"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator...Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. LET THE WORD OF CHRIST DWELL IN YOU RICHLY as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Colossians 3:1-17 ( aka the MONSTER verse)
Another day of practice and they've got it! I just couldn't wait to video him and give him the $1 flute from Wal-Mart that he wanted as a reward for his hard work. I can't believe we are finishing up our first year of homeschool. What an absolute delight it has been. It has seriously been one the most amazing things God has ever let me do. If you would have told me I would homeschool before I had kids, I would have thought you had a screw loose. NOT ME. Homeschool families were strange. I would never do THAT.
Well, here we are taking one day at a time in this thing called 'Homeschool'. God's ways are so much higher than mine and man, am I glad! Praying with the boys, teaching them scripture, watching them learn how to read and figure things out has been so rewarding. I will start Reece in 1st grade next year and Bubba will do Kindergarten again. We will probably keep going through summer because they love it and so do I.
What has been so cool is to see the power of the Word of God. I have mainly used God's Word this year and the boys have learned so much more.
For example, Psalm 1 talks about the godly man being like a TREE planted along the riverbank bearing luscious FRUIT each SEASON. So, we talked about all kinds of fruits, trees, and the 4 seasons while learning this verse. Here is another example from this past verse we learned, it says Christ is seated at the RIGHT HAND of God. "Boys, this is your right hand and this is your left". Here is another... in the verse they memorized in Nehemiah it says, "God made the earth and the seas and everything in them". "Boys, name as many things in the sea that you can. God made ALL of those." I could tell you example after example after example of how God has used His Word in power in our little homeschool. He has blessed us so much just by memorizing and meditating on His Word. The boys are WAY ahead of where they should be and I believe it is because of God's Word. It is definitely not because I know what I am doing!?!?!?
We are simply honoring the Word of God.
It is hard work but so rewarding. It is so cool for me to be able to pray God's Word now because it is hidden in my heart. It also allows me to know the Word to sustain the weary (Isaiah 50:4)because it is God's Word and it always brings life. I have so far to go. I never dreamed I could memorize. I do not have a good memory.
This is how we do it...I simply sit down with a new passage at the kitchen table and start one Word at a time and make up silly clues to go with it. Before we start I say,
"Boys, this is God's Word. Do you believe that it is true? (yes) Do you want to hide it in your heart? (yes)... Ok, Here we go. God help us hide Your Word in our hearts".
You don't have to homeschool to teach your kids scripture. If I can do it with all my issues and 3 crazy boys then YOU CAN DO IT.
Prepare yourself to be blessed.
"All Scripture is God‑breathed and is useful for teaching..."
2 Tim 3:16
Update from Ryan and Laura-
Laura and I want to thank you for the tremendous outpouring of love and encouragement over this past week. It has been more meaningful than you will ever know and we can tell there are many that are interceding on our behalf. Thank you.
As an update, last Friday (May 8) was Laura’s first appointment at University Hospital. Laura’s appointment began with another ultrasound. Once again it was clear that our baby has anencephaly. What is a blessing is that we learned that we are having a little girl! She is beautiful. We have decided to name her Emily Jean, which means “Excelling in Grace from God” (Jean is also Laura’s middle name). She is our gift from the Lord, one we do not deserve and are so thankful for. It was so special to watch her move during the ultrasound; she had both arms up above her eyebrows, almost as if to block from view what was missing. The tech was kind as she printed off several pictures for us to take home.
After the ultrasound we met with a doctor. This time was such an answer to prayer as she was very supportive of our desire to continue the pregnancy. We also found out that either the baby moved or the previous diagnosis of placenta previa was wrong; Laura is no longer required to have a C-Section. Also our little girl has no deformities (aside from the anencephaly), which indicates that organ donation could be a possibility. We took time to ask the doctor lots of questions, which was helpful.
Finally, we met with a very kind lady in a nearby consulting room. It is her role to walk with us through these next several months as a coach. She provided Laura a journal and lots of information about grief and how to get through this experience.
So, what is next in this process? From a medical standpoint, not too much is ahead. Laura will have a routine pre-natal check-up in four weeks and then another ultrasound four weeks after that. What will be more difficult is beginning the process of putting together a birth plan (assuming Emily is born alive how we would like the time we get with her to go), funeral arrangements, and any other preparations that will help us make this time as meaningful and memorable as possible.
As I close this letter and reflect on these past 11 days (and it has been a whirlwind!) what is clear is that even though I haven’t seen my daughter (except by ultrasound), held her, or heard even a peep from her lips yet, she has changed my life. It has been amazing how this burning experience has made so amazingly clear what is really important.
I sometimes wonder when things will get back to “normal” again (I think what I’m really asking is “When will this not hurt anymore?”), but I can’t help but think this experience will redefine “normal” for us. And, if normal means going back to being the person I was, even two weeks ago, and tossing out the beautiful lessons the Lord has shown me, then I don’t want “normal.” I want to live above normal with passion and focus on what really matters: loving Christ with everything I have, loving my family, and serving where God allows.
The Lord has used my little Emily to change my life and I pray He would give me the opportunity, even for just a few moments to tell her. She is our excellent gift and we are so thankful for her. Thanks to my sweet daughter I will never be the same person.
Thank you again for your encouragement. We will keep you posted as this journey continues to unfold. We love you all,
Ryan and Laura
1. - Laura’s health in this process.
2. - Strength for the day, especially in moving forward with making decisions and arrangements.
3. - That Emily would make it full-term and have a live birth so we could spend time with her.