What’s New With Me

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

I know I’ve been something of a random poster these days; sometimes once a week, sometimes less. There are various reasons why, but today I thought I’d share the most complicated one of them with you.

You see, quite a bit has changed in my life lately. After 15 years of full-time motherhood and 10 of homeschooling, my oldest two (tenth grade and eighth grade) are attending a private school. While I still homeschool the youngest, this has been a rather dramatic alteration in our lifestyle and schedule.

Now instead of letting the kids sleep until 7:00, the older two get up at 6:00. The youngest gets up at 5:00 — don’t ask me why. She’s just like that. We do our Bible studies in the predawn hour but in separate rooms. It’s kind of cool, actually.

Instead of a quick trot to the school room, I am now hauling two of them on a thirty-minute drive south. That’s thirty minutes one-way, which means an hour is spent in the morning commute.

The youngest either comes along or stays home and works on her own schooling, depending on my husband’s schedule. Also, depending on his schedule, that hour commute is sometimes doubled.  Either way, there I am standing with one foot in two worlds.

And then, of course, there are activities and extracurricular events. There is church and community group. There is striving to find the time to stay in shape — or rather, in some semblance of shape — despite an odd assortment of injuries I have managed to accumulate, apparently just to keep things interesting.

I am also endeavoring to learn Hebrew; a task at which I am progressing at a snail’s pace. A dead snail’s pace. But it’s great fun, probably because I am the quintessential nerd.

Also at this stage of my life, there are the teenage years and puberty happening all around, along with the great emotional needs that accompanies this life stage, much more intense and exhausting than the toddler years as far as I can see. Or maybe I’m just exhausted because of age… or because of chronic migraine and its various treatments… or just because.

And so on, and so forth.

But to me, personally, the biggest, most exciting, and yet most frustrating new thing is that I have finished the first draft of a novel.

No, really. It’s true. It doesn’t seem possible to me, but it is true.

As a matter of fact, I am writing these words now with something of a guilty conscience, mainly because I am taking a break from rewriting a stubborn paragraph that simply will not come together.

All the while I am hiding from my intractable characters that have chosen this night not to behave and docilely speak sensible sentences as they ought, my Hebrew vocabulary cards are staring at me balefully, reminding me that I have not even glanced at them today and here it is eight o’clock at night.

But that’s another matter. The crazy, exhilarating, and intimidating truth is that I have actually typed out an entire novel and am working through the revision.

So what’s next?

Who knows? I consider it highly unlikely the thing will be published, but then that is in God’s hands, as is everything else.

Either way, I look to Him for wisdom in all of it — the rewriting, putting out feelers for publication, raising my teens and tweens, homeschooling, private schooling, being a wife, facilitating a small group, prayer meetings at church– all of it. It is either all for His glory, or it is worthless.

Either way, I am praying almost all the time these days because, frankly, I need God every second of every minute of every day no matter what I am working on.

So that’s basically all that’s new with me! Drop a line sometime and let me know what’s new with you. 🙂

Mom to Mom Encouragment

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
Ephesians 1:11

Hello.

It’s been awhile; I know. To be honest, except for some few matters that weighed heavily on my heart, I have basically taken this summer off.  After 15 years of the intense parenting  and educating process that is so innocuously referred to as”homeschool,”  I took a few weeks and did some serious resting at the Lord’s feet… with an strong emphasis on rest.

As part of this,  I slept… and slept. As far back as memory stretches, I remember being tired, and so this summer I did not stick to my normal early-morning routine as in years past. I slept as long as I could as often as I could. That is not to say that I went to bed late – in fact, I was often in bed by 9:30 – but for the first time in memory, I did not set an alarm every day.

It was a luxury, and one that I was only able to afford in part because of a tremendous change that is happening at the Davis household. You see, I have less to prepare for this school year.

For the first time in our family history, I will only be homeschooling one of my children; the older two will attend a private Christian school. This is our family’s very first venture into an institutional-style education.

It’s pretty big change.

For years, we have prayed about how long we would homeschool, and this year the surprising answer was to provide the older two with an opportunity to attend a private school in a neighboring town.  I have always known that if my Lord wanted my children to attend private school then He would provide for it.

And He has. And here we are, just days away.

But some things never change. The same questions that have risen at the beginning of each school year still surfaced this time, some with even greater savagery.

Have I done enough with them?

Have I been too lenient, too strict, too careless, too rigid?

Have I gotten so caught up in teaching Bible that I have forgotten to share my love of the Bible? 

Have I impeded their growth spiritually, socially, academically, emotionally, intellectually?

What if I have made a tremendous, hopeless mess out of everything?

These questions and others like them are the particular haunt of homeschool moms, although I am certain they affect all concerned parents in some degree. However, the homeschool community is such that, if you spend even thirty-five seconds on some form of social media, you will be bombarded by other homeschoolers who have just plain done it better. 

They have successfully shepherded all of their children’s hearts to the effect that each one has an obvious love for the Lord that overflows in a passion for some area of ministry. These families have raised prodigies in violin or dance. Their children are mini-geniuses who are fluent in 4 languages, have mastered Algebra by fifth grade, can map their own DNA, have written a successful novel, have formulated a very promising cure for cancer,  whip up five-star restaurant quality meals from scratch for dinner each week, rescue babies from runaway cars as a hobby, made a 36 on the ACT exam in eighth grade, and have once or twice saved the world from imminent disaster with a combination of pure ingenuity under fire and infallible communication skills. They are done by noon. Every. Single. Day.

When I consider all this, it’s not difficult to see why I no longer look around at other people’s Facebook posts  nor why I have studiously ignored Pinterest.

However, all my sleeping and resting at the Lord’s feet did bring about a positive change. For the first time, even though the same old crazy, fear-induced questions did rise up on cue, they were quickly put to rest by one single encouraging thought: It really doesn’t matter.

You see, even if I have made mistakes, there is no such thing as a hopeless mess. Of course I have erred; I am human. However, I have also prayerfully, diligently, even tearfully tried my utmost to obey what I believe my King has told me to do. In years past, that meant fighting battles I did not want to fight. This year, it means letting go a little.

Naturally, I have asked myself, “What if you are wrong? What if you only think you’re doing what God wants you to do?”

And that’s where this gets good. Because, the thing is, my Father does know if I am truly and with my whole heart trying to obey. And He isn’t expecting perfection; perfection is squarely His territory.

But the best part of all of this is that even if I do misunderstand Him, even if I do make huge and heinous mistakes, as Ephesians 1:11 says, He “works all things according to the counsel of His will.”

Oh, there are other verses I have collected along the same lines, but my fellow Christ-loving moms, as we start this school year (whether homeschool, private school, or public school), I pray that you are as encouraged by the Word of Life as I was this week.

So instead of worrying, let’s rejoice! Our God is truly the Almighty, and He works all things according to the counsel of His will. Even our sincere mistakes.

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
Job 42:2

Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants.
Psalms 119:89-91