Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Thank-You's" Are Needed

One of the first things I'd like to do on this blog is to thank my parents for the immeasurable amount of their own lives that they have invested in my siblings' and my life. For the past nineteen years, my parents have centered almost every aspect of their lives around their family. Just before I, the eldest child, was born, my parents made the joint decision for my mother to stop her dental hygiene job so that she could be a stay-at-home mom. This was a huge sacrifice, leaving my dad to provide the sole income for his family with his real estate business. As I grew older, my parents knew that they did not want to expose me and my siblings (I believe there were three of us at this time, 3 and under) to the dangers and pitfalls of the public school system. Private school and homeschool were their only other options. Now, my parents had not been exposed to Vision Forum, or really to any teachings even remotely along those lines. Their original decision to homeschool was not a conviction. It was merely a decision based on the fact that in order to send us to a private school, Mom would have to go back to work to provide the financial means. Here were their options: Mom could return to work, send us to private school, and she and Dad have a very limited impact on our education; or, she could homeschool us and have an active part in our education and upbringing. Praise the Lord, they chose the latter alternative.

At first, Mom and Dad decided to take it one year at a time. Gradually, homeschooling became a conviction based on the Lord's leading and the Bible. I hope to cover more on this in another post.

I can't say how thankful I am that my parents made the crucial decision to homeschool me and my siblings. People who have never met either Mom or Dad regularly tell me, based on what is relayed to them, that I have wonderful parents. I wholeheartedly agree! Thank you, Mom and Dad!

Another huge thank you is due to my grandparents - both sets - who have been a wonderful encouragement to my parents in their homeschooling endeavors. They are also a valued encouragement to the four of us "kids." They show a never-tiring interest in our endeavors. The Lord has truly blessed me with phenomenal grandparents!

I would also like to thank the Lord for Vision Forum and their ministry, which we discovered just a few years ago. The Lord has used Vision Forum to revolutionize the way that my family thinks about so many different areas of life. It has caused us to re-evaluate our views on a multitude of different subjects, using the Bible as our standard. What a wonderful ministry Vision Forum has! If you have never explored their website, I encourage you to prayerfully go through their many resources.

It may seem as if I'm going off on a rabbit trail here, but bear with me please. My parents always told me that one of strongest witnesses I can have to others is through relaying how my relationship with God has changed my life. This always puzzled me; since I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was four, what - if any - drastic turnaround occurred? It really wasn't until a few months ago that I realized that ... well, I'll tell it the way I originally wrote it down that night, May 28, 2006:

"'If it weren't for that Lighthouse, where would this ship be?' I heard these words on the radio tonight, and God used them to reveal something so important to me.
"Since I was saved when I was only four years old, I would sometimes ask myself, 'What change did Christ make in my life?' You always hear these stories of drunkards, druggatics, and these 'horrible sinners' who get saved, and the Lord turns their lives around. My parents have told me many times that one of the best ways to witness to someone is to share with them what a difference my salvation has made in my life. Since I am neither an alcoholic nor a druggatic, and I wasn't before I got saved, I have sometimes wondered exactly what change my salvation did make in my life. I have sometimes half envied those whose lives Christ dramatically turned around. What a wonderful story to share! What a wonderful tool and proof of God's awesome power to use in witnessing!
"Tonight, driving down the road listening to a song on the radio, God revealed the answer to my question. The question in the song really struck me: 'If it weren't for that Lighthouse, where would this ship be?' It was then that I realized what an impact my salvation has had on my life. If it weren't for the truly amazing hand of God in my life, where would I be now? Just because I was not immersed deep in a life of sin when I was saved at four years of age, doesn't mean that Christ hasn't made a difference in my life. I know that if I didn't have Christ in my heart, I would have a truly miserable life. Where would I be now without the hand of God guiding my life? Where would I be without the wonderful blessing of a Christian family and Christian parents? It is this testimony that God hopefully will use to bring others to Him."

This brings me to my last "Thank you." If it weren't for the sovereign power of God, where would I be? I am so thankful to Him for giving me my parents, my grandparents, all of the people who He has used to greatly impact my life, and my salvation. It is because of Him that I am where I am today.

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