And it really got us thinking and asking questions and digging in to scripture, and we came to the conclusion that the 'education' of a child is the responsibility of the parents, it's real focus is always God, and it's a way of life, happening always - not just during "school".
And that lead us to look at parenting in general - what's the goal? During this time we were also encountering real rebellion and anger from our oldest son who was really pushing all the limits that he could. We didn't know how to handle what we were going through, yet what kept coming up was "What was our goal, our purpose in parenting? Whether he is in rebellion or not, what do we do?"
And we realized that the goal of parenting is not all that dissimilar with that of education. We are to raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Everything we do is supposed to lead them to the cross where they can meet and develop a relationship with their savior, Jesus Christ.
And during this time of trial with our son, I was reading "Created To Be His Help Meet," by Debi Pearl.In her book she really lays it out about putting our husbands and our children above ourselves, practicing joy and contentment, and the influence we have as wives and mothers. I began putting into practice some of the things she taught, and I saw some amazing changes in my family. Though, I think the biggest change was in me, as I sought to say 'no' to me and look to others' needs first. Of course I didn't always do what I should, but often I would, and the more I practiced, the more I could hear the Master's voice leading me down the path that leads to Joy.
Another big change in our life was switching churches. As the Lord was opening my eyes more and more to what I was called to (as a wife and mother), He gave me a vision for what this thing called family was all about and what it should look like. We had goals for the family, and frankly, the church we attended didn't support any of those goals. We found that we had so many more battles with our sons because of the church we were attending. So, we handed off our responsibilities within our sphere of ministry at that church, and we left!
A good friend of mine had strongly suggested that we try her church. She felt sure we would just love it and it would be a good fit for us. We tried it... and she was right! We love Household of Faith Community Church. Though we had thought we might be church-shopping for some time, we realized with the first visit that HOFCC was our new home. The entire atmosphere there is one of love and respect. Men are lifted up to lead, given good examples from other godly men, and as a whole they are about training up the boys to be men of God. The women are keepers of their home, schooling their children and respecting and submitting to their husbands, and they focus on training up their girls to be godly women.
There is such freedom in being under the authority and headship of my husband, functioning as God has designed me to be!
Maybe we all still look the same on the outside, but there have been big changes on the inside. Charles has stepped up to lead and to train his boys to be men of God. I am submitting to my husband (don't gasp in disbelief, just ask him, it's true!) and loving it. Nathanael is not rebellious and is really once again showing a deep heart for Jesus. And Mikael... well, maybe he hasn't changed as much, but he too is growing in Jesus and taking on more responsibilities and he's more giving.
All this has taken place through the power of the cross in our lives, showing us our sin and our deep need for a Savior, and by His power alone are these changes taking place!