Since today is Valentine's Day, I thought it would be a perfect time to share a bit from a workshop I'll be teaching in Reno at the end of the month. The theme the leadership has chosen is "With All Your Heart," and after much prayer and consideration, I'll be teaching about three "heartfelt" principles from Scripture to keep us on track and homeschooling with all our hearts.
As you likely already know, this calling is not for the faint of heart! Thankfully, we have the Word of God to exhort and encourage us, so let's dig in and see what Scripture has for us!
Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
CHECK YOUR HEART - It's important to schedule spiritual "cardiology" appointments!
First, have our hearts been deceiving us? Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. Friends, we should NOT follow our hearts! However, Ezekiel 36:26 gives a great promise. God will give us a NEW heart and a NEW spirit! Once we have accepted His gift of salvation, we are no longer under condemnation (Romans 8:1); we are set free from the law of sin and death. Therefore, we can have confidence in our calling! Check out these words from 1 John 3:20-22:
If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.
When we walk in confidence instead of condemnation, we can courageously live out our God-given purpose. If we follow the world’s advice–follow your heart–we will end up pursuing our own agenda, our own purposes. But when we align our hearts with God’s, we find that by themselves, our purposes are far too small. God’s eternal purposes are far more glorious! And when we are living on purpose–for HIS purposes–we can persevere even when things get difficult (Rom. 5:3-4). And that leads to our next encouraging principle…
DON’T LOSE HEART - What do you do when you are downhearted?
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 begins with these wonderful words: "Therefore we do not lose heart." The passage goes on to say that "our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." Perhaps our earthly struggles don't feel light. In fact, they can feel downright heavy. Praise God, though we have a High Priest who understands our weaknesses. Hebrews 12:2-3 invites us to consider Jesus, "who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
And I can't help but refer to one of my favorite "Momming" verses, Galatians 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
When we refuse to lose heart–when we consider what Jesus has done for us–when we think about how superior eternity is to our temporary circumstances–when we remember a harvest is coming!–we can dream God-sized dreams; we can envision and pray about possibilities far beyond the day-to-day tasks. I don’t know about you, but when God lays dreams on my heart, I get pretty fired up! Praying about the possibilities actually spurs us to be more productive, to be good stewards of the time, energy, and resources he has given us.
SET YOUR HEART - What are the greatest desires of your heart?
We don’t usually get to choose our circumstances–but we CAN choose our response to our circumstances. When we have new hearts and the Holy Spirit guiding us, we get to direct our hearts to align with God's.
Psalm 119:30 I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.
Colossians 3:1-2 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
When we align our hearts with God’s, we find more and more our hearts are longing for eternity. We find a growing passion for the things that glorify Him. And guess what? God doesn’t call us to lay down who we are! He created us for His own good purposes, yes, but also to blossom and grow into WHO He made us uniquely to be! So when we walk in these God-given passions, living out the desires of our heart (which He has given us, Psalm 37:4), we actually end up fulfilling our God-given purpose.
Dear Mama, take heart! Jesus knew we would have troubles in this world, but He promised that He has already overcome the world. We can trust Him with our hearts!
It's almost time for the "He Makes All Things NEW" workshop!!
Not gonna lie...I'm pretty excited about it. And I'm completely nerding out over some word studies I've done in preparation for teaching the take-away concepts. I spent the better part of a Saturday morning creating the notes and participant guide for the homeschool mamas who are going to participate.
Will you be one of them? I hope so!
If you aren't sure whether this workshop is for you, let me share some helpful points for clarity.
This event is NOT for you if:
❌ You're not actively homeschooling your kids.
❌ You do homeschool, but you're mostly looking for help with curriculum, schedules, or other facets of homeschooling.
❌ You don't really look to God and the Bible as your source for wisdom and direction.
This event IS for you if:
✅ You're actively homeschooling your kids.
✅ You know there's more to that calling than checking off curriculum boxes.
✅ You want to seek God's heart for your homeschool and are willing to engage in active prayer and Bible study to do so.
There's no judgment here! This event isn't for everyone, and I'd rather you know for sure whether this is a good fit before committing. I'm asking participants to invest a bit of their time, energy, and money, and I don't want you to make that investment if you aren't a committed Christian homeschooler.
A few other questions I've been asked:
Q: What if I can't make the live meeting?
A: We'll miss your real-time input and questions, BUT you can definitely access the recording and materials after the fact. However, you must be registered to get access.
Q: How long will the workshop be?
A: Allow about an hour for the workshop itself. I will stay online and available to answer questions for up to 30 minutes after the presentation.
Q: Can I invite a friend to join us?
A: Absolutely! You can share the registration link with any like-minded mama who can benefit.
I love homeschooling, no doubt about it. We're closing in on two decades of doing this now, and by God's grace, here we stand. Three graduates, two high schoolers, a junior higher, and two elementary students. (Plus sweet Verity, of course.)
BUT. (That's a big but, lol.)
I'm not gonna lie. I never want to paint an unrealistic picture of homeschooling.
It's hard. Seriously hard.
We've been through the good, the bad, and the ugly of homeschooling. Over the years, I've walked with many friends and moms I've mentored who have also experienced the ups and downs of homeschooling. And there seems to be a common thread, some common...
In my early years as a homeschool mom, when I would crash, I'd crash hard. I fell for many of Satan's lies. And I'd wallow in them, stirring up all the mud until I couldn't move forward because I was stuck in the muck.
I can't do this.
I'm messing up my kids.
They'd do so much better with someone else teaching them.
The lies might have different wording, but the basic meaning is the same: You're not good enough, smart enough, or strong enough to homeschool your kids without messing everything up.
I've talked to enough homeschool moms over the years to understand that I'm not alone when it comes to struggling with feelings of inadequacy, discouragement, and even burnout on this journey. Being a mom is hard enough--just feeding, clothing, and keeping everyone clean, safe, and reasonably sane is a big enough job! Add your children's academic, social, and intellectual development as your sole responsibility, and you can see how the pressure can quickly mount.
Hope for Homeschoolers
Thank God He doesn't call us to homeschool and then leave us in the trenches! His divine power, remember, has given us everything we need for life and godliness. He is so faithful to equip us. He doesn't call us to homeschool because we are amazing teachers and perfect homemakers (whew)! He calls us to homeschool because He wants us to shape our children's hearts and minds to follow after Him, even as He seeks to shape our own hearts and minds to be more like Christ.
Speaking truth to and over ourselves and our children is a key component to getting past these homeschool roadblocks. But we have to realize that this is best done when we can connect with others! Sometimes it's hard to see past our own roadblock; we need someone outside ourselves to speak truth lovingly to us.
This could be our spouse. A godly friend. A trusted mentor. Or even a group of like-minded mamas.
Do you have such a community? I hope so! If not, or if you're looking to expand your circle, you're more than welcome to join our private support group.
And if you're ready to dive deeper and really get a handle on overcoming these roadblocks (in community of course!), check out this upcoming workshop. I'd love to lock arms and do this together with you!
Christmas Before & After
This is what happens when 15 people crowd around the Christmas tree to celebrate the gift of Jesus and shower one another with love and laughter. 🌲
It was a beautiful day with many surprises and memorable moments! ❤️
When all is said and done, we can look at the mess left behind and heave a sigh as we focus on what we still need to clean.
We can be grateful for all the blessings and precious moments that led to the state of disarray! And truly, with so many hands to help clean, it isn't long before things look "normal" again.
Homeschool Before & After...?!
As a homeschool mom, I sometimes feel like those pictures above on a daily basis! "Perfect" lessons planned, a routine in place, everything looking pristine at the start of the school day/week/year. 📝📚
But it doesn't take much for the beautiful picture to turn chaotic. 🤪
We can focus on what we feel "should" be happening in our homeschool, or we can focus on what our eternal purpose is--ours AND our children's.
Mama, if you're feeling discouraged or burned out, take some time to refresh your spirit however you can. Step back from high (and perhaps unhealthy) expectations and allow yourself the gift of being fully present in the moment. 🎁
Life is a series of ups and downs, highs and lows, picture-perfect moments and days (or even seasons) of chaos. Embrace the ebb and flow and look for ways to plant seeds in your children's hearts that will help them be deeply rooted for life!
When the News Is Personal
A major news story this past week hit close to home. A woman in Texas desired to abort her unborn baby after learning the child had trisomy 18 or Edwards syndrome. I remember the fear we experienced when we learned Verity, our youngest child, might have this condition. Since we have walked this journey ourselves, a number of people reached out to us this week.
"Have you heard?"
"Do you know about this?"
"What do you think??"
I have so many thoughts swirling around in my brain. So many feelings bubbling about in my heart. It's hard to capture them all in words, but here's a feeble attempt about a few of them.
First, regarding the situation at large:
My heart feels the weight of a devastating diagnosis all over again. I ache for Kate Cox and her family. I wish I had the chance to take her out for coffee and share our story. I wish I could encourage her that even though this seems so incredibly difficult, there is hope, beauty, even joy in this journey. I shared a few other thoughts in a brief video here. And I will probably share more points through our ministry channels (you can subscribe here if you don't already follow Verity's Village).
Second, regarding how a story with national interest affects us on a personal level:
It's easy for me to get caught up in these emotional aspects. I feel things deeply, and I truly desire to help others on a similar journey. And yet I'm not only Verity's mama and the founder of a non-profit that she inspired. I'm also mom and homeschool teacher to other kids (and teens and young adults) who still need me! I had to set aside my phone and laptop, pick up the school books, and snuggle with my kids. The world outside can get along without us. We chose to continue our journey through Genesis, memorize our next verse in Psalm 24, study a people group in Africa, practice locating central African countries on a map, and so on.
Yes, there's a world outside our doors that is hurting. But there's also a world inside my home, young hearts and minds I am responsible for shepherding.
Homeschool Focus & God-Given Passions
One thing I've learned over my many years of homeschooling is that life doesn't slow down! And I'm still learning how to manage the various hats I wear in my different roles. God has given me the beautiful privilege of being Verity's mama, her voice in a world that doesn't typically value what she represents. I cherish that role, and I have a deep passion for speaking on behalf of the community we minister to.
But I also have a deep passion for homeschooling my kids and helping them make sense of what is happening in the world around us through the lens of truth. As we talked through the current events this last week, we were able to do more than check off the boxes for our regularly scheduled schoolwork. We dug more deeply into God's truths with love and compassion. I pray my children will develop their God-given passions so they too can be a voice of truth in a hurting world. For us, homeschooling gives us unique opportunities to fuel those passions.
Mama, what passions has God laid on YOUR heart?
What passions do you see Him developing in your children?
How are you incorporating that into your homeschool?
My Be Rooted program addresses these deeper, spiritual aspects of homeschooling. We spend a whole module digging into our God-given passions. If you haven't really thought of this before, I encourage you to pray about it. And consider reaching out to me for a quick phone call to discuss it! I'd love to help you be intentional in this area!