The Power of the Word “Yet”

Wednesdays are for Homemakers and Homeschoolers. I recently read a transcript passed on to me highlighting the powerful word “Yet.” This one word can transform your perspective on homemaking and homeschooling and all of life for that matter. Although these words are applied particularly toward homemakers and homeschoolers (and I intend for them to be the most encouragement to them today) they can certainly be employed in other vocations and circumstances. They are especially meaningful to those who live as Christians between the already and not yet!

Here’s the transcript:

“I just spent a weekend at a conference with some wonderful homeschooling mamas: some who are new to homeschooling and some who are veterans. As I was chatting with one mama who is just in the midst of her first year, she told me something that made me pause and ponder.

This mama explained that when she had decided to start homeschooling, she had talked with some of her friends who were already doing it. This new mama remarked that all of those friends had freely talked to her about the academics and the scheduling and the resources and the assignments. And that was helpful, of course. But none of them, she said, mentioned the life challenges that come along with homeschooling. “No one prepared me for the every-day-ness of dealing with the attitudes and habits of my children.”

That comment stuck in my head and in my heart. Have you ever noticed that often it’s not the academics that wear us down but the life issues in our homes? I’m not saying that planning, preparing, and overseeing lessons every day is a cake walk. But it seems like those things would be so much easier if we weren’t also dealing with the bickering and the messiness or the dawdling and daydreaming.

Well, when we begin to separate those two aspects in our minds, Charlotte Mason would gently come alongside and remind us that we are educating the whole person, not just the mind. The academics are only one-third of our children’s education. Those everyday life choices are just as important as the math and the reading.

And Charlotte knew that the daily, moment-by-moment work on character and good habits requires a lot of effort. We can work hard on helping our children form good habits in attitude and action, but sometimes it takes a while before we get to see the results. Habit-training is not usually a quick and easy undertaking. It can be a long process. And that incessant work can be draining sometimes.

That’s when we might begin to question whether we’re accomplishing anything at all. Are my efforts having any effect? we wonder. And we begin to entertain thoughts of slacking off; maybe not giving up entirely, but taking a little break because it doesn’t seem to be doing any good anyway.

That’s when we would do well to remember this short but powerful statement in Volume 3, School Education. In those moments of weariness, Charlotte would remind us:

“Let us not despise the day of small things nor grow weary in well-doing”

(School Education, p. 23).

Our efforts do matter! Sure, we might not be seeing progress as quickly as we expected, but that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening in our children’s hearts and minds. The seeds we have planted may be growing underneath the soil. We might not be able to see the fruit visible right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not coming. Growth happens at different speeds.

To this day I don’t remember where and when I first heard this, or even who said it, but I do remember the three-letter word that was given to me and its power to completely change my attitude. Someone in my life suggested that I tack a little three-letter word onto the end of any negative statement, such as “My child doesn’t” or “I can’t.” I took this person’s advice, and it has made a world of difference in how I view growth and progress.

That powerful three-letter word is yet.

“My child can’t read… yet.”

“I haven’t taught her how to cook… yet.”

“I am not consistent in following through… yet.”

That word yet adds hope to the statement. We may not have reached our goal, but there is still opportunity to attain, there is still hope for growth. In the moments when we begin to feel weary and it seems like our efforts are in vain, on the days when we don’t see any fruit from our labor and we feel like we have failed, those are the moments when we need to use that three-letter word stubbornly!

“My child doesn’t seem to know where the laundry hamper is… yet.”

“My child won’t pay attention… yet.”

“My child can’t control her temper… yet.”

“My child hasn’t learned the difference between I want and I will… yet.”

“My child doesn’t chew with her mouth closed… yet.”

There is still hope for change.

And it will come as most growth does: through consistent effort in the small things.

“Let us not despise the day of small things nor grow weary in well-doing”

(School Education, p. 23).

This is not the time to give up. You are doing a great work. Don’t lose heart. Don’t think that the small, everyday efforts to build good habits are insignificant; they aren’t. Those small things add up to a powerful force welling up inside your child.

The main tools we parents have in our hands to help our children become the best that they can be—to live out that personal motto of “I am, I can, I ought, I will” to the fullest—are good habits and good ideas.

So we feed their minds—one passage at a time—with loving, noble, good ideas to inspire them, to train their consciences, and to direct their reasoning. And we work with them—one choice at a time—to cultivate good habits, to fortify their wills, and to make good decisions.

Will change come as quickly as you want it to? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean it’s not coming. Remember that little three-letter word and its power to give hope.

And teach your child to do the same. Teach her to add yet onto the end of any “I can’t” statement.

“I can’t tie my shoes… yet.”

“I can’t do fractions… yet.”

“I can’t remember to do my chores… yet.”

“I can’t spell very well… yet.”

“I can’t read that book… yet.”

“I can’t draw a horse… yet.”

That small word can encourage that child and you to keep going in this good work, in this every-day-ness of life choices.

Don’t despise a day full of what you consider to be small things—things you can’t really see the results of, things that aren’t on your lesson plan, things you can’t check off your to-do list. Don’t grow weary in well-doing, my friend.

Lift up your head. Take a deep breath and keep at it.

There is hope!

Honey, you ain’t seen nothing… yet!” (Source: https://simplycharlottemason.com/blog/let-us-not-grow-weary/)

(Photo: Gilbert Lennox)

Science Tuesday—Christians Being Pressured Out of the Medical Field

Today on the Briefing, Albert Mohler begins his commentary on today’s world’s events with a very important issue: how long can Christians participate in the medical field with their convictions in tact? (Link: https://albertmohler.com/2019/05/21/briefing-5-21-19)

The reason that Mohler speaks on this issue as he has is because of the court or laws demanding in America and in Canada are being used to trump the rights that medical professionals have. Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide is being demanded to be performed under law in Ontario Canada. Euthanasia was a felony when many of these doctors entered the practice, but now they are being told they must do it. They must under law kill human beings. This world is going nuts.

Doctors have become merely facilitators to whatever the fallen human will desires! Science (Real observational science) has been used to save lives, but now those in the medical field are being taught to practice bad ethics. 

Good science demands good ethics, and the application of science in medicine does as well. Doctors are under God, and should be submissively, and playing God is a great sin. 

Medical students are being forced to “steer clear” of areas of medicine like obstetrics and gynecology because it will force them to perform abortions. This pressure seems to be growing. But I can assure you that people, even secular people who say they don’t believe in God, do not want Christians exiting the medical field. When those who have the greatest ethics to protect life from the very beginning and to preserve life to the very end are forced out, then even the secular world will be negatively effected. One day they will want to make sure that the doctor who is treating them actually values their lives. 

So, for this Science Tuesday the big issue is that ethics matters in science and applied sciences, medicine, and even law. The world may not agree with the Christian message, and will not apart from grace, but to be sure, the foolishness of the world does not stop at the rejection of Christ, but the rejection of common sense. No one in their right mind wants doctors to care for them that are willing to expend of them. 

Disability Monday—We Don’t Give Up On Communication

Today we were looking at a book with Lauren and asking what color something was. Instead of signing it, she sat on her hands or made her hands stiff. It was her subtle and soft way of saying, “I really don’t feel like talking.” But we didn’t stop, but kept encouraging her to communicate with us, and she did.

This is just one example of speech therapy. We don’t give up trying to communicate. We don’t give up trying to get others to communicate. That’s a lesson for everyone from one family that is on the journey in life with a child with disabilities.

Media Saturday—Stepping Heavenward

Saturday is for media (my apologies for missing yesterdays Flavel Friday, it became a bit busier in preparation for Sunday this week and I had to leave off, nonetheless…). This year I read a book called Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss (1869). The edition I chose was from Lamplighters, a highly recommended publisher of classic works published for children. This book is described by Mark Hamby, the publisher, as one of the books that has appeared to have the greatest impact.

Stepping Heavenward is a novel of sorts that is written like you are reading through the journal of a young girl on into her adult years. She struggles with anger, not wanting to pray, among other things to times where she has come to treasure Christ. Moreover, she records her marriage struggles and how she learned to get on with her husband. It is supposedly a peak into the life of the actual author Elizabeth Prentiss, whose biography I reviewed prior to this book. It seems her writing this book was therapeutic to her own life’s struggles, making it an honest and genuine assessment of life and faith.

I’d recommend giving it a read for both adults and children. It is a small book, nice size print, but a good amount of pages (389). But the journey is worth the labor through and through. The book ends with this exclamation:

“O gift of gifts! O grace of faith!
My God! how can it be
That Thou, who has discerning love,
Shouldst give that love to me?

“How many hearts Though lightest have had
More innocent than mine!
How many souls more worth far
Of the secret touch of Thine?

“Oh, grace! into unlikeliest hearts
It is thy boast to come
The glory of They light to find
In darkest spots at home.

“Oh, happy, happy that I am!
If thou canst be, O faith,
The treasure that thou art in life
What will thou be in death?

Pastor Thursday—Do the Next Thing

Thursdays are for Pastors and Pastor’s Wives! I just finished meeting with a great group of pastors and for part of our time together we looked at biblical decision making. Here is one of the illustrations we used to consider, though it speaks to Pastor’s Wives as well as Pastors, Missionaries, etc. (credit due to this blog post from which I found the transcript; photo credit: New Life Publishing).

“You are loved with an everlasting love.” That’s what the Bible says. “And underneath are the everlasting arms.” This is your friend Elisabeth Elliot, talking with you this time about “Do the Next Thing.”

 

When I went back to my jungle station after the death of my first husband, Jim Elliot, I was faced with many confusions and uncertainties. I had a good many new roles, besides that of being a single parent and a widow. I was alone on a jungle station that Jim and I had manned together. I had to learn to do all kinds of things, which I was not trained or prepared in any way to do. It was a great help to me simply to do the next thing.

 

Have you had the experience of feeling as if you’ve got far too many burdens to bear, far too many people to take care of, far too many things on your list to do? You just can’t possibly do it, and you get in a panic and you just want to sit down and collapse in a pile and feel sorry for yourself.

 

Well, I’ve felt that way a good many times in my life, and I go back over and over again to an old Saxon legend, which I’m told is carved in an old English parson somewhere by the sea. I don’t know where this is. But this is a poem which was written about that legend. The legend is “Do the next thing.” And it’s spelled in what I suppose is Saxon spelling. “D-O-E” for “do,” “the,” and then next, “N-E-X-T.” “Thing”-“T-H-Y-N-G-E.”

 

The poem says, “Do it immediately, do it with prayer, do it reliantly, casting all care. Do it with reverence, tracing His hand who placed it before thee with earnest command. Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing, leave all resultings, do the next thing.” That is a wonderfully saving truth. Just do the next thing.

 

So I went back to my station, took my ten-month-old baby, tried to take each duty quietly as the will of God for the moment. One of the very first duties that faced me was what in the world I was going to do about the church. We had 50 newly baptized believers, Christians, who a year before had not been Christians. Jim Elliot had been teaching them daily and preaching on Sundays. Jim Elliot was not there anymore. There was no other male missionary.

 

Now I happen to be a very firm believer in men taking the leadership in church. I believe that God has clearly defined the positions of authority in both the home and the church as belonging to me. So whether you agree with me on that or not, let me just say that I get my ideas from the Scriptures and that’s where I had to start when I got back to my little jungle station. I was not going to run that church. But I was literally the only person around who had the Scriptures. There was nobody else that could teach those believers. So what was I to do?

 

One of the last things that Jim had said to me when I said to him before he left, “What will I do if you don’t come back?” was “You must teach the believers.” So I took two of the young men that Jim had picked out as potential leaders in the church. I explained to them that it was not my job to be the head of the church. It was their job to take responsibility. I said, “I’m here to help you.”

 

So on Saturday afternoon, each week after that time, I would call one or the other of these men to my house. We would sit down together, translate a few simple verses from Spanish and Greek and English and whatever else I could draw on into Quichua. Then these men would get up and preach the sermon, which I had helped them make an outline for. I would draw out of them their own understanding of the Scriptures and try to get them to give me some illustrations from their jungle experience.

 

They would get up and preach-not a very good sermon. I could have done a better job. But I felt that it was not my job to take over the church simply because I was competent to do it. It was my job to encourage these men so that they would become competent.

 

Then there was the question of a diesel motor. What did I know about diesel generators? We had one for electricity, which we used sometimes in the evenings for a couple of hours. So I had to figure out how to run the diesel motor. I had to figure out how to keep the airstrip clean. I had to pay about 40 Indians swinging machetes to do that, which made me their foreman. I’d never been anybody’s foreman before.

 

I was teaching a women’s literacy class. We had a boy’s school taught by an Ecuadorian teacher that I had to sort of supervise and encourage and pay and do various things that I was not used to doing. I had the medical work. I had the translation of the Book of Luke, which Jim and I had finished only in rough draft when he was killed. I was going to carry on with that, because, as I said, there were no Scriptures in Quichua. If the church was to grow, they had to have spiritual food. So I went ahead with the translation of Luke.

 

The grass in the jungle grows unbelievably fast, so I always having to hire people to cut the grass, to clean out the pineapple bed, to cut the branches away from the trail between my house and the airstrip. And I tried to decide what to do about a hydroelectric system that Jim had just begun to put in. I didn’t know whether I should try to finish that or forget it.

 

You can imagine how tempted I was to just plunk myself down and say, “There is no way I can do this.” I wanted to sink into despair and helplessness. Then I remembered that old Saxon legend, “Do the next thing.”

 

I remembered a verse that God had given to me before I went to Ecuador in Isaiah 50:7: “The Lord God will help me; therefore, shall I not be confounded. Therefore, have I set my face like a flint and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”

 

What is the next thing for you to do? Small duties, perhaps? Jobs that nobody will notice as long as you do them? A dirty job that you would get out of if you could have your own preferences? Are you asked to take some great responsibility, which you really don’t feel qualified to do? You don’t have to do the whole thing right this minute, do you? I can tell you one thing that you do have to do right this minute. It’s the one thing that is required of all of us every minute of every day. Trust in the living God.

 

Now what is the next thing? Well, perhaps it’s to get yourself organized. Maybe you need to clean off your desk, if you have a desk job that needs to be done. Maybe you need to clean out your kitchen drawers, if you’re going to do your kitchen work more efficiently. Maybe you need to organize the children’s clothes.

 

I know what an enormous job that is for Valerie, my daughter. All of a sudden, the children are coming out saying, “I can’t wear this. This is too short or this is too long or this doesn’t fit me anymore.” What do you do with those things? If you’re going to save them for the next child, you’ve got to put them somewhere where you can find them. So you just do that one thing. Somehow or other, the peace of God descends upon us when we take things calmly, peacefully and humbly as the next thing that God has assigned us to do.

 

About three years ago, I think it was, my daughter and her husband were going away for a weekend and taking with them the nursing baby. The baby was just a few weeks or months old. Val and Walt decided to go off for a weekend. They asked me if I could stay with the other children. I was delighted. I live on the other side of the continent from my children and grandchildren, and I was delighted for the opportunity.

 

So I stayed with them. In the first day, I don’t remember ever being so busy in my life. I mean, it was “Granny this” and “Granny that” and “Granny, will you read us a story?” and “Granny, can we have some more juice?” and “Granny, would you pull my pants up?” “Granny, would you pull my pants down?” “Granny, can we have some juice?” “Granny, can we go outside?” “Granny, what time is supper?” Until I really thought I would go mad.

 

Well, my dear sweet daughter had the good sense to call me that evening. She said, “Well, Mama, how are you doing?” I said, “Wonderfully, Val.” And then I said, “But I’m not sure I can make it through the next three days.” Then I assured her that her children were wonderful children. They’re not disobedient. They’re not unruly. Everything was going along really very well, when you think of the way some households are run. But I said, “I keep thinking, ‘Valerie’s got a baby to nurse. That takes about six hours a day. How does she do it?’ So tell me, Val, how do you do it?”

 

She laughed and she said, “Well, Mama, I’ll tell you how. I do what you told me years ago to do. Do the next thing. Don’t sit down and think of all the things you have to do. That will kill you. It’s overwhelming. It’s daunting if you think of all the things that are involved in a task. Just pick up the next thing.”

 

I find this even in the Scriptures. Tucked in the back of the Book of Mark, following the story of the Crucifixion, we read this lovely little story. Mark 15:42: “By this time, evening had come. And as it was preparation day (that is, the day before the Sabbath), Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Council, a man who looked forward to the kingdom of God, bravely went into Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that He was already dead, so he sent for the centurion and asked him whether it was long since He died. When he heard the centurion’s report, he gave Joseph leave to take the dead body. So Joseph bought a linen sheet, took Him down from the cross, wrapped Him in the sheet and laid Him in a tomb cut out of the rock and rolled a stone against the entrance.”

 

Can’t you imagine the disciples and Mary and Martha and the other bewildered women, sitting in absolute dejection and perplexity when their Lord and Master and King had just died? They couldn’t think of one single thing to do. Here came this godly man, who looked forward to the kingdom of God, who bravely went in and asked for the body of Jesus. He could think of one thing to do. He did the next thing. That must have been a tremendous cheer and encouragement to those discouraged people.”

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