Lessons From Abe
One of my favorite things about homeschooling is that I get a 2nd chance at my education. I actually know all the capitals now! This is not a hit on my first education, I just value learning more than I did back then.
This summer the kids and I wanted to dig deep into the Civil War, and since then I have developed an intense love for President Abraham Lincoln. I can't stop reading about him and I dream about his stories at night...I know that is weird, but sadly true; not every night though! And if my hubby got my Christmas list, I will be sporting an Abe shirt very shortly!
Right now I am reading this incredible book called "Abraham Lincoln: Civil War Stories," by Joe Wheeler. It literally puts me into tears. I was trying to sort out in my mind why I was so deeply drawn to Abe and I came to the conclusion that when I read about him I feel like I get a glimpse of God. You can't say that about too many people...but there was something so special and mesmerizing about this man and his life. They called him the kindest man in the nation. #lifegoal
The war began, north versus south. All assumed that it would be over in no time. The North anticipated a quick victory because they were of course fighting for a good cause and God would go before them and grant them victories. But the war dragged on and the North kept facing defeat after defeat. President Lincoln couldn't figure it out and he wrestled with God.
"By 1862, Lincoln became convicted that a key reason why northern armies continued to lose battle after battle was that the North had failed to address the cancer of slavery: if war continued to be fought just to preserve the status quo-which included slavery-then there was no moral high ground for the North at all! (Wheeler, pg 62)" On January 1, 1863 Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation as he promised God he would. And the destiny of the war began to change.
See, when the war began, President Lincoln carefully framed the conflict as concerning a preservation of Union rather than the abolition of slavery. To sum it up in "Jen" terms, he didn't know what he was fighting for at first. But when he declared war on human freedom and made a proclamation to the United States that all slaves shall be free the direction of the war changed.
This hit home to me. I have gone into battle so many times, worthy battles, but little victory. I've wrestled with God knowing my fights were justified. Sometimes, years of battles, but no war was being won. But then it hit me, my heart was not right. It was prideful and arrogant. It wanted to win out of sheer principal and not restoration. In many of the battles I wanted to be proven right and for my frustrations to be known! It was all about me. God started changing my heart. My prayers began to change from a place of vindication to a longing for restoration. My goals changed, my heart changed and God went before me, because now we were on the same page! I drug out the war because I failed to address my heart, which is mostly where our battles lie. "Search me God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24. Praise God for His grace and mercy and for never giving up on me when I am slow to understand. Now, I pray that every time I go into battle that I would seek God and ask Him to search my heart before a word is said or an action is taken.
So be encouraged. God cares and He wants to fight your battles, but first ask Him to search your heart, that there may be no offensive way in it. God is always more concerned about the well being of our souls than our longing for victory.