My lovely, beautiful of heart, gentle and very powerful, Sarah–first born.
(FIND HER AT: http://www.thoroughlyalive.com/)
Modeling: One serving as an example to be imitated or compared, an ideal to be copied
“A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.”
Scripture tells us the the disciple becomes like his teacher. So, the teacher must be and live out what he wants his pupil to know and be. What you are in your home is what you are.
Often times when people hear that Clay and I were grace-based in our discipline philosophy, they automatically assume that we didn’t require much from our children.
Yet, just the opposite was true. We are both idealists and hold the highest of standards. We wrote the 24 Family Ways because we wanted our children to have a pattern of excellence, a foundation of what was true, truths to pattern their lives after.
Even as a piano student must practice scales in order to begin the process of becoming a concert pianist, so a child must practice and memorize truth and obeying truth in life before the child is ready to move into leadership on a big scale.
I wanted my children to understand that loving God was grounded in loving His word, listening to His voice, thanking and acknowledging Him daily, obeying His standards, being holy–set apart for Him, required that I lived this out to the best of my ability every day, all the time.
I wanted to pass on a model of a holy life, one dedicated truly to God’s standards and values for me, one set aside for His purposes.
Immorality is ramant in this world and is destroying children, families, heritages and potential of vibrant, holy, righteous adults.
If we want our children to obey us and to choose to be disciplined and excellent, then we cannot practice compromise, laziness in work or spiritual issues and expect them to obey.
But ,this life is not passed on my giving the right rules or having them memorize the right verses.
The life of God in a person is lived out each moment, by watching a company of adults and family and friends live a holy, excellent, disciplined life before them. It is also given in the oxygen of love breathed and sprinkled at each turn, worship modeled by noticing a sunset or song admired when a child performs it, a servant’s heart evident through a mama through the beauty cultivated by a meal well-cooked, a rose in a vase, a warm blanky wrapped around a tiny cold body, –all of this work, diligently pursued, work daily wrought for the glory of the creator.
Authentic, devoted, purposeful relationship is the conduit through which faith is passed on to another.
Modeling is not something that can be passed on by keeping a rule or memorizing scripture. Modeling and influencing another in godliness is only effective if it is authentic, real and lived out in the teacher who is in authority.
But I had a model who helped me know just how to be authentic–Jesus.
Pondering Him, copying Him, loving Him, living His ways gave me the confidence to know that what I followed would bring blessing in the lives of my children, because modeling myself after the best teacher was what I passed on to my own precious ones.
I could not be perfect, but I could be passionate about my love for Him, and grow in maturity, righteousness and character in front of my children, showing them how to discipline their own lives for finding maturity and growth.
It was deeply fulfilling for me to be with Sarah Mae and to hear her own evaluation of my sweet first born daughter and what she now observed in her soul, after watching her speak at the Dallas conference.
“Sarah is such a great speaker. She speaks with such eloquence and depth. She is so poised and lovely. She is such a model for what I would love to be.”
How fun that the two Sarah’s in my life should admire each other. They have built relationship by being together several times, so now they are getting to understand each other as friends.
But seeing Sarah Clarkson, was like seeing the philosophy I lived out in my home. Sarah Clarkson was now the book of m life that Sarah Mae was reading.
How to do this?
I loved God in front of my children every day, with all of my heart. I may have waffled in other areas, but I wanted this to be the best thing about me–to love engaging in His word, to depend on Him, seeking to obey Him, to talk about His truth, to hear His voice, to choose to believe, and to live in that faith.–
because I knew that it was what my children most needed–a model of what it really looked like to know and love and serve Him.
So, today, I give you my sweet Sarah, and I know your life and soul will be greatly encouraged by her own words–her own life now of loving God, and letting Him speak truth and beauty and reality in her life.
PLEASE KEEP READING. THIS POST WILL ENLARGE AND VALIDATE YOUR OWN LIFE AND YOU WILL BE SO GLAD YOU TOOK THE TIME–and even encourage you to find where strength and wisdom can be found!
Favored by Sarah Clarkson
Last week, on a dim, freezing morning with snow in a billow out the window, I read Mary’s Magnificat.
I’ve spoken about Mary lately in the talk I give at the conferences – the way she entered into becoming chosen because of the way she perceived and entered into the story of God. The Magnificat is her own lyrical commentary on that story and I’ve studied it before; when I wrote on Mary for my book, I became aware that her song is woven of Psalm, prophecy, and history. Every line in it alludes to another portion of Scripture, a story already told, a Psalm already sung. In order to have made such a song, Mary must have spent her young lifetime immersed in the words and story of Yahweh. She must have listened long and pondered deeply, for when she opened her mouth in praise she consciously joined herself to an ongoing chorus that had its beginning centuries before. The Magnificat is remarkable for its display of Mary’s spiritual knowledge and insight.
But as I read her mighty song on my cold morning, I was startled to realize that it is also remarkable for its individuality. It is a surprisingly personal song, framed in personal pronouns. Mary is singing the story of the world’s salvation, but she doesn’t see herself as subsumed in the plot. She still says “me.” She doesn’t sing merely of the general blessedness of God’s people, she sings of the honor that God’s choice brings her personally. All generations will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me. Over and above God’s plan to redeem, she knows she has been personally honored, hand-chosen and in addition to being saved from her sins, she will be famous for her blessedness throughout the ages.
My heart thumped an extra beat as I finished. Something in me that fears presumption found Mary’s proclamations bold. Is personal triumph allowed to bondservants? Isn’t that a bit impertinent?
I went about my day, my questions unresolved. Soon, in fact, I forgot them. I wrestled my car through snow and slush on countless day-before-conference errands and pulled into the last parking lot of the day exhausted, just as my phone rang. The call was one answering my inquiry into a possibility for my future that had greatly excited me the week before. There were some obstacles to be ironed out before the way was clear, but I had every hope and indication that the person on the other end of that phone could help. Until we actually spoke.
My ear was filled for the next thirty minutes with a calm voice that informed me in terms of technical accuracy and tones of professional cordiality that there was absolutely no possibility for me. I could try, I was informed, but the ceaseless, steady waterfall of information poured into my ear seemed designed to convince me that the effort would be wasted and I would be a fool to begin.
I held my own until I hung up the phone. Then I sat in the cold, colorless silence of my car and felt myself shrinking, reduced to the size of the viewpoint of the person with whom I had just talked. I was chilled. And strangely, almost afraid, reminded as I have been many times in the past years, that in a world that measures worth in money, power, and signed papers, I have very little pull. The bleakness of it seemed to make me smaller in my seat as my hope, temporarily, failed.
But not two minutes had passed before Mary and her bold song reached into my memory from the morning. For He has regard for the humble state of his bondslave… The Mighty One has done great things for me, holy is his name!… All generations will call me blessed… Sitting there, I realized, in a keen way that I never have before, that I am the humble and the lowly. I am the hungry and powerless. I’m not rich or mighty, I do not sit on a throne and in the world’s eyes, I have nothing.
But I am also the blessed. For I, like Mary, am the bondslave of the living God. Imperfect, yes. Frail, oh yes. But wholly given to the call and identity of one whose story is in God’s keeping and part of his cosmic telling of redemption. I forgot it for that first moment after the call. I listened to a voice whose narration told away my confidence and hope. But the hope came back with the memory that as God’s servant I live, not in my own power, not by my own wits and credentials, but by the love, and grace, and very personal favor of God. And the Mighty One can do great things for me as I live out his story.
As I shivered in my car seat with a snow day sunset glooming on the horizon, I realized that those who choose the identity and work of a bondservant to God can claim and request the acts of God in a very personal way. God’s chosen ones are not faceless nonentities who work as holy robots to fulfill his plans. They are living, breathing, deeply emotional human souls in needy bodies who offer the whole of their selfhood to God. Mary knew this, so she also knew that when God tells the big story of salvation forward, the smaller tale of individual human hearts goes forward too. We are known. Our needs are known. And somehow, as God rights the broken story of the world, he makes our own tiny story a blessed one too.
When the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, redemption began with the baby Jesus, yes. Big story. But part of that meant that Mary was honored for all time. Smaller story, but for her, the triumph of a lifetime. Jesus’ coming was the world’s salvation. And God’s choice of Mary to be the vessel was the honor of a young girl’s diligent engagement with the story of God. God so loved the world, but Mary loved God in the small way she knew, and he honored that love even as he brought redemption to the earth. To triumph in the mighty acts of God, to find a personal favor tucked within the great gifts he offers the world is what it means to be a bondservant to a God whose knit us together in our mother’s wombs.
So I will not fear. I am the servant of the Lord and the Mighty One will do great things for me. I don’t yet know what that means. I don’t know if the opporunity I was hoping for will open up or not. But God’s story is my story and mine is God’s, and he tells the both of them well. My one humble, hoping little human heart will not be lost in the crush of a greater tale. For he has regard for the humble. And one day, with Mary, I will be able to tell just how he lifted the world up, and me along with it. Favor indeed.
My Sarah, it has been a great honor to be your teacher and to now be mentored by you! Mama
FIND ALL OF SARAH’S WONDERFUL, SOUL-FILLING ARTICLES AT: THOROUGHLYALIVE.COM
So, what are you modeling in front of your children? How are they becoming like you, their teacher?
And don’t miss Kat Lee’s wonderful article at MomHeart Online, as she talks about the Power of Purposeful Motherhood!