Has Anyone Seen My Keys?

The other day we were late to leave the house and my husband could not find his truck keys. He knew he had seen them, even had them in his hand that very morning. We checked everywhere, every cabinet, drawer, basket, dirty pair of pants, his usual pocket….and…nothing!

After going back through all of those areas again, he decided to check his truck. One pull on the handle told him it was locked. Hoping he didn’t lock the keys in the truck, he cupped his hands to peer through the window at the ignition. No keys there.

Pondering what to do next, he instinctively stuck his hands in his pockets. That’s when he felt it. In his left pocket was a familiar metallic, key-shaped object pressing against his hand. Embarrassed, he pulled it out and yep, it was his truck key!

We are creatures of habit. Adam’s habit is to put his keys in his right pant pocket. When it wasn’t there, he panicked and didn’t know where they could be! He checked his right pocket a dozen times. But because he is such a strong creature of habit it didn’t dawn on him to simply check the other pocket.

I laughed at my husband’s lost keys but I so easily do this in my walk with Christ.

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The Rock that Wouldn’t Budge

While hiking side by side with my husband along a trail in Arkansas, the sight of this tree caused me to stop.

Do you see the rock in the middle of the tree? Do you see how the tree has grown around the rock?

I imagine that tree spent many days praying for God to remove that rock. “It’s in my way,” it whined. “I was here first!” It pleaded. “Please tell it to leave so I can grow.”

But God said No. He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Taking the Lord’s answer, the tree decided to stop sulking and instead keep growing, despite the rock in its way. And now years later, this is the result: A firmly planted and mature tree with a rock in the center.

I have many rocks in my life – burdens I’ve prayed for God to remove. Financial stress, relational strain, homeschool woes, fears and shameful memories. Some of these He has removed – to the glory and praise of His Great Name!

But others, He has left.

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To My Homeschooling Friends: The Magic Sauce

This May marks 9 years of homeschooling for me. Nine years! After that much time, I really thought I would have more figured out than I do. I think what I’ve figured out the most are my weaknesses and knowing better how to navigate around them. One problem with homeschooling is you don’t teach the same grade each year. Our job morphs as our children grow. So just about the time you figure one thing out, they’re moving on to the next!

One morning over Christmas break, I was journaling some of my struggles and questions, and I felt the Spirit encourage me: You can do this, but it’s not going to look like someone else.

Isn’t that a great word?

It challenged me to look around and see if I’m trying to implement how someone else is schooling their kids instead of looking to the Lord and asking Him to guide us. Isn’t it crazy how we can admire how one mom “does school” and we try and do it just like she does?

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When God Asks for Everything

Well it’s time for me to eat some humble pie here on this website. So much has transpired in my mind since the last time I posted here. Let me catch you up a bit…

During the Christmas break and after Papa passed, I struggled again with this calling of homeschooling. I’ll save you the long boring details. Let’s just say that in the end the Lord showed me that this calling to homeschool is like a marriage. Sometimes we’re on the same page and sometimes we’re not. Sometimes we get along and sometimes we fight. But He’s called me to be committed to this relationship no matter what.

With that said, when I try to squirm out of this calling and imagine how wonderful it would be to NOT homeschool, I’m being unfaithful to this marriage. It’s like flirting with another man. GULP! That truth really broke me. God’s word is so sharp and so personal that it hurts when He convicts you.

It reminds me of my sweet, bouncy daughter. Her favorite thing right now is to kick her own butt with her heels as she walks. So literally, every other step she’s alternating her heels into her backside. I can handle the commotion for awhile, but by evening time when we’re in the kitchen together and she’s bouncing around I have to say, “Darling, STOP! Please just keep your feet on the ground!”

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Normal is Only a Setting on the Dryer

Well, here we are: October 31. For 31 days I have pulled back the curtain to what really goes on in our home and shared with all of you my homeschooling story. I have searched for hope and found it anchored and secured firmly to Jesus. Life on earth may be scary at times, the waves of worry and doubt crashing over us, but even then “our anchor holds within the veil.”

I think so many of my frustrations can be traced back to unmet expectations. I’ve heard that 80% of expectations are assumed and never voiced. Which means that of the 100 things I envision happening, I expect 80 of them to run seamlessly without even telling them to. And maybe 20 of those things actually work. Ever heard of the 80/20 rule?

I have so many expectations on myself as the homeschool mom. In my head, I see our school days executed without a hitch. I see plenty of time for afternoon walks, meeting with friends, filling my journal with well worded thoughts and inspirations. I see us gathered at the lunch table discussing Columbus and World War II.

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Hope Does Not Disappoint

Today I just want to share a verse with you. I hope you won’t just skim over the words but will actually unpack what it says and pray for God to show you how to apply them.

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This past week I went to the Holocaust Museum in Dallas, Texas with my oldest son. The stories of that time period is what I thought about when I read the word suffering. I think of people like Corrie Ten Boom who endured suffering beyond what I can imagine. In her story, The Hiding Place, I see a beautiful example of suffering that produced perseverance, character and hope.

Corrie and her sister prayed for the guards and soldiers that mistreated them. They gave thanks for the lice in their barrack because they were able to read the Word of God without the guards coming in. They endured beatings, food rations, and the death of family members. In the end, Corrie tells the story of how she forgave those who persecuted her. I see her as a person who truly rejoiced in her sufferings because she had hope in God that He “has poured out his love into [her] heart by the Holy Spirit.”

Her story inspires me because I don’t like suffering. In fact, I try to avoid it at all cost. But God doesn’t always choose to take the suffering away from me because through it I am refined and He is glorified.

My Papa is famous for a firm handshake. In fact, even now he could still crush my hand. He has hands the size of the Hulk and has made men cower down for as long as I can remember. People always wonder what he did to have hands so strong. He didn’t just wake up one day with strong hands. He used his hands all the time. He was a master wood worker and used those hands to hold heavy materials and operate equipment.

He remembered people by their handshake and it bothered him when someone gave him a wet noodle handshake. That is exactly the image that comes to mind when I think of rejoicing in suffering. Without sufferings I’m like a wet noodle handshake that no one wants to handle. Through difficulties and hardships, that handshake is made firm so that anyone who shakes my hand afterwards remembers the strength that came from it.

I’ve shared over the past 30 days of my hardships in homeschooling. They are nothing when compared to the atrocities of the Holocaust, but they have been difficulties for me. I believe that through those, God is developing my perseverance, which grows my character and solidifies my hope in Him.

Are you facing struggles today? Will you choose to rejoice in them and allow God to strengthen you through them?

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This post is part of a series called 31 stories of hope for every homeschooler. To see the entire series, click HERE.

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Eager to Do What is Good

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I started writing one verse and then couldn’t stop! “These are the very things you should teach…” YES!! This is what we should teach to our children as homeschoolers. Friends, don’t grow weary in doing good. You are doing a good work. Keep it up!

And also, what great verses to read before the upcoming election. No matter who our President is, God and His Word and His command to us is still the same! Enjoy the weekend.

Permission to Rest, Granted

A few weekends ago my mom and I led a ladies retreat. Even though I spent many days and hours preparing for my sessions, the weekend turned out to be a sweet time of fellowship for me. But by Tuesday I crashed and couldn’t move.

I ate breakfast on the couch and when Zach woke up, he came and snuggled up beside me, pulling the covers tight around his neck. I couldn’t get up, even when I needed to wash out my smoothie cup…and brush my teeth for that matter.

Finally, Zach wanted breakfast. I almost joined him in the kitchen but then, Mackenzie ran in to get a turn of snuggling with Mom on the couch  – it’s a rarity, that I sit for that long! I told Mackenzie to hold on a minute while I go to the bathroom and brush my teeth.

In the bathroom, I held my toothbrush and started to unscrew the cap on the toothpaste when the thought hit me… Mackenzie doesn’t care if my teeth are brushed! If I brush my teeth, then I’ll have to get dressed, and then make my bed, and then check Facebook…I just want to go lay on the couch with my daughter!

And I did. Stinky breath and all.

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An Open Letter to Homeschooling

Dear Homeschooling,

I left you today. This arrangement just isn’t working out. You are loud and constant and I feel I am unable to handle the stress and responsibility of you.

I went to play a math game with my daughter and it drove me to tears. Why? Because I feel like a failure. She isn’t where she’s technically supposed to be.

I went to a website that everyone’s raving about, clicked on her grade and our math book is no where near those problems. Which makes me think I’m failing at you.

Unable to defend myself against the onslaught of despair I fled to my bedroom and cried into an innocent shirt draped over the cushion of my couch. I let it all out and that’s when I left you. Again.

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When Will This Get Easier?

“Mom what’s wrong?”

“Mom, what’s the matter?”

I must have heard that question from each of my kids atleast three times a piece during our morning school time.

“Nothing,” I continually replied, not trying to lie, but not knowing how to put my feelings into words.

All I knew was, I was cracking…again. Tears were welling up, about to break, but I desperately tried to hold it together. Obviously, I was doing a terrible job.

I don’t know why I was about to lose it. It just felt like the amount of school work kept building and my supply of energy to fulfill that school work was waning in the opposite direction.

My stomach was in a knot and my thoughts were saying, honestly, I hate homeschooling right now!

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