Do you ever feel like life gets in the way of homeschooling? My own homeschooling story has been posted today over on Teach Them Diligently. I hope it encourages you!
Daily Life Category
“Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
“’Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.’
“Then said I:
‘Ah, Lord God!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.’
“But the Lord said to me:
‘Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of their faces,
For I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord.
“Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me:
‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.’” Jeremiah 1:4-9
How often do I feel like Jeremiah – inadequate. I remember feeling that I was too young. That doesn’t seem to be such an issue any more. ;-) But the inadequacy continues. I am too unorganized, too undisciplined, too unknown, too busy, too inconsistent, too weak, too exhausted, and even too old.
Wait just a minute! Who is it that has called me? Who has given me the work to do? Is it not the same One who called Jeremiah? Did He not know me even before I was born? Did He not also set me apart for a specific purpose?
If the Lord has called me to do a job, He will give me the tools to do it. He will give me the ability to become more organized, to discipline myself. He will give me the rest and strength that I need, and put the needed words in my mouth.
My part is just to obey. Yes, OBEY. It doesn’t matter whether or not I feel qualified. It doesn’t matter if I am too tired, too lazy, too whiny, too… If I obey, the Lord will faithfully provide me with the qualifications and the adequacy.
So why is it so hard to do my part when I know He is faithful to do His part?
“It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” Acts 1:7
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. ” Jeremiah 29:11
I can hardly believe that 2011 is now history. It is 2012. How does the time fly by so quickly?
2011 was an interesting year for our family. Thankfully, the poor health that I suffered in 2010 was improved, so I was able to be more active. My oldest son finished his Eagle Scout requirements by his 18th birthday, and we enjoyed a very special Eagle Scout Court of Honor for him in May. The week before his Court of Honor, our family enjoyed a week’s vacation with my parents in a historical location. The week *after* the Court of Honor, I started a very busy season of selling as a HomeWorks by Precept consultant, working our state convention and holding several hotel displays of BJU Press Curriculum, Rosetta Stone, and Logos Science kits.
Two of my boys went to summer camp in the middle of my busyness, and came home having been exposed to whooping cough! Of course, we didn’t know that, and just thought that the kids were coming down with normal colds. On the day of my last hotel meeting, I was feeling very sorry that I was away from home when I had 8 sick children at home, and then I came down with the bug a few days later. However, when the children who had gotten sick first were showing no sign of improvement after 3 weeks of being sick, I went online for answers. Imagine my shock when I discovered that we all had whooping cough! Although some of us had been fully vaccinated, including boosters, all 8 children and I came down with it. Needless to say, our busyness evaporated, as we voluntarily quarantined ourselves!
By November, we were long past any contagion factor, although most of us still have residual coughing. (A friend of mine who had also gone through whooping cough with her children told me that it was 6 YEARS before she no longer had residual coughing!) My 87-year-old mother-in-law was remarrying after almost 3 years of widowhood, so our whole family got to make the trip to the west coast for her wedding! (That was one special wedding! 2 87-year-olds, both of whom had been married to their first spouses for 64 years and then lost those spouses to death within 3 months of each other. They had a combined 128 years of marriage between them!) We had a wonderful time, spending Thanksgiving with my side of the family, attending the wedding, seeing old friends, and spending time with family on both sides.
So now we look forward to a brand new year. Lord willing, we will have 2 more sons make Eagle Scout. I look forward to an even busier selling season than last year, and we have lots of goals for all of us. However, while we can make all kinds of goals and have all sorts of visions for the year, we cannot know what the future will hold. Only the Lord knows what is in His plan for us, and I am thankful that I can trust Him completely to work things out for the best. I am excited about seeing what the Lord has for our family this year!
How was your 2011? What are you looking forward to in 2012?
“According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” Eph 1:4-6 (KJV)
I think these are my favorite verses in the entire Bible. At the beginning of the year, I decided to “park” in Ephesians for the whole year, and it hasn’t gotten old yet! Every time I read through it (sometimes the whole thing in a day, sometimes just part of it for the day), there is something fresh that jumps out at me. But the above verses are my absolute favorites.
I have always been fascinated by adoption. I love the idea that a child who is deprived of the most basic of human needs – the love of a family – can be so fully integrated into another family that it is as if they had been born into that family, with all the rights, with all of the parental love given to natural born children.
This is what the Lord has done for me. Even before the creation of the world, He looked into the future, saw me, and CHOSE me. I am and could never be anything on my own. Yet He so fully integrated me into His own family that I share the inheritance rightly belonging to His own Son!
I am far from what I want to be as a wife, as a mother, as a friend … as a Christian. Worse yet, I am far from what my husband needs in a wife, what my children need in a mother, what my friends need in a friend, and what I should be as a Christian. In spite of that, though, I am fully accepted by my Father because of Jesus Christ.
Now THAT is amazing GRACE!
“In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138:3 (KJV)
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy.” Colossians 1:9-11 (NKJV)
My mom left me a comment on my last entry that referenced the verse above from the Psalms. She told me that she is praying for “strength of soul” for me. Later today, a friend of mine who is going through a difficult time of a much greater magnitude than I forwarded the verse from Colossians that somebody had quoted to her. As I read the verse, I realized again how much the prayers of other people really do mean to us! When other people are lifting us up to the Lord in prayer, He is faithful to answer those prayers.
My mom said that she was not just praying for physical strength for me, but for strength of soul. I believe that was the intent meant for my friend, as well, as her difficulty is not a physical one. I was reading over the two verses together and realized that the Lord allows us to go through times when our physical strength may be lacking so that we can develop stronger souls! And even more than that, He Himself becomes our strength when we stop trying to do it all on our own. When I am honest with myself, I realize that there is no way that I can do it on my own – I crumble when I try. But when I allow Him to come alongside and be my strength, the difficulties seem to shrink. The problems may not go away, but my perspective changes and the problems don’t seem so overwhelming.
Why, oh why do I keep having to relearn this lesson? Why do I keep insisting that I need to go on in my own strength?!?
Oh, and for those who are wondering, the test results for Lyme Disease were negative. I’m praising the Lord!
“Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5
Now that my 15 year-old son is recovering from Lyme Disease, I am waiting for test results to show whether or not I also have Lyme Disease. (I had expected to know by now, but the doctors’ office lost the test results. Grr. ) If I do have it, it will be the 7th case of it in our family in the last 4 years! I started to have pain in my knees when my baby was about 6 weeks old, and that pain has now spread to most of my other joints. I feel like I would expect to feel in my 70′s, not my late 30′s. I am also dealing with extreme fatigue. If I did not have 8 children to care for, I believe that I could sleep all day, every day! It didn’t occur to me at first that it might be Lyme Disease, because I did not have the high fevers that were associated with the first 5 cases our family had. However, when I saw that my 15 year-old definitely had Lyme Disease but had not had the high fevers, I realized that I needed to get checked.
It can be discouraging to go through health problems day after day, week after week, month after month, and sometimes year after year. I am blessed in that my health problems have been relatively minor. I have not had to deal with any of the really life-changing problems that face many people. Still, there are times when I am discouraged by the fact that my health is not as good as I think it should be. ;-)
My 15 year-old and I were listening to the radio in the car together Friday evening, and we got to hear the daily broadcast from Focus on the Family. We got to hear the story of Duane Miller, who had mysteriously lost his voice and just as mysteriously regained it several years later. In fact, we listened to a recording of him teaching on the verses quoted above when his voice was restored. The recording was painful to listen to in the beginning, as it sounded as if he had a severe case of laryngitis. However, as I listened to his voice being restored, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. I encourage you to listen to the January 15th broadcast of Focus on the Family!
Duane Miller talked in the broadcast about the sovereignty of God. He talked about how he had to come to grips with trusting the Lord for his voice. The Lord, in His wisdom, allowed Duane to lose his voice and struggle without it for several years. At just the right moment for His purposes, the Lord then restored Duane’s voice. Duane has gone on to have a successful speaking ministry.
Nick Vujicic is another person who has faced tremendous obstacles in life – obstacles that would have stopped many of us. I had seen him on YouTube before, but was sent this video again today. Nick was born without limbs, but lives life to the fullest, encouraging others to do the same.
Whether I have Lyme Disease or not, whether I feel good or not, whether or not things are going the way I think they should, I can still praise the Lord. And when I praise the Lord, He will help me to get through the day in a way that glorifies Him. Regardless of how my body feels, my youth is renewed like the eagle’s when I praise the Lord!
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:18
Sometimes, the hardest thing in the world can be to be thankful for something. It’s easy to be thankful for the blessings we receive. It’s easy to be thankful for sunshine and good health. It’s easy to be thankful for happy marriages and beautiful, obedient children. It’s easy to be thankful for good jobs and sufficient money coming in. It’s just easy to be thankful when things are going our way.
But life isn’t always about sunshine and good health. Marriages are failing all around us and children are going their own ways. More and more people are losing their jobs and most of us are concerned about whether or not the paycheck is going to stretch until the next one comes in. How are we to be thankful during those times?
I fail in being thankful more times than not, but I am really trying to train myself to look for the good in things. And I think that it is important that my children learn to do so as well. Sometimes it is harder than others, like when I feel that I’ve been hit with one thing after another. Right now is one of those times. When it seemed as if everybody was on the mend from the H1N1 virus and we were getting back on our routine, my 15 year-old son started to get sicker and sicker until he ended up in the hospital. The baby and I spent Thanksgiving week at the hospital with him as he confounded the doctors through one test after another. Thankfully, the doctors finally diagnosed Lyme Disease and started treatment for him, and we were all able to come home. However, we came home to 2 other children being sick with a cold! That cold has now passed to my husband and to me, and I’m currently feeling quite miserable with it.
Miserable as I am, I still have much for which to be thankful. While it does seem that we’ve been hit hard with one thing after another in the last couple of months, we still have an intact family, my loving husband still has a job to go to, and the 15 year-old is getting treatment and is doing MUCH better. Furthermore, if this bug follows the same pattern in me that it has with the others, I should be a whole lot less miserable tomorrow. ;-)
Once I get started, there are a great number of things that I could list about which I am thankful. Many of those include relatively minor details that the Lord has worked out in the last few weeks. Details such as being able to stay at the hospital with my son as he went through test after test, in spite of having my 3 1/2 month-old baby with me. We live a fair distance from the hospital, and there is no way that I could have gone back and forth to care for the baby. The hospital policy during flu season states that only parents are allowed to visit the patients. The fact that the baby had already had H1N1 played a big part in an exception being made for her. The nurses even brought a crib into the room for her!
Even though our family missed celebrating our favorite holiday together, we are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving once we are all feeling better. After all, who says that Thanksgiving can only be celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November? It would be much better if every day of the year were a day of Thanksgiving!
And after having listed just a few of the things for which I am thankful, I must say that I am feeling much better. :-)
P.S. Just after publishing this post, I went to iTunes to try to catch up on listening to some of the podcasts that I enjoy. The first one on my list was a Revive Our Hearts broadcast by Nancy Leigh Demoss titled “Abounding in Gratitude.” Talk about timing!
“This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
I am happy to report that most of the family seems to have fully recovered from our bout of flu! I say most, because my 15 year-old son got hit the hardest and is still regaining his strength, but the rest seem fully back to normal. While I didn’t succumb to the virus myself, I did have a full-blown case of exhaustion. This morning I woke up feeling rested for the first time in many days, and I’m eager to get back into my daily routine.
It’s not a particularly sunny day – in fact it is a “mostly cloudy” day with a chance of rain in the forecast. The autumn colors have faded, and many of the trees are barren of leaves. However, it is amazing how much brighter everything looks when there is strength coursing through the veins and eyelids aren’t being propped open with toothpicks! I may be dragging later in the day, but right now it feels good to just feel good.
While physical issues do have a bearing on how the day is viewed, my attitude is an even more important factor. I may not have a choice in how I feel physically, but I do have a choice in how I respond to the way I feel or to the things that are going on around me. It is much easier for me to rejoice in the day when things are going well than on those days when things aren’t going so well. Yet EVERY day is a “day that the Lord has made”, and I need to do a better job of remembering that. A conscious effort to “rejoice and be glad” will often turn a “bad” day into a “good” day. My attitude really does make a difference, and I’m afraid that it too often is a difference in the wrong direction. A “poor me” attitude automatically darkens the colors and makes it harder to handle the small challenges that are a normal part of a mother’s day. Why is it that it is so hard to remember that I have a choice in how I approach the day, and that things will go much more smoothly if I choose to approach the day with joy?
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:1-3
This is a favorite Psalm of Christians worldwide. It brings to mind a picture a life of ease in an idyllic setting. But more often than not, we find ourselves weary and thirsty. The cares of daily life wear us down, and those green pastures and still waters are only a mirage. We search for things to restore our souls, but end up feeling more and more used up and exhausted.
Wait a minute! Maybe the key is that we’re searching for THINGS to refresh us! While there’s nothing wrong with mom’s nights out or scrapbook crops or a good book and cup of coffee, those aren’t the things that we should be relying on to refresh us. Those things can help, but has anyone else ever noticed that the more things we do to give ourselves a break, the more we need/want? Too often, it seems that the more I try to use things or activites to give me the time off I need, the more restricted I feel. I seem to shrivel up in my soul, rather than grow and mature into a more happy wife and mother.
The Lord has promised refreshment, but He has said that HE will provide it. If I am not spending time relaxing in His presence, no amount of other things will satisfy my soul. He can certainly use outside activities to provide some of our rest, but it is time with Him that will truly rejuvenate me and cause me to mature and grow. I have seen this happen over and over again – why is it that I am still so quick to neglect that quiet time when things get hectic?
Why, oh why am I constantly having to relearn the same things over and over again?!
“And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. ” Exodus 17:11-12
Do you ever feel like you are in a daily battle as a mom? Sometimes we are battling to teach our children the basics of living. Other times, we are battling rebellion. And still other times, we are battling against the world for the hearts and minds of our children.
It is very easy to become exhausted in our daily battles. Some days, it doesn’t even seem worth bothering anymore. But when someone comes along beside us and lets us know that they understand what we’re going through and they are there to support us, it suddenly seems do-able again. This support might come from husbands or from friends. (For that matter, it can even come from someone we don’t know!) It can come in the form of physical help or giving us time off to recharge. But I think the most important form this support can take is prayer.
For those of us who are stay-at-home moms of young children, it can be hard to offer physical help to someone else … especially when we ourselves are often exhausted. However, one way that we CAN help each other is to pray for each other. Just knowing that a friend is praying for me can mean the difference between just barely making it through the day and making it through successfully. It can mean the difference between ending the day feeling defeated or ending the day feeling that something has been accomplished.
Are you feeling the need of prayer support today? Who do you know that might be need to be supported by your prayers?