Friday, January 8, 2010

A Family Fort

The Children

I have been advised by some friends that I should share some of our family adventures. We are not unusual in some special way. We are just a family. I spend everyday with my children from the morning hours until the sun sets behind the horizon. Sometimes, sickness or a scary dream calls me from sweet slumber to nightly duty.

This week the children and I have built an adventurous fort in the lowly corner of our living room. Sheets and pillows were dragged from the hall closet. Chairs have been arranged and my oldest son, Jack, retrieved clamps from his Dad's faithful garage supplies. The sheets were laid across the backs of the wood chairs and the clamps clipped on to secure their fate. The old dust broom handle, saved for such an occasion, was placed in the center of the fort and pushed the sheets towards the sky. The pillows were arranged around the interior designed to offer comfort. Then we climbed in. When I settle in with a book in my hand, I calmly arrange myself only to burst forth with words upon the page. When the book introduces a new character, sometimes he or she will inherit an accent. The giggling for the children keeps me enjoying the story as much as I suspect they are. I wish to share this weeks story with you.

I began to read The Stranger at Home by Mrs. Sherwood (Lamplighter Publishing). There was no room for an accent and no room for giggling. This book takes you down a more serious path and confronts its listeners with the realities of an obstinate heart created by the seeming innocents of giving a children everything their hearts desire. How will a child withstand or even understand what it is to be denied by man or our heavenly Father, if not by the words sometimes necessary, uttered by their parents lips... "no".

As I read this heavenly present, we could safety observe and not carelessly live, if per chance, we desire to escape its snares. My little ones ears stayed glued to the story line, as I tested from time to time , by questions I posed to them. Even my 8 year old understood the depths of the situation and the folly that bore heartache fell from my lips as I continued to plunge even deeper into the story.

We kept the fort up for three days. Each day visiting the fort to finish the story. On the final day, we could see that the only hope Elvira, this little one in the story, had was to turn to God in full repentance and place her heart in His hands. I dare not tell you how the story ends on the pages of this special book, but I can tell you of the impact on my children and their hearts.

It is sometimes hard to see the sin we wear each day. In a story, you clearly can see how it looks on someone else. I include myself in this statement. For my blindside is as big as the ocean. I began to inquire with the children as to their take on such a story. Each having a clear understanding of the consequences the story presented and the course it took, we parted and put the fort away.

Then one morning, a few days later, I was talking with one of my children. This child was struggling with taking direction. I was asking for something simple. I was delaying something that the child wanted. To my sweet pleasure, I was able to reminisce about a certain young child in a story. It did not take my child long to run the scenario through the child's little head to understand what I was seeing in them at that moment. I remind them that God's mercies are tender every morning, repent, turn and love the Lord.

I think stories have a valuable place in our lives. I could not have turned on the TV and three days later say, you remember when so and so did such and such?? It would be far too trivial.


  1. Hey Kimberlee! Enjoyed reading about the book and I enjoyed you telling me about it the other night too. Can we borrow this book? I'd love to read it with my kids too.

    Love ya, my dear friend!
    (how are you peeling?? ;-D )

  2. I built a fort this weekend with my son...We did it at night and brought the flashlight with us. Thanks for the idea. It was so much fun. We are go to make it a weekly event.

  3. Good ideas spread like wildfire!