HS #275 An Honest Look at 1 Corinthians 13 with Wendy Speake
Links and Resources:
Wendy Speake is co-author of the popular parenting book, TRIGGERS: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses, and the follow-up book PARENTING SCRIPTS: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. She is also the author of The 40 Day Sugar Fast and The 40 Day Social Media Fast.
A Homeschool Mom’s take on 1 Corinthians 13 https://www.7sistershomeschool.com/a-homeschool-mom%E2%80%99s-1-corinthians-13/
... up for The 40 Day Social Media Fast for Lent: 40daysocialmediafast.com
HS EP 275
Hello, and welcome back to another installment of the Homeschool Solutions Show. My name is Wendy Speake, and I am one of the many hosts we have here on the podcast. Each week, you'll hear from one of us inviting one of our friends to join for a conversation about this busy, blessed season as we educate our children at home.
Now, the title of the show is Homeschool Solutions. While we don't have the answer to every question, we know that all the solutions to every stress and every struggle can be found in the Person and presence of Jesus Christ and His living and active and applicable Word. We are so glad that you're here to join us for today's conversations. But before we start the show, I'd like to thank our sponsor.
Medi-Share. An affordable and Biblical healthcare alternative. Find out more at mychristiancare.org for their ongoing support of homeschooling families just like yours.
And now, on to today's show.
Hello there. This is Wendy, and I'm so excited about our conversation today. But, honestly, all morning knowing that I was going to be recording this podcast, I was grieving a little bit. I've gotta tell you, I was sad that we weren't sitting together in a great big conference room at the Great Homeschool Conventions, having this conversation face to face. I really miss being with you guys. I'm hoping that the conference is gonna be full steam ahead this spring, and I hope that you will go over the Great Homeschool Conventions website and see what's going on at a location near you. I'm hoping to be there with you, where we can have some of these conversations, where we can open up the Word, where we can apply God's Word to this season of our lives, this specific job that we have, to raise up our children in the way that they should go, and not just during the non-school hours, but all day long.
So, this is for the homeschool moms. Today, this is exactly what we're gonna do. We're gonna open up the Bible. I have had First Corinthians 13 on my mind for the last few weeks, and I'm just gonna be very honest. I joke that we really should call my episodes Confessions of an Angry Homeschool Mom, or just Confessions, to the things that I continue to do wrong that I don't want to do wrong. I'm reminded of Paul's sentiments, why do I keep doing the things I don't wanna do and the things I want to do, I don't do them.
It really is a struggle. It's an on-going struggle and I think that that's such a beautiful part of the sanctification process. When Jesus died for our sins, His last great big breath, He communicated that it's done. It's done. All of our sins, all of our sin-tendencies, all of our on-going struggles, they're done. He died for them. We don't have to carry the guilt and the shame and the on-going sin. It gets to be done.
But living like that is true, that's where the sanctifying work continues. And so, why do we continue to struggle with our kids when we know with our heads that we don't want to? When we've chosen love and we've chosen gentleness and the fruit of God's Spirit on display in our lives during our homeschooling days. When we look at 1 Corinthians 13, and we look at what love is. For example, love, love is patient, and yet, every time, I mean, right now, with my seventh grader, doesn't matter how many times we go over...I mean, this is seventh grade, so please, don't judge. We're not here comparing each other. I mean, comparing our kids to one another, but, every time we're doing, working with decimals, like, if you're adding or subtracting, you drop that decimal down. You're gonna notice my volume's getting louder as I even repeat this to you. But if you're multiplying, you're counting over how many decimal spots we need to move it over in the answer. And, just the other day, he was doing the problems wrong with the multiplication.
And I just gotta say that I have to be reminding myself that love isn't just that I gave up whatever I was gonna do with my day so I could be home teaching my child. Love is actually how I'm teaching my child, how I'm behaving with my child when he forgets to move the decimals over during that multiplication and just drops it down as though he's doing addition. Love is patient, and it is kind.
I have boys, and one of the things that I'm constantly...actually, I should say, I have young men. That seventh grader, he's my youngest. The oldest is seventeen. I'm working really hard at not just being kind but being respectful. They're growing into men and I want to model for them the respect that I hope that they will get from others in this life. And in so doing, teach them to be respectable and not just respectful of me, but to focus on, how do you be a respectable young man? I mean, I've got so many wonderful goals as a mom, and yet I can get so focused on the learning, the decimal rules, and the learning to be respectful, that I miss opportunities for me to be patient, loving, kind, even respectful with my kids.
So, I've been thinking about First Corinthians 13 and believing that God wrote His Word to us in each life season. So, that means God's Word isn't just living. It's not just active. But it's applicable. And you've heard me say that before, but we're gonna read through First Corinthians 13. We're going to then read a translation that someone else, not me, wrote. And I just love it. Perhaps you've...I'm scrolling in all of my notes here to find it. Here it is. It was written by a group of homeschool moms. Their website is 7sistershomeschool.com. And the link to this blog post where I found this...honestly, I was going to write my own adaptation of First Corinthians 13, and I still might do it. But I thought, right before I started working on it, I'm just gonna see if some other well-intentioned, Bible-loving, homeschooling moms did it before me. And yes, there were a couple different translations. But I love this one. Why don't I just start with it?
Okay, so this is from 7sistershomeschool.com. And they've got wonderful resources there, and it's the number seven, not the word seven. So, let's for it and see if this resonates with anyone else. It's called a Homeschool Mom's First Corinthians 13.
If I speak in the tongues of French or Spanish, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong, or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of spelling and can fathom all mysteries of histories and all the knowledge of a arithmetic. If I have a faith that can move mountains of laundry and dishes each day, but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the purchase of good curriculum and give over my body to hardship of long nights of lesson preparation and research, that I may boast of how well my kids are educated, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, with slow learners. Love is kind when they forget how to multiply again. It does not envy my friends, whose kids were born knowing long division, it does not boast when my kids can sing well, but my friend's kid does not. It is not too proud to admit it to my friends when I'm tired and discouraged. It does not dishonor other's homeschooling methods. It is not self-seeking and unwilling to invest in the homeschool culture around me.
It is not easily angered when my kid declares he doesn't like science. It keeps no record of wrongs, in me, or in others. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth and teaches my kids the same. It always protects my family and friends. It always trusts that God has a plan and cares what is happening. It always hopes that I will be able to hear God and obey His Will for my family. It always perseveres, even on long days. Love never fails.
Isn't that good? I know that you could have added your own unique spin and maybe that's something you wanna do this afternoon, is open up First Corinthians 13 and pinpoint what love is, and what it looks like. And maybe go so far as so to pinpoint the opposite of how you are doing and attempting to love in ways that maybe aren't loving. I call this, and you've heard me before, say this, this is pinpointing your triggers. What are the things that set me off? What are the things that I say that are not kind, that are not gentle, that are not loving, that are not helpful? That aren't teaching the things that I want to teach. Because of the example of my own behavior and the way that I respond to their own challenges. Once you can pinpoint those, you can make a new plan.
And so, let's do that. Let's pinpoint the areas that maybe are our triggers during our homeschooling days. But more specifically, let's pinpoint the responses in us that are unloving. And then look at God's Word and say, but what would love look like during math? And what would love look like with my child who has learning disabilities? And what would love look like when people don't come to the table or they continue to complain about having to help with dishes. Or whatever those triggers are that trigger in you an unloving response.
Perhaps you've heard me say before, that the goal of this all, of pinpointing our triggers and making some changes, is to figure out what we mean to say before we say something mean. Let's take a moment. Yes, let's look at First Corinthians 13, let's remember what love should look like, and then let's hold that up to what our lives actually look like in our homes so that we can say, hey, you know that thing that I do? I don't wanna do that anymore. But I know that I'm triggered to do that wrong thing, so let me come up with a better plan. A more Godly plan. A more Biblical, gentle, loving, responsive, rather than reactionary, plan. When they're struggling, I don't have to struggle.
I can be consistently kind and consistently loving because I've made the plan to be consistently loving.
Now, I'm gonna do something that I don't usually do, but I actually wanted to read a section from the book, Triggers. And this is the chapter...and I don't talk about this much, but it's the chapter on ADHD, autism, dyslexia, OCD, APD, ODD, you know, the whole alphabet soup of issues that, you know, we struggle with. Because, oftentimes, our children's challenges can challenge us. But the goal isn't to make it so our kids don't have any challenges. The goal of spiritual maturity and sanctification is that, when we are challenged, we still are consistently Christlike. God said so clearly in His World, sorry, in His Word, that we are going to have challenges. And yet, we can be of good cheer. And yet, we can still be loving, kind, and patient. And yet, we can still have the fruit of the Spirit on display in this life, in trials and tribulations, whether it's in our home or in our world. Goodness. Isn't that applicable?
So, I just wanted to read a section here, on...and I hope that you'll not tune out if you don't have a child with diagnosable issues, because I think it's for all of us. But it begins this way:
Do you have a child with impulse control issues? AHDH, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Asperger's, Dyslexia, ADP, depression, anxiety, or a unique concoction of those listed above? And is it hard? I bet it is. I know that it is. Having a child with special needs, behavioral disorders, and learning difficulties can be one of the most difficult weights to bear. And under the pressure, Moms can explode, marriages can implode, and love can erode. It can be very hard to be loving during our homeschooling days. It's all very complicated.
One sweet Mom asked for prayer concerning her anger, and she was so insightful to recognize the connection between the constant energy her child with unique needs required of her, every day, and her own twitchy trigger finger. She confessed the way that she tends to explode at the rest of the family, not just the one child when she is simply worn out by her one special child.
Perhaps you can relate. I remember going to the psychiatrist after my son was diagnosed with ADHD. After he was assessed, I immediately started talking about all the other issues in our family, and possible disorders my other kids might have, and the doctor smiled. He nodded, and he said, yes, it's very possible. You can hear me turning the page here. It's very possible that nobody else has any diagnosable issues in your family. They have issues, but they're the sort of issues that come from proximity.
It's just, I have to stop reading for a moment. You see, sometimes, our issues with a lack of loving-kindness is just the proximity issue. We are rubbing up against someone else that has issues, and our issue is how we respond, how we react in anger, to their issues, rather than...I never was a person who struggled with anger, but then I started homeschooling and I had three kids that have all their own, you know, unique challenges. And their challenges became my challenge. It was a matter of proximity to their challenges.
So, kids with behavioral, developmental, or learning issues often cause the whole family to have issues as well. For example, if one child is hyperactive, discontent, argumentative, you can think of the way that it affects the siblings, yes, but also Mom and Dad. That peaceful home you always imagined transforms into a stressful one with terse replies and a short-tempered marriage. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as a little pill. Some challenges simply aren't so treatable, and the ramifications run deep and wide. Sure, we can learn behavior modification techniques and coping skills, seek the help of therapists, try changing their diet, seek homeopathic remedies or more traditional medications. But for many families, there remain challenges.
Challenges, because of that one dear child who sits awkwardly somewhere on the spectrum, demanding much of our time every waking moment. Or the kids with dyslexia that comes home with two hours of homework, and so, you think, maybe I just need to homeschool em. And then, all of a sudden, I'm going off-script here, but this was our experience, part of why I brought my children home, was because they were having so many challenges that they weren't being treated well by teachers. And so, I brought ‘em home, thinking, well, I'm going to be patient and loving kind with their challenges. And then I found myself doing so many of the same things, blaming and shaming, and raising my voice, that the teachers had done, because of proximity to their challenges.
I'm sorry if this has been your experience too. I'm sorry that you have a challenging reality. But here is the deal. Your charge and my charge is to love. Your charge is to love, it's the same as the woman who lives next door with two compliant girls and a bumper sticker boasting that my child is on the honor roll or again. Or your friends that you homeschool with, who are just loving their Latin curriculum. And the kids that are building their own computer systems and starting businesses and writing novels and you're just trying to get your twelve-year-old to remember to bring over the decimal. I understand.
But the charge is the same, whether you have argumentative kids or compliant kids, the charge is to love. The charge is to love because we've been loved. And the charge is to forgive because we've been forgiven. We are exhorted to suffer beside our children as long as need be because God is long-suffering in His tender care toward us.
I was a child when I first saw the film, What's Eating Gilbert Grape? I remember the scene when Gilbert, who was played by Johnny Depp, he snaps under the pressure of caring for his brother, Arney, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who had a developmental delay. He slams his little brother around. He shoves him harshly into a bathtub. It's painful and emotionally confusing scene to watch because you don't just care for little Arney, you care for his big brother too, because he's abusing from a place of carrying such a heavy load. And some of you are in that place. Hopefully, you aren't physically harming your children, but it's possible to be verbally assaulting them and emotionally abusing them.
And if you are harming them in any way, I encourage you to seek help from someone who loves you and loves your family. Get counseling to deal with your anger or your frustration and learn new tools to care for your special kid. Believe it or not, experience it or not, we have all received good and not evil from the Father's Hand, but good doesn't always mean evil...I'm sorry, good doesn't always mean easy.
I believe good can mean that it's just the right circumstances to help us recognize our desperate need for Jesus, each and every hard day. The child with Asperger's and the two with ADHD, the teenager who struggles with depression, the one with OCD and his brother with APD, the husband weighed with heavy depression himself, and you with your own soul sadness, every human issue has the ability to point us to our deepest soul need. We need God's power in our weakness. His saving in our failures. His hand to hold us and His love when our love runs out.
You ever feel like you're run...you run out of love, or at least lovingkindness. You know in your heart that it's there, but your behavior doesn't show it. Ladies, there is no formula to persevere gracefully through these challenges and every other challenge, other than Christ in you. It's the only formula each and every day. As you abide in Him, morning by morning, ask Him to give you very specific wisdom about how to raise your children.
When I think of parenting difficult children, I think of Solomon, King over Israel. You heard me apply this Scripture before, but I turn to it myself, each and every day. He knew that the Holy jobs that before him was too much for him. He needed more understanding and so, when God graciously offered to give King Solomon anything, David's son asked for wisdom. Wisdom. He could have asked for peace. He could have asked for anything. He could have asked for riches. He could have asked for anything, but he asked for wisdom. And he said it like this. He said, God, give me wisdom and knowledge, as I lead this great people of yours.
Homeschooling Moms, we are leading God's people. No, not Israel, but through faith, we are grafted into the promise and the inheritance. We are part of His family and we want, more than anything else, our kids to live like that's true and be grafted in as well. So, we are leading this great people of God's. God's family. And what do we need more than anything else? What we need ??? the knowledge as we lead these little ones who belong to God.
Yes, we need lovingkindness, but give us wisdom, God, in how to love. And so, I wanna bring it back to that encouragement at the beginning, to pinpoint, not just what it is, what your triggers are that make you react in anger rather than in loving kindness and patience, but what does it look like in those moments? What do you say? How do you say it? What do you do or not do that lacks love during your homeschooling days, specifically? And then what would it look like to love when your children are struggling with sibling rivalry and complaints and meltdowns and math issues or Latin issues, or any issues? What would it look like to respond with love? Because you can give up your days and mark off, and you miss the whole thing. And they're gonna miss out on it too.
And this isn't to blame and shame, it's, like I said, this is to confess and to invite you to recognize what that looks like in your own life so that we don't keep at it. But instead, we get to a place where we repent. Before the Lord, maybe you need to also ask for forgiveness from your children, but take it to the Lord and say, God, You love me so well. You've given me the opportunity to be home with the children. And I lack love. And I tell them, I tell them, don't you know what I'm giving up to teach you today? And how much I love you? And yet our words and our behavior and our faces lack love.
Would you take some time today to do these couple of things? I'm gonna wrap this up now, so that you have the time, cause I know that it's a sacrifice to step away and to listen to a podcast that goes on and on. But would you open up your Bible to 1 Corinthians 13? And read what love is. Read that love is patient. And love is kind. It does not envy. I mean, there's something to consider. Do you envy your friends that have more time or have easier learners? Because if that's what you are thinking on, if that's what you're drinking from, you're drinking from bitter waters. Then, what comes out of your mouth is going to be bitter too.
Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, and it does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others. Remember, I said that in this season of life, with three teenage boys, I'm really working at, how do I honor them?
It is not self-seeking, and it is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Oh, my goodness, even this morning, I might have started by telling the child, the one child that I'm struggling with these days, the things he did wrong yesterday, rather than telling him how right he can do today, and that I'm there to help him.
Love does not delight in evil. It rejoices with the truth. it always protects. Always trusts. Always hopes. And always perseveres. I love that, it always protects. My friends, I don't know about you, but sometimes I think, God, I've pulled them out of traditional schooling cause I wanted to protect ‘em to some degree. And yet, I need you, God, to protect them from me when my behavior is not loving.
So, do a work in my heart God, so that I can be loving. I wanna always protect them from my own unloving behavior.
I love that it ends here with “always perseveres” and then says, in verse eight, love never fails. It's so much that, that is the same thing, we're just repeating that. It perseveres. It doesn't fail. And I'm reminded of God's promise that, with Him, all things are possible. And when I speak at the Great Homeschool Conventions, and people come up to get a copy of the book, Triggers, Exchanging Parent's Anger for Gentle Biblical Responses, many times, people want me to sign it, and what I've learned to do is I just sign my name, and then I say, With Christ, all this is possible. Cause that's really the take-away. Love is not possible without the One who is Love doing a work in our lives.
Okay, like I said, I would much rather you pinpoint those moments in your life, in your homeschooling days, when you lack love, and figure out, what would it look like to respond with love? With patience? With kindness? Without boasting? Without pride? Without keeping a record of wrongs. What would that look like? And jot them down. Actually, write down, when my child struggles with this, their challenge won't challenge me to the point of lacking love. This is how I will respond in a loving way. And then practice it each day so that it becomes, really, your natural response. Not your natural man. But it becomes the supernatural response to their natural struggles.
And then, from there, we will invite them into a supernatural faith as well. But man, if all we do is blame ‘em and shame ‘em, and respond in unloving ways, we are not wooing them to this God that we proclaim. Remember, it ends, First Corinthians 13 goes on to say, let's see, where there are prophecies, they will cease. Where there are tongues, they will be stilled. Where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became a man, when I became a Mom, I put those childish ways behind me. For now, we see only a reflection, as in a mirror. Then, we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, and I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain, faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
You see, our children are gonna have childish problems. When they meltdown, Mom, let's not melt down. When they are childish, let's not join them in childish responses. Let us remain mature and invite them up into maturity. And maturity includes lovingkindness. That's why I said, at the beginning, this is part of our sanctification, growing up process, and we invite them up. We don't wanna just open the Word and say, okay, get your Bibles. Who was in the Bible? Who read their verse? Come on, I told you, you gotta do that first. And harp on them over the Bible.
No, let's live like it's true. Let's make the Bible look beautiful, because of how we love Him.
Okay, that's it. You gotta pinpoint where you're not behaving in a loving way. Write down some ideas of what loving reactions, loving responses, might look like in those triggered moments. And then, finally, if you can find the time today, write out First Corinthians 13, specifically 1 through 8. Write out a paraphrase of this Scripture for your own homeschooling days. For your mothering days, for your wifing days. For your days.
It is always a joy, always a challenge, always so good for my heart and my own homeschooling, to meet with your here in this space. Oh, there is one more thing I wanted to say, before we wrap this up, and that is, there is one other thing that's really good for me. As I transform into a more present and loving Mom, and that is, while I'm very engaged on social media because of the book writing and the podcasting and all the things, it's really good for me to take a break. And so, I'm actually gearing up for taking one of my 40-day social media fasts, and I'm inviting others to do the same.
Perhaps you've heard me say before, that I wrote a book called the 40-Day Social Media Fast. And I'm gonna be taking mine during Lent. And you can find out more if you'd like to. I'm using air quotations here, join me, because we're not gonna be meeting together in, like, a private Facebook group and talking about how we're not on Facebook. This really is something that you can grab a sincere, real-life friend, not just an online friend. Perhaps your community of homeschooling friends or maybe have a teenage son or daughter and ask them if they want to do it with you. Sometimes the best curriculum isn't curriculum, but a life experience of finding God's Word to be True.
So, I will be logging off for 40 days, starting February 17. That's Ash Wednesday. And I'll be going all the way through Easter, which is more like 47 days. But I'll be using the resource, the 40-Day Social media fast. You can also find, online, a journal called the 40-Day Fast Journal. That might be something that you'd like to grab a couple copies for and give them to your older children and ask them what they would like to set down for 40 days in order to pick up more time with the Lord. More attention that they can give Him. What is it that they're turning to that's taking up so many hours of their days? Where they might be able to enjoy a little bit more devotion in lieu of distraction?
So, that's something that we'll be doing here in my home, and I invite you to consider doing the same. You can find out more at 40DaySocialMediaFast.com. Or, in the show notes here, I'll have a direct link there. I hope you have a wonderful Lenten season that you enjoy spending time with the One Who is Love and as you spend time with Him, the fruit of the Spirit would become just so, so relevant and so fruitful on the laurels of your own life, and there in your home, as you homeschool and as you make dinner and as you put away clothes, and as you make good, fun plans to do fun things with the family, and to grow together, and to open the Word.
So, that's it. Now, I really am signing out.
Thank you for joining us this week on the Homeschool Solutions Show. As always, you can find show notes and links to all the resources mentioned at Homeschooling.mom. I hope you'll take a moment to subscribe to the podcast and, if it was especially meaningful to you, share it with your friends via email or social media. This is just another way we can all encourage and love and support one another.
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But in the meantime, let's gather together again here on the podcast next week.