|Gracie is showing she is her mother's daughter by supervising Daddy.|
Our boys are very infatuated with stories of good and bad. Cowboys in the Wild West (Bonanza). Super Heros. Pirates. Monsters. Halloween creatures (the few they actually know about). Cops and robbers/murderers. The Shadow. Dragnet.
They are very into: the bad do bad and get punished.
In effort to help them internalize the fact that many people actually DO RIGHT and suffer consequences for standing up for what is right, my husband is reading a story or so from this book each morning when he gets home from work.
I thought they might be traumatized but they love these stories that show unwavering faith. I actually enjoy them as well. What a better way to gain courage to stand for one's faith than to be encouraged by the witness of those who have lost their lives in horrible, horrible ways while they stand for their beliefs and do not waver!
These people valiantly gave their life proclaiming their faith when the crime was as simple as having a belief other than the one that the authorities had. In fact we just read a story the other day of a man who was killed merely for stating aloud that he thought OTHERS should be able to believe in Christ. He never said he did believe. He merely stood up for the rights of others to believe and he lost his life in a horrible death.
As we read we still on occasion hear from our oldest "Wow, that person must have done something very, very bad to be killed THAT way." Which allows us the opportunity to say "NO! Those people did something very, very RIGHT and were punished and killed for it. It is honorable to stand up for our faith no matter how others around us might tease us or tell us we are wrong."
A note. I had heard stories about this book. I was doubtful, I mean REALLY??... a 5 inch thick book with super small print full of stories of death! Yet as we read I find the stories are filled with enough vocab that experienced readers understanding the implications of that vocab have a detailed vision of how those deaths took place. However, the words are concise and are not so graphically drawn out that it describes each drip of blood. I find action hero cartoon to be more detailed in their gore than these stories. That is IF you do not know the nitty gritty details involved with words like "flogging," "on nails," "with boiling water," etc. My children at this time just hear the words and don't know the gore behind them.
We might be odd but we find it important for our children to know that life is not always happy. We are not entitled to an easy and fair life. And with a world so interesting as our own perhaps a little explanation of how life in our world was often cruel, brutal and far from fair for those who put their faith (and whole being behind that REAL FAITH) in Jesus.
(BTW: If you'd like a little inspiration to DO THE RIGHT THING check out this story behind the picture on the book just above. Dirk Willem gives us an amazing peace witness to LOVE our enemies despite what they might do to us! HERE is a link to his story.)
Martyr's Mirror is online too. If you are interested in checking it out go HERE.
I am thankful that I may believe what I believe and I hope that I will not waver from that faith if ever put to the test by those who can hurt me and my family. Every once in awhile as a modern Mennonite living in the current world I am able to push back a little, challenge a little, or just stand up for what I believe Christ would do, wouldn't do or could care less about.
It's hard to be different. It's hard to stand in a gymnasium full of people who have their hands on their heart saying a pledge to the country's flag as you stand respectfully but just can not allow yourself to make a pledge of allegience to anything other than Christ. It's hard on election day when I just can't bring myself to vote for anyone who doesn't reflect Jesus and thus chose not to vote..... when everyone around me is using extreme manipulation and near bullying techniques to get me to go "just check a box because it's our right." Let the government do what the government is going to do and let me be Christ to those around me despite what circumstances may come.
I put my faith in Him. I sacrifice being weird and different. I desire to live quietly, faithfully and unattached from the world in the sphere that radiates from the home I have here on Earth. I choose Christ and I pray that it does not come to a situation described in Martyrs Mirror but I pray that I might be faithful to my Lord Jesus until the absolute very end.