Teaching from a State of Rest ~ Review

I was so very blessed to receive this one for review 🙂

I got SO much out of Sarah Mackenzie’s new ebook, Teaching from a State of Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace.

This whole teaching from a state of rest – its a very new idea to me. And as always, it seems, God is actively working on me. I have prayed and sought His council on this very thing. Because, honestly I am far from restful. I a so full of energy and activity and I cannot sit still. I cannot feel accomplished and complete without having completed my checklist. And we are commanded to rest. So I need to rest. This ebook; it was timely indeed for me.

“When night comes, and retrospect shows that everything was
patchwork and much which one had planned left undone, when so many things rouse shame and regret, then take all as it is, lay it in God’s hands, and offer it up to him. In this way we will be able to rest in him, actually to rest, and to begin the new day like a new life.”  ~ St. Edith Stein

These were the very first words I read in this book. And they struck my heart. Much undone….roused shame and regret….lay it in His hands…offer it up … rest in Him …Wow. I could feel the power; the difference this action makes. Truthfully too many days I say to my husband at night – “I never got done with….” (fill in the blanks). “I wish I had the time today to ….” This is not resting. This makes it so much harder to begin the new day like a new life; in joy and in peace. I want so for that joy and peace to envelop not just me, but my family and my home. 🙂

Sarah Mackenzie writes that “curriculum isn’t something we
buy,” but rather “something we teach.” I really had to chew on this one. I mean I still struggle sometimes with what curriculum to use. We have gone from buying complete packages for our school years to piecing things together each year. I like to think that is a little more relaxed right? A bit closer to a state of rest. Maybe?

Sarah reminds us (or me at least) that we will never be able to give our children the ‘perfect’ education. Instead of crumbling under the weight of our attempts to do so, we can let the burdens fall off our tired backs.”

In Latin, curriculum means “a running” or “a racecourse.” Figuratively it means one’s career—one’s life course. Our curriculum is the course that we travel then. We lose the beauty and the true love of learning, when we rush through materials; we do things to “get em done” with no regard for the truth within; the gems if you will, that are there and simply cannot be found and truly enjoyed by us racing and rushing in our “work’.  How learning has gotten lost. How the joy of learning has been squashed by many. Myself included at times. 😦

I had to pose the question. To myself. Do I serve my books, my curriculum? OR do they serve me? I fear the answer was not what it should be. So what do I do now? How do I go from being ruled by my materials to being free and having them serve me? Moving forward I want, I need, for our curriculum to be that which cultivates wisdom, virtue, and eloquence in the souls of my children.

Like all things there has to some form of repentance in order to move forward in a right way, if you will. I read her words and I can attest that I am, or can be at times, that mom who just struggles so with my faith; its so hard to let God have His way with my kids, our family, our homeschool, and some times, I cling even tighter to my illusions of control. I do not get out of the boat, I do not walk in faith. I struggle in fear. I must get out of the boat. I must step out in faith. Andrew Kern says, and it is so true, “The most important thing a homeschooling mother can do is to teach from a state of rest.” I NEED to be in a state of rest to truly teach. ❤

Truthfully, is there any good thing we can do if we do not first to enter into God’s rest and then serve Him wholeheartedly-
not out of anxiety, but out of love and trust? Its such a revelation to me. I mean I know this, I preach this, but do I practice this? I need to practice this. I love her words, her honest truths within these “pages” if you will. Because as she says “I desire to teach and mother in a way that pleases Him. Some days that feels like feeding the five thousand. But He is not asking me to feed the
five thousand; He just wants me to bring my basket of loaves and fish and lay them at His feet.” Yes!  A resounding yes. (did I mention that these are all in just the first few pages?) This ebook is a gem.

So this summer, I am going to seek and pray and learn that I may too enter into and teach from, this state of rest. If you are anxious, and full of worry, feeling the need to stay on task and follow that plan .. Take a break and take a rest. There is so much wisdom; so many words that we need. Desperatey. We need to remember that our job is not to be successful- success itself is entirely beside the point. It’s faithfulness that He wants. God is good! He has out this calling, this ministry in our hearts, in our homes – He shall not desert us. We must trust in Him and not in all of our lists and assessments and tools.

I journaled as I read. A lot. The companion journal that came with this ebook was such a blessing to me. I have to write it out; no matter if I read it and it pricks my heart – I remember all the more when it is written down. In my hand. Maybe its just me but that time it takes to copy that verse; that phrase, its all the difference for me. Its more personal; tangible and real to me as a need and a way because I wrote it down. Because I can open that little notebook and see what things mean to me, what things I need. As Mary took the time for that needful thing, so must I. I must cease thinking that by being still I am wasting time. I must learn and master being still.

***There are audio files as well. The audio files are mp3 downloads:

  • My Conversation with Andrew Kern: Teach from a State of What?!
  • My Conversation with Dr. Christopher Perrin: Scholé- Changing the Way We Think About School
  • My Conversation with Brandy Vencel: Let’s Get Real- Mothering from a State of Rest
  • My Conversation with Cindy Rollins: If I Knew Then What I Know Now

Get the Teaching from Rest Companion materials here. Find show notes to the Teaching from Rest Audio Companion at Amongst Lovely Things.  I loved being able to read these here because with two boys and a little girl who desperately needs to keep up with her brothers, listening to anything extensive can be a tricky thing! lol In fact I am still reading over this page. So much to enjoy and soak in! It is intense and so very real but it is also so desperately needed for me. For my family.

I cannot deny that as I read there were things that stung a bit. Things that I do not want to do. That I am not comfortable with. It is outside my “zone”. But truly I remind myself, we are not called to be comfortable in where we are. There will be trials and challenges when we go deeper. And the deeper we go the more we must abandon our self, our way of thinking, and trust/rest in His way. I see His hand in so much of this; I read and I just feel His presence telling me that I need to go forth in this state of rest. I need to learn how to rest; which will give me the ability to be still – this will give Him the ability to do more in my life, my family, my home school. For His glory. But I must trust. And I must learn how to rest.

If you are looking for a different way – trust me – this is something you must have. In fact I will be continuing to blog my thoughts on this program, as well as the reading I plan to do over this summer so feel free to check in at a later date. There is so much here to learn, and bathe in – I see rivers of living waters 🙂 There is so much more. Chock full of resources, overflowing in some ways, to read and listen to ~ let this be your guide to not just a more restful and peaceful overflowing with joy home school but also with your walk with God. I believe wholeheartedly that the Lord s a strong supporter of home education. When it is done “right” allowing Him to be the leader.

I highly recommend this as a summer read; breathe life into your new school year. And make sure you check out Sarah’s blog too!! So much beautiful and inspirational stuff! You shall be truly blessed!

“Our hearts are restless until they rest in
You, O Lord.”   

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