As their questions rolled through my thoughts this week, I realized they were great questions offering answers that revealed a lot about our family. So I thought I'd share them with you.
1. "So, do you guys want more kids?" - Amy from Jacksonville
Erik and I want to keep seeking the Lord at each new season in our lives for His direction in this area. We didn't have a dogmatic position that we came up with at the beginning of our marriage, never to revisit again! We want to stay talking and aware of each other, our family, and God's direction in our lives.
So, at some point after the birth of each one of our children, Erik and I come together in dialogue to discuss where we're at.
How is Sarah doing?
How are we doing as husband/wife?
How is our family doing?
Then, we take our thoughts to the Lord and commit our way to Him.
2. "How do you like working at Ravencrest?" - Reid from North Carolina
After a year of applying to 101 jobs across the States and Canada - including jobs Erik was underqualified for (think: Wal-mart stocker, midnight shift), we realized that God was doing something significant within our family's life.
There had been a time in my life when God's saying "No" was His lack of understanding my heart. But through other circumstances, God proved that His "No" was His protection and provision.
With the job hunt, Erik and I saw God's "No" as His plan to provide something for us... and He did, without a doubt! Ravencrest was Job Application Number 102. Three days before we were supposed to be out of our apartment (we didn't feel comfortable signing a full year's lease with the job market being so poor), with house empty and boxes lining the garage, and with a tiny two-week old baby in arms, we received a call from Wayne Weissman, director of Ravencrest, welcoming us to the team.
We are so grateful to be working at an organization where folks are learning about the risen, indwelling life of Christ. Erik and I have equally been grateful to follow a director like Wayne Weissman as he has followed the Lord.
We love learning alongside of the students, and having them be a part of our lives and the lives of our children throughout the week.
3. "Are you going to homeschool your kids?" - Carly from California
Personally, I love being a mom. My favorite people to be with are my husband and family. I enjoy learning alongside my children. I don't want to miss a minute as they learn, discover, and wonder.
However, similar to our answer to Question One, Erik and I want to seek the Lord for His direction in the education of our children. When I grew up, I thought to be a good Christian was to homeschool your kids. We don't want to adopt a Christian culture to make decisions for our family... we want to go to the Lord for His counsel for each child from year to year.
Personally, we feel we are "homeschooling" already - we love to read together and discuss the world around us. Erik and I feel that being at Ravencrest is an education in itself for our children, who interact with numerous students and staff from all backgrounds and cultures.
4. "Yeah, I had a good weekend... What did you guys do?" - Carolyn from Manitoba
We went down to the valley to do a big shop. Our little town of Estes Park has a grocery store where we get some things, but it can be pretty pricey to do a full shop there. So, once or twice a month, we do most of our shopping in the "valley" where the bigger stores are. Driving to the valley takes an hour plus, one way, so the shop can easily take a whole day - missing naps and over lunch. By the time everything's put away, it's dinner time. The kids are hungry, tired, and need attention.
This is something Erik and I decided we would do together at this phase in our family's life. We try to make it special ("A family date day!!"), often with a stop at Chick-Fil-A for the kids to burn some energy on the play ground and to refuel with a good lunch.
5. "As a Mom, do you feel you can connect with the students?" - Anna, Kansas
At Ravencrest, there are countless opportunities to do stuff with the students. I know a lot of staff wives whose kids are grown or in school who are very involved with the students in different programs Ravencrest offers. I am glad they can be and are.
As for me as mom with three preschoolers, we have a very different lifestyle. Our kids are up early. Although there is a lot of variety to our day, our kids have an overall predictable routine that seems heathy and helpful for our kids. They go to bed at 7. I crash not long after that!
I've asked God to define those things that He wants me to be involved in right now. I have a peace before the Lord and with Erik about how much I am involved in and I feel secure in that.
At this point, that doesn't look like much "on paper." But I trust that God will connect me to the students as an overflow of being a wife and mom as we as a family...
...open the doors of our home for students to hang out in
...stop and chat when I take the kids outside for a stroll
...invite students to have meals with us
I never want to underestimate the value of having students into our home, as unstructured as that sounds. There's no lesson plan. There are no chapters to read. Students simply interact and observe how Erik and I operate or watch how we engage with our children. We don't always get it "right", but I think the thing that really matters to God is demonstrating a trust and dependence on our Living Lord, who is present and wants to be involved in these details of our lives.
We hope the students take away from their time with us NOT "The seven steps of..." or "Such and such says..." or "Erik and Sarah do..." or "Read this book..." BUT a personal relationship to Jesus. We hope they remember that we pointed them to HIM. After all, He IS alive. He describes Himself as "Truth" and as our "Counselor". God says He "made us", "knows us", "loves us", and is "with us." Why wouldn't we point the students to Him? We won't always be with them, but He will. We won't always know their situation and good advice, but He will. He is fresh, fresher than any book. He is aware, more than any counselor. He loves, more than a close brother.