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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An Unexpected Surprise

“Mom!” my kids said in unison. “Look to your left and roll down your window!”

I had just pulled into the parking lot of my daughter’s gymnastics class and lo and behold a friend I hadn’t seen in a while pulled up beside me.

We laughed and hugged, oohed and aahed over how big the kids are growing before we moseyed our way inside.

Just as I was opening the door, another friend pulled up and we repeated the process, discussing who all is in gymnastics and how they’re doing. We had taken a break when the world turned upside down but we were glad to be back.

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When It Feels Like I’m Not Enough

Well, it’s Day 24 of me writing everyday! Are you tired of hearing from me? Wait…don’t answer that, I’d rather assume you’re loving it! 🙂

Today as I write is Friday. I’m tired. I keep trying to muster up more energy, thinking my want to will finally get the idea and kick in. But it’s 2:30 now and that hasn’t happened yet.

Earlier I tried to lay down on the couch and rest, but I was interrupted three times within a 30 minute period by my daughter who sounded like a caterpillar with elephant feet doing cartwheels across the hardwood floor.

Why am I home-schooling again Lord? I have been so grumpy today. I’m sure teachers are never grumpy. Wouldn’t it be better for my kids to be with them? Then I would have time to rest and be happy when they get home.

OK, I know teachers get grumpy too – it’s kinda a part of life! But some days, like today, I’m tired and need a break from being mom! This mom thing is hard. It’s everyday…when I’m in a good mood and when I’m not. Some days are incredible and some days are totally exhausting.

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Lord, Help Me Teach My Daughter!

As I drove home from dropping my oldest son off at youth group, I used the quiet time to pray for God to show me how to home-school my daughter. This girl is our bouncy, talkative, middle child who cannot stop doing cartwheels or singing. She’s picked out her own clothes to wear since she was 3, and consistently converses with the cashiers at Walmart.

She is the cutest ladybug in the world to me and has a heart of gold and a bed of blankets for any lost puppy on the block. She thinks outside of the box, beyond the horizon and often in Odyssey, thanks to Focus on the Family.

The trouble with this kind of thinking is it’s too big to fit in a classroom or on a math page. She sees pictures instead of the letters that make up words, so phonics was horrendous. Memorizing math facts doesn’t stick unless there’s movement involved and reading a science book filled with “amazing facts” might as well be in Latin.

I’m excited to be sharing the rest of today’s story over at the Classical Conversations website!

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