Renouncing God?

A little while ago, I saw a social media post from a young woman that I know, saying that she was celebrating her first Easter without God and was happier than she’d ever been.  I’m glad that I didn’t immediately write about it, but gave myself time to reflect first, because my initial reaction to it was visceral.  You see, one Easter, when I was about the same age as this young woman, I began my journey to God.  Today, I wouldn’t go back to living in that place where I was putting my faith in the world and having only myself to depend on in difficult times if you paid me a million dollars to do so.

I was raised pseudo-Christian.  My grandparents and father were believers.  My mother, who I lived with, rarely took my sister and I to church, though.  She lived her life very much in the wisdom of this world and taught us to do the same.

By the time that Easter arrived, I was a single young woman, raising two children on my own and struggling to support us.  My most cherished dream had been to settle down and have a family, but my attempts at romantic relationships had led to nothing but disappointment and despair.  

I considered myself a Christian, and I was willing to attend church on Christmas or Easter, if someone invited me.  However, I really didn’t acknowledge God or turn to Him in prayer except when I felt that I needed something from Him.

I had a new position that required me to work late on Wednesday nights, so my grandparents offered to pick my children up from day care on Wednesdays, take them out for dinner, and then to a children’s program at the mid-week service of the church they had recently begun attending.  They regaled me with stories of how much my children enjoyed it and encouraged me to come one Sunday, but I declined.

Shortly before Easter, my son and I found a movie about the Easter story on T.V. and decided to watch it.  I realized by my son’s response to it that he knew absolutely nothing about the crucifixion.  He was shocked and heartbroken at what happened to Jesus.  I started to see it through his eyes – not as a story in a book that I’d heard a million times and become desensitized to – but as something new.  I saw the burden that Jesus had willingly taken on Himself for me, so that I could be saved and the torture that He endured that no one else on this Earth would ever choose to, just because He loved me.  

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13

So, when my grandparents invited us to attend Easter service with them that year, I agreed.  They had recently left the church they had attended for many years, because they said it was spiritually dead.  There were only a few elderly people left; all the generations of children and grandchildren had abandoned it.  I saw the difference in this church immediately.  During worship, you could tangibly feel the Holy Spirit, in a way I never had in our former church.

They continued to invite me.  Some Sundays I would go, and sometimes I wouldn’t.  It was a gradual process of surrendering the world and my own will.  Eventually, though, I wanted to be there on Sunday, even needed to be there.  One of the things that I remember that impressed me was that they stood firm on the inerrancy of the Bible.  The pastor said, “If you can’t accept that the Bible account is true in Genesis, why bother to read the rest of it?”  

That hit hard with me, because my church experience had been in a compromising, mainstream church – the kind that said, “We believe in creation, but maybe God really did it over millions of years, not six days.”  I realized why all the young people, like me, had left.  What were they offering us that was different than what the world was?  They just seemed like hypocrites whose only concern was controlling our behavior, while the world told us just to do whatever would make us happy.  The problem was, it didn’t lead to any lasting happiness, after all.  

Giving my life to Jesus wasn’t an easy road at first.  There was a lot of battle with my flesh, but the destination was worth it.  The Truth was a seed that was planted in my heart and grew into a desire not to be defiled by the world.  

So, seeing this young woman’s post, at first, I was angry.  Publicly denying God on Easter, the day He let his own Son be sacrificed, the day Jesus willingly gave His life, for her – I couldn’t imagine anything more blasphemous.  Shortly after, though, I began to feel sad for her.  She is looking for her happiness in a place that she will never truly find it.  The world is going to let her down.  No matter how much she tries to be her own strength, some crisis will come along eventually where she comes to the end of herself – and there will be nowhere else to turn.

Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.” – 
– Jeremiah 17:5-6

I don’t know what happened to this woman, except what little she shared, which was that she felt judged by people at her former church.  Leaving a church should not equal leaving God, though.  Here’s why I say that:

  1. Churches are full of sinners just like you and me.  They are full of people who have past traumas that they may not have acknowledged and worked on healing yet.  Inevitably, someone there is going to let you down, but there is nowhere in the world that you are going to escape from that.  Schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, friend groups – they are full of sinners, too, and you will find yourself in the same position eventually, although what they judge you for may vary.  The only One who will never let you down is the One who is without sin – Jesus.
  • Wherever you go, you will still be there.  I’m acquainted with the lady who wrote the post.  I tried to be friendly to her, but she wouldn’t respond in kind.  I don’t know why she behaved that way, but if you go through life, not addressing your own issues, it will affect your relationships with others.  You can’t run away from yourself.  In fact, sometimes our own insecurities make us project intentions on to others that aren’t there.  I had a family member attack me earlier this year, accusing me of judging her and viewing her in a certain light, and would not take my word for it when I assured her that she was mistaken, and those thoughts had never even crossed my mind.  She’d been harboring hurt feelings for years over something that never even happened.

Sometimes, churches start to go in a direction where they are relying too much on their own intellect or their own holiness, instead of relying on biblical Truth and the completed work of Jesus on the cross.  There’s nothing wrong with finding a new church and praying for the one you left to be renewed.  If my grandparents hadn’t taken that step, I doubt that I would have accepted Jesus when I did.

We can hardly take a moral high ground, though, if we are unwilling to forgive those who have wronged us, whether intentionally or unintentionally.  Just as in our personal relationships outside of the church, it’s OK to forgive from a distance, if that’s what you need to do.  However, it is important to directly confront the person who has wronged you first, in order to see what they are really thinking and give them a chance to repent.  Afterwards, if they don’t see the error of their ways, the act of forgiving is more for your benefit than for theirs. Praying that their eyes will be opened, and truth revealed to them can benefit them, and others around them, in the long run, though.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.  But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’  And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” – Matthew 18:15-17

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” – Mark 11:25

I pray that God will heal her broken heart and lead her to the right church for her.  Despite her words of rejection, He still loves her and is patiently waiting for her to return to Him.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.” 
– Jeremiah 17:7-8

Valentine’s Day Science Experiment

This February, I found a Valentine’s Day-themed science experiment including candy hearts in a children’s ministry activity pack.  It looked like a simple and fun activity, so I offered to do it with the younger children in our homeschool co-op.  Unfortunately, after gathering all of the supplies and transporting them to co-op, the experiment did not turn out nearly as impressive as I expected that it would.  I was kicking myself for not trying it at home first to work out any kinks, although the other moms agreed that they really liked the message that went along with the lesson.

I promised my daughter she could try it at home on Valentine’s Day, so we decided to make some adjustments to the instructions, as well as adding some glitter just to see what would happen.  It worked so much better!  The really fun part was what happened with the glitter, which is not what I expected. 

The supplies that we used:

  • A 32 oz. mason jar
  • A 16 oz. bottle of sparkling water
  • A small box of conversation hearts
  • 4 Alka-Seltzer tablets (two envelopes)
  • Red and/or pink glitter

The steps that we followed:

  1. Drop the Alka-Seltzer Tablets, candy hearts and some of the glitter into the bottom of the mason jar.
  2. Add at least 8 ounces of the sparkling water.
  3. After the reaction begins to occur, add a layer of glitter on top.

The science behind it:

Alka-Seltzer tablets contain citric acid (C6H8O7) and sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3).  When the tablets are added to water, the ingredients dissolve and react with each other.  During the reaction, the covalent bonds are broken, and cardon dioxide (CO2) gas is formed and released as bubbles.  A sodium citrate ion remains in the water.

I expected the glitter to “dance” with the conversation hearts, but instead, it floated to the surface of the water and formed a layer of surface tension on top.  Then, as the carbon dioxide bubbles rose to the top, they were trapped under the glitter, creating glittery bubbles.  Two hours later, the bubbles were still trapped there.  I took the final photo before we went to bed.  The bubbles were mostly gone by then, but the candy hearts had floated to the surface and were trapped under the glitter instead.

The spiritual application:

Good things happen to us in life that can lift our spirits like the bubbles lift the candy hearts.  Likewise, bad things happen to us at times that can crush our spirit and make us “feel down.”  However, God’s love for us is like the water in the jar that surrounds the candy hearts.  No matter what happens to us, we are always surrounded by God’s love.

This was a simple activity to do, and it was a good fit for us, since we are studying chemistry as our science this year. If you are looking for an way to use up some leftover candy hearts, I recommend giving it a try.

“Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.”  – Psalm 33:22

“Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him.” – Psalm 32:10

“For you bless the godly, O LORD, you surround them with your shield of love.” – Psalm 5:11-12

What I Wish I Would Have Learned Before I Began Homeschooling, Part Three: Boundaries and Ourselves

Boundaries With Ourselves

I previously shared with you some of the lessons I have been learning about how setting boundaries with our children and with others can help us homeschool more effectively.   However, sometimes the biggest boundary conflict does not come from without; it comes from within.

Have you ever felt like your homeschool day just “gets away from you”?  You have a plan of everything you were going to accomplish, but at the end of the day, you have only been able to do a fraction of it.  How do other moms manage to get it all done?

Are you a good starter but not a good finisher?  You love coming up with cool homeschool ideas but have trouble following them through to completion.  Are you easily distracted by new, exciting curriculum instead of finishing up with what you already began?  Are you unable to say “no” to other pressures that take time away from school?

Do you lose your temper and say things that are discouraging instead of encouraging?  Are you financially strapped because you can’t seem to live within your means?  You keep trying to get your act together, but nothing seems to work.

If you said “yes” to any of these questions, you might have a problem with internal boundaries.

We are often our own worst enemy.  Although setting boundaries with others can be challenging, in the end, we are only responsible to others, but not for them.  We are responsible for ourselves, though, making internal problems harder to deal with than external ones.  In addition, the strategies we gravitate toward to solve these conflicts may be ineffective.  In the book, “Boundaries:  When to Say Yes, When to Say No to Take Control of Your Life,” authors Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend point out that those with poor internal boundaries may withdraw from relationships when they most need the support of others because of the shame they feel about their personal failures.  Instead, they try to use their willpower to solve their boundary problems, thinking that they can just muscle through them.

As I re-read this chapter in preparation for writing this article, I felt convicted.  I absolutely do this.  Of course, the difficulty of reaching out is that it has to be to someone who will have empathy and respond with love and support.  If one already has weak boundaries that developed as a result of a dysfunctional or abusive childhood, it can be hard to know who to trust.

However, making an idol of our own will is not the solution.  Be honest with yourself about where you are struggling.  Take time to examine what the root causes of those struggles are.  Identify the specific boundary conflict and pray for insight into the underlying need that it is masking.  Then, admit that you cannot heal yourself, and lay it at the feet of Jesus instead.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16

If you are interested in reading more about boundaries, you can find part one here and part two here.  As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Experiencing a Tornado

storm 3

Our spring was kind of crazy this year.  Just as our school year and extracurricular activities were winding down, our town was hit by a tornado.  The funny thing is, we studied earth science last year, and when we learned about tornadoes, my children asked if one would ever happen where we live.  I responded that it was unlikely.  I guess I was wrong!

We were in the parking lot at the supermarket when it hit.  My cell phone had just announced “Tornado warning in your area.  Seek shelter immediately.”

Rain started pelting our car harder than I have ever seen, and the wind was out of control.  In retrospect, we should have just gone back in the supermarket until it was over.  Because we were only 10 to 15 minutes from home, though, we tried to get home as quickly as possible.  However, we live in a very wooded area, so we found that every street that we tried to go down was blocked by fallen trees, with tall trees waving threateningly everywhere around us.  We ended up having to turn back and find another road to go down.  At one point, we reached a road that was blocked, but several cars were trying to get past, so my husband and the other drivers hopped out and were able to pull the tree out of the way so that we could pass.

storm 4

We finally got to the entrance of our neighborhood and found that we couldn’t go in, because a large tree was blocking it, along with the power lines that it had taken down with it.  The storm had ended.  We briefly considered finding a hotel for the night, but our two-month-old puppy was at home, alone, in his crate.  We had to get to the house.  So, we parked our car, and my husband, two little ones and I got out and started for home on foot.  We had to hike through our neighbors’ yards because the whole length of the street was covered in downed trees and power lines.  There was so much destruction that we were afraid to see what our house looked like.

storm 14

When we finally arrived home, we were shocked to see that we only had some branches down, but not one tree had fallen.  There was no damage to our house.  The only real concern was three very large trees had been partially uprooted and were now sitting on an angle.  We ended up having two of them taken down shortly after, as they would have come down on their own in the next big storm, possibly killing someone.  The largest of the three was 96 feet tall.


We were grateful to have made it home safely and that our home was not damaged in the storm.  There were at least two deaths in the area that day and extensive property damage.  This house, that is down the street from us, had a tree fall through the second story, landing just 5 to 10 feet away from where someone was sleeping.

storm 17

During the storm, the twister was yanking trees right out of the ground, roots and all, and then slamming them back down to the earth.  We live in a lakeside community, and as the twister traveled down the lake, it even ripped the porch right off of a house along the water.

Because of all the downed power lines, we were without power for almost a week.  Since most people in town have well water, that meant we were without running water also.

telephone pole

During this adventure, my eldest son wondered why nature was so destructive at times.  I wasn’t really sure how to answer that.  As life began to return to normal and roads were opened up again, there were some very noticeable changes in the landscape, though.  A pine forest around the corner had lost so many tall trees and tops of trees that a previously dark road was now bathed in sunlight.  Our vegetable and flower gardens receive much more light as a result of the 96-footer that was taken down.

Our yard is covered in heavy, dead branches that loom threateningly and that were scheduled to be taken down in the spring but that had to be put on hold because the tree-trimmers are too busy with emergency clean-up work (our leaners fell under that category).    If left to their own devices, those dead areas aren’t going anywhere until nature sees fit to bring them down in some catastrophic way.  In the meantime, they prevent the light from nourishing the new life that is trying to emerge underneath.


Perhaps these storms are a metaphor for our own spiritual walks.  When God comes along and tears down our strongholds, it is painful at the time and can appear to us to be destructive.  In the long run, though, we discover that it was necessary for the new growth that He wanted to work in our lives.  As long as we were clinging to those old, dead areas, the light was unable to get through and shine where it needed to.


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17


Developing Patience for the Road Ahead

Developing Patience for the Road Ahead

Back in May, I wrote this post for the Homeschooling with Heart blog.   I almost didn’t get it written, because a tornado hit our state, and we lost power for almost a week.

The first two days, my children kept asking when they’d be able to watch TV or use the computer again.  I’ve made a point to limit their screen time, and because there was less availability and dependence on these things when I was raising my two adult children, having a device always on hand to entertain them just didn’t seem natural to me.  Even so, my kids still went through a withdrawal of the screen time that they are allowed to have.

They began to wander outside frequently to entertain themselves and joined with some neighborhood children to build a shelter in the woods behind our house.  I ended up having to coax them indoors for meals.  They managed to find something to engage them that also created an opportunity for teamwork and socialization.  It was almost a blessing in disguise.

Meanwhile, I was going through the withdrawal of having running water and access to information about what was going on, without phone or internet service.  I attempted to model patience for my children, along with gratitude that our home was not damaged in the storm and none of us was injured, although it became more difficult to do as the week wore on.

My reflection on this experience is that you never know when a situation like this will happen.  Many things are out of our control, and it is easier for you and your children to deal with when the virtue of patience has been developed.  It is these moments when it is really put to the test that you begin to realize just what an important life skill it is and how much you are actually lacking it versus what you would normally give yourself credit for.

In my opinion, the real long-term benefit of learning to wait until later for what you want now is the ability to wait on God.  It took many years of waiting and praying before I met my husband.  It might be a spouse, a job, the birth of a child, or any number of things that you or your child needs to wait on God for.

One thing that I have found helpful for my own children is making it the default that they wait in public (at a sibling’s extracurricular activity; at the DMV) without devices to entertain them.  If they’ve had practice stretching and developing those muscles during these short periods of waiting, I believe it will help them to be better prepared for the marathon when it inevitably comes.

My goals for the future are to be a better example of patient waiting in times of stress, to pray that God strengthens both my patience and that of my children, and to trust that He can do this work in us.


“A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him by heaven.” – John 4:27

“But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.” – Luke 8:15

The Importance of Outdoor Education in a Digital World


I grew up in a large city.  Swapping childhood stories with my husband, he was appalled when I explained that recess at the schools that I attended meant being released to an enclosed, asphalt yard.  I counted myself lucky that I actually had a backyard at home with trees and flowers.  Most of my friends only had a small square of grass in front of their house.  Needless to say, our exposure to nature was a bit limited.

Luckily, the private school that I went to recognized this need.  We had an environmental education program in grades 4 through 6, where we got to stay at a campground for a few days in the fall and the spring.  I recently asked some old schoolmates about it, and found that they have as many treasured memories of the experience as I do.

Unlike me, my children are growing up in a more rural area.  They have much more experience with nature than I did.  Even so, when we went camping for our family vacation this year, and completely disconnected from electronics (no TV, cell phones, or other devices), my children were even more engaged with the world around them than normal.  Some of the things that we did were:

  • Identified leaves and plants that we found
  • Learned about wildlife that was native to the area
    • Learned the differences between venomous and non-venomous snakes
    • Learned how to identify raptors in flight
  • Collected leaves, ferns, etc. and made charcoal rubbings and sketches in nature journals
  • Observed and felt moss growing
  • Found a bird’s nest
  • Saw the natural growth and decay of the forest
  • Learned how to build a fire and cook over it
  • Practiced carving wood
  • Collected pine resin and learned some uses for it


My son actually remarked that he thought life was better without TV!  Being outside without the distractions of modern society allows for more intimacy with nature and with each other.  We interact more fully with each other.  It inspires awe.  It demands use of all of the senses and strengthens observation skills.  Navigating on uneven terrain helps to develop core strength and a sense of balance.  Self-directed learning occurs naturally in the outdoors, as children ask questions about the world around them.

In my son’s case, I’ve watched his confidence grow as he is now able to answer some of his younger sister’s questions.  Sometimes, he can even answer mine, when he shares a tidbit that he has learned from his father.

Of course, we can’t camp all the time, but now that it is spring, we often finish up our school day with a walk.  I ask them to point out any signs of spring that they notice and it is fun to witness the progression from day to day.  The exercise, fresh air, and connection with nature is calming and has pretty much the opposite effect on them that screen time does.  Screens have their place in our lives, but they cannot replace time spent outdoors, which meets a need that seems to be instilled in us from our Creator, to recognize our part in His creation.


“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you;

And the birds of the air, and they will tell you;

Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you;

And the fish of the sea will explain to you.

Who among all these does not know

That the hand of the Lord has done this,

In whose hand is the life of every living thing,

And the breath of all mankind?”  – Job 12:7-10


Trusting God’s Plans for My Children


This is my daughter’s third year studying classical ballet, and she loves it.  After her first year, her teacher decided to keep her in level one.  I agreed that if she hadn’t mastered the basics, it made sense for her to remain there until she was ready to move on.  After all, as a homeschool parent, I understand how important mastery is in any subject.

At the end of her second year, her teacher decided to hold her back again.  Most of her friends had moved on without her after the first year, and now, this year’s classmates would do the same, including her best friend.  I was afraid that watching her peers move ahead without her would damage her self-esteem and wondered if she should try a different activity.  Maybe she would be more successful at something else.

My husband was the voice of reason.  He said, “She loves dance.  As long as she wants to do it, who cares what level she’s at?”

So, she began her third year in level one, while taking some private lessons in addition to help her catch up.  She also wanted to try scouting, like her brother, but I had a lot of trouble finding a local troop for her.  Her best friend’s mom told me about a group that her daughter was attending that was similar to scouts, but Bible-focused instead, so we decided to try that.  However, it turned out that the time of her friend’s level two dance class conflicted with the other activity, so she couldn’t participate this year.  I briefly wondered if we should forget about it, but decided to let my daughter try it out, anyway.

She absolutely loved the new club and was very motivated to bring her book home to read the lessons with me and practice memorizing Bible verses.  Before I knew it, she was earning rewards almost every week and feeling proud of her accomplishments.  She also enjoys the time each week with her new friends.

This past week, I overheard her dance teacher compliment her during class and the thought crossed my mind that maybe she was getting ready to move up, which could happen at any time during the year.  I was initially pleased, until it occurred to me that attending the level two classes would prevent her from going to her other club.  I know that would disappoint her.

This made me reflect on how God has assigned each of us individual gifts and has a plan for us to use them.  While I was concerned about her lack of success in one area, He knew that he had another place for her, one in which she not only would excel but would do so while being immersed in His Word and learning to write the words of it on her heart.

As we enter a new year, I want to learn to trust His plans for my children more and worry less.  I know that I am leaving them in the best possible hands.


The Baptism and Racism


Last Sunday, we held an indoor immersion baptism at my church.  A large, metal trough was brought into the church and filled with water.  To be honest, I thought it was a little weird when I heard of that plan.  The experience far exceeded my expectations, though.  There was a brief sermon, and for the rest of the service, the worship team played while people lined up to be baptized.

Now, I’ve been to plenty of baptisms in my day – infant christenings where they sprinkle a little water on the baby’s head; lake, pond and even swimming pool immersions.  My pastor baptized me in a swimming pool at his parents’ house.  This was something altogether different.  It was as though there was electricity in the air last weekend.  You could just feel the Holy Spirit moving in a powerful way.  I was singing really loud, dancing in my seat, and I briefly thought about how, as a new believer, I would have wanted to let my hair down that way, but would have been afraid to.  Before I got saved, I would have been intimidated by that whole scene – people standing with their hands raised, etc.  Deep down, I would have known it was authentic, though.  It was that sort of feeling that hooked me when my Nana convinced me to visit her church one Easter, sixteen years ago.  The joy that I felt in that service was like nothing I’d experienced in my church upbringing.  This service blew that one out of the water, though.  I was giddy afterwards, and so was everyone else that I talked to.

For me, one of the beautiful things about it was seeing people of different races lined up together to get in the water.  I live in a very monochromatic area, so it is no surprise that our church has typically reflected that.  Having grown up in the city, that is not normal to me, though.  Our church has experienced a lot of growth over the past few years, and I believe it is a blessing that we are beginning to look more like a melting pot now.

After returning home that day and having some lunch, I made the mistake of getting on social media.  A friend from my youth, who has been actively posting a lot of political stuff lately, shared a clickbait article about some racist white woman with the commentary “I’m beginning to think they are all like this.”  Well, so much for feeling giddy.  It was bad enough that he was stereotyping me unfairly, but to make matters worse, this man is married to a white woman and his only child is half white.

I was tempted to respond, but I don’t believe you can talk someone out of prejudice.  Some people open their eyes eventually, but you can’t pry them open for them.  The conclusion that I came to is this.  What I witnessed in my church is what happens when we let Jesus have control.  He brings truth, love, unity, joy and peace.  People loving one another and rejoicing over their new brothers and sisters – that is what Jesus does.

Satan brings deceit, fear and hate.  When media outlets write and publish divisive articles that sacrifice unity on the altar of the god of mammon, it’s obvious who they are giving control to.  It’s sad that there are people who allow their view of the world to be shaped by that.

Personally, I’ll take Jesus.  The view from here is a lot sweeter.


“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” – Ephesians 4:4-6