A PLACE OF RENEWAL

by Sylvia Dicksongirls with plant

There is a certain beauty to the winter landscape: stark silhouettes of bare branches brushing against a gray sky, empty fields bathed in crisp, winter sunlight, nippy mornings coated with glittering frost. However, what we truly long for, after waking in the early dark of winter, is to throw open our windows and feel warm spring breezes brushing away the sleep from our eyes.

Spring is a time of renewal. Daffodils spring from brown turf, trees dress up in spring green, the urge to fly a kite or plant a garden takes hold. We long to freshen up and fix up. Out with the old and in with the new.

daffodilsAnd so it goes, year after year. Our souls, bodies, and all of creation long for renewal. So many years of frustration and futility! How long will it last?

At French Camp Academy we see firsthand the ravages of sin and the bondage to decay. Students come to us from families fractured or destroyed by sin. They come to us looking for a place of renewal.

Why Renewal?boys and wisteria

In God’s Word, we see that even though Adam’s stomach was full, his purpose in life defined, his success certain, he wanted more.

When Adam and Eve broke the only commandment their Creator had given, they received a horrible shock. No longer could life be lived free from fear, pain, and destruction. A new law went into effect with the immediate verdict, “Guilty. Condemned to Die.”

The Beginning of Renewala-another-boy-in-church

Redemption and renewal are themes that guide French Camp Academy. We live out lives renewed in Christ before our young people, showing them “… there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

We tell them that even though mother ora-boy-painting father may have deserted them, God will not. We tell them that Jesus Christ came to free them from sin and give them new life: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3: 19).

The Work of Renewal

House parents and Historic area personnel work with students to reveal God’s plan for renewal. Teachers, coaches, work directors, radio personnel, all work at chipping away the chains of sin.a-girl-with-horse-web

In the afternoons and on Saturdays, you can see students and staff working on different projects. Horses must be fed, the bed and breakfast freshened for visitors, and the conference center readied for the next group. WFCA trains students in broadcasting. At Rainwater Observatory, students learn how to work telescopes and help with astronomy programs.tennis-player

Every aspect of FCA contributes to the accomplishment of our mission of being a Christ-centered home and school, serving young people and families for the glory of God.

Effects of Renewal

Lives built on the certainty of God’s redemptive work become stable, fruitful, and fulfilled. Hope takes root and enlivens minds and hearts. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (I Cor. 5: 17).katy-octavious-farida

The cords of sin and evil that so easily entangled thoughts and emotions are slowly unraveled and tossed into the flames. The stagnant water of sorrow is drained and lives are refilled with fresh water. Grins replace groans, direction replaces destruction, clear minds replace cloudy thinking.

Sometimes the renewal takes place quickly, sometimes slowly. But all around us we see God renewing lives at French Camp Academy.

Mid-life Parenting

Two students at FCAThere was a popular song by the group, Point of Grace, called “How You Live” which  I adopted as my theme song for that season.  Its heartening message was to live a life without regret and to embrace and enjoy, as much as possible, each and every moment. Yep, the good, the bad and the ugly.  The laughter, the tears and the fatigue.

Continue reading

Beginning Mid-Life (Hand in Hand: Parenting the Second Time Around)

French Camp Academy is a wonderful place to grow!

Beginning Mid-Life

by Susan Donald

So who begins parenting again when they are middle aged?  Apparently more people than you may realize.  In this country there are 5.8 million children being raised by grandparents.  That’s more than double the entire population of Mississippi.  And nearly 3 million more are being raised by other family members besides grandparents or their biological parents.  Each one of these families has a back story, one that probably contains a lot of heartache and maybe some hope as well.  Continue reading

Hand In Hand: Parenting the Second TIme Around

So What’s New?

By Sylvia Dickson

What is the deal with so many grandparents now raising their grandchildren? Is this really so different from past generations? In some ways yes and some ways no.

Teaching and Training: Boys Growing Into Men

Teaching and Training: Boys Growing Into Men

I remember the first time as an adult that I was struck with the knowledge of people parenting the second time around. While visiting my mother and going to her church, I took my own baby to the nursery. Mom pointed out a couple with two children and said, Those are their grandchildren. They are raising them.

I looked in awe and amazement and wondered about this unusual arrangement. So many questions peppered my mind as I walked with mom to her Sunday school class.

Where are the parents? How do those grand parents feel about their own children who aren’t raising these children? Why should they “have to” do this? Are they sad, angry, and feeling like failures? Do they wonder if it is their fault? Or are they happy and excited about the opportunity to pour into these young lives?

I don’t remember asking any of those questions. Maybe I did and have forgotten the answers.

I still have those questions and more, and I’m hoping you can help answer them.

Please send me your stories. Some of your stories will be unique and others will have a common theme. I’ll pull portions from them and add them to the blog. These can be posted anonymously or with your name. Just let me know.

We (French Camp Academy) are hoping that your story—your journey in second-time parenting—will help others as they venture down this path.

In the next blog I’ll explore the old and new of grandparents raising grandchildren. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

A Place of Healing

We wanted to tell you how grateful French Camp Academy is for your faithful support and to explain how your generosity impacts hurting young people. But we think this young lady, a current student, expresses it better than we can.  Like you, she understands the impact French Camp Academy has had on her life. Continue reading