family, homeschooling

My Homeschool Journey

Wow!! I am looking through all my books, videos, papers, tests, and thinking, so this is how it feels…I have no more curriculum to buy. No more science DVD’s to watch, no more papers to grade. My homeschool journey has come to an end. Our youngest daughter has officially graduated!

When I started this windy road of homeschooling 17 years ago, I never dreamed it would have taken me the places it has. I had to learn patience and perseverance. I had to learn time management, realizing more often than not, that my timing and God’s timing are two different things. I had to learn to be still and quiet even when I wanted to scream. I had to lean on my husband for sound advice and to trust that it was all going to work out. I learned that stopping and smelling the roses is much better than rushing a child who isn’t ready.

God made each one of us in a unique way. It’s what makes our world so fantastic. But, because of that we don’t all learn the same way and you can’t fit people in a box. I have three kids and they all learned differently.

By homeschooling, I learned intimately how each child thought. I learned not to compare my child to anyone else, no matter what. I learned what their likes and dislikes were. I learned what their love language was and how to make them feel special. Most importantly I learned that building relationships is far greater than anything a textbook or essay could ever teach.

Was it hard? Absolutely! Did I want to quit? Yes, many times. Did I love it? You bet I did! Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

Now, I pass the torch to those who dare go down this crazy, beautiful road. It is one of the most difficult things you will ever do, but in the end it is so very worth it.

Congratulations Sarah! You did it!!

Psalm 32:8 ~ I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

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marriage

Day 30 Prayer: Marriage

We are on our 30th day of praying for our spouse and children. What a journey this has been! What you may not know is that the Lord put this on my heart about six months ago. I didn’t want to obey. My first thought was, that means I have to write every day. I enjoy writing, but with my busy schedule, it can be difficult to find the time to write. My second thought was, could I actually write about marriage for 30 days? Well, I have found plenty to write about and God provided not only the words, but the time.

We have covered a lot of ground this month. We’ve looked at communication, our speech, faithfulness, love, and so much more. My prayer is that we would continue to pray for our families. One of the ministries, here, in Mexico has a motto that says, “Fight for Families.” I love that. We are fighting. We are fighting against the rulers of this dark world (Ephesians 6:12). Your spouse is not your enemy. I want to urge you to fight for your marriage because there is nothing that shines the love of Christ brighter in this world than a healthy marriage.

Early on in our marriage, I realized that people don’t wake up after 20 years of marriage and decide to get divorced. It happens over time. Every day you are either drawing closer to your spouse, or drawing farther away. For instance, if you have an argument and you don’t resolve it. The next day you wake up harboring bitterness and that anger or resentment keeps growing until you come back together and can forgive. If you just keep going day after day without resolving the issue, you soon realize you have grown so far apart you don’t even recognize the other person.

You have to keep building that relationship. You have to come together, daily and talk, commune, spend time listening to one another, joking, laughing, and crying; sharing thoughts and emotions.

God created marriage. It’s a good thing. It’s a place where life begins. Is it difficult? Yes. Does it expose our weakness? Yes. But by understanding our weaknesses, we then can go to our Heavenly Father and ask Him to change us into the beautiful vessel He wants to make us into.

I used to believe that I was just a pile of broken glass laying on the floor, waiting to be swept up and tossed into the trash. The Lord showed me one day, that instead of a pile of dirty broken pieces, I was a beautiful glass mosaic candle holder, waiting to shine His light through.

That can be you, too, regardless of the past you have. No matter what your marriage was like yesterday. Today is a new day, my friend! Take hold of it! Tell Satan to back off and rejoice because we know the One who conquered death! When your spouse walks through that door, love on him! Tell him how much you appreciate what he does. Find something to affirm him. You will be blessed when you do.

Day 30 Prayer: Marriage

Lord, thank you so much for creating the unity of husband and wife. Help me to see the beauty of it even when it’s difficult. Please take away my selfish pride, jealousy, and anything else that prevents me from seeing my spouse the way you do. Give me the grace to be able to love regardless of what I get in return. I want to love with a selfless love. Help me to be patient and kind, always forgiving, and never rude. Remind me that when my husband wraps his arms around me, it’s as if you are saying “I love you.” Thank you for creating marriage and giving me someone to love.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A chord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

 

marriage

Day 29 Prayer: Covenant of Love

We have been on a journey of praying for our marriages and families. Today we are going to look at love.

1 Corinthians 13 is called the love chapter for good reason; it shows what love is. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

When we look at these verses, we can immediately see how we fall short. But, if I were to replace the word love with God because God is love, (1 John 4:8) we see that God is able to do all these things. For instance, God is patient, kind, does not envy or boast, etc. Best of all, He never fails.

The exciting thing is that the more we abide in Christ, the more we become Christlike, thus making us capable of loving our spouse and others the way it is described here!

The word covenant means contract, bond, or promise. Many covenants have been in the Bible. God made a covenant with Noah and Abraham. There was the covenant of the law, but now we are under the new covenant that forgives our sins and we can go directly to God through Christ, which enables us to one day be His bride! (Hebrews 7:12, Hebrews 9:14-15) God made this promise long ago in the garden with Adam and Eve. He was going to fix the mistake they made. He loves us and wants us to be with Him forever. He was going to send His one and only Son to die a brutal death, for us. It was painful for God, but He knew it would be worth it in the end.

If you are finding it difficult to love your spouse or anyone who has wronged you, go to God and ask for Him to give you the ability to love them. It’s starts with being humble and crying out. Its recognizing where your heart is. Do you have a heart of stone? He can replace it with a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

I have seen marriages turned around because one person was willing to start praying for the desire to even want to love their spouse. Love doesn’t give up. It keeps hoping, it keeps praying, regardless of how long it takes.

Day 29 Prayer: Covenant of Love

Thank God that He provided a way for us to be with Him forever.

Pray for the ability and the desire to love your spouse and kids the way it is described in 1 Corinthians 13.

If you haven’t done so already, memorize 1 Corinthians 13, so when evil thoughts arise, or you find yourself responding rudely to your spouse or kids, you will be reminded of these scriptures and react appropriately.

marriage

Day 28 Prayer: Thankfulness

When you are newly married and in love it seems hard to understand how you could possibly fall out of love, or even think of the word divorce.

Yet, as time moves on and the excitement dies down, we find ourselves in a mundane life. So, how do we prevent mediocrity to settle in?

I believe thankfulness is one of the keys to a healthy marriage. We need to show appreciation to our spouse for the daily things they do. We can so easily take for granted the little things that are done each day.

Appreciation and gratitude were lessons I had to learn living off-grid. My husband worked hard each day trying to make my life easier for our family on the mountain. He made sure I had a warm house by chopping firewood. He would check our water holding tank to see if I had enough water in the house. (Our water came from a natural spring on the property and we had to haul it into the house.) I didn’t always express my thankfulness. Looking back, I wish I had more often.

Thankfulness changes our attitude. One of the things I try to do with women when they complain about their husbands is ask them if they can think of one good attribute in their spouse. That’s where it starts – thinking of one good thing. When you are angry or hurt it’s easy to come up with an assortment of frustrating things in your spouse. It begins to snowball and an avalanche of negative thoughts ensue.

When you change your thinking and have a heart of gratitude you can stop bitterness in its tracks.

Look at the life of David in the Bible. He was thankful. The Psalms are filled with praise and thanksgiving. In reality, he had a hard life. But, he knew who his provider was. He understood where his strength came from. He cried out to the Lord, pouring his heart out in anguish, always recognizing the Lord was God and David was not. He was respectful.

We have to choose to be thankful. Ten lepers cried out to Jesus asking him to show mercy. He responds and heals them. How many came back to say thanks? One. Only one. Jesus changed their life and only one came back?! Shame on us. Shame on me for not being grateful in every day miracles.

The sun rising and setting. Waking up to a confident man in my bed every morning who loves me. Having three beautiful kids that are growing into godly children of Christ. Having wonderful friends who encourage me when life is hard. This is my list of things I am thankful for today.

What are you thankful for?

Day 29 Prayer: Thankfulness

Write out a prayer of thankfulness. Thank God for what He has done and is doing in your life. Include things you love about your spouse and kids. If you can’t think of anything ask the Lord to show you something.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

marriage

Day 27 Prayer: Understanding

Let’s face it, relationships can be really difficult. A marriage between a husband and wife, two completely different people, designed to become one. How is unity possible when we were made completely different?

That’s where patience and understanding need to happen. Mark and I feel like our roles are different than most couples. He is the talker, wanting to work things out in the moment. I am more the processor and need time to think things over before I speak, or before resolving anything.

So, how do we go about solving problems? It has taken time, but we have found that being able to communicate and trying to understand the other person’s way of thinking has helped tremendously in our marriage. Being able to listen to one another patiently and lovingly is the key to understanding.

I look at Jesus when He was with the woman at the well. He started a simple conversation. He didn’t immediately accuse her. He asked questions, she answered. The more they talked, the deeper the conversation went until He finally brought up her husband. Knowing her tainted past, He now confronts her. She confesses and she recognizes Jesus to be a prophet. He then offers hope and reveals that He is the Messiah she has been waiting for.

Jesus is our example. What a hard thing, to point out someone’s sin. Yet, Jesus does it. Calmly, offering hope to this woman. I believe that’s how it should be with our spouse. Talking, conversing, continually getting to know one another, no matter how long you’ve been married.

The Samaritan woman was obviously ready for the life changing conversation. That’s where we need to trust the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us in our relationship with our spouse. If we are wanting change to happen, we must pray for a ready heart. We need to not give up on our prayers. The woman at the well had five husbands and was with a man who was not her husband. How many years had she been living the way she was? But, it wasn’t time yet. Until, one day, she does her daily chore and she comes face to face with her Savior!

We don’t always understand what God is doing. Sometimes, it feels like He is doing nothing. Believe me, God is always doing something. So, if you are waiting for something to change in your spouse, keep praying, because when you honestly pray for your spouse, you begin to change.

The woman’s story doesn’t end there! It gets even better. She goes back to her town, tells everyone what has happened and they seek Him out and experience Jesus. The Bible says, “Many believed in Him because of the woman‘s testimony.” John 4:39

Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. When you do, you will be able to understand things in a whole new light.

Day 27 Prayer: Understanding

Thank God that He gives us His Word as a guide book in relationships. Thank Him for the ability to come together as one in a marriage.

Pray that you and your spouse would be able to communicate clearly and to begin to understand each other on a deeper level.

Pray for understanding with your kids; That you would be able to be calm when confrontation needs to happen.

Pray that God will give you insight into each of the people in your family and be able to speak individually to each one on a personal level.

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

homeschooling, marriage

Day 26 Prayer: Our Time

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven…” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Where do you spend your time? In the early years of homeschooling our kids, you could find me doing research. I researched all things having to do with schooling my kids.

I spent literally hours everyday looking at curriculum. When I wasn’t planning, I was looking at catalogs trying to find the perfect curriculum for my kids (which, by the way, doesn’t exist). I researched dyslexia and dysgraphia. I gained knowledge in these areas, which was a good thing. However, because I spent so much time researching and homeschooling, sometimes I missed out on enjoying the little things with my kids.

One day I was overwhelmed with it all and decided to put the books away. I went to my bedroom and started praying. The Lord showed me my research and planning was getting in the way of my relationships; I wasn’t spending time with God, my spouse, or my kids like I should have been. My priorities were in the wrong order.

So, I decided to change what I did with my time. I made a rule that I wasn’t to do any research until I had read my Bible, and spent at least an hour of uninterrupted time with my husband and kids. After a week of doing this, I found that I didn’t need or desire to do the research. My focus changed.

Time is precious. As I grow older, I realize how fast time flies. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s true. It seems like yesterday, I had three little ones running around the house and I was emotionally and mentally spent. I couldn’t wait for the day when my kids could make their own breakfast. Now, I am just happy when I get the privilege of eating breakfast with them.

We have had several deaths lately. Death tends to make you think about priorities. Oftentimes death produces regrets because we realize how precious life is and we start the “If-only’s.” “If only I had shown my appreciation, if only I told them I loved them more, if only…”

The good news is, we can prevent those “if-only’s” in an instant. Take some time and think about where your time is spent. What are your distractions? How can you rearrange your day so that family is a priority?

Day 26 Prayer: Our Time

Thank God for every moment you get to spend with your family.

Pray for opportunities to spend more time with one another. Don’t only go on dates with your spouse, take your kids somewhere special. My husband would take our daughters out on father/daughter dates and I would often take my son out, also. By doing this, we built relationship with each other. It tells them they matter.

If you are finding yourself too busy to enjoy your spouse and kids, pray for wisdom to know what priorities need to change.

“Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

marriage

Day 23 Prayer: Courage

I have a friend who jokes that if a burglar came into their house, she would have to be the one scoping out the place with a baseball bat in one hand and her husband in tow, in the other. I laugh at this because in her case, it’s most likely true.

It seems like some people are definitely more courageous than others. The cowardly lion comes to mind in The Wizard of Oz, as an example of someone lacking courage. I have found myself feeling like the lion many times, especially when it comes to uncertainty or agony.

My husband, on the other hand, is a great man of courage. I watched as he kept our family safe from bears, snow hazards, car problems, etc. He isn’t afraid to help the helpless, or stand up for what’s right. He has been a great example to our children.

Whether your spouse or kids are full of bravery, or lean more on the side of cowardice, let’s pray that whatever situation they face, they would bring it to God and that He would fill them with peace and the courage to fight the slinging arrows.

Day 23 Prayer: Courage

Thank God that He never leaves us or forsakes us.

If you are going through a trial, pray for the courage and the strength to see the trial to its end.

Pray for your spouse and kids to be able to stand up when necessary, and fight for what’s right.

Pray for confidence and assurance that can only come from the Lord.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6