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!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Stories...Not Even the Whole World Would Have Room

I began keeping a journal sometime in 2006.  At first I tried to have one for prayers, another for interesting things that happened in our family and another for taking notes during sermons and other speakers I listened to.  However, I soon found everything overlapping and blending together.  I now just keep one notebook, and everything goes into it.  (There is likely another post wrapped up here, but that will be for another day.)

Around Christmas time, I determined to go back and read through these journals.  Perhaps I thought about it because of all the changes which took place in 2012.  Perhaps not.  Regardless, I thought I would zip right through them before the start of 2013.  Wrong.  I'm still working my way through them...

As I've done so, I've been amazed more than a few times.  One of the most prominent things that amazes me is how LONG I've been asking the Lord to help me with certain aspects of my life and especially my habits.  I've written before on willingly and cheerfully placing myself under the authority of my husband (1 Peter 3:5-6).  In reading my journals I realized how LONG I've been asking the Lord for help in this area!  I must be one of the world's slowest learners, I guess.

I've also run across things the Lord showed me then that are still relevant now.  And that's just what brings us to the subject of this post...

Over the weekend I read something that seemed worthy of being shared...I hope you'll agree at the end.  This was written on June 16, 2010 (which just happens to be one of my sister's birthday!)...

"As I started to pray from my index cards this morning, some additional thoughts came to mind.  I was praying my 'wake up' prayer which speaks to the unpredictability of life with children.  I was saying thank You to the LORD for His creation - He created it for my enjoyment.  I then added that He created me for His enjoyment - which was old, but new. 

I went on to say that I wanted to be enjoyable to Him today - and also to my family.  I want to be an enjoyable mom, wife, friend, daughter and sister.  But I need help.  I can not do it without Your help, Jesus.  May Your Holy Spirit live and work in me and through me - today and every day.  I want to submit to Your will - to deny myself and pick up the purpose You have for my life.

As I was praying to continue to be amazed by Your love - I thought of the following verse from John 21:25 (NIV84):

'Jesus did many other things as well.  If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.'

As believers, transformed by the love and grace of Jesus Christ, we all should do have a story to tell about Him.  Imagine if we all wrote a book or books of what "things" He has done in our own lives.  Would the world have room?

Lord, help me to remember that Your 'story' doesn't end.  Indeed, it will continue until Jesus comes again, and then will be moved to heaven for those who believe.  May I live with Your story in my heart and mind.  May my lips be ready to share it when prompted by Your Holy Spirit.  May You continue to guide my feet along Your path, providing light and wisdom as needed (which will be a lot!).  I love You, LORD.

Today:  May I meditate on Your complete Goodness today.  Thinking of all You have done for me, Jesus.  And to think, the cross was the start, but You rose and sent us a Helper.  We are undeserving of Your love and blessings, and You still give us grace."

When my children were younger, I kept some index cards on a ring on my nightstand.  They had Scripture prayers from Beth Moore's book "Praying God's Word" along with other prayers and Scripture which spoke to my heart.  In the morning, I could easily grab those and read through them (at least a few of them) before a child (usually my warrior) woke up.  It involved no searching through a book, because I had His Word that most spoke to that season right there in my index cards.

If you are a believer, what's YOUR story?  Perhaps it would be better to say, "What are your stories?"  I'd like to encourage you to share ONE of them with someone today, as the Lord leads, of course, and tomorrow too!  If you're feeling brave moved, I would love for you to consider sharing one of them on this blog.  Perhaps it has to do with homeschooling, mothering, or some way you've grown in the Lord.  If so, please comment on this post, or send me a message.

There may not be room in the world for all of the books that would be written...but I'm thinking that computers bring a whole new aspect to the last verse of John.  What do you think?  Could we believers fill the whole cyberspace world with the many things Jesus has done?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

More To the Point...I Hope

I ought to have put the following at the beginning of the last post:

"Caution: Rambling Road Ahead"

After hitting publish on the last post, I kept thinking about how much I rambled. This post will hopefully get to the point and stay there.

As we went through the difficulty of considering leaving one church family in search of another, many things went through my mind. I wanted to find another church home where we could "settle down." I thought of leaving our old home for a "new" one. I wondered how long we would be in this home...I hoped our children would finish their "growing up years" here.

But then I would hear the chorus to the song, “Where I Belong.” This is NOT where I belong. My real home is in heaven. In my heart, I yearn to be able to put down roots, to know that THIS is where our children will grow up. To know that THIS is the church our princess will be married in. To know that THIS is where we will house our grandchildren. The problem is, THIS is NOT my home.

Paul says this in his letter to the Philippians:

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Philippians 3:20-21, NIV84

If I am to “eagerly await” the time when Jesus comes again, I can not get too comfortable here in this world. The Lord has been removing many of my “comforts” to help me learn this Truth in a more “hands on” way over the past year. And while I've learned that air conditioning is a comfort I don't absolutely need. I've also learned that I ought not to get so comfortable with a church that I'm not willing to move when the Lord says, “Move!”

Does that mean I throw away the relationships from that church family? NO! Does it mean I am bitter toward that church family? NO! Does it mean I need to broaden my world? YES!

I thought of this before drifting off to sleep last night. Think of a box. A large box. Put a pinhole in the box. Look through the pinhole to see what's inside the box. How much can you see? What if you put a pencil size hole in the box? You could see more then, but you'd still be “blind” to parts of the box.

Now consider the maker of the box. He is inside of it and all around it. He sees every nook and cranny. That's our Lord. I need to trust His viewpoint, not mine. So while I look around the box through my pinhole wondering how this or that will work 10 or 15 years down the road, the Lord is saying, “Don't worry. I know things you don't. I've got a plan, and it's better than you could ever imagine.”

And every time I step out in faith and follow Him out of my comfort zone, my pinhole is enlarged ever so slightly. Why? Because I'm opening the eyes of my heart to see more from His perspective than mine.

For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God].
1 Corinthians 13:12, Amplified

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Plans, Promises, and I'm Not Home Yet

Plans...we make them...the Lord changes them. Or so it seems to be the case in my life over the past year. Wait...upon further's been happening a lot longer than a year. This afternoon I told a very good friend something hard for me to tell her. She wasn't surprised. Which I, of course, mused over for the rest of the afternoon.

The Lord has been teaching me in a variety of ways over the past year the truth to the lyrics of a song I've been singing for just as long...

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong
Chorus from “Where I Belong” by Building 429

If you've read some of the past posts, you know that we moved to the country almost a year ago. Praise the Lord! It's been awesome. Challenging. Freeing. It's something we've talked about for a long time. A Dream. Come. True. I thought we'd only be changing our address. Silly me. The Lord seems to have had a much different idea of what this move would change.

Another homeschooling mom moved out to the country about 6 months before we did. She told me that when they did so, they decided that when they moved to the country...they would MOVE to the country. By that I mean leaving their church family and searching out a new one in the country. Not easy to do. I was impressed.

I reasoned that our life and outside activities would remain much the same...we'd just be driving a little farther (and be able to have a larger vegetable garden and chickens!). In our search for a home these were things we kept in mind as we chose which locations to look at. Doesn't that seem reasonable? I thought so.

Here are some of the plans we made and the Lord rearranged...

1.  Selling our home quickly became 6 months with two mortgages...during that time the Lord changed the way we did a few things...
  • We dried all of our laundry on a clothesline for 5 weeks because the dryer was not working. The best comment was from a little boy in our lifegroup who was 6 at the time. He saw some rugs on the line and asked why they were hanging there. I told him they were drying. He said, “Why don't you just put them in the dryer?” Priceless... : )
  • We began burning our trash and bringing our recycling into town on our own. My man is our family's recycling “sorter.”
  • We survived without air conditioning in another hot, Kansas summer.
  • We canceled our vacation plans a few weeks before we were supposed to leave, only to have it “rescheduled” a few days before we were supposed to leave thanks to the generosity of family.
  • We found out our furnace stopped working with the first cold snap in early October. With our emergency fund near zero, we opted to use our wood stove and some space heaters to keep the house warm until we closed on our other house at the end of the month.
  • We closed on our home on October 24th, 2012 for less than we bought it for in 2005. And we were happy!

2.  Our plans of continuing at our church “in town” gave way to stepping down from our leadership of a children's church, attending a Messianic congregation that meets on Friday evenings, and visiting churches in our new community. (We've been going to one “across the street” since Christmas and have really enjoyed it. Lots of other homeschooling families and going through the Word systematically.)

3.  With the redirection in our church home, we also stopped meeting with our lifegroup. Another plan change we did not anticipate.

4.  We planned to have our chickens in the “lean to” which was already on the property. A week or two before closing on the house, we decided to build a new coop closer to the house. My husband's dad and stepmom came out with a few weeks notice and built a coop together.

5.  We planned to begin remodeling the kitchen, including a gas stove, as soon as possible.  Our plan now is to replace the bathtubs and flooring in the upstairs bathrooms along with the sink in the master bath.  

As I sang the song, “Where I Belong” during this time period, I would think about all of these changes. What hit me is how much we want to make things on this earth permanent. We want to stay in the same church. We want to stay in the same house. We want to know how long we're going to be somewhere. We want to “settle down.” We want to put down roots.

The Lord has been teaching me that I don't know the future. I don't know how long we'll be part of each church we worship at. I don't know how long we'll live in each house we move to. I don't know how long being a part of various groups will last. I don't know how long my life will last. Or that of my husband. My princess. Or my warrior.

I can make promises...but I'm learning that the Lord has the right to change them. That is hard for me, because I do NOT like to break my promises! In fact, I remember someone asking if we'd still be attending our church and leading the children's church and I said something like, “Of course we will. None of that will change!” It seems I made another promise years back that we would move back to the area I grew up in one day. Another promise broken...unintentionally. Why? Because I didn't know the plans the Lord had for us.

Thankfully, the Lord doesn't change His Promises. He Promises to be faithful. He Promises to bring good out of bad for those who love Him. He Promises to be with us when things are going well...and when they're not. He Promised a Messiah to the Israelites, the Jewish people...and He sent One. To them. And to us, the Gentiles. Praise the Lord!

Through this Messiah...He Promises to forgive our sins. He Promises to make us a new creation. He Promises to give us His Holy Spirit as a teacher...a Guide...a Helper. He Promises to set us apart for His Glory. He Promises us a new heaven and a new earth. Jesus is there now, preparing a place for us in His Father's House. He Promises us eternal life in this House...provided we have put this life on earth in His Hands...

So, if you look around and feel like this isn't your home, there is a reason for that. This is temporary. Our home. Our church home. Our social groups. Jesus is permanent. He is the only thing Solid enough to last through the changes in this life and into the next...

He is like a man building a house, who dug and went down deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when a flood arose, the torrent broke against that house and could not shake or move it, because it had been securely built or founded on a rock.
But he who merely hears and does not practice doing My words is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation, against which the torrent burst, and immediately it collapsed and fell, and the breaking and ruin of that house was great.
Luke 6:48-49, Amplified

Where is your home? I want mine to be on the Rock. Even if it means a lot of digging down deep...