The Journey

This blog began in an attempt to provide resources and encouragement for homeschoolers. However, during this homeschool adventure, I've found it's also about life. Specifically about losing my own life, that I might find it in Jesus and thus discover the joy of REAL life. (Matthew 10:39)

In March, 2012, our family stepped out in faith again as we moved out to the country. The first step of faith was trusting the Lord to sell our other home before our emergency fund ran out. He is faithful, and though I was hoping this would happen sooner, He knows what we needed.

I just know that He is going to use these 5 acres and this old house to teach me even more lessons in abiding with Him...and I look forward to the Adventure!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mommy "Moments"...You are NOT alone!

An interesting conversation came about at the start of one of the classes I teach at our "Monday classes."  (That is our term for the home school co-op we are involved with.)  One of the moms mentioned the last post and how much she appreciated it.  We were laughing about how we may have a "slight tendency" to want to be in control.  (Noooo! : )  Anyway, I said that I have found that no matter how "good" or "sinless" someone appears to be, we all have the sin of pride in common.  When it comes down to it, we all have some things we want our own way!  And that translates to pride.

I discovered this a few years ago (as I mentioned in the previous post) as I read and prayed through the Scripture prayers in the book Praying God's Word by Beth Moore.  This is a brief recount of how things went when I started that book (okay, as brief as my detailed side can be).  

The first chapter is on overcoming idolatry.  I thought it might be interesting to read, but wasn't sure how applicable it would be.  Then I began to read it.  I thought, hmmm, maybe I do have a few issues with this.  One that really spoke to me was taken from Acts 17:24-28.  I've copied that passage from the NIV below:

 24"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'

The second chapter is on overcoming unbelief.  Again, as I began to read it, I thought it would be interesting, but wasn't sure how applicable it would be.  Would you like to guess what happened when I started to read it?  Yep, more issues.  

One of the most interesting things I've read from Beth Moore is her describing the difference in believing IN God and BELIEVING God.  Here is a quote from her book regarding a conversation she had with the Lord.  She said that the Lord adamantly said, "I didn't ask you to believe in Me.  I asked you to believe Me." (page 34)  Here are a few of my favorite prayers from this section:

"Faith is not believing in my own unshakable belief.  Faith is believing an unshakable God when everything in me trembles and quakes." (page 44)

"Father, please bring strong believers into my life so that we may be mutually encouraged by one another's faith. (Rom. 1:12)" (page 47)

"Lord God, please place someone in my path as needed who will continue with me for my progress and joy in the faith. (Phil. 1:25)"

The next chapter was on overcoming pride.  You already know what I was thinking, and what I discovered, I had pride issues.  Not just a few either, a lot.  Everywhere I turned I seemed to discover more areas where this was a problem.  (It would be more true to say "turn" instead of turned.)  I've already mentioned the verse from Ecclesiastes.  Here are a few others which spoke to me (especially in conversing with my husband):

"Father, You're teaching me that pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.  (Prov. 13:10)  Help me to discern the pride that is involved when I am quarrelsome."  (page 61)

"Father, You are calling upon me to be completely humble and gentle; to be patient, bearing with others in love.  (Eph. 4:2)  Please empower me with Your Spirit to be obedient to this command." (page 66)

You get the idea, I'm sure.  The fourth chapter was on overcoming deception.  I will share one of the prayers which I included in my "prayer cards" from this chapter:

"Lord God, surely You desire truth in my inner parts; You teach me wisdom in the inmost place.  (Ps. 51:6)  Please expose to me the deeply embedded lies I've believed and replace them with permanently engraved truth." (page 76)

To get back to my earlier conversation, we began to share with each other about our "other self."  You know, the one only our children see.  (Yes, that is a sobering thought for me too.)  Aside from the Lord, they are the ones who see ALL of us, aren't they?

Then we each shared how it was hard to believe another of the moms in that room could have a "moment" like that.  Some of the comments were how peaceful, organized, together, etc. another mom seemed.  Then a "gem" was shared.  One mom said something like, that must be a lie of the enemy to believe that someone else has everything together.  

This made me pause and think of how many times I've been in the middle of a "moment" with my children (or even my husband) and think, surely so-and-so wouldn't be speaking to her children this way.  Or surely so-and-so wouldn't have a conversation like this with her husband.  I'm learning that this is simply not true!  It is indeed a lie that the enemy tells us!

We all have "moments," though it's certainly true that as we grow closer to Christ these moments should decrease, not increase.  But we're human.  Sometimes it's when I have those moments that I realize how much I need a Savior.  It's also been the start of some good conversations with my children.  We all make mistakes.  We all need Jesus.  

In my "moment" I've demonstrated why God's way is the best way.  It also offers me a chance to apologize to them and ask for their forgiveness.  Think of the modeling I'm doing!  (I have to admit, though, I don't usually savor those moments and would much rather model other behavior!)  Again, we are showing our children that we're human, not perfect.  We show them how to humble ourselves before those we've hurt as well as before the Lord.  My prayer is that my children will continue to strive to be more like Jesus each day.  However, when they stumble, I hope that they will humble themselves before the Lord and those they may have hurt and allow Jesus to help them back up to try again.

To close, I'd like to leave you with this reminder from Hebrews 12:1-3, keeping in mind that God has marked you to be a mom to your children and a wife to your husband. 

 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  
Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

 You are not alone in this race!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Words of Wisdom (not mine, but His)

Okay, recently on my facebook status I posted the following:

"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." Proverbs 19:11 "The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride." Ecclesiastes 7:8

As a comment I wrote:    
"I have hidden these in my heart as they are especially applicable as a parent (especially when dealing with melt downs). They probably would be useful when dealing with adults as well."

A friend commented that she had read the Proverbs verse that morning, so I added the following comment as well:
"I have the proverbs one on my refrigerator. Another one I have up there that goes along with them both (and that A and A know) is "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1"

Then another friend made the comment that these verses would make a good blog entry (I guessed that was a not so subtle hint).

So, here are some further thoughts on these three verses.

I discovered the Ecclesiastes verse several years ago in the Beth Moore book, Praying God's Word.  It is in the chapter/section on PRIDE.  Yes, you read it correctly, pride.  Wow!  God really began to show me that when I got frustrated or angry with my children, it was usually because they were not behaving according to MY plan!

For example, when my princess was in the 2s, nap time was when I would have time to do my own things.  Some days I was looking forward to that time/thing more than others.  On these days, I was very careful to "time" the nap of my princess and warrior (who was an infant) so that I would get the aforementioned time. Inevitably it was when I was "timing" things when my princess was not cooperating.  At first I would be so patient, but as the minutes slipped away and my warrior slept on, my patience would give way to impatience and the battle was on!

Anyway, God showed me that I was being prideful.  I wanted my own way, and when I didn't get it, I was not too happy about it.  There went the patience and in came the pride:  "The end of the matter is better than the beginning, and patience is better than pride."  Ecclesiastes 7:8

In April, 2008, I shared this while giving a testimony at my MOPS group.  One of the moms at my table made the following comment, "Surely that's not pride.  My husband has pride issues, not me!"  How funny that we see the pride in our husbands so readily, but not in ourselves!

Now, I will not claim to be perfect in this area, but I can tell you that a lot of battles have been avoided when I keep in mind what I want the "end of the matter" to be.  In other words, what is my goal within the context of the situation?

 I have Proverbs 19:11 written on a wipe off board hanging on my freezer.  It's been up there since Christmas of 2009.  I find it especially useful when my warrior (who tends to be a bit more strong willed than my princess), is being particularly difficult.  You know, those days where he seems to be testing me more often than seems possible (like once a minute!).  Or at least every time I speak to him.  In other words, he seems to be "offending" me at every turn in our day!

Now, to be fair, he's 4 while I'm...more than 4.  Often times he's tired and fighting allergies on these days as well.  So, a battle begins inside me.  I hear two voices:  "You shouldn't let him get away with this," says one, while the other says, "He's having a difficult day, you are his mom and should be walking along side him."  Proverbs 19:11 sides with the second voice.  (My husband is the one who reminded me I'm to "walk alongside our children.)  In fact, it says that my wisdom will give me patience and that "it is to [my] glory to overlook an offense."  Grace and mercy are often needed on these days more than the rod of discipline.

Proverbs 15:1 is written on the same wipe off board.  It goes hand in hand with the above situation.  I hold much power when it comes to the behavior of my children.  Not in every behavior, mind you (though I'd like to try!).  What I mean is that my response to them will do one of two things:  help them to calm down or send them over the edge.  When I stop to remember this, my "gentle answer" more often than not "turns away" their "wrath."

A bonus is that my children have also hidden this verse in their hearts.  There have been times when a conversation has "gone bad" between the two of them or between them and my husband.  In several instances, it seems the Holy Spirit has given me wisdom in talking with my princess and warrior separately.  I've asked quietly if they used gentle words or harsh words.  When they respond with "harsh words" we talk about what God says about that and what we can do next time.  They have seemed to understand this proverb well in these situations, which, of course, gives me encouragement for their future!

Well, this turned out to be a longer post than I thought it would be.  I hope that at least one of you has gained encouragement from it, even if it's simply knowing you are not alone when dealing with tempers, harsh words, and impatience.  I am so thankful we have God's Word to guide us through this wonderful gift called Life.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

By Faith, part 2...

To follow up my first post, I thought I would share what I wrote in my journal on May 3, 2010.  

By Faith:  Following Him Down the Winding Homeschooling Road
A place for encouragement, observations and sharing on our homeschool adventures.

The above is what I awoke thinking about this morning.  It was a few months ago, now, that I discovered Hebrews 11, specifically verse 8.  That doesn't mean it's the first time I've read it.  However, it was the first time I saw it in light of homeschooling.  Verse 8 reads:

"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going."  NIV

Thinking about this verse, we realize Abraham left all he knew.  He left his family, his home, his friends, a way of life that was familiar to him.  His father, grandfather, and great grandfather grew up there.  They had all walked on the same land.  What did Abraham's parents, family and friends think?  Did they celebrate his obedience to the LORD?  Did Abraham get a going away party?  And if they did support Abraham's obedience, were they supportive through and through?  What might they have been saying in their heads?  Maybe they thought, "Boy, I'm glad the Lord chose Abraham, that's not something I could do."  Or maybe, "Oh, I'm so glad He chose him and not me!"

Do any of these questions relate to our own homeschool adventure?  Have you thought them?  Have your heard them from others?  Have you wondered if others had these thoughts about you when you try to explain why you homeschool and what brought you to that fork in the road?

For me, the similarities have been amazing, eye opening, and comforting.  We do not travel down this road alone.  He will guide us, though that often means giving control to Him on a regular basis.  As a homeschooling mom, I teeter on that brink a lot.  (Sometimes that translates to minute by minute for me.)  I am so thankful to the LORD for leading me to this road.  Some days are more difficult than others, but I wouldn't have it any other way!  (Even when some of those days are all in the same week or month.)

As I typed up this journal entry, I realized that Abraham's nephew Lot and his family went with him, so he was not completely without family.  However, knowing the whole story, one has to wonder how much of a comfort his company was given some of the choices Lot made on their journey.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

By faith...

On February 10, 2010 my daily flip calendar was from Hebrews 11:3. 

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. Hebrews 11:3 (NIV)

Intrigued, I turned to the book of Hebrews, which opens with the following: 

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.  Hebrews 11:1-2

As I continued reading through the rest of the chapter (of course), I really resonated with Abraham's obedience to God calling him to leave his home and family in verse 8.  I began to think of our own call to home school and the parallels with Abraham's journey. Maybe you've been home schooling for years, maybe you've just started, or maybe you're still in the pondering stage.  Where ever you find yourself, please take a moment to reflect on your own home school journey as you read Hebrews 11:8-16.  (Emphasis is mine.)

8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
 11By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he[a]considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
 13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.