"Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom." ~Charles H. Spurgeon
Homeschool Family Camp was wonderful.
The speakers were all exceptional; the camp was beautiful and the environment was truly encouraging and relaxing (as long as you were not the designated parent to chase one very mobile Hailey from place to place).
While there, Mercy Hope blessed the ladies with a message entitled, "10 Things My Mother Did Right" in which she summarized the major shaping influences in their family life. I would like to share some excerpts of that with you. I think you will agree that the Lord blessed Skeet with much more than knowledge here. God has made her a wise woman who spent years building a beautiful house (Proverbs 14:1).
10 Things My Mother Did Right
by Mercy Hope/ summarized by Rebecca Jones
1. She led her children into a relationship with God. Not into a religious system (just attending church). She taught her children that the love of God flows out from a person; it is not infused into a child via a program. She made sure their family friends had the same heart and vision.
2. She required honesty and integrity. She showed her children in various ways that what was going on in the inside was more important than what was going on on the outside. If Mercy would ask to help in the kitchen her mother would always reply, "Do you have clean hands and a pure heart?" It was never enough to simply meet an outward requirement. Mercy recalled an entertaining example in which her mother declined a birthday party invitation because Mercy had been struggling with a poor attitude and she felt she would be a negative influence on others. Her mother shared this with the other mother on the phone and let her know they would not be able to come because Mercy might "corrupt" the other woman's children. When she hung up she made it clear to Mercy that they were not going to pretend.
3. She demonstrated the power of prayer. Skeet spends 2 hours in the Word and in prayer each day. In fact, when people come to volunteer at their publishing company, Wisdom's Gate, she will ask them if they have had their time with the Lord that day. If not, she will give them time off to spend time with the Lord first. That is how serious she is about being sure their work is being led by God and not being fulfilled in the flesh.
4. She taught her children to serve-- really serve. Mercy's mom would always say, "Christianity happens in work clothes." She taught her children that they were not above any job. That even included a time when her children had to help an elderly lady retrieve her items from the basement after it had flooded... from the sewer. Wow.
5. She had the courage to stand alone. Mercy was born a self proclaimed follower of the crowd. It took years for Skeet to teach Mercy that she was to be a leader and not a follower. She made a deliberate effort to speak these things into her life and she demonstrated what standing alone looked like.
6. She taught her children to be victors and not victims. Although many of you may be well aware of Skeet Savage's long time ministry in the homeschool community and her delightful children, including Israel and Mercy, you may not be aware that their family comes from a background of serious abuse. It is because of that abuse that Skeet was forced to raise her children as a single parent. She did not care about building "self esteem" into her children or to have them wear the many labels that are available for today's victims. Instead she would teach them Scripture such as Psalm 16:6 "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage." She would teach her children about the real pain and suffering in the world and impress upon them that the walls that were keeping them in (the restrictions and boundaries set by mom) were keeping a world of pain out.
7. She impressed upon them that the Great Commission is not the Great Suggestion. She taught them to look and see those around them who were hurting and in need of the gospel; to pray and seek God for ways they could minister to the affection starved. At the same time she put up serious safe guards for her family as well. For example, If people stayed the night in her home, she and her children had access to one another, but their doors were locked to the rest of the home. Sounds like kindly feathers, doesn't it?
8. She gave them a Vision of a Watchman. Ezekiel 33:6 says: ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’ She taught them to understand the times, culture and gave them a passion to proclaim the truth as a watchman.
9. She taught them to see themselves as God sees them. Mercy shared that she would sometimes struggle with her identity. 2 Corinthians 10:12 says: “When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” It is common for us to do that~ compare ourselves with those around us. Mercy's mom would always remind her that she needed to see herself the way God sees her. If she was struggling with her outward appearance, she would be told, "Mercy, you need to see yourself the way God sees you." If she began to be self righteous and to look down on others, the same admonition would be repeated: "Mercy, you need to see yourself the way God sees you." Mercy would struggle with worrying what others thought of her. With a proper identity in Christ, she has been able to think instead about what others might need from her rather than what they might think of her. This has enabled her to minister in a powerful way to those the Lord leads into her path.
10. She encouraged them to ever live in the light of eternity. One exercise Mercy suggests that we can do to gain this perspective in our homes is to make a list of all the temporal activities we must do (folding laundry, drive to the store etc.) and consider ways to make those eternal activities. Mercy's mom would ask a specific child to help with folding the laundry and make it a time to discuss how things were going in his or her heart. She would find out what they had been thinking; reading; what was in the heart. She made her temporal activities opportunities to invest in her children.
FANTASTIC RESOURCES FROM WISDOM'S GATE
If you could use some encouragement in the area of godly parenting or biblical homeschooling, I would urge you to download some of the quality resources from Wisdom's Gate Publishers:
The Best of Skeet Savage MP3 collection (for moms)
Messages by Israel Wayne (for moms or dads)
What God had Joined Together by Israel and Brook Wayne (for the entire family)
Blessings to you as you lead little hearts home!
Photo: At the end of camp I asked Mercy if I could take her photo. It was such a blessing getting to know both Israel and Mercy. They are the most humble and genuine people you could ever hope to meet.