Growing up in a household of twelve children has been a very interesting experience. I've decided to start sharing some of these experiences on my blog with a post dedicated to this once a month. Let me know what you think. :)
I was cleaning the kitchen one afternoon, singing as I worked, (as opposed to whistling while I work, since I'm not a dwarf, though my brothers would argue that point.) when my little sister Grace came in. Grace looked at me and said "Amber, sing in Germany."
"Sing in Germany? But, I'm not in Germany." Was my puzzled reply.
Putting her hand on her hip she gave me that exasperated sigh that little girls are so well known for. "No, sing in Germany."
"Buy me a ticket and I'd be happy to go sing in Germany."
"Grace, I don't get it. I don't even speak German."
By this time my then eight-year-old sister was getting frustrated with me. "No, Amber. Sing like you do with Melody, when you sing different. Sing in Germany."
My brain searched every plausible possibility of what she was trying to say, then it finally dawned on me. Harmony. She wanted me to sing harmony.
"Oh! You want me to sing the harmony part?"
"That's harmony, not Germany, Grace. Germany is a country where Hitler was."
The homeschool teacher part of me came out as I tried to teach her history, geography and vocabulary all at once, to which she replied, "Ya, whatever. Close enough."
Rev Dr. Robert Ryland
During my research of the Prayer Meeting Revival, I came across this letter from the pen of Reverend Dr. Robert Ryland which he wrote to his son upon his joining the Confederate army. It contains so many interesting and powerful statements that I had to share some highlights with you!
At Home, July 17, 1861
My Dear Son:
It may have seemed strange to you that a professing Christian father so freely gave you, a Christian son, to enlist in the volunteer service. My reason was that I regarded this as a purely defensive war. Not only did the Southern Confederacy propose to adjust the pending difficulties by peaceful and equitable negotiations, but Virginia used again and again the most earnest and noble efforts to prevent a resport to the sword. These overtures being proudly spurned, and our beloved South having been threatened with invasion and subjugation, it seemed to me that nothing was left us but stern resistance or abject submission to unconstitutional power.
After going on to further explain his reasons for joining the cause, he proceeds to give his son a few pointers about his life in the army. Firstly, he told him to take special care of his health. Second, that he should obey his authority promptly and unquestioningly. His next point is a beautiful illustration of the usual perception (or rather condition) of the military. He continues:
3. Try to maintain your Christian profession among your comrades. I need not caution you against strong drink as useless and hurtful, nor against profanity, so common among soldiers. Both these practices you abhor. Aim to take at once a decided stand for God. If practicable, have prayers regularly in your tent, or unite with your fellow-disciples in prayer-meetings in the camp. Should preaching be accessible, always be a hearer. Let the world know that you are a Christian. Read a chapter in the New Testament which your mother gave you, every morning and evening when you can, and engage in secret prayer to God for his Holy Spirit to guide and sustain you. I would rather hear of your death than of the shipwreck of your faith and good conscience.
What great advice! There are a lot of other great tidbits in the letter, which I might include in a future post. But from this letter you can see the wickedness that the army was known for and how adamantly this father is exhorting his son not to fall prey to its vices.
A Father's Joy
By Amber Schamel
I was in the hospital nursery the other night when a nurse came in followed by a new father holding a small bundle in his arms. I could not help but watch as one of those small everyday miracles occurred.
The nurse unwrapped the child and set it beneath the warming light. The father sat down in a chair next to the little bed and stared at his newborn son. Even I, as a spectator could feel the awe that this new father felt as he looked upon his child. There was something in his face, something he had not known before tonight. Ever so gently, he placed his finger inside of the little hand. It was as if this small little creature, harmless as it may be, had cast a spell upon this large man. Before long, soft sniffling sounds came from his corner of the room as gentle tears trickled down his cheeks. He sat there for several minutes in silence, so many emotions running through his young mind. He felt responsibility he had not felt before; he felt a love he had never before experienced. This small little baby, who seems to anyone else no different than any of the other babies in the nursery, means the world to him now. You can see it in his face, that mysterious glow that says “I would give my life for this little one.”
As if he had completely forgotten about the outside world for a moment, the father suddenly came back to himself and pulled out his cell phone and the awaited announcement was made to all the world “I have a son!”
Watching this all unfold gave me a warm feeling in my heart. Tears nearly came into my eyes as I watched the indescribable joy of a father over his newborn child. For it is a beautiful parable of Christ’s love for us. The same type of miracle takes place in heaven as the Father looks down upon a newborn Child of God. The same joy and love, gentleness and care, provision and protection are all given to the child. There may be days where the Father must chastise the son, but it is out of His unspeakable love that this chastisement comes. The cross stands as an everlasting proclamation, resounding through the heavens and earth, “This is My child, and so great is My love that I will give My own life for theirs.” To think that the Lord of the Universe could have such a love for us is more than my human mind can comprehend.
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Amber Schamel was born in Littleton, CO and has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and the Holy Land. She was raised in a family of 11 children, home-schooled through education and currently works with their 10 family businesses. Amber is a multi-published author and currently lives with her family outside of Colorado Springs, CO..
(c) 2013 Amber Schamel