Gone Fishin’

Well, I finished the Tuesday prayer a day late (actually a week and a day late, but who’s counting?) along with a little note that I’ll be taking July off from blogging. But lo and behold, the thing’s vanished. Every word of it.

So instead of starting from scratch and rewriting the thing, I’m just going to settle for the “taking July off” bit. I’m praying for the Church and for the lost. Always. But I’ll not be jotting them down on this virtual space for a little bit.

Too much to juggle and my kids are growing up way too quickly. See you in August!

Daddy Can

I just got back from an eventful few days in New Orleans, LA working with a mission group on a seminary campus. My church family and I packed in a lot to our little trip and it may take me a day or so to regain my bearings. On the trip, I was able to spend some time with the same little cuties from this post 2 years ago, it felt appropriate to reblog. Some of my questions from 2016 have been answered and others have not. But what I have gained since then is a certainty that God is good no matter what…

Running the Race

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:31

Yesterday, I had the privilege of spending a few hours with two sweet young ladies, ages one and three. It has been a while since my kids were that age, and I found it delightful to go through the nap time, the fascination with all the big, wide world, and even the inevitable but short-lived teary sessions when big sister got a little too intense for little sister.

During our time together, the oldest one frequently told me such things as, “My daddy can build anything!

When the littlest was carrying around a piece broken off from a yard toy, big sister had no doubts. “My daddy will fix it.”

When we found two sky-blue bird eggs in the grass, she said, “My daddy…

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On Bridles and Leashes

Some old thoughts while I’m out of the “office…”

Running the Race

Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
Psalms 32:9

I have very little experience with horses, but this verse rings true to me nonetheless. What I do have is a dog that I absolutely adore. Actually, I have two dogs but one if them is squarely my dog.

When she was a puppy,  she would only sleep in the crate if it was positioned where she could see me in the bed. If I leave through the downstairs door, she is often found waiting for me on the top stair when I return.

YumiWaiting004

Her crate days are long over, and while she has branched out a little and often ventures into rooms I am not present in, she does still, for the most part, follow me like… well, like a puppy dog.  She…

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Beauty?

Once again, I am underwater with intractable migraine, teens, a novel, and some article deadlines. Speaking of teens, today I wanted to share this post by a certain teen I am very proud of. I’ve been forbidden to say the name, but suffice to say I love this kid tons of tons!

Enjoy!

Christianity Doesn’t Bring Shame. It Removes It.

“If being hurt by the church causes you to lose faith in God, than your faith was in people – not God.” Some excellent thoughts here from Brandon Adams about why there are messes in church… and how it supports the tenents of Christianity rather than denying them.

Brandon J. Adams

“Although I left Christianity over 20 years ago, it took a long while for me to erase the doctrines that had been embedded within my consciousness for 15+ years. Learning how and why certain doctrines of the Christian faith (e.g., final judgment, burning fires of hell, Satan and his demons, the end-times) were introduced into the faith was extremely liberating … and removed a ton of guilt and fear.”

This individual* could be speaking for much of society.

14517262115_0b7dc7b411_oOur entertainment culture is embroiled in a race to paint Christianity as evil. And it’s got ammunition.

From Carrie to The Shape of Water, from Handmaid’s Tale to Family Guy, Christian faith is portrayed in modern media as a heartless and oppressive force in people’s lives, gone wild to the point of ostracizing, dehumanizing, handcuffing, and even killing in the name of God. Such excesses are so normative in TV and…

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Great Things

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the LORD has helped us.”
(1 Samuel 7:12)

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While my small group was studying the book of Nehemiah a few weeks ago, a question was asked in the course of study: “What acts or events in your life would you point to as powerful testimonies of God’s greatness?”

Wow. What a great question.

To be honest, this is a question I am finding it necessary to continually revisit and review, especially now. This last year has been particularly trying for reasons I can only guess at.

For starters, we there have been many significant changes to our lifestyle, particularly since the oldest two children are now attending private school for the first time and I am only homeschooling our 7th grader. Other changes are merely the usual ones associated with changing seasons of life and of parenting, while still other potential changes loom on the horizon and can only be imagined for now.

Then, too, there are some pretty wacky physiological changes going in my body on that seem to be linked to chronic migraine and very likely to pre-menopausal hormonal shifts as well. And of course, let us not forget the various stages of adolescence my husband and I are navigating, calling on the Captain of this ship for emergency course corrections as we venture through stormy, unpredictable seas.

Suffice to say that it has been a difficult year. But last night, I had a time where I was able to tearfully confess my own sinful responses to these changes to a dear friend and prayer partner who was faithful to lift me up in the midst of my struggle. Then this morning, for the first time in far too long, I was able to take a walk with my God and talk things over with Him.

And He reminded me of the question, and more importantly, of the answers to it.

Where have I seen evidence of His greatness in my life? So many places…

  • The fact that my husband and I are still married despite a less-than-ideal beginning.
  • God’s provision that has allowed me to stay home with the kids for almost 16 years  – so far.
  • Homeschool. Anything that was done correctly there was all God. I have never been trained as a teacher, did not even finish college, and never even had an inclination or aptitude to teach. But somehow, my kids have learned and learned well. No, not ‘somehow’- by the grace of God.
  • My 8th and 10th graders made an effortless transition to private school, even calling it easier than homeschool and maintaining straight A’s (so far).
  • Having a handful of articles published here and there – again, with no training or degree.
  • Did I mention financial provision? Not only homeschooling on a single income, but His provision for private school and recently for a third vehicle. To God be the glory!
  • That I have managed to complete a novel – the idea and the time to put it in print is all straight from the hand of God. If anything comes of it, that will be Him, too.
  • The ability to praise Him in the midst of pain (OK, I confess – not always, but overall).
  • A small group consisting of people with great diversity in backgrounds, ages, and careers. To hear of God’s work in many different seasons of life and perspectives is an incredible gift!
  • My own unlikely salvation from a highly immoral and highly destructive lifestyle and from the depression which undergirded all.

Those are just a few of my “Ebenezers” – my touchstones to remember that thus far, God has helped me. Of course, there are so many more daily blessings like being able to see, walk, talk, and hear; having fresh water and plentiful food; the table I sit at and the computer on which I type; daffodils; birds; the air I breathe…

I could literally go on forever. And to be honest, I really should.

In the interest of not writing another novel today, I will end by saying that today I am particularly thankful for my the prayers of my friend and for my God who reminded me to look not at what He is not doing now, but at the many wonderful things He has already done. Truly, He has done great things for us!

The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!
(Psalms 126:3-5)

 

 

Mostly About Homeschooling

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

One of my favorite comments from moms who do not homeschool is, “Oh, I could never homeschool my kids. I just don’t have the patience.”

Invariably, I answer, “Me either!”

The bare fact is that God never called me to homeschool because I was especially patient. Nor was I especially qualified. In fact, I never had a desire to teach before having children of my own, and thanks to some truly horrendous choices, never even finished college. At the time, I was not even a mature Christian!

In my wildest speculations, the only reason I can conceive of that my God would call me to homeschool my little brood is that my very weakness and ineptitude made a stunning backdrop for a display of His power. It certainly wasn’t my

Also, in my years of homeschooling, He has changed me. I am no longer as impatient as I once was. I’m less of a yeller. Truth be told, I am absolutely positive that I have learned far more than my kiddos through this experience.

Now that the number of pupils in my little academy has dwindled to one (at least for now), I have a little breathing room and can look back over the last decade and see some of the lessons I have learned. Here are a few of them:

  1. If God calls you to homeschool, you can do it. You don’t have to be a certified teacher, nor patient, nor gifted in the arts of education, nor anything, really. If you are called, you are called. The only question is whether or not to obey. Remember that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, so be on your knees frequently and ask for the wisdom and strength you need. Then trust Him to bring it to pass.
  2. If you are called, this does not mean it will be easy. Being both parent and teacher is never easy, no matter how much or how little training you have. I think sometimes we tend towards a crazy notion that when God calls us to do something, He is obligated to line everything up so that we can float through our days without so much as a breeze to ruffle our hair. The reality is that when He calls us to do something, our ruffles are more often buffets from gale-force winds, but this is only so we will learn to rely more on Him and less on our silly selves. Just because it is hard does not mean it isn’t worth it.
  3. Have fun when the kids are small. Now naturally, school cannot be all fun and games and I am definitely not an advocate of unschooling, but there’s no good in stressing over-much when they are little. The early elementary years are the times to get hands on and develop a desire to learn about this wonderful world God made. It can be a time to really enjoy these sweet little people God has planted in your life. While co-ops and tutorials can be very good things, I tend to think they are best from middle school on.  My one major regret is that I farmed out the fun stuff and compromised my vision for our school during the kids’ elementary years with a tutorial. While this was great fun for them and was still a good experience, they also did all the fun experiments and projects with their friends while I was left with the drier and duller subjects such as math and grammar. Needless to say, I was not the favorite teacher in those years. 😉
  4. Hold the older kids accountable. Scheduling is not always a popular topic among homeschoolers. Many let their kids sleep in and enjoy other freedoms that homeschooling offers, sometimes to a fault if we are honest. As our kids approach adolescence, it is crucial that we do not skip such critical life lessons as punctuality and meeting deadlines. If the goal is to train responsible, functional, Godly adults. That means they need to learn  responsibility, how to function under authority, and sacrifice. At this age, it’s time to focus on a work ethic and doing our work heartily as to the Lord.
  5. Hold yourself accountable.  Homeschooling may not pay a salary, but it is a real, full-time job. For me, sometimes this meant resisting the temptation to check email or fool around on faceboook during school hours, even if I was not needed at that moment. When the kids were older, it sometimes meant saying “no” to meeting friends or to babysitting because my kids needed the time to focus on their school work without distraction. Imagine if your child went to school and the teacher frequently cut corners and left early to play or even to do things for others but at the class’s expense. Once I thought of myself that way, it gave me a new perspective. Guess who gets to set the example of doing our work heartily as to the Lord? 😉

Of course, that’s just the nickel version. I have learned so much more, most of it not even related to homeschooling. However, that is quite enough words for tonight, I’d say!