You are the Message!
Monday, 04 February 2019

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  • Encouragement
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Proverbs 1:5 "Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance."

There are certain moments in our lives that we will never forget. These may include the day you graduated high school, the day you met your spouse, or the day your first child was born. They are moments that are ingrained in us and stand out more than others. One of these moments happened to me on November 23rd, the day after Thanksgiving. This year we spent the holiday with my brother's family on a small farm in a suburb of Peoria, IL. We were at their house for several days that week, and on Friday we decided to venture out and spend some time in downtown Peoria. Caterpillar is based there, and we checked out their visitor center. This place has all the latest heavy equipment from CAT. You can watch a movie in a rock truck, drive a backhoe simulator, and climb all over their latest excavators. I had a blast – I mean my kids... my kids had a blast!

After about an hour or so, eight very hungry children let us know that it was lunchtime. We piled both families and my parents into two vehicles and drove a few blocks down the road from the visitor center and parked in front of a wood-fired pizzeria. My brother parked his Suburban first. I drove past him and parked a few spots down. I got out of my driver's door and then opened the rear-sliding door of our van to help our four-year-old son, Gabe, out of his car seat while some of the other kids and my wife got out on the other side. What happened next, I will never forget.

I remember unbuckling Gabe and fighting him because he could “do it himself". I remember his cousin, Carson, getting out of the van before him. I remember handing Gabe his new vest and telling him to go to the sidewalk with his cousin, and we would put his vest on there so we weren't dealing with that while standing on the road. I remember turning to close my driver's door, and I remember turning around again to see my son misunderstanding my directions and running across the road to the sidewalk on the other side. I remember the color of the pavers we parked on. I remember there were some orange construction cones on the road. I remember the look of the abandoned building across the street with blacked-out windows. I remember what I was wearing, and I remember what Gabe was wearing, I remember what everyone was wearing. I remember hearing a fire truck down the road from the parade that had just finished earlier that morning. I remember the pigeons perched on a roof across the street. I remember the early 2000s light blue Buick LeSabre with rust on the rear quarter panel driven by a lady that appeared to be in her late 50s with brown glasses and black leather driving gloves coming towards my son. I remember she didn't see him. I remember the grey and red F150 that was coming right behind her. If I really concentrated, I could probably tell you how many clouds I saw in the sky that day. I could go on - I remember that moment like I was still there. I remember the way my chest felt as air rumbled through my lungs to let out the deepest and loudest "dad voice" bellow of "GABE!" imaginable, and I'm sure half of Peoria remembers it too.

What I remember most vividly though is that my son listened!

At that moment my son, who was only four, had a critical decision to make. He could either fear the big and scary voice that was yelling at him and continue his course to a very tragic end, or he could listen. My voice was all that I could offer him, and it did not scare him; instead, my voice protected him. As he heard me, he stopped dead in his tracks and ran back to me. Immediate obedience, under all circumstances, no matter what, is something that my wife and I have taught our children since they were very little – in case of a moment just like this.

I do not doubt that God had a very special hand of protection on Gabe that day, but this story paints a meaningful and humbling picture for me – I am my son’s message. I am sure that one day he will realize his dad is just another fallen person like everyone else, but for now, because of undeserved admiration I am still his hero, and he strives to be like me. Although it's a slightly scary thought, he often wants to dress like me, act like me, and say the same things as me. Everything that I say and do around him has become his message. So, because of that connection, I have with him, it is no surprise to me that when I bellow a command to him that will save his life, he listens and obeys instinctively.

There is danger all around us. Christianity is under attack, and homeschooling is under constant legal and media scrutiny. Out of the 2,100,000 homeschoolers in the USA, many are ready to throw in the towel because they are tired or bruised. I have met countless homeschool families that break down in tears because they don't know how they can afford another year of homeschooling but step out on faith anyway. And there are nearly 250,000 new homeschool families added to the market every year that are scared out of their minds. Never forget that Satan hates what we do, and he will look for any crack to break down the Christian homeschool movement and use any lie to discourage us.

You, Mom, are also a message.

Proverbs 1:5 talks about the need for learning and obtaining guidance. There's a flip side to that verse – if someone is receiving knowledge (learning), that means that someone must be providing guidance. It may not feel like it, but if you've been homeschooling for more than four years, you have more homeschooling experience than approximately 54% of the homeschool market. That means that more likely than not, there is someone out there that will look to you for that guidance. Your experience is sending a message. Who is waiting for your message? Who is hoping to be like you?

There are moms that want to know what is working for you, how you make it through the day, and how you find homeschooling support – in many ways they want to be like you. If you saw someone that was unknowingly walking into trouble, would you stop them? If you saw a fellow homeschool mom that needed someone to talk to or just needed help, would you offer it? What if you found out about someone struggling with curriculum choices and you were using a curriculum that starts with God as the center of education, would you share that with them? This kind of selfless love of others is exactly what Paul speaks about in Philippians 2:5, "Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.".

The 2018-19 school year will be coming to a close in the next few months for many homeschool families, and that means there will be many doubts about wanting to continue next year, concerns about what curriculum to use, doubts about aptitude, and many brand new homeschool moms that are scared. Homeschooling thrives on community, and instead of believing a lie that you have nothing to offer another homeschooling mom, I would encourage you to call out to them when you see trouble. My challenge for you is to be bold. Be bold, be intentional, and have courage that God may be calling YOU to be the bellowing voice and the guidance that other homeschool moms need in their lives. Love others by letting your testimony as a homeschool mom be the message, and despite how tall of a task this may sound, you've got this!

Meet the Author

Michael Knott - Director of HomeWorks by Precept