The last month has been full: I had the privilege of being one of the workshop speakers at the Teach Them Diligently homeschool convention in Round Rock, Texas, where I presented a session with the following title:
Be Rooted in Your Homeschool:
Survive, Sustain, & Succeed for the Long Haul!
What a joy to meet and fellowship with like-minded homeschool moms and dads, who are educating their children not simply for all of the wonderful FRUITS homeschooling can provide, but also because they desire to help ROOT their children in the love and truth of God.
My convention session provided an opportunity to share our testimony. And God used it to confirm a calling that He put on my heart to speak to and mentor Christian homeschool mamas. Two weeks after the conference I offered a free virtual webinar (still available to view) to dive a little deeper into the 3Ps of the homeschool seed:
I'm so excited to launch the BE ROOTED program, a 6-week discipleship and coaching program specifically for Christian homeschool mamas who desire to raise kingdom-minded disciples of Jesus. You can learn more about the program here!
I know there may be questions...feel free to contact me and we can set up a time for a quick chat to see if this is the next right step for YOU in your homeschool journey.
As I prayed about how the Lord would have me direct my focus this year, I kept coming back to the image of a tree. Some of my favorite Scripture memory passages talk about trees. (I’ll share more about those in posts to come!) And recently, as I looked at some bracelets hanging on my jewelry board, I remembered a theme we discussed in a women’s Bible study some years back.
These are the words on a bracelet I purchased partly to support a friend’s fundraiser and partly to remind myself of what we were learning as we took a deep dive into Colossians 2:6-7.
“So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Let’s break it down…
First of all, have you received Christ Jesus as Lord? This means you’ve recognized that your sins have separated you from our holy Creator God; that you’ve accepted the death of Jesus on the cross in your place; and that in believing in his death and resurrection, you’ve received forgiveness for your sins and have a relationship with God that will last for all eternity! Oh, sister, I hope this is true for you! Whether or not it is, I invite you to meditate for at least a few minutes on some words just a few verses down, Colossians 2:13-15.
So for those who have received Christ as Lord, we are instructed to:
- Continue to live in him…
- Rooted and built up in him…
- Strengthened in the faith as we were taught…
- And overflowing with thankfulness. (Notice how each part builds on the previous phrase?)
If you’re an English nerd like me, you may find it interesting that only the first and last parts of the instruction are active on our parts. The rest is passive. Being rooted and built up in Christ, being strengthened in the faith, even the teaching of that faith–all of those things are done FOR us! A seed doesn’t actively decide to send down roots as it grows. It just happens–provided, of course, that the conditions are right for that seed to grow! Likewise, our “rootedness” comes about as a work of grace on our behalf. We certainly have choices when it comes to the conditions surrounding our seed, though, don’t we?
To foster conditions that would yield strong spiritual roots, I would suggest…
- Watering our seed daily with the Word (Colossians 3:16, Isaiah 55:10-11)
- Prayerfully spending time with the Son (see what I did there?! Son…sun…get it?!) (Colossians 4:2-4, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
- Guarding our hearts and minds, choosing to meditate on that which is true, pure, lovely, admirable… (Colossians 3:1-3, Philippians 4:8)
Dear homeschool mama, as this new year begins, are you rooted? I pray you are and that you know what to do to keep from being tossed by the storms of life! When YOU are rooted in your own relationship with Jesus, your children will learn to be rooted as well (just like the verse says, “strengthened in the faith as you were taught”). And helping our children be rooted in their own relationship with Christ will prepare them to fulfill God’s purposes in their own generation!
If you're not already in our supportive community for homeschool moms, I invite you to join us so you can receive encouragement as you grow your roots and help your children do the same!
And if these verses and thoughts resonate with you, I invite you to dig a little deeper with me in this 7-day "Be Rooted" challenge. No sales, no spam, just short, daily emails with a more in-depth look at Colossians 2:6-7. If you don't already have a Bible study going, this might be a way to get back into the Word. And if you do, perhaps the daily opportunity to meditate on this portion of Scripture will encourage you to BE ROOTED!
Earlier this year I had the privilege of being one of the speakers for the Wives of Integrity Conference. My workshop session was titled "From Heartache to Hope." It was a joy and an honor to be able to speak to many other Christian women about how to move from heartache and trauma to finding hope and even joy after difficult circumstances.
That workshop and all the related materials were behind a paywall for a period of time. I'm excited that I can now make it available to others, and I would like to give you access at no charge!
In the session, I share the testimony of our journey with Verity. If you haven't heard that story, it's definitely worth a listen!
We also take a deep dive into the beautiful truths of Romans 5:1-5. If you love studying God's Word, I believe you will be blessed and encouraged by this session.
If you're already on my emailing list, you should receive the links and tools for this program via email this week. However, if you're not receiving my updates, you can access From Heartache to Hope here.
The program includes access to the 35-minute teaching video, a note-taking guide, the HOPE Spectrum tool, and HOPE Scripture cards.
If the title resonates with you, I hope you can carve out some time for yourself to fill up your cup so that you can encourage and bless others.
If you are currently in a season of heartache, I pray the God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace.
If you are currently in a season of hope, I pray our God will use YOU to shine His light and truth in a dark world.
"Our suffering should not change our view of God; our God should change our view of suffering."
This quote in our Bible study stood out to me this past week. While our family isn't in a season of suffering now, we certainly have experienced our share of trials in various forms. Lately we've found ourselves walking alongside dear friends who are facing extremely painful circumstances. And even beyond our small circles, we grieve and pray for those facing devastation beyond description such as hurricane damage or war crimes.
The older I get, the more I mourn over the brokenness in this world. It wasn't supposed to be this way. Parents aren't supposed to lose their children. Innocent civilians aren't supposed to be brutally murdered. Places of safety aren't supposed to be upended. And yet here we are, clear evidence of the toll sin has taken on our planet and all the inhabitants thereof, down through the ages.
Ironically, though, the more I mourn, the more fiercely I cling to true hope and PEACE. The very fact that life isn't supposed to be this way points me to the promise of healing and redemption to come. One day true justice will be administered; one day every tear will be wiped away. At that time, "at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Phil. 2:11
Another verse from our study in Romans is appropriate to ponder here: "Do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?" Rom. 2:4
"The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9
"Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him." 2 Peter 3:15
**Study referenced: RightNow Presents The Book of Romans: Part 1 STUDY GUIDE
Copyright © 2022 RightNow by RightNow Ministries
The Facebook ad caught my eye with its reference to "religious toxicity." The lengthy prose spoke in soothing tones, validating the feelings of those who have been hurt by the church, religious people, and/or specific religious doctrines. The author, an ex-Baptist preacher, offers his course on trauma-informed care to counselors who wish to serve people who have experienced religious trauma. The comments on this sponsored ad were both revealing and cynical...but most of all, heartbreaking.
I can't adequately explore every branch of thought that sprouts from the main trunk of Religious Trauma. It's difficult enough to put my own response into words, let alone dissect the ideas of other learned folks who have probably spent years researching and writing about this topic.
But I DO have thoughts stemming from my own foundation of Truth, the Word of God. And I offer them here because I think it's important to separate the wheat from the chaff, facts from feelings, and yes, lies from truth. Let's start with this first point...
1. Not all who claim to represent Christ do so with His blessing.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" - Matthew 7:21-23
It's tragedy that defies words, the abuses that have been inflicted upon the innocent under the guise of spiritual leadership. Recent exposés include failures of individuals (such as Ravi Zacharias) and denominations (such as Southern Baptists and Catholics). And sadly, these egregious wrongs surely go back through time and across continents and cultures.
Make no mistake--these ARE wrongs, abuses, exploitation. In a word, SIN. And there is NO excuse for it. NONE. Not for the perpetrators, and not for those who covered it up. WOE to those who cause such suffering! (See Matthew 18:1-9.)
But here's the question: do these evildoers and their actions negate the truth that God exists? Are we forced, because of their toxic actions, to conclude that anything having to do with religion/spirituality is therefore toxic as well, simply because the evildoers claimed some kind of religiosity?
I say no. I believe we can--and should--condemn those who do wrong (especially when they claim to have some kind of moral authority) while still believing in a loving, just, all-powerful God.
The very fact that we define abuse and exploitation of the innocent as EVIL is, in itself, a moral judgment that (to me at least) indicates there IS an absolute standard of right and wrong!
So then, a practical (and biblical) response to a person who has experienced heartbreaking abuse by someone in a position of religious power and authority:
Listening without judgment.
Understanding (as much as possible) the pain and trauma he or she has undergone.
Helping the person find help and healing.
And...if it has not yet been done...telling the proper authorities about the abuse so as to hold the abuser accountable for his or her actions.
This is a start. I hope to share more thoughts in a follow-up post to this one.
Thanks for reading along with me as I process some of my own thoughts about this complex issue. I'd love to hear your thoughts as well; leave a comment or send me a message if this is something that you've thought about or experienced.