Hunting Hope ~ Book Review

Where would we be with out the darkness? Too often I think we forget about the light that shines in, and through, the darkness.  Certainly all have experienced times of great sorrow and pain; there are days of hopelessness and helplessness. But when we look back on those times, after we are through them, do we see the hand of God that was there with us? Do we acknowledge and testify of the plan that He used that darkness for?



Hunting Hope

There is great power in having hope! Much like faith itself; hope is something that can be seen in our life. When we have it we are stronger, we are more sure, and have greater patience. Life isn’t easy and it certainly cannot always be fair yet there is power and peace in knowing that we are in God’s hands. And living a life that is full of hope. “Every moment in my life proves God’s faithfulness, not just the winter ones. The spring and summer days speak of Him, too.”



When author Nika Maples was 20 years old, her family experienced that moment that changes everything. They were tested and tried and they had hope. You see, while Nika was attending college, one day she had a brainstem stroke , suddenly, unexpectedly and was left a quadriplegic. She only had 48 to live, said her doctors.  But God had other plans for this young lady and now some twenty years later, you can read her story in Hunting Hope – Dig Through The Darkness To Find The Light. Her story is powerful and inspiring, as she shares how important it is to have hope – that we can move beyond whatever situation we may be in and find G0d’s hand in it. As she tells this story, we see and are reminded of how great His plans are; that very hurt can be what brings hope. If we simply keep our eyes on Him.



Hunting Hope is a such an encouraging read. Perhaps you know someone who is in darkness and needs a bit of light; this could help them to grow in courage and strength. As we read we see how important it truly is to think on right things for certainly: “If we’re out in the cold long enough , we’ll forget how it feels to be warm, to be happy. We’ll start to believe that winter will last forever.”



Nika Maples


Nika Maples is the author of Twelve Clean Pages, the memoir of her survival of lupus and a stroke that left her quadriplegic at age 20. After learning to walk and talk again, she became a public school teacher, winning 2007 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year. She holds an MA in English Education from Columbia University and currently is pursuing an MDIV from The King’s University. When she is not traveling to speak, she lives, writes, and laughs as much as possible in Fort Worth, Texas.




Visit Nika’s Website.

Connect with Nika on Facebook and Twitter.

Visit the Hunting Hope Blog Tour Page.

Simplify with Spirit

I’m freaking out lately. Lol


Maybe not really. But I am having a hard time accepting where my home is at right now.


Listening to the Homemakers  Online Conference, and reading Titus 2:3-5 I am inspired and encouraged to really live it out, showing in my life glory and honor to Him.  I am reminded, even in the mess, to thank Him for the blessing of my husband and four children, and my home.



Now I never had anyone to teach me how to love my husband and my children and my home. I never thought there was anything to keeping a home that needed to be taught. I mean this is so easy right? Super simple? ha-ha


I am surprised daily but how much is truly involved, Biblically, in keeping and managing our home if it is really showing Christ, within. I often think of what it means to have a Christ centered home. And truthfully when I imagine it, its not much like our home.


I have visions of this peaceful home where everyone always gets along, we are all happy, we all are gentle and kind and share…..If I make this my focal point, I will fail again and again at making my home a place that shows His love and light.


I remind myself this morning that its about our love for Him, its also about embracing the truth that is Him. Because He is the word and the word is Him. And we are His so we too are his word. He created the world with words; we create our world with our words.


So our home isn’t always what we imagine it to be but today (and my kids and I began our day this way) we will speak His words. We will speak of the Spirit.


M oldest wrote out a list of words that He has God speak to his life. He wrote of the joy God has given him, his love for worship and prayer and the word.  He wrote about him being enthusiastic, eager and loving of God. He wrote of how he was chosen by God. He was created by God in His image, to be His worker. These are precious words for a little man to write.  They are powerful too.


We must know who we are. Its so simple to organize our life by the very One who gave it to us. Who called us and inspired us. It is His Spirit that ought to guide everything every moment and every word. Its a new thing we are doing: To begin eat day speaking those words of life, God inspired, to ourselves, and to one another. To speak blessings just as those priests did, over their people, so shall we.



What can we do when bespeak and do in the Spirit instead of in the flesh? I had a to do list for this morning but instead I tore it up. I spent time in prayer and in worship and now I am writing this….In the Spirit. And my list has been written anew, in the Spirit, a list that encourages and only speaks what will be done.


We cannot complicate things; let us be done with making things so complex.


We are His masterpiece; we cannot fail for if He says we are mighty, we are mighty And He says so much about us. Let us embrace it and speak it ourselves!


Give Them Grace ~ Chapters 5-6 {Book Discussion}

Okay, I am a bit behind in this 3 month discussion of  Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson in the Family Discipleship Facebook group. If you missed the discussion of the foreword, intro, and chapter one, you can find that here, and chapters two through four here. I’d love to hear your thoughts—here and on Facebook. Below is the schedule we’re following in the group.

We'll be discussing Give Them Grace May-July 2015. Here's the schedule!

In Chapter Five discipleship is broken down for us into five separate categories: Management, Nurturing, Correction, Training and Promises. I love charts myself; I need those visual reminders (I admit it) if I am going to stick with something! So the fact that they have charts in this book which direct us to the scriptures relating to a given incident s well as examples and references for each area of discipleship – Its so very helpful to me!  And there are questions too in case at times you struggle with which category of discipleship, exactly, you are dealing with in your circumstance.



Honestly, this is all so new to me, and yet so exciting for me! But I feel such a strong desire to follow this more and more in my home.  And the timing, some things really are of God, this I do believe is one of them. When I seek after, and ask Him to guide me, in a better way, for my children, He provides. All that I have read thus far, it reminds me of His love and training with each and every one of us.


One of my absolute favorite quotes thus far is:


Paul’s command to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” means this: that parents are to think about and remember Jesus Christ and then train their children to understand how everything in their life—their joys and sorrows, their trials and labors, their doubts, sin and shame—is to be understood in the light of Jesus Christ, who descended from David rather than from Levi, died, and rose from the dead. That is the best news any child could hear. Distinctly Christian parenting must be accomplished in the environment of the good news about Jesus Christ or it is not Christian parenting. It may work for a while, it may make your life manageable, and God may use it, but it is not “of the Lord.” (Give Them Grace, page 93-94)


Our children need to know and understand the Gospel for themselves. We need to bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of their journey, their experience, with the one true living God!


It reminds me of something I heard this morning that said: Worship involves all of our life… 

Worship is more than just a moment. Its more than this thing we do for a couple minutes before service or a few words uttered about how great and mighty God is. We worship Him in all that we do and say, every moment of our day.  We worship Him when, in difficult times, we seek Him and love Him.  We worship Him when someone wrongs us and we pray for them and love them anyway. We worship Him when we show our children the grace and mercy and love He pours out on us every day. Because we too are sinners. We too need to endure to the end to be saved.

This chapter is such a powerful reminder that love covers all sins. And that without love, we are nothing but noise….

Chapter Six is another very meaty and rich chapter. There were tough questions asked of us, such as: “Is this sin or weakness and immaturity?”  We need to realize how simple our teaching can really be.  It is broken down into four steps:

1) Teach your kids to respect authority

2) Teach them the gospel

3) Trust God to work in your children

4) Confess your own sins

These are very valuable, powerful methods. So simple I am a bit embarrassed I did not see these things before now. But I thank Jesus for this book which helps me to see these things today. Because today is a blessing ~ As is His wisdom and grace. ❤

“We are not telling you to ignore bad behavior; nor are we saying that sinful behavior should not be corrected. We are saying that we should teach our children that sinful behavior does not alter their relationship with us. If our parenting is modeled on the gospel, then their sin, hardness, and unbelief will grieve us, we will seek to discipline and correct it, we will pray for them about it, and we will continue to love and welcome them in spite of it. But we will not demand a show of repentance before we welcome them back into relationship.” (Give Them Grace, page 105)



Ouch! I don’t know about you but I admit I am guilty of focusing on rules more often than not. With a new baby and a to-do list a mile long…I tend to forget that there are more important things than having a perfectly tended yard or garden. I look past the sad or hurting child to what we have to do right now. *sigh*  This was such a revealing chapter for me. SO much truth that I needed to read. And as I read I was reminded again and again of how important God says it is for us to have that right relationship. With Him, with our husband, with our children. It matters so much more than we know. Our children need to know that no matter what, we still love them. They need to hear, in their times of trials, that they are loved. When we are struggling, we need them to see us, show love and repentance too.


I really appreciated this chapter’s constant emphasis on the need for gospel-motivated instruction and how it differs from so many other approaches out there that we use. We need to bring about heart change. It does not matter what we do, or how we do it, if ultimately we do not have a “first love”.  Our children need that relationship, just as desperately as we do, that they may know Him and love Him.  It starts with love.


New Family Discipleship Facebook Community



Leave a comment with your thoughts or feel free to join discussion at Family Discipleship Community!  It’s not too late 🙂

Why I Need a Co-Op

This may seem like an odd thing to any who really know me. 🙂 Being that I often speak to my love of being at home, and my rather introverted nature, why on earth would I decide I need a co-op?


The general definition of a cooperative homeschool group – aka co-op – is to “cooperate” with one or more families thus sharing any part of the educational process.   A co-op can be a simple group of two families meeting regularly to share their home journey on any particular topic or as structured as a school district public program or charter group (think Classical Conversations).  Co-ops can have an academic focus or a social, spiritual one – even a combination of all of these!

Since we started homeschooling almost 5 years ago we have been in and out of various groups ourselves. I admit, I tend to dread these encounters. So many moms and children – I love the variety of ages and activities. All the sweet families we have met but we have never truly felt at home, a part of any of these groups. i do not fault any of them for it. I do believe that finding a group that is “family” in the homeschool community is a hard thing.  It does not just happen and I think often we can be a part of many different groups and still not find that.


So when I was approached by a couple lovely ladies from our church about starting a group I was quite ecstatic. Especially since I have been praying for someone  to do this very thing since we came to our church almost 4 years ago. Yet now here I am being approached to do just that. And since this request was first made, even more ladies have come to me seeking a group for their children too. How exciting! And nerve-wracking (for me) 🙂



I decided to do it. This year, I decided to start my own informal co-op this fall. So far there will be lots of little ones so we definitely need to make plans for preschool fun! Of course there will also be a variety of older youth involved too.  Just a handful of us for now but I do believe the Lord will send them if we are faithful and true to Him in what we do.


So what does this have to do with why I need a co-op?




I have to admit, I cannot do this alone. It gets tiring. Especially as my children get older.  It is too easy to burnout when we are isolated from others in this thing. It doesn’t have to be often, maybe once a week (we can determine that based on everyone’s interest) but that time just needs to be there, If we are tired, struggling, or even excited about something – it’s a blessing to others and to us to be able to share!






And how about that dreaded “socialization”?  We are always being asked about it right? How do our kids socialize when we homeschool them? I cannot keep telling people (sarcastically) that they don’t … I know, without any doubt, that we are all equipped by God to teach our children. Yet I admit, I fail at math, I do not speak Spanish and I certainly cannot dissect a frog…. That said it’s a great benefit when we can come together to share our specific talents with one another.  It’s great for our children to see too, how we all come together and share our talents.  Add to that, the opportunity for them to share their skills with one another, and practice other things.  My oldest son loves to give short presentations and story tell yet is fearful of being in front of a group, playing games is great for social skills and often so much more, doing crafts or projects is more fun in a group, playing soccer or football, or just being present and helping cook or clean or play with the littler ones (my oldest reads to his little sisters), this is a beautiful way to encourage them, and be sure that they are gaining positive social skills and experiences.


Then there are all the great discounts and classes we can partake in, when we have a group 🙂 Events at the zoo, local art classes, cooking classes, even craft materials and books.  We can work together, pool our resources and have a great time doing so. Less pressure on everyone when we are not all responsible for every detail. How fun is it too to be able to bake cookies or thrown parties for the holidays together – There are so many holidays, so many ways that we can learn in a fun and engaging way. And it’s always better when its done together.



Accountability….Who doesn’t love the flexibility of homeschooling? I do for sure! But I also admit that meeting regularly with other homeschooling families can help me to stay focused and on course. To have others that I know are learning with us, are exploring with us, this gives us something to look forward to.  It keeps us on task.  No excuses anymore because it’s not just about us and we can’t just do it later.


As for us moms we always have lots of crazy and fun  ideas to share; we have a variety of interests and connections and sharing all of this can certainly be a huge help to each other in this journey that we call homeschool!


Ecc. 4:9-12:  Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up…..And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

What IS the Hope?

It saddens me when I post something, meant to inform, and a firestorm of anger breaks out. People begin fighting; words are thrown around sarcastically and the meaning and purpose of the posting itself is lost.  My post this morning was about living for God; being aware of what His word says so that we are not deceived. And yet one line within that video caused a friend, to become angry and tell me I am speaking “the devils words” to her….. We need to be humble, we need to be teachable. Always. If I am in the church for 2 months or 20 years, I pray I will always remember His calling ad keep that hope in me. How important it is TODAY or us to be aware of His Word, and to live it and speak it BOLDLY.


I hope this timely reminder inspires you, and sets a fire within your soul, to live in a greater way today, than you did yesterday ❤


Oswald Chambers writes:
“…that you may know what is the hope of His calling… —Ephesians 1:18
Remember that you have been saved so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in your body (see 2 Corinthians 4:10). Direct the total energy of your powers so that you may achieve everything your election as a child of God provides; rise every time to whatever occasion may come your way.

You did not do anything to achieve your salvation, but you must do something to exhibit it. You must “workout your own salvation” which God has worked in you already (Philippians 2:12). Are your speech, your thinking, and your emotions evidence that you are working it “out”? If you are still the same miserable, grouchy person, set on having your own way, then it is a lie to say that God has saved and sanctified you.

God is the Master Designer, and He allows adversities into your life to see if you can jump over them properly— “By my God I can leap over a wall” (Psalm 18:29). God will never shield you from the requirements of being His son or daughter. First Peter 4:12 says, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you….” Rise to the occasion— do what the trial demands of you. It does not matter how much it hurts as long as it gives God the opportunity to manifest the life of Jesus in your body.

May God not find complaints in us anymore, but spiritual vitality— a readiness to face anything He brings our way. The only proper goal of life is that we manifest the Son of God; and when this occurs, all of our dictating of our demands to God disappears. Our Lord never dictated demands to His Father, and neither are we to make demands on God. We are here to submit to His will so that He may work through us what He wants. Once we realize this, He will make us broken bread and poured-out wine with which to feed and nourish others.”


52 Little Lessons

     I love musicals.  I remember the very first time I saw this on stage; I was in love.  From that point on I read and studied the story, the history surrounding it all – I learned how to play the music, I learned every word to every song.  It was such a beautiful and powerful experience for me.  To this day I still remember, almost word for word, the songs within this musical.  🙂


So when I came across this book – how could I possibly pass it up? This, Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, has never grown old. I do not believe that this story will ever lose its value. At its core it speaks of sin, love and redemption. It shows sacrificial living; it is in many ways an excellent example for us as to how we ought to live.


Author Bob Welch, states he did not seek out to analyze this story but rather he sought to answer a question. Not just any question; it did not have anything to do with France and the time period in which Les Miserables historically occurs, but rather a most simple question:“What can it say to me where I am right now?”


These real such simple lessons. Short reads to ponder for our own life. For example: Lesson 6: “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit”; Lesson 26: “The Past Can Be a Springboard to the Future” and Lesson 40: “Self-Pity Morphs Into Selfishness”  and one of my favorites,  Lesson 38:  Perspective Changes Everything.  These are just a small sample of the lessons within this book. Certainly we all have much to learn as we grow in Christ. 🙂

Typically lessons begins with a short quote from the original story and then continues discussing a specific event or scene, then moving on to “real life” examples as well as scriptural references  Each lesson concludes with a thought provoking question, something that helps to show its application to our own life. They really encourage you to stop and take inventory, and reflect before moving forward.


A good example of this is seen in the character of Valjean; his story and even the characters of those like the Bishop and Enjolras. Fantine and Cosette.  There’s so much life within the pages of this book all full of lessons and ways we can grow ourselves in our own lives.  I love the depth in the one simple line: “even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”  Doesn’t that take on a greater meaning when you really stop to consider it?


Such a sweet, simple, valuable read. I do believe this would be wonderful to use as a devotional even.  I plan in the near future to space this out, one lesson to ponder over several days. To really seek His word and way in those pages; there is a greater depth that I do not want to miss!  Certainly this one is overflowing with the most precious of lessons if we only take the time to really allow the words to sit, just as our tea bag steeps in the cup. I definitely will be reading this one again, as a steeping teabag, that I may gain a greater and stronger understanding from every word.


Going to Boot Camp!

If you know me you know how much I LOVE to camp. Not really. Actually I am terrible when it comes to the great outdoors. I love nature; spending time enjoying God’s creation. Relaxing in the shade maybe with a good book ~ I have three children, one more on the way. My oldest one a very rambunctious, loud, constantly, driving us all nuts kind of boy.  So needless to say when I heard of the Boys Bootcamp, and had the opportunity to attend this one, I was SO excited!

I want to do more than just survive my boys. And I don’t know where you are at in your journey, what struggles you my face, but I do know that I do not understand my boys. Especially my oldest (who is 9).  He cannot focus. He is too focused. He is here and there and everywhere. It’s the very first reason we chose to homeschool him so long ago. It’s a challenge teaching a boy like him; I know I am not alone but I admit to feeling very alone. A lot. I don’t want to seem ungrateful or have a spirit that is grumbling and complaining but how do you teach him when he just cannot hold still? When math is on the table and he cannot stop doodling or bouncing or racing back and forth in the house?

And just the other day someone smiles sweetly at me and says, “You just wait ’til they’re teenagers if you think it’s hard now.”  I admit my heart sunk just a bit. 

But  refuse to believe that it has to be this way forever. One day we WILL have fond memories of our time together. And maybe I will look back and laugh a bit over my oldest son, who runs relays through the store when we go out; who has to be loud and in your face, all the time, arguing (he calls it debating) and just being all around out of control.

I mean, with my younger two, I can easily do a trip to the store.  My daughter (3) and my son (5) walk the aisles with me, helping me find things, asking questions and just chatting up a storm. They love to sing worship songs as we are out too 🙂 It’s pleasant and wonderful time spent with these two little ones. But not with my oldest son. With him it is always an emotional roller coaster; I struggle to just try to keep him within social boundaries and by the end of the trip, I am a wreck and he is a mess. But there is a heart in there; one that is so full of joy and love but just doesn’t know how to get in sync.  How to control himself and all of these emotions and ideas bouncing about in his head, a bright young man who has lots of energy and little, to no, ability to manage himself.


Impulsive ~ No off switch on this one.

His impulses would take over.  I know he is a big hearted, good natured kid but how hard it is to remind myself of this when he is constantly pushing everyone’s buttons. And at what point does his inability to control himself become no longer a bi-product of his age? At what point does this not have to do with maturity?



I ask myself and my husband, “Does life have to be more difficult with him forever? Is sullen, moody, rebelliousness just a part of growing up? Do we just have to ride this out and survive these years?”


It simply cannot be. There is more for us, I just know there is a better way!


And so I am packing my bags (haha) and getting ready to head off to Boot Camp 9-12 to:


Get in Shape! Shape up your relationship with your son now before the real challenges hit.

Get Armed! Learn about serious dangers your son will face and develop the weapons to deal with them.

Get a Strategy! Learn how to put together a plan for high school and get it done.

Get Moving!  Start now to prepare your son to pass through the minefields to godly manhood.


Some of the topics that will be discussed are:

Brains Turned to Mush

Temptation Everywhere

Dating and Courtship (not there yet….honestly dreading this one too!)

Homeschooling High School

Jobs & Entrepreneurship

Doing Real Things in the Real World

Becoming Young Adults, not Sullen Teens

Loving these years! (how desperately we need to love these years!)  ❤


The next session will be held April 27, 28, 29 and May 4 and 5.  I for one plan to be delivering our daughter at some point this week. But when you sign up, if you are unable to make any of the live sessions, you can always download any classes you miss. This is great for us too since our schedules are so wacky; plus it allows my husband to listen to the sessions too when he has time.

When I complete this bootcamp there will be an awesome giveaway, care of Hal & Melanie Young: a free download of their book, Raising Real Men in both ebook and audio ebook version. Very gracious indeed!

Hearts for Home Blog Hop
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We NEED ….

But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
Exodus 17:12 (KJV)

WE were never made to stand alone. We were never meant to do this by ourselves.

Relationships are so important to our God. His with us; ours with others.

We were made to need each other.

We are His vessel; His hands and feet and mouth – We cannot have that relationship though (with Him or another) if we are not willing. If we do not see, and know, our own need.


I type this and ponder because truly, I was raised to not need anyone. To be able to stand alone. And for as long as I can remember, in my youth, no matter how hard I fell, how low I was, whenever I sought aid, it was always told to me “you’re strong, a survivor, you don’t need help”

To this day I admit, I struggle with seeking others when I need prayer. I struggle with going to others when I am unsure, when the ground I am standing on seems shaky. I have a small number of close friends, ladies that I consider to be strong in their faith, ladies that I can grow from and in my time with them. Yet it is still something I must be intentional about – being a friend and making myself a friend. Hard work. But the blessings that come from giving of yourself, to others….. ❤


It is refreshing to know that there are those who I can lean on today. To know when I am tired, I can reach out, and there is a hand there to grab onto. To know that I can admit (or try anyway) that I just can’t do it.  And what freedom comes from us letting go of all of that; the pressures and the stresses that are placed upon (by ourselves or others)
A perfect expression of this is found in Fresh Initiative #1: “[relationships are] . . . highly valued as expressions of our passion for the supremacy of God’s love.” How do you exalt the supremacy of God’s love? By trusting it and by helping other people trust it. By being satisfied with it and by helping others be satisfied with it. ”



Where We Belong

I admit it – I am going to be very transparent here. I am struggling a bit right now. It is challenging me to see some very strong, lovely, Godly people who are having many trials right now – And then to see family members; steeped in sin, far from God – who are doing well. Enjoying their days and good things… I admit – i am not glad for them. It maddens me that they have, and those seeking and living for Him, have not.
I remember growing up – being a young adult- Not once did anyone come to save the day. Not family or friends. I had people there to support me and inspire me. But if I did not work, i did not eat. When I was arrested for doing something stupid, I had to pay the consequences. I had to face the music and admit what I did wrong. When I could not pay my rent; I had to get a second job so I would be able to pay. I went without a phone, I had electricity turned off once or twice.
When did we get to this place? Where kids do wrong and life just goes on. No big deal. How did we arrive in a time where a girl being pregnant, unmarried, loose, and unsure who the father is; makes her privvy to government monies, baby showers and celebrations? Where is the shame? Where is the “grow up” in all of this? My cousin, she is young, she is required to do nothing. In her mess, she is “living the good life” . Her days are full of being cared for by family and friends, even though she is repeatedly wrong. Drugs, alcohol, girls and boys, jail … no job, no education, no desire for any. It angers met. The wicked prosper….
I cannot lie, it truly upsets me. i cannot lie – I shake my fists – I seek God wanting to know why .. steeped in sin, no good thing – yet a life full of good things….It is not right.
I know. We are all sinners. We are saved by His grace and His mercy. BUT, hear me, is there not a BIG difference between those who are His, who are seeking to live ALL for Him. There is a difference between us who do everything and anything, for Him, and those who do not care for Him and the things of GOD. Why?
I am not jealous. I am not wanting those others have But what about that sweet couple who wants a baby? who understands and is ready to be a mom and a dad. what about that inspiring older couple;so full of Him and His spirit – they live a beautiful life that one cannot doubt, is all for Jesus – they can barely get by. Perhaps one has no car and takes the bus or a taxi, faithfully, to church for services. Another teaches Bible Studies, coming to others who are seeking. They struggle, they fight to just keep their head above water. And in all of, for all they have, they give God the glory.
It’s about eternity.  This world – it is not for us. The joy, the things that those of this world have, they do not, and should not, matter to us. I am not angry now. I am sad, for all those out there who are rescued by man again and again, never being left to stand on their own. never having been taught how to make a way. I am sad for those who may never know God, because the world has given them so many good things – too many good days and good friends and good things – they do not need God.  i am sad for them because all of this, counts for nothing, when we consider what really matters. Bless those who struggle, and do so full of the joy only Jesus can give. Bless those who just know, that while the wicked prosper, they have MORE in Christ alone.
Save me Lord for “my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.  For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Ps 73:2-3.)  i feel like Asaph truly; so bothered by seeing  the riches of those who are not living for Him. I can admit it. Some days I admit I pray this: “All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.  For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning” (Ps 73:13-14.)  There is no doubt there are days I have to ask why? Why do I struggle to live for God when those who don’t have so much more? Is there a point? Why is every day a new struggle for me while they eat and drink in joy and sin?
God is so gracious though – to keep our feet in a place where we do not stumble. HE reminds me, as I believe He reminded Asaph (truly a Godly and righteous man): …when I thought how to understand this”… (the prosperity of the wicked compared to  the hardships of God’s people… “it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end” (Ps 73:16-17.)  We praise and we worship; it is then only, that we see how Truly you set them in slippery places, you make them fall to ruin.”   He sets them in a place where they will fall.  God will cause them ruin. Though they seem to have it all right now, in this world…  ultimately in the end is destruction and it will come.  “They will be swept away utterly by terrors.” In the end those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire where they will suffer forever (Rev 20:15.)  What they have now is of no matter. They enjoy all these things but none can save. Perhaps some days we forget what is in store for those who are so “Rich” right now.
Nevertheless… (Ps 73:23.)”  In all of my foolishness; as I covet an easy life for myself, for those I love…I miss the bigger picture. I forget how much greater what we have, is compared to all that they have. I lose sight; like a dumb animal (Ps 73:21-22.). Who wants the blessings that are upon the wicked? I am ashamed of myself for thinking it at all.
I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel and afterward you will receive me to glory.” 
God is all I need. HE is all we ever need. Focus on the eternal.
Whom have I in heaven but you?  And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps 73:25-26.) 
God is our reward. May we never forget. Remove our eyes from those wicked that are before us and look up . Seek His kingdom.  If we look to the world, if we compare with the world ~ there is o comparison. Great is our reward and that reward is Him. For all of eternity. This world is dark; it gets darker all the time. Right is wrong and wrong is right. There is no good thing here for us. As His children, let us never forget we are  in the world but we are NOT of the world.

It’s not Working

Home education is tricky. Especially with my oldest son. We have no doubt this is what God called us to do for our children BUT the how – it’s becoming fuzzier as they get older and wiser. As they seek their own way.  I have been quite frustrated; trying to renew my mind. Think on a new way, a better way, for my oldest. And then I found this, hidden away on my shelf; back behind a bunch of other books (It’s amazing there is one I have not read, and that I never noticed missing! lol).

I love the title. I love how it says “growing…in the freedom of Christ.”  Now I admit I am not so knowledgeable when it comes to the method of unschooling. Honestly it always kind of struck me as a “by the seat of your pants” method with little structure and lots of chaos. So it was encouraging to read within these pages, what it really means. Especially to those seeking an education with Christ at the center of it all.

In the beginning we read about the dream we all may have, when we first begin this journey and how perfect and neat we imagine it to be. In reality:

“…still in her robe, trying to wipe the table free of crumbs while a sick toddler clings whining to her legs. After several false starts she finally gets all the children to the table which is still sticky with jam. Her six-year-old is clutching his paper airplanes, making loud whirring noises while flying reconnaissance missions over the juice his three- year-old sister has just spilled. After cleaning the juice she distracts the two youngest with a story tape then sets her eight-year-old with the poem he was supposed to copy last Monday. According to her teacher planning book, the one that has almost fallen apart from frequent erasing, they are one week behind. She sighs when she notices that her eight-year-old is tapping his pencil and staring out the window with a vacant look in his eyes. She reprimands him and they begin their tri-weekly fight over school work. She is demanding and cajoling and he is both defiant and defeated… they are both in tears and she sends him to his room. Her six-year-old looks up at her, “Do I have to do my handwriting,” he asks.” Tired of arguing she shakes her head no and he happily scampers off to play with his airplanes. “Lord,” she asks silently, “why is this so hard? I was so sure that you wanted me to homeschool my children. They are so obedient in so many things, why is our school such a struggle?”

I would be lying if I said we never had this experience. Too many mornings are like this, as of late, in our home. In many ways to me, it only goes to show that what we are doing just is not working. For any of us. We need children to grow up learning to love the process. Seeking on their own opportunities to learn about the things that intrigue them. How to find the information; different ways to communicate and solve problems when they arise. This is not happening now.

And so I am reading. And considering. Trying to wrap my mind around something that sounds so fabulous, so free and exciting and real. Because that is what I believe learning should be. It should be something that is alive and active; something we look forward to. Sure there will still be challenges and struggles now and then. Yet if we are really learning, if we are involved and it is a part of our life, those difficult times will not be so bad. We will take ownership of it; we will (In time) embrace those challenges knowing that we will overcome.

The Lord created each one of us uniquely; why do we buy into the lie that there is only one way we can learn? Unschooling, interest-led learning- this can allow so much if we have faith; if we come into all things with a bit of humility. (Matt 18:3) Surely we must teach them diligently (Deuteronomy 6:7) We are responsible for nurture and admonishment of the Lord. We can be most diligent indeed as we learn and walk with our children; seeking out opportunities, mentors, creative opportunities.

I seek only Christ as my example. It is true, Christ was with His disciples ALWAYS> They did everything together; they ate and slept and walked and talked, worked and listened. They lived with Him and this was what allowed them to be so much like Him; to walk so closely in His steps. This is how they developed the power and the gifts the Lord blessed them with, so fully.

I pray for the Lord to open my eyes as I read and to open my heart and enlarge my faith, not just in Him but in my children. In my abilities. As I read, please do share your experiences. I will blog some more in a few days, as I complete the next chapter in this lovely book. Seeking nothing but a greater way to grow in Christ, and the freedom we have.

A Day in Our Homeschool