doing those things?

We're just so confused.  

I think about Nehemiah when he was rebuilding the wall and all those around him were trying to distract him from the job God called him to do. Yet, he was focused. He didn't leave his post.

When Sanballat heard that he was building the wall, he got angry. He laughed and mocked God's people. He called them feeble - sarcastically saying, "Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?"

His friend, Tobiah, joined in the ridicule, "Yes, what they are building -- if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!"

Yet again, with all this ridicule, Nehemiah was not bothered because he knew what God had called him to do.

He didn't retaliate either. He just prayed. "Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives. Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from your sight, for they have provoked you to anger in the presence of the builders."

In spite of all those who wanted to distract and stop him, Nehemiah and the people kept building the wall - because, as God tells us, the people had a mind to work.

However, Sanballat and Tobiah weren't satisfied - their ridicule didn't stop the rebuilding so they decided to rally their own troops and fight God's people.

But again, Nehemiah led the people of God to pray for protection and set a guard as security against them day and night. I love verse 13 of chapter 4 when Nehemiah says, "So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, 'Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.'"

It was a rallying call - don't be afraid! God frustrated the plans of His enemies and the work continued. They didn't quit. Though the work was hard and the days were long, and the people had to labor intensely, they were determined  to see the job to the end.  To complete it. To finish.

They not only labored, but they held spears from the break of dawn until the stars came out. There were times when they didn't even change their clothes because the work and the guarding of the work never let up.

They faced the ridicule and attacks from their enemies and even discouragement from their own people. Yet the wall was eventually finished and God was with them every step of the way. When the job was done, they celebrated!  God's Word was read in the hearing of the people, they confessed their sin, and they made a covenant.

The story of Nehemiah has always encouraged me as a mom, as a home-builder. I can't help but think how God has given a post to me, a place at the wall, and I am not to leave it. I am to labor intensely and hold a spear at the same time. I am to remember the Lord when I am ridiculed.

And I think I have been spending most of my adult life fighting for the home from the home. But it's hard. People ridicule, people think it's such a waste of time and talent. The world tells us there's so much more "out there" that we're missing. That's the fight from the outside.

But there's the fight from the inside as well. So often, even God's own people have become so dull in their hearing they don't understand why you do what you do and it's sometimes lonely and you even begin to wonder yourself if staying at your post is worth the battle.

And then there are your own battles - the ones in your own home.  You're busy fighting sin natures and trying to keep your children (and yourself) from temptation and it's just difficult. Laborious. Draining.

So I've been encouraged all these years by Nehemiah's exhortation, "Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for . . . your sons, your daughters, your [husband], and your homes."

It's like God is encouraging me through the pages of Scripture not to leave my post.  The home is worth fighting for. Yes, we face ridicule, discouragement, and we may be tempted to quit. But we hold on, we labor intensely there. We hold that spear from the break of dawn until the stars come out.

And yes, I know because Scripture tells me that one day that there will be a great time of celebration - one that will overshadow all the hard times and even the little celebrations in this life.

So what do I want to say? Please don't leave your post even though this world (and the church) so often says and models otherwise. I really believe that part of my calling as I grow older is to be a Nehemiah in this sense: I so want the next generation of young women to realize how important their place at the wall is. The home - and all that happens there - is noble and we must fight for it.

Be encouraged by these words from Proverbs 24:

By wisdom a house is built,
and by understanding it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled
with all precious and pleasant riches.
A wise man is full of strength,
and a man of knowledge enhances his might,
for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
and in abundance of counselors there is victory.

Don't be afraid.  Don't faint.  And don't leave your post.

by Audrey on April 24th, 2019

When I was teaching the series Growing Girls in my church, I said I was working on a list of women teachers.  As promised, here is my "list," but rather than it being a list of names - it is a treatise concerning this day of Christian women celebrities.  I could write SO MUCH MORE but this is a start.  Please feel free to comment or ask a question ... my heart is to obey God in my own life and as He leads, help other women to do the same.  So here goes ...

On one end of the spectrum we have women who are complete heretics – they would not view themselves that way and they may even have portions of truth nuggets in what they say, but there are major problems with their doctrine and they are teaching a false gospel and should be completely avoided.

On the other end of the spectrum there are women who are completely orthodox, who not only teach the gospel and the truth of the gospel but also teach the proper perspective of biblical womanhood and practical application for living it out. They understand the roles of both men and women, understand the biblical narratives, commands, accounts, and biographies in the Scriptures. Though not perfect (none of us are), these women would be highly recommended.

Then, in the middle of the highly recommended and the heretics, there is so much mushy ground filled with mushy women. There are women who might be close to those we would highly recommend but there is so much error in their teaching plus the direction in which they are moving make them the kind of women we don’t recommend. We might have recommended them a few years ago but they’re moving closer to the middle. Then there are those in the middle but they are leaning against the heretic line. We would not call them heretics yet -but they are so close, probably given a few years they will be full-blown in that camp.

We see this throughout history with people who started out seemingly doctrinally sound but then moved - and either completely abandoned or almost abandoned Christian orthodoxy. Popular women’s authors of the past like Hannah Whitall Smith or Hannah Hurnard come to mind. There are others but these stand out because their books have been Christian bestsellers even to this day and supposedly solid women have not only recommended them - but love them. I was exposed to both of these authors and their books when I was an early staff member with Campus Crusade for Christ. At the time, I sensed there was something not quite right but I was not mature enough in my discernment to do anything except stay away from their writings. I am so glad I did.

Women, it seems, tend to flock after women teachers who appeal to their senses, emotions, and have an “I’m like you” relationship – girlfriend to girlfriend thing.  Often women almost develop a sense of “worship” toward their women teachers to the point that even if heresy or false teaching is brought to their attention, they defend their “women teachers” because they have developed a sisterhood - rather viewing their teachings from the lens of Scripture.

Today there are so many “false teaching celebrity women” who are capturing the hearts of good, godly men and building a relationship with supposedly orthodox men where even these men are not willing to call the women out (respectfully) on their teaching errors. This is tragic.

And the sad thing is, those men who are willing to call them out are labeled as misogynists and oppressive – labeled as men who only want to put women down rather than as men who are trying to hold fast the faithful word as God calls them to do.

Keep in mind that there is a reason certain Bible studies are not in our church, certain authors are not in our church. Our pastors and the elders want to protect the flock. Sometimes there are books and study materials that have been recommended or available in the past but then they get pulled because the author and/or authors are going in a wrong direction.

God’s way is that His people are taught and nurtured through the local church. God equips His church with members who are capable of teaching, discipling, and leading the people within its own membership. Of course, using other materials is very, very helpful and encouraged but they have to be carefully weighed. There are so many authors that our church loves – other pastors like a John MacArthur or Alistair Begg or Erwin Lutzer or Mike Fabarez or an author like Elisabeth Elliott or Elizabeth George or Joni Tada.

However, so often people write and publish books to get a speaking gig or to line their own pockets with money. Nothing wrong with earning money from writing but again, we have to be so careful. And in this day where everyone wants to be an influencer, famous, and known - we have to be even more careful. So many of these women have become the cash cows of Christian bookstores and publishers - and even good godly people are tempted by the power, money, and influence and they end up not holding fast to the truth.

Guidelines for Women Teachers

  1. It’s very important that a woman teacher does not violate 1 Timothy 2:12. This means she is not to teach or exercise authority over men. Period. This is different from speaking to a mixed group where she shares her testimony or prays or something like that - but if she is opening up the Word of God and teaching it, she is disobeying God. If she says she is under the authority of a pastor or an elder, then not only is she disobeying the Word of God – her pastor or elder is disobeying the Word of God. A pastor or an elder cannot allow something that God forbids. God‘s Word is so clear. Obviously, that’s just one passage in Timothy but this is taught all throughout the Scripture.
  2. This goes without saying or it should go without saying, but a woman who is teaching should not be living in any kind of open unrepentant sin. This can take forms - but if she is living with her boyfriend or she is a lesbian, or she approves of homosexual marriage and lifestyles or she is actively seeking an unbiblical divorce or anything like that ...
  3. Some women are completely orthodox and she teaches the biblical roles of men and women - but if she is a mom of young children, she should not be spending the bulk of her time away from the home to pursue anything - even Christian ministry. Her most important Christian ministry is right around her kitchen table. I know this is difficult for so many gifted women but that is because they have been infected with the spirit of the age and they like the notoriety and they like feeling like they’re doing something “more.”  How is it that we think "more" is out there when God has entrusted us with the "more" right in our own homes?  We have children to teach, train, and raise.  To give the BEST of our knowledge!!!  But here’s there's this too, whatever age or stage a woman is in, the bulk of her ministry outside of her home would be employing her gifts serving in her local church where she knows the people and the people know her.   This is what the Scripture teaches.  
  4. God loves the local church. He established it and it is the main place where we serve God's people and use our gifts.
  5. Also a woman teacher should be teaching through the lens of Titus chapter 2. It's not that she's teaching that passage exclusively, she can and should teach and exhort from ALL of Scripture BUT she is teaches  through the lens of Titus 2, helping women live out right doctrine as they go about the duties that God clearly assigns to women.  A woman should teach like a woman – not like the pastor or like a man.
  6. It’s very important that a woman teacher is not partnering or appearing with false teachers. This is a violation of 2 John 9-11.  But see, in our day women want to be so kind and sweet and likable by everyone, so much so that they do not want to ever take a stand. They want to be all inclusive so as to be popular- even if they know better - and they end up partnering with anyone. This is so dangerous.
If I am not familiar with a particular woman about whom someone asks me, I check these things – sometimes I don’t even need to examine what a woman has taught or what she is writing because if she is violating 1 Timothy 2:12, I know she can’t be trusted. If she can be deceived on that one issue, she can be deceived on so many more ...

This, of course, doesn’t mean that some of these women are teaching flat out heresy as a whole, but I would not recommend them, especially because of the direction in which they are going. There are several women teachers whom our elders would have recommended five years ago but now because of  what these women are teaching and in what they are doing, no more. Sometimes people start out correctly but then they begin to drift. In light of that, from time to time, our elders pull their works from our bookstore and no longer recommends them.

As much as I would like to name particular names, I’m not going to do that at this point. Even if I did name them, I would not be saying that they are not nice people – please do not misunderstand me - it just means that we should not be following them as teachers at all even though they are extremely popular among so many women.

One last thing:

There are plenty of men who are dangerous as well. But usually women worship other women. And I teach women.

~ Audrey Broggi

by Audrey on July 19th, 2018

Psalm 34:3 O magnify the LORD with me; and let us exalt his name together.
When I was growing up, I learned from an early age to be in big church with my mom and siblings.  My dad was a pastor and we always went to church together – as a family – in one car.
The first church my dad pastored was small, it took 35 minutes to get there, and I still don’t quite know how Mama and Daddy did it but on Sundays, they did something quite spectacular.
They had all four of their young children ready at least 30 minutes early.  The four of us then had to occupy ourselves in a way so as not to get our bodies dirty nor get our Sunday clothes messy.  Yes, we wore Sunday clothes – set apart clothes – different from the clothes we wore during the week.  They weren’t fancy, not expensive – just set apart.  Oh, and our hair was always freshly washed for Sunday.
So during our time waiting on Mama and Daddy, we children gathered in the living room.  That room was set apart – it too was special.  See, we never played in that room during the week.  It was always clean and in order, and I remember how in the winter it was always cold.  The only times I can recall being in the living room as a child was on Christmas morning, on Sunday mornings, and when someone special came to visit.  Occasionally I would sneak in there and sit on the floor at the round coffee table and daydream.  Sometimes I would listen to records on the stereo. I knew I could be by myself in that room because it was set apart.
But on Sunday mornings, the living room became the special gathering place for all four of us children and it was there we “played church.” I’m not sure how it started.  Maybe Mama and Daddy told us to wait there - it would certainly explain how we could spend maybe 35 or 40 minutes without getting dirty.
Well, in our pretend church, my older brother was the pastor.  My older sister was the pianist.  My younger brother ushered and collected the offering.
And me? Well, I was the congregation – all by myself – at least in the beginning of our worship service.  Eventually my sister and younger brother joined me in our “pews” after they finished their duties of piano playing, collecting, and ushering.  I think I was the only one my brother ushered into our pretend sanctuary.
In our playing church, we sang hymns together.  My brother read the Bible and preached in front of the fireplace.   I sometimes sang solos, “What Will You Do with Jesus?” and “Have Faith in God.”  And I often went forward at the close of our service.
I was raised Baptist.  If you were raised Baptist, you understand this.  You know about an invitation at the close of the service.  You understand singing “Just as I Am.”  You understand about going forward.
So I guess my siblings and I are the ones who started the trend of two services – because every Sunday morning, we attended services twice – once in our living room and once at Hebron Baptist Church.
And I’ve been thinking - the reason we did this is because we saw it modeled every week in church. We were in church every week worshiping with our parents.  We went to Sunday School on Sunday morning, Training Union, and Sunbeams and prayer meeting on Wednesday nights.  We learned children’s songs and Bible stories.  We learned about missionaries and how they gave their lives to share the gospel with people in other lands who never heard the name of Jesus.  We memorized Bible verses and Bible passages.  We had sword drills.
I loved everything about church.  I loved my Sunday School class being with children my age and learning about God.  I loved our teachers. And I loved big church.  We didn’t have a separate children’s church – children’s church was big church.  And my parents did a great thing in training us.
They talked about preparing for the Lord’s Day.  They gave clear expectations to us about behaving – but more importantly about expecting God to speak to us.  About His noticing our presence in the congregation.  About letting children come to Him.  Sundays were and still are my favorite day of the week.  It’s still set apart, different from the rest.
Maybe we didn’t have children’s church for other reasons, but I would like to think that the reason was because our church and my parents believed there was no substitute for us being with and seeing our parents worship God with the body of Christ in “big church.”  I’d like to think it was because my mom and dad thought it was important for us, as soon as we were at least kindergarten age, to be in church together – magnifying the Lord with them.
In fact, I think young children can be trained to be in big church.  I think with some teaching, some explaining, some forethought – young children can be excited about being big enough to be there!  I not only think it, I know it from my own personal experience growing up in big church.
Worshipping with God’s people matters. It’s in big church where children see their parents model worship through singing great hymns of the faith with God’s people, model listening to the teaching and reading of God’s Word, model praying and giving, where they see baptisms and the Lord’s table, and other ordinances believers hold dear.
It’s the perfect place for questions about God and His ways to enter their minds.  Why do those people go in the water?  What is that juice?  Why do you put money in that bag?  Why do you open your Bible?  Why are those words on the screen?  Why?  How come?
But here’s the challenge.   Today, so many do not have a heritage of going to church, so many do not understand basic Bible doctrine, so many do not understand any thing about church.  And it’s even harder today to help parents because even adults have no idea the purpose of the Lord’s Day, the whys of corporate worship, who God is – it’s a different day from the days my siblings and I “played church.”
And yes, it is a challenge to help children learn to be in big church.

I remember long worship services with four young children in tow.  I remember being called to get a fussy baby from the nursery and having no place to go – and trying to keep my children focused on what big church was all about.  I remember crayons rolling on the floor under the seats, children whispering, “How much longer?” and all the wiggling.  I remember a child’s snoring, loudly.  I haven’t forgotten.
But instead of thinking things like, “Why did I even bother to come?” (which, I confess, did enter my mind occasionally), I wanted my children to know about worship and Sunday – I wanted them to realize how very, very special this day was.  I wanted to be with God’s people even if sometimes that meant walking the halls and/or serving in the nursery or children’s classes all morning.
But I also wanted to make it to the day when my children would love the worship service in the worship center and that they really would learn to magnify the Lord with me, that we really would exalt His name together.
So with lots of prayer and advice from those who LOVED the Lord’s Day, who had walked before me, I came to discover that I needed to train my children for worship.  And yes, Carl and I worked on this together especially in our early years, before he was a senior pastor.  Those were the days we would sit together in worship and if one of our children wasn’t getting it, one of us would exit and deal with it and then come back.  And oh yes, we sat near a door in the back.  We didn’t want to be a distraction by parading in and out.
But most of the time I was on my own because Carl became a senior pastor.  By that time, however, I did have an 8-year-old who had loved the Lord’s Day and who was very, very helpful to me.
So over time, I learned a few things about training children for worship and I hope my experience will help you and I want to give some practical suggestions.
But first, I want to say a few things about children’s ministry and age-segregated classes for younger children.
I love both. While I believe that overall in Christendom and in our culture at large, there is too much age-segregation, I believe there is benefit in having children’s classes at church.  Let me explain.
It is appealing to children. It is great fun for children to learn about God in children’s ministry.
It is a wonderful way for young mothers to use their teaching/serving/administrative gifts in the body of Christ teaching and loving children.  Using our gifts in children’s classes stretches us and helps us hone our abilities even further.

Serving in children’s ministry allows our own children to see us involved in the body-life of the church.  They see us care about others - they see us reaching out to other children, helping them grow, loving them – and we provide a ministry for parents who don’t know yet how to teach or serve.

I loved it when our children were small and I love it now that I have  grandchildren.  
I remember the wonderful women in my church when I was growing up.  I don’t remember a lot of their names but I remember their care.  I remember their dedication. I remember knowing that church was a safe place.
And now?  I am so grateful for the people who teach and love my grandchildren.  I am reminded of this every time my grandchildren visit and go to church with me.  Wow.
So many women bring excellence to their ministry each week, and our children learn deep spiritual truths in ways that are fun, simple, true, and crystal clear.
I am impressed – touched - by all the teachers, all the helpers who serve our great God in this way.  Serving others is an act of worship.
I love children’s ministry and I am so thankful for those who make it happen.  It enhances everything we try to help parents do with their children.  It enhances worship, it enhances home discipleship, BUT it is not a substitute for either.

  • Practice at home on Saturday.  Set up your living room as a mini worship room and pretend.  Assign roles to the children. When our children were young, Carl would go through his sermon (on their level) during this time. 
  • Teach them that we don’t “have to go to church” - we “get to go to church.” But don’t expect them to grasp that attitude if you’re not excited about church.  If you’re not, ask God why.  Ask Him to renew your heart – to renew a right spirit within you.  He will do it.  He is so faithful 
  • Teach them about the Lord’s Day.  Use the Ten Commandments and then tell them that after the resurrection of Christ, God’s people met on the first day of the week – Sunday.  If you feel you don’t quite understand this, listen to my husband’s sermon titled, 
  • Tell them that God wants to speak to them through His Word. 
  • Set apart a special church tote – only to be used on Sunday.  I filled ours with felt books and the only time they could look at the books was during big church.  Eventually I transitioned them from this to taking notes. 
  • Give clear expectations.  
  • Sit near a door, in the back, when you are beginning with a new child.  The goal is to train your child so that you can sit anywhere and worship together.  But everything takes time – so while you’re transitioning – remember there are other people in the worship center and your child doesn’t need to be a distraction.  If you’re having trouble, use the worship training room temporarily. 
  • Build up to your child how special it is to be in big church!  He’s growing!  She’s big enough!  It’s special! 
  • I personally think it’s fine to reward your child when he/she does well.  A new Bible.  A new pen for note-taking.  A new tote for Sunday things. 
  • At lunch, talk to your child about how it went and what could go differently next week.  Ask questions like,  “What did you learn today?” “What was your favorite part?”  And tell them what you learned, what you liked.   Don’t criticize or be sarcastic – the Bible warns us about the effects of coarse jesting. 
  • Tell them what you admired about their behavior. 
  • If they didn’t quite live up to your expectations – tell them what they can do better next time 
Give it time.  Remember how important this is.  God the Father delights in our praises.  He instituted the church and He loves it when we gather with our families to worship Him together and as we serve His people in children’s ministry.
“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”

by Audrey on June 18th, 2017

​Father's Day is coming to an end. I'm grateful for my dad.  I am grateful for my children’s dad. And I feel great love and appreciation for so many men I know who are doing such a great job as fathers. I am grateful.
But at this stage of my life, I see Father’s Day in a new light. See, I’m old enough to have some boys who have grown into both husbands and fathers.
I spent a good part of my life raising daddies. I remember when these dads were little boys. I remember those days as if I am still living them. Partly because my boys trust me with their children and I get to spend time with my grandchildren. Every time I have them, it's like jumping into a time machine and traveling back into the '80's. My oldest son's little girls are little feminine replicas of their daddy. My second son’s children each have a different image of their daddy stamped into their being. It's no mistaking to whom each of these children belong.
Yet, my memory of raising daddies is as crisp and clear as a beautiful fall day. My grandchildren just bring it into sharper focus - if that's possible.
I love how they remind me that I can never erase seasons of my life from my memory. I love how, when I look into their faces, oftentimes I feel as if I'm staring into the faces of my boys. It's like having time with my little robust warriors all over again - except the girls hold dolls and tufted kitties rather than sticks and random car parts. But the boys? It's ALL the same. They're boys. I love, too, how they show me that some seasons of life are so indelibly etched, it's very easy to remember and go back as if no time has passed at all.
As far as these grown-up daddies are concerned, I can still hear their little voices and see their little faces. And sometimes when I look into their faces today, I stare at the strong jawlines when they read stories to their children, I study the broad shoulders on which their children sometimes sit, I gaze at the big masculine hands they use to wipe a tear from a child's face and I am captured by these tall adult masculine men - yet, I also see the little boys they once were.
The little boys who were sometimes afraid and wandered into my room at night and climbed into our bed - on my side. I think about the "nighttime" pallet I kept tucked away, yet close enough, because the two of them plus the two of us couldn't fit very well or very comfortably in a double bed. They were always in competition as to who would wake up first during the night - because the one who wandered in first got the bed - the other one got the floor. I slept many nights during that short season of life with my arm dangling from the side of the mattress holding a little boy's hand.
It's so true, some memories are as crisp and clear as a beautiful fall day.
And sometimes when I hear their voices today, I listen intently to the deep sound that comes out. Wow. Where did those baritones come from? And I hear, "Who's that trip-trapping over my bridge?"
I remember their little voices - the coos, the baby giggles - that grew into childhood squeals of rough boy-times and then of course, the I-sound-like-a-woman days. Oh the frustration in their voices when they answered the phone, "No mam, this is not Mrs. Broggi but I'll get her for you." Indelibly etched. I always told them that "sounding like a woman" preceded "sounding like a man." I told them it was a good thing because it meant sounding like man was coming soon – very soon. At the time, they didn't believe me.
Well now, they sound like men. They act like men. They look like men. Real men. Not the sissy types. Not the wimpy types. Not the metro types. Not the girlie types. Not the womanizing types. Not the carousing types.  Not the domineering types. Not the lazy types. No, they are real men.
They are the kind of men who know and love God. The kind of men who know how to sweat and work hard. The kind of men who knew how to find and pursue good wives. The kind of men who would lay down their lives for their wives and now, their children.
The kind of men who also knew how to leave their mother and father and cleave to their wives. The kind who know how to provide for and protect their families.
Happy Father's Day to my boys.  

by Audrey on May 5th, 2016

​​Five years ago, I went to a couple's home to look at a rocker they had posted on Craigslist.

When I met them, it seemed like we were old friends. I'm not sure of their age, but probably old enough to be my parents. I liked them right away. The wife told me all about the rocker, why she was selling it, how she really didn't want to sell it, but she knew she needed to begin now to get rid of things.

We talked about antiques and little towns and lunch and Beaufort and how much my daughter would love rocking her little baby in this chair. The husband was just as friendly as the wife. He followed me out to the car to help me with the rocker and then to guide me out of his driveway.

Before I left, he asked me, "Do you have other children?"

Oh yes, I do. Five. He seemed shocked. "But this is your first grandchild?"

Oh no, I have four. This is my fifth.

"Fifth??"  I wish I could tell him that I now have twelve!

He seemed amazed and followed up with questions about my children. He wanted to know what they were doing and was it difficult raising them - and when he found out I educated them at home, he asked if I pushed them along or led them along. I answered, "Both."

"Explain," he queried.

I said sometimes they needed pushing when they needed to do something they didn't want to do. I told him how I had learned that it wasn't my job to be my children's friend when they were growing up - it was my job to be their parent.  I told him that I believed friendship develops as they grow and becomes so beautiful when they are adults.

But I not only pushed them;  I also, by the sheer mercy of God,  led by example.

But oh my,  I also told him how I prayed like crazy all their growing up years.  I prayed, too,  they would follow me in the good stuff and somehow not even see the bad.  

Then, in reference to home education, he asked, "Do you think you've been successful?"

Well, I didn't know if I was successful - but, I told him, "I know my children are successful."

He wanted to know more - about college and sports and maybe about things my children missed being schooled at home.

I said something like this, "Well, I guess my children missed out on some things. In fact, I know they did. But don't we all? We don't all get to go to the best schools, we don't all make the team, we don't all win the prize, we don't all become great musicians. We don't all have the best teachers or the best opportunities or the best anything, really. No, we just do the best we can."

He nodded. He said, "I hope your daughter loves the rocker." I know she will.

I drove away yet this man's questions followed me home like a lost puppy. They were nipping at me and forcing me to give attention to them. I began to think about lots of things my children missed because of our decision to home educate. 

But I also began to think ~ for all the things they missed and for all the opportunities they didn't have, there were countless other things they gained. It went kind of like this in my head, "They didn't have this, but they had that."

And isn't that the way it is in life? We missed this, but we gained that. And shouldn't our perspective be on what we have, rather than on what we missed?

So, in relation to what my children may have missed, I began to think about what they gained.

I've seen God's hand all over their lives. And I thought how God never misses anything. Just like He gave so much to me when I was growing up, He has given my children opportunities and shaped them in ways I'll never fully realize. He guided their steps whether I was successful or not. He stepped in and filled in the holes of their education with buckets of water when I was running dry and He pushed open doors that I didn't even know existed.

Faithfulness is all God requires.  I can be faithful.  I can cling to the Lord.

My new friend caused me to reflect and thank God for His faithfulness even though I self-doubted so many times.

The last thing I remember saying to this man about my children as I stood in his driveway was this, "My youngest child graduates in June and he'll be headed to college in the Fall."

And yes, when my new friend asked about college, imagine - I got to tell him about four universities and scholarships and graduate schools. It just hit me really hard.

See, I heard myself say, "My youngest child graduates in June . . ."

It was like my words hung in the air then made their way into my head where they echoed, but instead of fading away like most echoes do, they got louder and louder and louder. In my mind, I heard myself shouting me, "My youngest child graduates in June and he'll be headed to college in the Fall!"

That meant when June rolled around back then, I would have officially finished the home education of my children. And I did.  I finished the job that I never even thought I could ever do. (And by the way, that youngest child has now finished college and has launched his own career.)

So, questions loomed.  And sometimes they still loom.  Did I harm my children? Did I cause them to miss opportunities? Did I push them? Did I lead them? Did I inspire them? Was I successful?

You know, as a parent, you do the best you can. You follow the Lord through His Word and as He guides and directs, you make decisions that you really believe are in the best interest of your children. At least that's what we tried to do. There were so many times I self-doubted. So many times I wondered.

But when he asked me about my children, and particularly about how in the world did I not only raise five children, but also educate them, and did I push or lead . . . I had the chance to tell him. And I had the chance to tell him about the God Who helped me. The God Who did it.

Then as I drove away, I had the chance to thank God for His faithfulness.

And I thought I was just going to pick up a rocking chair for my daughter.

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