Encouragement, Homeschooling

When Mommy Goes Back to School

 

 

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”

C.S. Lewis

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Your daily routines… same things, just on a different day. You know what to expect and though life can at times seem mundane, you are seemingly happy, peaceful, and content. But then, just when you feel like you’ve kind of got your stuff together and are feeling pretty good about all of your efforts, with everything is in its place, and you know what lies ahead of you, God throws a curveball into your life that you never saw coming. A curveball that knocks your lights out and leaves you trying to grasp if those birdies looming above your head have just become your new reality.

2019 has been a year of big changes for us! In case you didn’t know… change is difficult for me. I don’t like it at all. I hate uncertainty. I thrive off of schedules, routines, and lists. I love the safety and security that comes with having a routine. I love making to-do lists and the satisfaction that comes from putting that little check mark beside a completed task. After an extensive self analysis, I discovered that I found a large portion of my self-worth in what I was able to get accomplished. Life felt great without the worries of what I was going to be doing that day, the next, and the following week…or so I thought.

Yeah, I thought I pretty much had life my planned out. The problem being, I had gotten so caught up with “being in control” and “scheduled”, that I began to rely more on myself than I did on God. I prayed and asked God to help with situations as they would occur, but instead of leaving things in His hands, I took it upon myself to try and remedy the situation…usually making a big ole’ mess of everything.

As a homeschooling mommy to six children that had made her place as a wife, mother, and homemaker, I never envisioned myself going to college, but God had a plan for me. At 32, after being out of school for almost 15 years, God provided me with an opportunity to further my own education. I have to admit, I was overwhelmed with the fear of failing. I just didn’t know if I could handle full time classes and schoolwork on top of everything else I already had on my plate, but when God has a plan for your life, He always makes a way for you! I have been able to further my education while being at home with my children, and for that I am so thankful!

Returning to college has been an amazing experience thus far. This process has richly added to our homeschooling  journey. I have been able to incorporate some of the topics from my coursework into fun and exciting unit studies for my children. We have been learning new things together and I enjoy the experience and opportunity that much more for it. I recently wrapped up my first semester back to college with a 4.0. God has been so good to me and has been with me every step of the way. I don’t know what God has in store for the days ahead, but I know that I trust Him, and I’m excited for the new paths that He is paving in our lives.

 

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Encouragement

If We Are Faithless, He Remains Faithful

2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

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Life… it’s totally unpredictable. Sure, we all have plans for our future and have set goals for ourselves that we strive to achieve during our lifetime. Some of them come to fruition, while others are left unfulfilled. Life is beautiful but at times messy. It’s seemingly peaceful whilst still teeming with chaos. It’s joyful yet at times filled with indescribable sorrow. Life and the situations that we face within it influence us in one way or another, whether we like it or not.

But here’s a simple truth… our lives won’t always reflect shiny rainbows, sweet gumdrops, and glitter doused unicorns. Death, loss, grief, unemployment, loneliness, sickness, disappointment… Why is it that during the seasons of good fortune that our faith seems so much easier to pronounce? The procurement and profession of our faith when things are going the way we want them to occurs almost effortlessly, but when life takes those unexpected turns, why does it suddenly become harder for us to stand on the same platform that we so easily stood on before?

During those trying times when our faith seems to dim and hope begins to waver, it’s important to remember that God’s faithfulness to US does NOT. It never has and it never will. God remains faithful to us despite what we might be facing or enduring. He promised He would NEVER leave us or forsake us. He promised us that we could trust Him. He promised to supply our every need and that He would make all things work for our good. God loves us despite our mistakes and mishaps. He loves us despite our shortcomings and failures.

We have the ability to be content in every situation, in every season, and in every circumstance in our life. (Philippians 4:11-13) We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Things might seem dark, difficult, and maybe even hopeless right now, but cleave to your faith my friends. God will answer. He will provide. He will make a way. He is faithful! Never give up on God, because He never gives up on you.

 

 

Encouragement

Who Am I?

 

untitled.pngWe each have our own personal identity. We have driver’s licenses containing our photos and personal information and assigned numbers from the government used to help identify us. Our fingerprints, medical and dental records, and other unique physical characteristics can be used for purposes of identification. We also tend to classify ourselves into groups…our job title ( I’m a doctor, lawyer, business owner,student). I’m a wife/husband, mother/father, daughter/son, family member/friend. As a society, we have created a plethora of identifying criteria for ourselves that we use on a daily basis. We even make the mistake sometimes of letting others classify us as this or as that, and we even start to believe their words at times (some of which can be quite hurtful) I love seeing others happy! It’s an amazing rush that flows through me when I see those smiles and hear their laughter! However, I all too easily allow myself to fall into a self made “people pleaser trap” if I’m not cautious. I start to draw my self worth from the opinions of others. I start identifying myself by what others think of me. When those thoughts and opinions aren’t so nice…I STRUGGLE  But why? God knows my heart and my intentions so why do I let what others say and think about me affect me so greatly? THE ANSWER: I’m trying to find my identity in the world and in others. My identity needs to be found in Christ! I AM WHO HE SAYS I AM! I am REDEEMED. I am FORGIVEN. I am LOVED. I am ACCEPTED I am CHOSEN! Not everyone is going to like me…and that’s ok! The world can call me what they will, but I know who I am…and I AM HIS! So, with that being said…DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU REALLY ARE?

Encouragement

I Am Not A Victim… I Am A VICTOR!

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I’ve been in a real slump this week. So, when I woke up with a God given giddy-up in my step this morning, I was ECSTATIC! I was EXCITED for LIFE, fully of ENERGY, and READY for the day and it felt GOOD! The devil didn’t like that very much though. 1 leaky poop diaper, 1 1/2 gallon of spilt milk, 1 overflowing sink from a “Barbie Pool Party”, 1 broken cellphone, and a squished doggy doodle in my carpet later, I wasn’t feeling as enthusiastic about my day. :/ As I was trying to clean up, my heart became so burdened for my husband. I began praying for God to keep him safe and to surround him with a hedge of protection. A few minutes later, he called me. I was so happy to hear his voice. He always has a way of making me feel calm and collected. I started unloading on the events from my morning and ended with a sarcastic, “So…how has YOUR day been going?” to which he replied “Well, I was driving along and a truck hauling scrap metal had a large piece fly off the truck and hit my car.” My stomach started to feel queasy. ” It ripped the mirror off and scraped down the side of the car.” I was beginning to break out in a cold sweat apprehensive of what words might be coming from his mouth next. ” They didn’t stop or come back, BUT I’M FINE!” The words I was waiting to hear! My panic and fear quickly turned to anger and frustration. “GREAT, JUST WHAT WE NEEDED! NOW I’VE GOT TO TRY AND BUDGET FOR ANOTHER CAR REPAIR! WHY CAN THINGS NEVER JUST BE EASY! IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING! ONE RIGHT AFTER THE OTHER!” I felt myself sinking into the “poor pitiful me” mindset. The devil was having a field day with my thoughts by this point. Stress, finances, worries, fears…and then I heard…” YOU ARE BLESSED HEATHER. HE IS FINE! THINGS COULD HAVE BEEN A LOT DIFFERENT.” That snapped me back to reality in a second. Oh Lord, I am SO BLESSED and THANKFUL! My husband IS SAFE! My children are healthy and SAFE! YOU ARE SO GOOD!!!! Forgive me for being so selfish and allowing the devil to make me feel as though I am a victim to my circumstances. I AM NOT A VICTIM BUT I AM A VICTOR THROUGH CHRIST! Jesus has already defeated our enemy! We can not approach life from a stance of defeat. We must approach life from a position of VICTORY! LIFE…it’s hard for ALL OF US! Things ARE going to happen. Today when those “things” happen and the enemy tries to make you lose sight of what’s really important, when he tries to make you feel drained and discouraged, declare VICTORY over him THROUGH CHRIST JESUS! God has given us ONE life…it’s PRECIOUS! Cars…they can be fixed, doggy doodles can be scrubbed, spilt milk can be mopped…but we have ONE life and I am going to live mine serving my GOD and from a position of VICTORY that HE has ALREADY won FOR ME! If God puts it on your heart to pray, STOP DROP AND PRAY PEOPLE! It is for a reason! Prayer changes things!

Encouragement

GPS – God’s Positioning System

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The alarm clock blares…it’s that time again. Time to get up, get dressed, and out the door. You gather yourself and your belongings, buckle your seatbelt, program the GPS, and hit the pavement! You KNOW where you are going! You already have a specific destination plotted on your GPS. It’s telling you how to get where you need to go. All the turns and exits are mapped out for you and all the guesswork has been removed from the equation. If you follow the directions given, you WILL get to your destination. ( eventually for the most part 😜 WV backroads are a little tricky ) But, what if you got behind the wheel with no destination in mind? 🤔You would just continue driving endlessly, right? With no purpose, no direction, nothing to work towards, no stopping point…you’re just making circles around yourself, going no where! 🚦This analogy can be used to describe us…when we are without a VISION. The Bible says that ” where there is no vision, the people perish” PROVERBS 29:18 Has God given you a vision for YOUR life? Have you asked him for one? Maybe you feel like your are running in circles, unsure of where to go, what turn to take next. Life has you stuck at a crossroads and you don’t know where to go from there. 🛑 You need to consult a different GPS ( GOD’S POSITIONING SYSTEM) ASK God for a vision for your life! ASK him for direction! He WILL guide and lead you…IF you allow him to. When you are obedient to God, when you go where HE tells you to go, and do what HE tells you to do…you will NEVER be left spinning your wheels. That doesn’t mean it will always be easy. There will be changes that occur in your life…the people, the places…the plans YOU had for yourself…change isn’t always so easy, it isn’t always comfortable… BUT…GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE! HE HAS PLANS TO PROSPER YOU AND TO NOT HARM YOU! HE HAS PLANS TO GIVE YOU HOPE AND A FUTURE (JEREMIAH 29:11) Seek God and the vision that HE has for your life today! Let Him have control of the wheel and be ready for the amazing places He will take you!

Encouragement

As Iron Sharpens Iron…

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I have always loved learning about history! During my own education, it was my favorite subject. Now, as a homeschool mom, it’s my favorite subject to teach as well! (I’m quite certain I drive my family insane with all of the historical documentaries we watch ) Do you remember the stories of those brave knights who fought valiantly with their clanging metal armor and glistening swords? Envisioning those swords always makes me think of PROVERBS 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” A warrior is NOT going to go to battle with a dull, dented, and dingy sword. ( Well he COULD, but it might be the last time he ever would )He needs a strong, straight, and sharp sword for combat! The same is true for us! We have to surround ourselves with people who are going to sharpen us! I NEED MY PEOPLE, MY SHARPENERS and I’m not afraid to admit it! They BLESS my life! My people who encourage me when I feel like giving up. My people who inspire me to learn more and to grow closer to God and immerse myself in His word deeper and deeper. My people who love me enough to offer Godly correction when I’ve made a mess of things. My people who help to uplift me when I’m not strong enough to stand on my own two feet. My people who join forces with me to go to battle in prayer and stay the course until victory is achieved. The force of friction that is used to produce that sharpening works both ways. As much as WE need others to inspire and “sharpen” us, others need US to help “sharpen” them. Today, surround yourself with SHARPENERS! Surround yourself with BUILDERS and UPLIFTERS! Choose to be a sharpener, a builder, and an up-lifter today to someone else.

Encouragement

Have You Brought Your Brokenness to God?

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Today, I’m thankful I serve a God who knows when my heart is burdened. He knows my thoughts without me saying a word. He knows my heart without an explanation. He knows my hurt when the tears are hidden from view. I’m thankful for the peace that He spoke to my troubled heart this morning! Lord, I’m so thankful! I’m thankful for His love and that everywhere I’ve turned today, His message was there to remind me! Thank you Lord for loving me when I’m a mess, when I feel the world is against me, and I am struggling to be strong. You are GOOD and I am thankful! He knows YOUR heart too. TALK TO HIM TODAY…HE CARES…AND HE’S LISTENING! GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted

and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” PSALM 34:17-19

Encouragement

Hot Mess Express

All Aboard The Hot Mess Express

You pull into the parking lot on 2 wheels, while gently ushering (who am I kidding, you’re flat out yelling right now) at your kids to get their shoes back on, to stop poking one another, and to quit wiping their snot on the clothes you spent 30 minutes digging out of Mt. Clothesoovious, that sprung to life in your bedroom 2 weeks ago that you’ve yet found the time or energy to tackle,( don’t even get me started on finding a matching pair of socks ) and you threaten their mere existence if they unbuckle ONE more time before your van stops moving completely. Church started 10 minutes ago and time is ticking. You frantically jump out after throwing your van into park, heart racing, sweat dripping (you remember the extra strength deodorant you bought sitting on the bathroom counter (that you forgot to put on) because everyone suddenly was unable to blink on their own and needed you to do it FOR them simultaneously). You find some auto fabric freshener and decide its better than nothing and douse yourself with “New Car Scent”. You begin unbuckling car seats, reviewing manners and behavior expectations while herding the small army you and your husband created towards the church doors. You’re almost there! A-L-M-O-S-T! You reach for your purse/diaper/mom bag, but you can’t find it. You jump back in the van and start digging through the 4 inches of french fries and Goldfish crackers covering the floor. You suddenly remember it’s sitting by the bathroom door, where you left it, when you’re family decided they wanted to try for the Olympic gold medal for synchronized pooping when it was time to walk out the door. You feel that frustration start rising. The tears start welling up. While stepping out of the van you snag your sweater and it rips. Last straw level…reached. Your sweet, loving, kindhearted, good intentioned husband asks you if you’re okay and with one deep “Big Bad Wolf” inhalation, you recap your entire morning, while tears start rolling down your cheeks and you answer with a snarky, “Oh I’m FINE! JUST FINE!”. He looks at you like a deer paralyzed looking into oncoming traffic, afraid that if he moves the wrong way, he WILL die. Satan starts telling you what a terrible mom and wife you are. He fills your head with mom-guilt (your kids are going to hate you and move out on their own by the age of 6 because you’re a terrible human being) He tells you…look at you, all of these other moms have it together…you don’t see them pulling in here, hysterical and smelling like an air freshener hanging from their rearview mirror. You wipe the mascara off your cheeks (remembering you should have got waterproof) and then… here it comes…PSALM 42:11

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

REVELATION! When I allow myself to get caught up in the rush, in the chaos, in the trivial things of this world and I take my eyes and focus off of the important things of God…I land myself in an overwhelmed and exhausted mess, EVERYTIME. I need to focus on my relationship with my Savior and draw my strength and joy from HIM! I have to turn my worries into worship and transform my anxieties into praises for HIM! My hope is in the LORD! NO ONE, NOT A SINGLE PERSON, “has it all together”, but GREATER IS HE LIVING IN ME, THAN HE THAT IS IN THIS WORLD. (JOHN 4:4) We ALL struggle but how we choose to handle it makes the difference. ❤ Make an effort to praise HIM through your struggles today. God loves you and I do to!

Encouragement

Strongholds and Fortified Towers

Have you ever seen an angry chicken? (I’m from WV) 🐔😱 A puffed up, flappin’ and squawkin’ around, utterly irate chicken? This morning my feathers got ruffled…and nearly plucked out! The more I pondered and stewed over my thoughts, the angrier I got. The angrier I got, the more my actions began to embody that poor aforementioned chicken. 😤 The enemy kept trying to pour salt in my open wounds. My mind swirled with thought after thought ,nothing in particular even, but more like a compilation of all of the hurts I had buried deep down inside and decided for whatever reason I didn’t need to actually face and deal with it at the time, and he just kept pouring gasoline on the open fire…it was quickly reaching wildfire status. As an introvert who very quickly became an expert at building fortified walls to protect myself, I hold a lot in. I push unpleasant things back, falsely telling myself “Out of sight, and out of mind”. Eventually my reservoir for unwanted feelings and emotions, becomes full and uncontrollably spills out. I come unglued, I pop my top…whichever catch phrase you prefer…I’m a HOT MESS for a minute ( my poor husband, he is honestly one of the most loving, kind, forgiving, and patient men on the face of the Earth and I’m so blessed to have him ❤ I KNOW dealing with me isn’t easy at times ) 😖 Through my tears this morning, the Holy Spirit fell like rain and extinguished the raging flames of anger that were burning inside of me. YEARS of anger. He picked me up out of the smoldering ashes and He brought comfort to my soul. The first true PEACE I’ve felt in a LONG time. He brought conviction upon me for my prideful anger and behavior. He reminded me of God’s love for me and that I don’t have to carry these burdens around. I was never meant to! ” Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” PSALM 55:22 Strongholds in our lives can be hard to break. Walls we have built can be difficult to tear down, but they can be overcome through Christ Jesus! I don’t have to build walls to protect MYSELF, BECAUSE I AM SAFE IN HIM! “The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” PROVERBS 18:10
❤ GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!

Encouragement

It’s that time again y’all!

Ahhhh…sweet summertime. Here it is again! Schools are out of session, air conditioners are running, swimming pools are open, the smell of tanning lotion fills the air, and slumber parties and family vacations are in full swing. Pass me some pina colada please people! 😉 As a year round homeschooling family, our schedule differs slightly from the mainstream population. The beginning of summertime means it’s also assessment time! Our state requires a yearly assessment to be completed for each child. There are a few options to choose from, but we usually opt for an annual homeschool portfolio which showcases the child’s work from throughout the entire year for a review. As I started compiling papers, projects, pictures, and reports from this past year, I had such a rush of emotions. The memories associated with each assignment, the progress we have made from the beginning of the year, all the laughs AND even the tears, that we have experienced this year…WOW, what a year! I started pondering on all of the changes that have occurred in our lives just over the past year. Change doesn’t come easily for me…it never has. A year ago, I could have never imagined all of the changes, all of the experiences, we would have encountered by this point in our lives… love and loss, joy and sadness, sickness and health, life and death, days of ease and days of struggle,lots of laughs and tons of tears. God has placed some amazing people in our lives while he has helped us say goodbye to others this year and we have had to learn some pretty hard lessons along the way. Through all of these changes, all of these various “seasons” of our life, there is one thing that has remained constant… GOD HAS BEEN WITH US EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. HE HAS NEVER LEFT OUR SIDE! HIS LOVE FOR US IS UNCHANGING. Regardless of our circumstances, God has worked them ALL for our GOOD as He promised He would do in His Word. (ROMANS 8:28) So here’s to CHANGE! Here’s to GROWING! Here’s to TOMORROW that will never be like today! Here’s to new SEASONS in our life. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, BUT I know the one who holds my tomorrow. Let’s embrace the change God has brought to your life. His plans for us are good! (JEREMIAH 29:11) GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” (ECCLESIASTES 3:1-8)