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Pursuing Him

4 Oct

I feel as if I’ve been tested at every turn lately.  I want to choose the proper path but I can’t find the road map.  I crave simplicity in a complex world. 

I’ve been frustrated and close to tears.  Fortunately, I noticed the below daily devotional by Dr. Charles Stanley and it has taken me by the shoulders and given me a gentle shake.  May it help you too, in any circumstance that you find yourself.

October 4
Knowing and Trusting the Lord 

Psalm 9:7-10 

How much do you trust God?  Before answering, consider these scenarios.  Do you really trust the Lord when everything seems out of control and He appears absent? . . . when He’s called you to move in a certain direction that seems illogical and risky? . . . when painful circumstances continue, making you wonder if the Lord really cares? 

We all have times of doubt when our expectations of God are dashed by the reality of our situation.  Many of us want to trust Him more but aren’t sure how to do so. 

David reveals that the key lies in knowing the Lord (v. 10).  Distance in our relationship with Him results in a lack of faith, but those who are intimately acquainted with Christ find it easier to trust Him wholeheartedly. 

Whenever you are tempted to doubt, remember these three essential truths about the Lord: 

• He is completely sovereign (Ps. 103:19).  God has everything in His control even when we can’t perceive it. 

• He is infinitely wise (Rom. 11:33-36).  The Lord knows every side of the situation (inside and out) and every event (past, present, and future).  

• He loves perfectly (Ex. 34:6).  Without exception, He always chooses what is best for us, even if it’s not easy. 

We grow in faith, not by trying harder to believe but, rather, by pursuing the Lord.  This involves doing all we can to get to know Him—in particular, spending time in His Word and talking to Him in prayer.  Then our trust in Him will grow as we learn that He never forsakes those who seek Him.  

To blog or not to blog?

1 Oct

I’m in the midst of making a major shift in our classroom.  I don’t know if or how the fresh approach will affect my blog.  The curriculum that I’m currently scrutinizing and reviewing is the opposite of how I learned; therefore I am in foreign territory.  It’s very scary.  It’s exciting too because I can see light at the end of the tunnel.  That light is me, my life.  I am considering the curriculum for both my children and for me.  If I am consistently haggard and exhausted, I’ll be no good to anyone in the family.  Thus the new direction.

Please pray for me and my husband as we weigh our options.  I know God is close by.  He shoulders my burdens and listens to my cries and doubts.  I want to please Him.  As long as I keep Him as my center, I know I’ll be okay.

Blessings for a wonderful weekend!

Fresh Perspective

30 Sep

God works in wonderful ways.  He always puts the right people in my path when I need it the most.

I’m almost four weeks into our new school year, and honestly I’m exhausted.  I spend on average two hours per night planning, checking and preparing our workboxes.  Many evenings, I don’t walk upstairs from the basement classroom until after 10 p.m. – just in time to go to bed.  I miss my life and my husband!

Something has to change.  I cannot believe that God intended our homeschool to literally consume me.

In my frustration, I made a remark on Face Book and one of my wise friends immediately messaged me.  We’ve been chatting back and forth all day!  She reminded me of the old acronym: K.I.S.S. or Keep It Simple, Sweetie!  How so?  She recommended a website to me, www.robinsoncurriculum.com and advised me to learn about Dr. Art Robinson’s methodology.  On the website, I clicked on a video of Dr. Robinson talking about his experience in homeschooling.  Enlightening.

Praise God for giving me the gift of another selfless, lovely homeschooling mother of seven.  Her breadth of knowledge has lifted me out of my darkened hole and awakened my spirit to new possibilities.  For that, I’m grateful to her and to our patient Lord.

I am reminded of His great presence in my life by Dr. Charles Stanley’s Sept 29th Daily Devotional: 

God’s Provision 
Matthew 14:22-34

No one gets through life without trials.  Realistically, you are either in a storm, just getting out of a one, or about to enter a turbulent time.  That is the bad news. Thankfully, we serve a good God who provides beautifully—especially during the dark periods of life.

Today’s passage tells of a stormy night on the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus provides for us today just as He did for His disciples in that unsettling situation.  Today, we will focus on ways that He does this.

First, the Father gives Christians His presence and the promise that He will never leave (Heb. 13:5-6).  This is, perhaps, the greatest gift because from this awareness, He offers a sense of comfort, courage, and confidence.

Second, the Lord blesses His children with a pathway through trouble.  He is in total control of our storm and will use the trial for His purpose.  We may not understand, but we can trust His hand to guide us and accomplish good.  Sometimes the reason and benefit of a difficulty will becomes obvious, while in other cases, it may never be clear.

Third, the Father offers believers the potential to grow.  Hardships are exercises in trust and times to learn more fully who God is and how great His power and love are.

No one enjoys trials.  But remember to express gratitude for God’s hand in your life and the way He will use the adversity.  Hardships are chances to trust your Creator and to know Him better.  Of course, they are painful, but don’t waste the opportunity to become all the Lord has planned for you. 

Three Saves

21 Sep

As soon as I brought my son downstairs for breakfast, our day began to crash and burn.  He didn’t want to cooperate; he preferred to be held.  If I put him down to prepare toast or cereal, he started to scream and fuss.  Nobody could console him, only me.  Obviously this isn’t a practical solution; especially not in a homeschool environment.

Praise God that a quick answer came to me.  I made an impromptu decision to scrap our original plans and take the kids on a nature hunt.  I could incorporate several topics and lessons that my girls were learning such as counting, sorting, the changing seasons, the sun and cells in plants and animals.  Phew!

Since all of our subject bases were accounted for, we gathered water cups, three Ziploc bags and headed for the door. 

Despite the heat, we collected birds’ feathers, different types of tree leaves, acorns, a torn butterfly wing and a super snake-skin!

Unfortunately, my son’s demeanor didn’t improve after lunch and I was at my wit’s end.  God saved me a second time when the postman placed Homeschooling Today into our mailbox.  I read “A Tree Planted by the Waters” by the magazine’s publisher, Steve Murphy.  His description of two trees – a perfectly manicured and fast-growing pear tree versus a very slow-growing oak tree lightened my heart (and my load).  I loved how Mr. Murphy compared the strong root system of the oak to children learning steadily and faithfully towards Christian maturity and outlasting the numerous worldly temptations or storms.  My favorite passage is this one:

“He enjoys his childhood and knows that the lessons he learns will be invaluable when storm winds blow.  His branches will not grow in perfect uniformity and at the same rate as the others because the beauty of his uniqueness glorifies God as he reflects God’s creative image.  The storm winds move his branches but do not break them.  He will not only survive but also shield others around him with his strength.”

Alas, my tale doesn’t end there.  My son awoke from his nap, caught sight of me and resumed his tantrum.  Could God help me find peace again?  Indeed!

Tonight, I had the pleasure and honor of registering for two free Webinars.  “How and Why Homeschooling Works” featured Dr. Jay Wile.  Perfectly timed for he discussed the documented benefits (and above average statistics) of homeschooled children.  To my surprise, the longer a child is homeschooled – specifically grades 6 – 12, the greater the success and the higher the standards of learning compared to private and publicly schooled children.  I truly needed to hear these statistics on a day like today when the barrage of doubts flooded my mind and threatened my confidence.

The second Webinar “Harvard or Heaven” by Voddie Baucham was very insightful and informative.  I learned about a new resource for college-bound children – College Plus.  College Plus is a unique, out-of-the-box approach to higher education.  Although my oldest is barely ten, I bookmarked the website and will place the idea on my mental back-burner.

All in all, the day was poor.  But God provided me sustenance in unconventional ways.  No fairy god-mother magically appeared on my front porch and relieved me of my responsibilities, however He did deliver some very thought-provoking messages.  These words gave me peace and reiterated the importance of homeschooling.  As Dr. Wile pointed out, the child may not appreciate the efforts of her homeschooling parents right now, but there’s no doubt that her parents will be the best role model for demonstrating the power of sacrificial love.  To that, I thank all of my three saves.

A Gift That Always Gives

15 Sep

I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t read the Bible as a child, teenager or young adult.  Even though I attended mass every Sunday, I had little knowledge of His Word.  In fact, I didn’t actively pursue the Bible until a few short years ago.

Thanks to my neighbor – a pastor of a local non-denominational church – a spark has ignited in me for reading and understanding the Scriptures.  So often, I can turn to a book in the Bible and find relief from my own frustration or heartache.

I’m fortunate and richly blessed to be able to homeschool my children.  I can pass the importance of reading the Bible and humbling ourselves to the Lord onto them.  Nobody did that for me, but I won’t make that same mistake with my daughters and son! 

I’m privileged and honored to share devotionals with the kids each school day.  Many mornings, we sit on the rug and I’ll share pieces of my childhood and how God saved me and continues to inspire me.  No, not all of them comprehend what I say, but I pray the younger ones hear the love for our Lord in their mom’s voice.  And anything is possible with The Savior by our side!  The Bible is the gift that always gives.

 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. [Philippians 4:13]