I’m so excited about the new curriculum of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the church that I belong to. It’s called Come, Follow Me. The focus this year is on the New Testament of the Bible. All the adults, youth ages 12-18, and children 3-11 are studying this for 2018. Here’s what i love about it:
- That it is home-centered. We are to study the material at home first and then come to the classes at church already having studied the material as a family, or as individuals if we are not currently living with a family. Study groups can be assembled if you want to create a family-like feeling while you study. Before, we were supposed to study and prepare for Sunday School and Relief Society or Priesthood meetings, but it wasn’t as a family. (See the next point…)
- That it is correlated for all ages 3 and up. So we as a whole family are all studying the same material at church and at home. That makes it easier to talk about the truths all the time with each other.
- That it highlights doctrines, otherwise known as eternal truths.
- That it asks thought-provoking questions I can use for family scripture study, mealtime discussions, morning or evening devotional discussions,
“homechurching” (the extra hour we have gained on Sunday because our worship service at our church got shortened an hour) and Family Home Evening. If we miss a reading for family scripture time when we are all together (easy to do with three big kids in the home who come and go a lot, like for seminary in the morning or work), I can plug in the doctrines mentioned and discussion in one of the other times I just listed. (Just for the record, the previous material used for Sunday School and Relief Society also highlighted doctrine and had thought provoking questions, which I used as journal writing prompts.)
- That it involves material I can use to show and read to my children during the week for our homeschool “Cocoa and Stories” in the morning, to help turn on the “brightness of hope” that comes from studying the gospel of Jesus Christ. For years, I would pick random stories from the Friend and New Era magazines. Then I decided to use the themes from my Family Devotional ebook. Now, I use the themes from the lessons in Come, Follow Me. I show the videos to the kids and play the articles and talks linked over here , compiled by a fellow homeschooling mom blogger, as we prepare breakfast and eat every morning.
The first week, Week #1, was introductory, about how we are each responsible for our own learning, and that learning requires acting in faith. It mostly involved scriptures not in the New Testament. I love the scriptures it included, such as, D&C 50:13-22.
Week #2 was about the angel appearing to Mary and then Elizabeth to tell them about each one’s upcoming baby being born, and the mission of that baby. Mary’s baby was of course, our Savior, Jesus Christ, and Elizabeth’s baby was John the Baptist, who would prepare people for Jesus by preaching to people about him and baptize him.
This is what I learned for Week #2, the study of Matthew 1 and Luke 1. I learned the key doctrines from those scriptures and applied them to my own life. As I reflected on how they apply to me, I felt the Spirit pouring out abundantly upon me, enlightening me to see blessings. Here they are:
Heavenly Father works through His faithful children to accomplish His purposes.
As I pondered this, on a Sunday night, I wrote about my thoughts and feelings in my journal. I realized I had seen this happen in my life. I had been feeling extremely low. A variety of factors had depleted my hope. I felt grouchy and mad at everything and everybody. I took a trip three hours away for a child’s doctor’s appointment. I felt a prompting to visit a friend who lives in that area. We had a sweet visit for about 45 minutes. The next day she called me to say that she felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to talk to me to share things that God had wanted her to share with me in person. She shared some struggles she had and reminded me of a resource I already had but wasn’t using. It’s the Becoming Spiritually Centered books and CDs by Jim Cox. She invited me to study the material with her. Every since then we have been texting and emailing insights and feeling connection. This is just what I needed, and God knew it. I feel so blessed, so uplifted, and so watched over. I feel a lot more joy as I focus on Jesus and seeing, thinking, feeling, and doing as He does and would. I know that God inspired me to reach out to her, and in turn, that God inspired her to reach back out to me and connect on a deeper level to share our struggles and be vulnerable. That leads me to the next doctrine.
2.God is aware of me, my struggles, and my needs, just as He was of Mary and Elizabeth.That’s evident in what I just shared. It’s also OK to ask questions if I don’t understand, just like Mary did.
3. God’s blessings come in His own time, just like the baby that Elizabeth desired so much came to her in God’s own time. For my journal writing this AM I made a list of all the righteous things I have desired that have come to pass. I felt more and more joy and gratitude as I did so. It was amazing to “count my blessings” and “see what God hath done.” It sounds cheesy, but it’s true that I felt better after doing so. I wasn’t simply counting my blessings, but writing down godly blessings that I remember yearning to have and then received, in God’s own timing. I felt such joy after doing it.
I love pondering over these doctrines and how I’ve seen them in my own life.
Here’s a video from some people, David Butler and Emily Belle Freeman, who share insights about Matthew 1 and Luke 1. One of my new habits for the new year is to share this video with the kids, listening/watching while we do dishes.