Gently and Diligently

Today our summer break ends and we start a new school year!  Sam starts 3rd grade and Arabella and Sharon start 1st grade.  And here is the truth about typing out these words:

our children are blessed with the opportunity to be educated.

This is something I cannot quit thinking about.  I look into Sharon’s face and realize, she used to be an orphan who, if had not been adopted, would be in an orphan’s boarding school right now in Uganda IF her orphanage director had been able to raise funds to send her there.  I praise God as I type these words that HE intervened and this will not be her future!!! Ah, He is just so amazing to redeem life that is bleak and place His children on a path that is right bright and full of hope.

The problem is, Sharon’s mother (me) forgets her past because she is in America now.  The land of opportunity, rapid growth and expectation.  I forget she was neglected.  I forget she was not read to, rocked, and sung to like my other two babies.  Last year I expected her to progress on the path of the American Kindergartener.  There were tears and frustration — all from a love that wanted to see her succeed and be on grade level by the end of the year.  (An expectation this past public educator has a hard time letting go of).

Enter in: a long pause of summer and SEEKING GOD IN PRAYER about God’s educational plans for my children.  If you missed downloading “A Beautiful Blossoming Prayer Guide” to help pray and plan over your child’s school year, you can download it here:

A Beautiful Blossoming Prayer Guide

During this time at the Father’s feet interfacing with God about my kids, here is what He whispered to me:

Teach them GENTLY AND DILIGENTLY. 

A gentle demeanor.  A diligent work ethic.

This is how Jesus teaches us:

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29

This is how we are called to teach our children the ways of God:

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:7

God is so good to give me this little nugget of a homeschool philosophy in three little words!  Just enough to whisper in the form of a prayer when I feel like giving up or yelling or hiding in the bathroom, amen?

I have never been a traditional “school” parent, but I think this applies to us all, no matter what educational  path the Lord has put your family on.  I hope it inspires you to pull your babies close in encourage them, but to also expect them to work for excellence to glorify their heavenly Father this school year.

Above all else, let us remember that our children’s education is a gift denied to many!

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All Good Things are WILD and FREE

It’s Sunday again, time to reflect and reset with intention for the week ahead.  I am so excited about what the Lord has shown me regarding this change he has been stirring in my heart and in my home.  More specifically, in my mothering and homeschooling.  It’s time for me to get a little more “granola” (as my sister in law put it). People, we are letting go of our to-do lists for the spring schooling semester and running

WILD and FREE!

  

Maybe it’s because it’s the anniversary week marking two years to the date we left for the wildest adventure of our lives, to Africa to adopt our daughter, Sharon.  I stepped on the airplane scared to death of what lay ahead, with our two little children by our side, going to a foreign third world country, half way around the globe.  (I had never been anywhere but the US and Canada).  What was supposed to be a six week journey turned into a three month roller coaster ride that left me holding on to the hem of Jesus’ robe one minute and basking in the wild emotions of throwing caution to the wind the next.  My husband and two biological kids left after a month and I stayed by myself for the last two months, waiting, praying and fighting through paperwork to bring her home.  All the while, loosing my life for the sake of the life God sent us there to save, while becoming what I refer to now as a

Jesus Hippie.

Everything was out of my control anyway.  The only way I could survive was to chill out,  and take our evening walks to the shack up the dusty orange dirt road for our evening coke and nuts. (And jump on the back of motorcycle taxis with no helmet for wild rides weaving in and out of traffic). Finally, when I came home, I was culture shocked once more.  The streets really did seem like gold, smooth and wide, instead of dirt and bumpy.  I’ve spent the last two years figuring out how to fit my new transformation of “Jesus Hippie” into my old life.

Homeschooling has been quite the challenge, especially this year.  Before all this Jesus hippie mentality, I was a teacher, many moons ago.  I know what is supposed to be learned in the local public school system in every grade.  My job was to remediate children and get them “back on grade level” as soon as possible.  So, praise God that he equipped me to adopt and homeschool a child who is “behind” from  being neglected, right?  Well, in some respects, yes.  At an intellectual level, it has benefited my daughter Sharon in many ways.  But on a heart level, not so much.  I have this festering urgency to get her reading and computing simple addition and subtraction before she graduates from kindergarten.  Unfortunately, this urgency has created what I call:

SCAREY MOM TEACHER MONSTER.  (Please don’t judge).

“Sit down!  I told you to do the next problem!   I’m trying to help Sharon!”

and my personal favorite:

“That’s it, I can’t take it!  You are going to school next year!!!”

So I finally have had several “come to Jesus” meetings, tearfully repenting and asking him what in the world to do.  Of course, he is faithful y’all.  Springing up all around me, and emerging through his Spirit in me is  this desire to throw our to do lists out the binders and go

WILD AND FREE!

I’ve been trying to do this structured teacher thing long enough, and it isn’t working.  I can’t wait to tell you how faithful God was the one day I put this to the test:

I told my oldest, Sam, about this new philosophy.  I told him I wasn’t going to be stressed to “get it all done.”  Instead, we were going to relax and enjoy the nice weather, be flexible, and just do a little schoolwork here and there.  And do you know what he did?  Before we left to go to the gym (so this momma whose husband has been out of town more days than in town this month and just needed a little break) he got out his workbooks and did two subjects!

So, we went to the gym and I felt rejuvenated and strong.  Sam needed to practice golf, so we went to the golf course, and this “wild and free,” “the world is your classroom,” philosophy became even more appealing. I sat back and ENJOYED these precious children. Sam soared with confidence as he practiced this gift God has given him, and the girls found a ladybug.  Sharon is still learning her environment here in America, and this experience was phenomenal for her.  She brought the ladybug home and talks to it like it is her baby. (She has given it an eight o’clock bedtime:).The girls ran all over the hills and climbed trees and did a photo shoot of one another!  It was magical.

 

 

 

We came home and had lunch.  When we were good and satisfied, each of them snuggled me one at a time and read to me while the others did their computer work or independent workbooks.  Sam was outside playing with his neighborhood friends by 3:30 when they got home from school.  Arabella, my middle child, was done with all her work and outside by 4:00.  Sharon worked very hard, with a good attitude.  She still had two subjects left at 4:30, but I could tell she needed a break.  I let her go on outside to play then, with a nudge from the Lord to let the checklist go.

We ended the school week with a smile, an awesome day, and most of our work done, praise Jesus!

And here comes the amazing part: On Saturday morning, with NO PROMPTING, Sharon opened her workbooks to do her last two subjects that she had not gotten around to the day before!  WILD AND FREE was working, and it was blowing my mind!

I started dreaming big about adventures to enjoy with my kids in the months to come, to really honor the Lord in discipling these precious souls in ways I have wanted to, but not gotten around to because of “the lists.”

Here are my discipling dreams/goals in the future months:

  1. Teach each of them how to keep a personal prayer journal, pouring out their hearts to the Lord everyday.
  2. Cultivate their God-given gifts.  Sam has been writing sermons and worship songs, and I want him to focus in on that.  The girls love to dance as worship, and to paint.  I want to enjoy these and encourage them to work on them.
  3. I want to teach Sam how to navigate his “big boy” bible and really start using it.

Here are my WILD AND FREE dreams/goals for the future months:

  1. I want to go outside with them everyday.
  2. I want to go before the Lord every morning, ask him for guidance with our schedule, and ask him to help us accomplish his plans for our day, not mine.  I want to nurture their hearts and their minds.
  3. I want to view the world as our classroom and let His Spirit interject the lessons he has for them to learn

And the fun one:  My dreams/goals for their life experiences the next few months:

  1. Go on walks in the woods behind our house, find and clear a hang out spot there.
  2. Get them some “hunting and trapping” equipment for catching tad poles and bugs.
  3. Just have fun with them!  Wild and free fun    

I am looking forward to this spring season with anticipation of what the Lord will do with this new outlook and homeschooling philosophy.

What does your Sunday Reset button look like this week?  Take time to reflect in prayer and ask God what he would have you do different.  His mercies are new every morning, but they feel especially new Monday mornings!!!

Live a REFOCUSED life for Life Himself!