"Too Simple" Obedience: Fruit

God has allowed me to be tested this week. Wow.

Just about a week ago, I got a phone call from David Hazell, the creator (along with his wife, Marie) of My Father's World (MFW), the core home education curriculum we use and love. Now, even as wonderful as MFW is, it's not the norm to get personal calls from the publisher. So I sensed immediately upon hearing Mr. Hazell's voice what was going on, and I was right.

You see, earlier this summer, I'd spent considerable time organizing the MFW kindergarten plans I'll use this year with my daycare girls into a usable grid format, a project I recently described here. I was quite pleased with the results and excited to encourage and help other "MFW moms" so I posted a link to the documents in my original post and in a couple of online MFW groups to which I belong.

Since then, I'd received a bit of happy feedback and was pleased others found my work useful. But, apparently, it had garnered more attention than I ever knew and had eventually found its way to the MFW offices.

Which was fine with me. I had given explicit credit to the Hazells in the introduction of my document, saying that "I must unequivocally state that these grids are not a substitute for the My Father’s World from A to Z teacher’s manual. You cannot effectively teach the curriculum using my charts alone because I merely list activities that Mrs. Hazell explains in detail. Furthermore, I must point out that attempting to teach the curriculum without purchasing (or otherwise legally obtaining) Mrs. Hazell’s manual would be a violation of copyright law."

And I was thrilled for MFW to know of my enthusiasm for their products. However - after much discussion in the office (for the better part of a month, Mr. Hazell said!) - they'd decided (with reluctance) that he needed to call to ask me to remove all the internet links to my grids so they cannot be transmitted digitally.

He was actually incredibly gracious, quickly acknowledging that MFW understands the heart with which I posted the documents and complimenting me on the quality of my work. However, they are concerned that someone would try to teach the program from my grids without actually purchasing a copy of the full curriculum. And, were that to happen on any sort of large scale, it could, of course, jeopardize MFW financially - and that would hinder the company's overall ministry as well. I honestly don't think it's really possible to teach the program from my grids alone. But I wanted to do the right thing. And I love MFW too much to put them at risk in any way, so I agreed.

And that's when the test began.

As I said, I'd received a few messages of thanks since I'd first posted the links. But in the past few days - since those who had previously seen the links realized they're now gone - I've been inundated with emails requesting the documents. The messages have been incredibly flattering, and I believe each lady who's written has legitimately purchased the curriculum. So it would be very easy to say, "Well, I'll just send it to her...and her...and her. What could it hurt?" After all, I believe these ladies are honest, and they're just looking for help to make a great curriculum easier to use. And it certainly doesn't hurt that they're praising my work and even saying they wish MFW would pay me for it.

But it wouldn't be right.

I'd given my word to Mr. Hazell, a brother in Christ, in response to his legitimate concern. I need to let my "yes" be yes (Matthew 5.37).

So I've responded to each request with an offer to instead provide a few blank grid forms and one week's completed grid as a sample. Or, in the case of one lady who (of her own volition) sent me proof that she'd bought the program directly from MFW, I agreed to mail her one hard copy of the grids if she will reimburse me for the cost of my printing and postage. My husband thought that would be okay because the main concern is digital transmission, and the woman volunteered her proof of purchase.

Some have thanked me for the sample even as they again wished out loud I could send a full document. Others have continued to actively lobby for me to change my mind, saying they believe MFW's decision is unjust since my grids will be so helpful and because other less user-friendly grids apparently remain online.

And that's where it's gotten even harder than not succumbing to flattery. I don't want anyone "talking bad" about me in cyberspace, telling others I'm "legalistic" or "untractable." I'm a recovering people-pleaser so the thought of that makes me queasy.

But each time that's happened, I have muddled through the feelings, prayed the lady in question will understand even though it makes her life more difficult, and moved forward. Except then - every time I've made peace with the situation - another email with the same request has come along!

And then satan has whispered, "You could ease your discomfort by sending out just these few digital copies - because, after all, what will it matter?"

Now, I'm certainly not equating this little ethical dilemma with Jesus' temptation in the desert (Matthew 4.1-11) or with the likes of what Job endured. But the steady drumbeat of the tempting requests has reminded me of those scenarios. And the fact that the Lord has brought that to mind has led me to conclude that this has, indeed, been a test for me.

After all, the devil delights in taking something good - my hard work that others appreciate and which would help more families use a great, Christ-honoring curriculum - and attempting to use it for his purposes (i.e., trying to get me to break a promise, feel insecure, or harbor bad feelings toward a business and ministry that has literally been a God-send to us). And God allowed satan to severely tempt Job as long as the man himself was not killed - so I shouldn't be surprised that I might be tested in just a small way.

So, actually, I consider it a compliment of a sort. After all, satan only messes with people who scare him! The Lord has been doing some really amazing work on me lately - possible in large measure because of my recent "too simple" obedience to His desire that believers merely spend time with Him - and it's a reflection of the devil's angst about that, I think, that he'd seek permission to try me.

Of course, it's completely by God's grace that I've recognized it - made possible only because I've been choosing to remain attached to the Vine (John 15.1-8). And it's in His strength (Philippians 4.13) that I've been able to stand up against it with an overriding spirit of peace. And, for that, I am supremely thankful.

It's very nice to be appreciated; as Sally Field said after accepting her Oscar for Norma Rae, "You like me! You really like me!"

And it's even better to have found in My Father's World an educational program for my daughters in which I have the utmost confidence and for whose creators I have deep respect.

But best of all - and what trumps anything else - is knowing I was able to go to the center of God's will with a small part of my life, even in the face of appealing temptations to do otherwise. That's evidence of His love and faithfulness and causes me to swell with hope that I can and will continue to grow in Christ-likeness in other areas of my life, too - as I simply seek to regularly hang out with my Father.

That's really amazing and just "too simple!"

Photo Credit: Zest-pk (http://www.flickr.com/photos/zest-pk/923930277/)


Lisa said...

I remember your post about making your spreadsheet available to MFW users and wondered if that would ever become an issue with the Hazel's. You are doing the right things by submitting to God. He will bless your work. You don't need others to do so. I'm sure that those who already received the file are thrilled to have it as an aid to the curriculum. I made my own grid with the Kindergarten program which helped tremendously. Maybe this whole thing will prompt the Hazel's to create one themselves.

Thanks for sharing your temptation. It's a good reminder to all of us that Satan often sneaks in the best, most Christian-like, places. He wants to turn good into evil and you stopped him with the armor of God. I'm sure He is pleased with His good and faithful servant.

Carol Flett said...

There must have been temptations to resent the people making the decisions. But I know from experience that God will bless your right attitude.

Carol Flett

Kimberly said...

I, too, had read about the grid on the MFW forum but hadn't actually checked it out. I am doing MFW K this year, too, with my dd(5). You are doing the right thing by keeping your word. Blessings on you.

Melanie said...


I have been following this as it unfolded since I am using MFW K this year and had found "Julianna's Lesson Grid" and was using it. A few weeks after I had found and downloaded that file was when you completed yours and your work was just wonderful, I know you were proud of it.

My question is this. It is obvious from the date on the file that I found on the Yahoo group that this is not the first time grids have been made and shared. Now I have people emailing me because they know that I have "Julianna's" file on my computer and they want copies of it and I don't know what to do about it. I feel that if they don't want grids shared then that would apply to any, but the link to "Julianna's" is still there (I don't know why some can access it and others cant).

I'm just confused as to why stop the file sharing now and if I should share the other file that I have. I guess I could just call MFW and ask.

I do believe that you are doing the right thing and that tells a lot about your character and integrity.


Hannah said...


I am sure that it has been incredibly hard not to pass along that link to these other MFW homeschooling families, but it is so nice to see that someone sticks to her word these days. Good for you for having integrity! Sleep well at night knowing that your word is as good as gold. :)

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