Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Above and Beyond . . .

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us . . .
Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
Okay, I don't even know where to start! God is so unbelievable awesome, faithful and merciful! My husband and I were completely and utterly overwhelmed by His love this weekend as we celebrated our son's graduation from our home school, Zoe Academy.
We were completely humbled by everything that went on that day. When you are in the middle of life, wondering at times if you are even doing it right, it can be so hard to see any fruit. As the years go on, and we get closer to the Lord, we become more and more aware of our own short comings, realizing that if there be any fruit, anything 'good' come out of our obedience it is going to have to be God and His grace!
We had approximately 75 friends and family join us in our celebration. We opened with prayer and introductions. My husband and I both shared from our hearts to our son. God had given each of us very specific scripture to share with him.

Our son then shared his graduation 'speech' which was short and sweet. ;-)

Some of his siblings shared a scripture with him that they felt the Lord gave them. This was amazingly sweet, as they all seemed so fitting. Even our 8 year old shared a verse she has been memorizing.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, though a bit chilly. We passed out blankets for those in need. Our prayer was to be a light to our family and friends and glorify God in all that we did and said.

After the presentation of the diploma and mom, dad and siblings sharing, we opened it up for others to share from their hearts. When we sent out invitations, we included a note asking the guests to prayerfully consider sharing something for our son.

This is where it got overwhelming and amazing! The things people shared about our son and about our family in general were almost more than I could take. It was so awesome to hear how many lives and in how many ways we have touched others' lives without even knowing it! Our neighbor, who we have served and loved quietly over the years was weeping as he shared how our son and all our children have ministered to him over the years. Our children shovel his long drive, mow his lawn, bring him 'gifts', fix things for him. (he has pretty significant health problems) He tries to pay them and profusely thanks them. I think some of my kids don't even know that people get paid to do some of the things they do for him, they just love to help him. Many, many in the crowd were brought to tears by what he shared.

This man has been both our older sons' Hebrew, Latin and Chemistry teacher over the last three years. He is an awesome, Godly, brilliant man from the country of Holland. He has the coolest accent. He shared from a Latin/Hebrew Psalter, then translated right before our eyes. Then he proceeded to give my son the book as a gift. He had him look in the back of the book (Hebrew books starts at the back ;-) and the date was from the 1600s! What a thoughtful and almost priceless gift!
So many people got up one after another and shared scriptures, prayers, wisdom and insight. It was amazing to see the body of Christ shared that way.

All you can mostly see in the picture are chips and bread, but trust me, it was a phenomenal spread! Brian's mom made her incredible kielbasa. We made about 500 meatballs from an old family recipe. We had beans, pasta salad, green salad, fruit salad, macaroni salad, sumi salad. The word on the street was that it was fabulous! People kept coming back for more. It was great. I love to feed people! Of course, we finished with cake from Costco. Amazing chocolate cake!

Here we are, proud Papa and Mama and one amazing kid!

One other thing that was so amazing and encouraging to us is that the things people shared felt like a gift from our Father. It was as if He was saying, "well done, My children". There were unsaved family members there that have thought us to be just a tad bit loopy for homeschooling and for having a large family. Their comments have gotten fewer and farther between as we have held to our convictions over the years. I dare say that many of the doubts as to whether what we were doing would turn out okay were probably relieved just a bit that day. God seemed to place people who have been touched by our lives with family members who have doubted our sanity. We long ago stopped going to others for validation over our convictions, but this was just sort of sweet and we felt slightly validated.
There was a dear message on our machine at the end of the day that said, "Brian and Michelle, your hospitality and love was only outshone by your humility in giving God the credit for all He has done."
For all you mamas out there who wonder if it is worth it, let me tell you it is! God will reward the work of your hands. I am not saying it is over, but it sure feels good to get a smile from my Father.
Thank you for reading about our special day. If you have any questions about how we 'do' graduation or 'school' for that matter, please feel free to ask. If you are struggling and need encouragement to stay the course, please drop me a note. God is so faithful to complete what He has begun!


Connie said...

Congrats for such a wonderful day and for the terrific testimony you left with family and friends.

bookflutterby said...

Oh, that must have been truly wonderful for you! Congratulations! I know what you mean...you want to see God working, but you don't want to take glory to yourself...still it would be nice to know your making a difference! Words of encouragement are such a blessing! Congrats again! That was beautiful!

Deb said...

This brings tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. We graduate our first one this Saturday from our homeschool......(BIG sigh...)

Chelsey said...

Congratulations to your family and your son. We are one year out from starting highschool with our oldest. I'd love to hear what y'all did with high school and graduation! Any tips would greatly be appreciated! :)

Muthering Heights said...

What a special day! Congrats to all of you!

Mary at Civilla's Cyber Cafe said...

That was sweet. You must be so proud of all of your accomplishments. Your son looks just like your husband, btw.

Michelle (She Looketh Well) said...

I know what you mean Mary at Civilla's Cyber Cafe ;-), but we were/are so humbled that the Lord could use US to bring about all that He has. In light of all our faults and weaknesses, they don't feel like our accomplishments, you know what I mean!

Amazed by His Grace,

Michelle said...

That was beautiful. Our teenager would have graduated this year and I had something similar planned. She is in rebellion and left home instead of graduating. We are able to spend time with her nowadays but knowing all that we've missed out on just hurts. You are so blessed!

stampmonkey said...

Thank you so much for sharing your family's special day with us. It looks and sounds as though you've done/are doing an outstanding job with your kids. You must be so proud of them. ;)

I just found your blog and am so glad that I did! We are in our last week of our second year of homeschooling our youngest two, and most of the homeschooling parents I know decide they can't handle it/aren't equipped once their kids get to junior high or high school. It's so encouraging to know there are others out there who stay the course...and give us hope that it can be done, and successfully so. I have a little ways to go before we reach the high school years, but I just wanted to warn you that I may be back to pick your brain regarding curriculum, etc., for those years...assuming your offer still stands. ;)