Your Homeschool Matters

Your Homeschool Matters
As we’ve studied over the last few weeks, this idea of being rooted starts with our relationship with Jesus, spills out into our marriage, and affects our whole family. It makes sense, then, that for Christian homeschooling families, we should also be intentional about nurturing our homeschool from the perspective of being deeply rooted in Jesus.

After going through multiple transitions and unexpected trauma as a family, the Lord had me in a “wilderness” season for a while. It was hard to look up or outward since we were in survival mode. But in God’s kindness, He used that time of drawing inward to help me reexamine my foundation and recommit to the truth. And in a sense, I almost feel as if the Lord also allowed me to experience a kind of rebirth. It was a time to dig deep, crying out to the Lord as raw roots were exposed. 

It was painful. It seemed to go on forever. And yet…ultimately, it was healing. It was freeing!

I had cried out to the Lord, telling him there was no way I was going to be able to continue homeschooling when it took all my strength and energy to care for our medically fragile baby who wasn’t expected to live very long. I was searching for educational options for our children, feeling entirely inadequate to even care for the basic needs of our family, let alone oversee our offspring’s academic instruction. What do you do when homeschooling is hard?!

Well, OF COURSE God provided. I’ll save the specific story for another time, perhaps, but the point of this story is that we continued homeschooling. (ONLY by His provision and grace!)

But it really didn’t look anything at all like I wanted it to look…the way it “used to” look.

And that, my friends, is the BEAUTY of a deeply rooted homeschool! God had brought me to the utter end of myself. 

I was broken. 
Completely undone. 

In other words, I was exactly where I needed to be: on my face at the feet of Jesus!

I'll continue this story next week...meanwhile...

Have you been there? Or maybe you're there now? Mama, I feel you! Don't do this alone...reach out. Let's hop on a "Burnout Buster" zoom call and help you get to the other side of whatever is burdening you regarding your homeschool.

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How to Stand Strong in 2023

How to Stand Strong in 2023
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.

Be Rooted.

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!

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From Heartache to Hope

From Heartache to Hope
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.
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Veteran Homeschoolers

Veteran Homeschoolers
This Veterans Day marks 3 years since my active-duty Air Force husband hung up his uniform and quit shaving. Although doing military life for over 22 years wasn't always easy, I'm grateful for the opportunities our family had to meet new people, join different church fellowships, and visit other parts of the world we may not otherwise have seen. And I'm extremely proud of my husband and all his accomplishments. Not many people know this, but he chose to retire as a Lt. Col even though he had earned the rank of colonel. The reason? Retiring as a full colonel meant he would need to uproot our family of 11 and relocate two time zones away. While we were certainly no strangers to military transitions, in 2019 we had 3 teenagers plus a daughter with significant physical and developmental issues. Prayerfully seeking the Lord's will, Ted announced he would do what was best for our family: it was time to retire.

I believe God has abundantly blessed that decision! Our children, now ranging in age from 5 - 22, have thrived in a place they have been able to call "home" for more than 5 years, which is much longer than we ever lived in one location during our military tenure. It reminds me that "there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens" (Ecc. 3:1). 

Not to take anything away from my husband's Air Force career, but as I ponder what it means to be a veteran, I realize that I, too, can claim this role! Of course, I've never been a member of the armed forces. But I'm certainly a veteran homeschool mom after educating my own children since 2005! And there are similarities in my husband's and my callings that I think are worth considering. In hopes that this will encourage YOU, dear one, I offer a few observations here.

While my husband made a career of military service, his choice to do so stemmed from the feeling that God was calling him TO that service. Likewise, I believe homeschooling is indeed a calling. It will, of course, look different in every family. But Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is clear that parents are ultimately responsible to teach the next generation about God, His character, and His commands. I believe strongly that homeschooling is the BEST way to carry out this mission, but whether or not you choose to home educate your children, if you are a follower of Christ, you must take this calling seriously.

It would have been absurd for my husband to play video games and eat junk food in the weeks and months leading up to entering the U.S. Air Force Academy as a cadet (waaay back in the summer of 1993!). And he certainly could not have sustained a 22+ year career if he had not taken seriously the need for ongoing training as he rose in ranks and assumed more responsibilities. The task of homeschooling is multi-faceted and warrants serious thought and preparation. This doesn't mean you can't pivot in the middle of a school year and pursue a different course (especially if something just is not working). However, the training I'm thinking of most here is for US as homeschool moms! Curriculum, schedules, and extracurricular activities are all tools, and we can and should put down a tool that isn't working anymore and pick up a new one. 

What is VITAL in this homeschooling-for-the-long-haul journey is our humble recognition that we constantly need to be in the presence of Jesus, asking daily for wisdom and grace to BE the moms He has called us to be as we teach our children to follow hard after Him. We need to be in the Word, soaking our minds in the truth of Who God is and who He created us to be. This leads to our last point.

If you know anything about the military lifestyle, you know it involves a level of discipline not typically seen in other circles! The homeschool mom knows that discipline is essential for her lifestyle as well. First and foremost, she must choose to discipline herself: daily Bible study and prayer should be a given. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who is constantly asking the Holy Spirit for patience and self-control as I interact with my children on an hourly basis. Disciplining my own tongue is much harder than getting up early to exercise and have my quiet time...and let me tell you, I am really not fond of rising before the sun is up! 

And as we continue to practice discipline in our own lives according to the Spirit's gentle leading, we then must teach and discipline our children as they grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Remember the word "disciple" as the heart of the concept of discipline, and you'll be able to better navigate those battles with the flesh (both yours and your children's!).

Are you a new homeschool mom or a veteran? Regardless of where you are on this journey, it's often helpful to talk things over with someone else in the trenches, someone who can help you see past the weeds or obstacles in your path. I'd love to help you find some clarity on your journey, whether you're dealing with toddlers interfering with school time or wondering how to handle difficulties with a teen. If you'd like a veteran mom to prayerfully meet you where you're at and lend a listening ear, I'd love to chat!

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Repentance & Fasting

Repentance & Fasting
Repentance is a turning away from the direction we are headed and turning toward God. As Ted and I dug into the book of Joel, our discussions sometimes centered around how little our culture knows, let alone talks about, the concept of repentance. Rationalization, yes. Accusations of someone else's wrongdoing, absolutely. (Let's not make this political, but we could all go there.) But honest, sincere, humble repentance? Never. 
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