Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Hard Days

Homeschooling is hard. Just hard. Every. day.

I quickly realized that just because we did school at home and I tried to avoid busy work and they didn't have to endure a bus ride and we weren't rushing around every morning, and all those things that I had hated or dreaded about school as a kid, it was still school.

There are requirements, assignments, deadlines, work, learning, stretching, growing. So, like it or not, my kids don't like school.

I think that's part of the reason I blog. It is a form of stress relief, yes, but also sitting down and looking back on the day I dig for the good things. The moments I don't ever want to forget.

Eli asking for Shakespeare for a bedtime story, and his love for reading anything and everything.

Nathan zooming through computer programming. Talking about theater and baseball in the middle of algebra, but then jumping right back into school.

Brooke's meticulous habits and strong work ethic that push her through grade after grade, subject after subject.

Faith's writing. The stories, the images that pour out of her pen are beautiful. The opportunities to serve and work on her own schedule.

Paige was always helping everyone and always with time to snuggle Eli. Her insight into stories and writing and Scripture.

Blake would bounce a ball against the wall while studying, able to slow down when needed, but mostly flying at his own pace.

And, the group moments - building a beaver dam in the backyard, experiments covering the kitchen counter (and floor), audio books for car rides, learning through life.

Those moments I didn't miss because they were home with me.

Those moments that I need to call to mind when I'm in a rough patch - crying through biology, clueless in calculus, up against teenage attitudes, confiscating a phone, trying to get past the blank stare to the light bulb moment.

It's a package deal - amazing, at home time for 18 years and exhausting at home time for 18 years, or so.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Prayer Challenge - Stewarding our gifts

Setting my mind on Him:

Pray through Scripture:
  • I Corinthians 12
  • Ephesians 4
  • Psalm 37 and 113

Confession:
  • Wasting time - I say I have no time, or I will begin __________ next week, or next season. There is time, I just choose not to use it to the best of my ability. Making changes. This week.

Heart of Gratitude:
  • Psalm 118:24 - This is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice, give thanks, use it all for Him

Prayer burdens:
  • That I would steward the gifts He has give me more consistently
  • Husband to serve Christ and shine for Him each day
  • Kids to recognize their gifts and not to take God's glory 
  • Utilize the gifts in the body of Christ with the greatest impact, greatest unity. That working together more souls would be reached for Him. Praying for changed hearts. 
  • Grief aches for a long time, a very long time. I continue to lift up my friends and family that lost their spouses this past year.

Response:

I ache as I see so much disunity in the Church. So much fighting over non-essentials and personality differences. Yet, I also see stirrings of something else. A growing love of the gospel. Truth spoken powerfully. Believers seeking to love those around them so they have a legitimate platform to share God's love. It's starting. It's coming. This past week I have heard numerous people talking of past revivals and seeking prayer for another - soon!

Praying hard for Christ's body to act in unity. Rejecting false teachings or watered down truth, and boldly proclaiming the Word of God together to bring in the harvest of hungry souls.

Lord, let us not grow weary in doing good, and neither let us grow comfortable just doing "good." May our faith continue to stir us to act, to move, to love, to speak truth. Use me, Lord, and connect me with other believers with the same hunger that we may see a powerful response of the Holy Spirit to our fervent prayers for Your light to shine brighter in our communities. ~Amen

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Really back

Well, here I am. Blogging again. More posts already this year than the last five years put together.

I figure it is time to catch everyone (ok, the six of you that happen on this post) up on life around here . . .



Blake, the oldest, our trail breaker. The thing is, you learn so much the first run through. Then, the second child comes along and only about 5 % of the lessons apply even remotely. Nonetheless, he stands on the edge of college graduation. A highly successful three years at Cedarville mixed with friends, hockey, computers, programming, life lessons, and lots of studies. June will find him on the other side of the country getting settled into a full time job just outside San Francisco. Very surreal.

Paige, already flown as well. A different path, but equally well suited for her. Children's Ministry has caught her eye for years and God keeps drawing and using her there. Sometimes parenting is hard because things don't go well, and sometimes it is hard because it does. Need to daily remind myself that the end goal is to work my way out of their daily reliance.

Faith, a tender heart, a desire to do her best, learning so much about herself and the world and her Savior. I can't say enough about how amazing it is to watch her grow. Probably more strong-willed than the first two, and watching her surrender that will to Christ each day is breath-taking. She was recently diagnosed with dyslexia (not a surprise, just finally got the official testing done), and that is probably a journey worth sharing as well. She is a gifted photographer and has really enjoyed babysitting more in recent months.

Debating if Brooke is in junior high or high school is common just now. The nebulous world of homeschool grade levels. She loves kids and serves often in our church on weekends. Still loves dogs and is about to pass me up height-wise. She continues to be one of the hardest workers I have ever seen. Her attention to detail and her love for order are much appreciated around our busy home.

Nothing keeps Nathan back. He has tried baseball and theater and likes both. He enjoys youth group, writing, computer programming, and has definitely grown in the areas of discipline and independence this year. Exciting to see the maturity begin to bloom.

And, our bonus baby, Eli. Constant motion. Loves to take everything apart, even if he isn't sure how to get it back together. Loves to read, and for once if the house is quiet I don't automatically assume a child is getting into trouble, he just might be reading! He loves our dog, snow, baseball, and despite being highly distractable he is doing amazing in school.

That's it in a nutshell, the family Christmas letter version as you can be sure that all is not roses and cupcakes around here. Real life happens, and I blog about that often enough that I hope I can share the joy my kids bring without you thinking that we're somehow "all that." Their human, I'm human, and God is choosing to use us just like that.

Glad to have you along for the ride.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Prayer Challenge - going forward

What I've learned this past month . . . 

I love praying through Scripture. This habit will definitely continue going forward. His words carry such unbelievable power in them. And, they some how say exactly what I want to say.

Sometime I need to reset and refocus on a spiritual discipline to re-instill its priority in my life and routine. Even on the days (many) that I did not have a concentrated, extended time in prayer, I found myself praying more all throughout the day.

This needs to be a regular part of my week and blog. While I will not likely post prayer challenges daily, I plan to do this once a week or more and try to focus them around particular themes that God is teaching me.

I need to keep learning how to wrestle and struggle through prayer. So often I think of prayer as the starting point of action. More often, it is the climax of the action. This probably deserves a whole post, or series of posts, in and of itself, but my prayers needed and continue to need more intensity. Wrestling with God through an issue enables me to truly leave it before Him rather than continually taking it back and fretting over it, which has more often been my pattern.

What have you learned? While this began as something God pressed me to do, I am thankful this has been a tool for others as well, and if you have any specific ways God has used this I would love to hear it.

Praying on,
Erin

Monday, February 12, 2018

Prayer Challenge Day 33

Who am I?
Usually the focus of my prayer time is God. Obviously, He is the one I am directing my words toward, He is worthy of all my worship and I find great benefit from resting in awe of Him at the beginning of prayer time.

However, as a highly sensitive individual, I also now and then need to set back and remember who I am. I bruise easily, emotionally speaking, and can quickly spiral down into pity parties, self-debasing mental games, and other unhealthy thought patterns.

When that happens I need to stop and remember who I am.

I compiled this list from various internet lists today to find just what I needed straight from God's lips. This is who I am:

God's Child (John 1:12)
Predestined, adopted (Eph 1:5)
Accepted (Romans 15:7)
One with the Lord (I Cor 6:17)
Not a slave to sin (Rom 6:6)
Known from conception (Jer 1:5)
God's special possession (I Pet 2:9)
Holy and beloved (Col 3:12)
An alien on earth (I Pet 2:11)
Conqueror (Rom 8:37)
Not my own (I Cor 6:19)
Victorious (I Cor 15:57)
Being changed (2 Cor 3:18)
Loved, sacrificed for (Gal 2:20)
Redeemed, Forgiven (Eph 2:5)
Masterpiece (Eph 2:10)
Righteous, Holy (Eph 2:24)
Rescued (Col 1:13)
Qualified
New creation (2 Cor 5:17)
Not condemned (Rom 8:1)
God's righteousness (2 Cor 5:21)
Temple of Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19)
Friend of God (John 15:15)
Overcomer (I John 4:4)
Capable of everything (Phil 4:13)
Wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)
A work in progress (Phil 1:6)
Light (Mat 5:14)
Forgiven (I Jn 1:9)

None of this of my own doing, but all firmly established on the God of the universe.

I am His.

So thankful.

Another favorite related song:

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Prayer Challenge Day 32

Setting my mind on Him
(I tried something different today, instead of listening to a song before praying I found some sweet harp instrumental music to play in the background as I had my quiet time. Loved this):

Pray through Scripture:
  • Psalm 62
  • Hebrews 4

Confession:
  • Empty busyness -- help me make wise choices instead of foolishly filling my days

 Heart of Gratitude:


  • Psalm 30:12
 
Prayer burdens:
  • My housekeeping habits - continue to establish routines and stick with them
  • Husband's work - that God may bless the work of his hands
  • Kids' generosity - may they hold lightly and give freely
  • Outreach to this area - for more prayer warriors that truly understand the value of struggling and wrestling in prayer

Response: 
I am so thankful that Jesus Christ walked this earth. He knows temptation. He experienced the pressures of daily life, the pain of loss, the attraction of the world, the sin-drenched society around us, the shadowlands that we think are home. He stood face to face with all of it. All without sin.

Lord, thank you for the living example that you gave us. Thank you for living well, for finishing well, for loving well, for your unfathomable sacrifice. Help us walk in Your steps more closely each day, to be faithful in little that You may entrust us with more and accomplish more through us. Help me make Your choices today. ~Amen

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Prayer challenge Day 31

Setting my mind on Him:
Pray through Scripture:
  • Psalm 145
  • Galatians 1

Confession:
  • People pleasing

Heart of Gratitude:


  • Isaiah 12:4-5
 

Prayer burdens:
  • My honesty - may I always speak the truth in love
  • Husband's temptations - may he continue to stand strong in the face of each one
  • Kids' spiritual growth - may it never stop. ever.
  • The spiritual integrity of the church in America. I see so much decline and compromise and in-fighting. Makes my heart ache. Revive us, Oh Lord!

Response:
Just to worship. I can understand the glory of heaven, the privilege to just worship for eternity. Basking in His holiness. Every bit of wonder I feel here is just a shred in comparison to the fullness of joy and peace and awe that is to come. I hope for that, long for it, crave glimpses of it.

Lord, You are more than I can comprehend. Your fullness and truth and realness are a constant source of hope. Use every bit of me to show others this truth and draw them into this indescribable light. All for you, Lord!~Amen