I’m Bringing Home My Baby Bumble Bee

We have a huge basil plant in front of our house.  What started as an easy means for bruschetta on a whim has turned into an unruly bush.  A bush that I have asked to be uprooted many times.  A bush that I have replaced (though Matt has yet to remove it from the yard) with a smaller, prettier variety.   If you like herbs, and I do, it smells wonderful.  If you hate bees, and I do, it can cause going out to water the plants or checking on the kids to turn to a nightmare.  The bees love the basil.  My kids love the bees.

What?

“The kids don’t have a healthy fear of bees,” I said to Matt the other day.
 
“And by healthy, do you mean they ought to run away screaming with their hands in the air every time they see a bee?” (insert sarcasm)  This from the man who once pinched multiple bees between his fingers rather than leave his bee infested deer blind, lest he frighten away the deer that never appeared that morning.  My Texan husband.
 
Um … yeah.  Obviously.
 
I had put this conversation out of my mind until yesterday, when Lucas came into my kitchen holding a bee by the wing.  We chose the color called “sanctuary” for our kitchen walls, but in that moment I found little refuge in that room.  I shooed him out and simply requested that the bees stay outside (and by simply, I mean I frantically listed all the reasons why bees should not be inside, as he calmly listened while holding the bee).  
 
For the next hour, the kids played with the bees, making little habitats for them and observing them.  I was making dinner when Nicholas, my sweet two year old, came in with his hands cupped around something I assumed to be a flower, as he loves to make Mama smile.  When I asked if I could see what he was holding he proudly showed me his little friend, who had been squished between his loving hands.
 
I remembered that song that I sang as a little girl, laughingly, because who would ever be brave enough to actually bring home a baby bumble bee, and yet he did.  
 
I should mention that all three of the older children have been stung by bees in the past, but it obviously wasn’t significant enough for them to give up playing with them.
 
I have always been a fearful person, and I do not want this to be my kids’ reality.  I love their innocence.  I love their trust.  I love that other than being scared of The Cat in the Hat, they are rather fearless.  
 
I am learning to temper my responses to their exploration of the world around them.  It sometimes does end in an injury, but I would rather have them taste and see that the world was wondrously created; to know what their little bodies can do, even if falls happen; to feel like they can do great things, rather than be crippled by fear.
 
I’m learning from them.  I am learning that respect is necessary, but fear is not.  It is no wonder that as a fearful person, it is difficult for me to trust.  My trust in the Lord continually increases, because He has proven ever faithful, but I envy my children because they’ve never been burned … never really even been let down.  And so they trust.
 
But Jesus called the children to him and said, 
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  
Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God
like a little child will never enter it.”
(Luke 18:16-17)
 
And as I watch my children trust, this makes sense to me.  As they trust that the bees are worthy playmates, so they trust that Jesus is who He said He was.  
 
In the same way, I never had to earn my kids’ trust.  From the moment they were born, I was comforter, nourisher, safe place.  When I think of how much I love my children and how much they trust me, I wonder at how great the Father’s love is for me … how He is for me, and no matter what circumstances I find myself in, I can trust Him.

School of Grace

So we’re in a new season over at the Price place, and instead of embracing the change as I would love to, I’ve been bemoaning what sometimes seems a huge loss. See, we decided last Spring that we would take over management of the education of our children. I began researching different schooling methods and approaches to home learning lessons, so that I could un-school the kids in order to capture their hearts and begin filling their minds with wholesome literature, promises, virtues and knowing them better than a class room teacher ever could, approach their learning of the classic subjects in ways that would be tailored to their own styles of grasping and retention.

No small feat, but being the romantic I am and having taught for eight years, I just knew that this would be a panacea for all things that had spiraled out of control in our family.

Perfect, I thought.

Crazy, I discovered.

And in this discovery of craziness, I have come to know and expect that we will have a good day, followed by a bad day, a great day, followed by a horrible day and then a pretty good day. Even though, in the four weeks we’ve been schooling I’ve noticed this trend, those bad days shock me every time and really get me down.

Today started as a bad day. I slept in, and for a former teacher and a bit of a time warden (ok, a HUGE time warden) this can throw me for a loop. Lucas had a bad attitude. Bethany was talking with a baby voice. Nicholas only wanted toast with nutella instead of the eggs that the toast was merely a compliment to. Mary Elena woke up early. My hands were full, my own attitude which should set the tone for the day was plummeting. But when I looked out the window I noticed it was overcast.

I love the Fall. I love the rain. The former is redefined by living in Southern California. The latter rarely happens where we live. So to have a taste of both on this September morning was like a breath of fresh air.

God knows me so well. And God, in His sovereignty can redeem anything.  ANYTHING.

He redeemed my attitude, which enabled me to let the toast thing roll off my shoulders. Allowed me to speak with soft words to the boy with the ‘tude and draw his sweetness out. Helped me remember that the older girl is only five, and sometimes it’s okay to let her be my baby girl again. Made it possible for me to cuddle my Mary-girl while helping with Math.

Because He is the Redeemer, I can look on the fact that I’m still in my pajamas as a blessing of comfort on this dreary day, instead of a side effect of being an overworked stay-at-home mom. And just like that, without me even asking or expecting it, He redeems my perspective.

The romantic notions are only somewhat mangled. They are just different.

This home stuff isn’t easy. I will not always get it right. The “it” may not always meet my lofty expectations, but it was no accident I felt prompted to call this experiment School of Grace. Instead of learning from their mistakes by being reprimanded, they are learning that there are no wrong answers, just moments to learn by.  Instead of punishing them for wrong behavior, I am creating space for them to learn right behavior.

When I, one of them, or all of us have a bad attitude and say hurtful things, they are learning about regret, repentance, humility and grace as I lead by example. I cannot hold my high expectations over them when so often I get it so wrong. First time obedience is not what the Lord has expected of me. His grace is much greater than that, and through the leading, teaching and molding of these little lives, He is leading, teaching and molding this bigger life that still has so much to learn.

I am so grateful for the promise that I wear around my neck along with the names of my precious children. The promise that encapsulates his redeeming grace in my own life and in this experiment. The promise that reminds me of His gentle way with me, so that I can be gentle with them.

“He gently leads those that have their young.”

Isaiah 40:11