Dear Homeschool Mom, You Deserve an A+

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Dear Homeschool Mom,

Has it been “one of those days” AGAIN today? Have you decided to throw in the towel or at least planned a solid escape route to go hide in the bathroom? Have you felt isolated, alone, and completely out of control? Do you feel like every decision you have made from hand picking curriculum to choosing to homeschool in the first place has been a mistake? Do you feel ill equipped, inadequate, and like a complete failure? If you had to give yourself a report card would you be in danger of not being promoted?

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Stop right there! Before you answer any of these questions, let me tell you why I believe, despite all these roadblocks, that you deserve a big A+!

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1. You trust God’s plan for you as a wife and mother

Titus 2:3-5

“the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,  to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”

By choosing to be a homemaker, loving your husband and children, and being a “teacher of good things”, you are fulfilling the role God desires for you to fill. In so doing, His word is not blasphemed but exalted.

Homeschool mom, how can you be failing when you are trying your best to be what the Father would have you to be?

2. You esteem the needs of children higher than your own needs

Let’s face it. Homeschooling is a very SELFLESS act. It requires much denial of self and much giving to others, namely your children.

Philippians 2:3

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”

Homeschool mom, how can you be failing when you are placing the physical, educational, emotional, and most of all spiritual needs of your family above any selfish desires you may have for yourself?

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3. You know and can meet your children’s needs better than anyone

You carried your children in your womb, nurtured them from day one, and know everything about them. Why at age five should you all of a sudden relinquish your role of molder and care giver to someone who more than likely is a complete stranger? You have rejected this option for your child. You have chosen to continue in that role of nurturer and teacher even if it gets difficult, scary, and downright unenjoyable at times.

Isaiah 49:15

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”

Homeschool mom, how can you be a failure when you have chosen to remember the needs of your children and show them compassion?

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4. You are a blessing to your family

You completely understand the brevity of your time with your children.

James 4:14

“whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

It starts from the day you bring them home from the hospital. They grow so fast. They transform right before your very eyes. You have chosen not to miss a minute of that transformation: good, bad, and ugly. Because of this decision you are a blessing to your family. You are going to have the opportunity to help mold these precious gifts into what God would have them be, and in the process instill in them the most important goal in life. No, that goal is not being a genius, a musical prodigy, or getting accepted into Harvard. You are getting your family one step closer to spending eternity together with the Father and His Son. It DOES NOT go unnoticed.

Proverbs 31:28

“Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her”

Homeschool mom, how can you be a failure when your children call you blessed and your husband praises you?kids2

So there you have it homeschool mom. Even the worst days are working for good toward the most important objective of getting to heaven. You are aiming your quiver full of arrows towards the bulls eye with a prayerful heart and an iron will. Will you always be 100% accurate? No, we all have bad days. You know, the kind that make us want to lay our quiver aside; days we feel like complete failures that couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn. We even have days we use that escape route to cry in the bathroom. We are not alone in this journey. We have one that lifts our heads when all we can do is bow them low.

Homeschool mom, how can you be a failure when you are leaning on the ONE that never fails?

In Him,

Shanna

 

 

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He Loves Me;This I Know

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Today is Valentine’s Day. A day set aside to proclaim how much we love our significant other. Many go to great lengths and expense to impress their valentine. Others are decidedly more understated in their approach. Nonetheless, few leave this day untouched without some small token for their love.

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When the roses have wilted, the last piece of chocolate has been consumed, and the other gifts are long forgotten, what remains? If you are blessed, as I am, these frivolities can NEVER compare with the expressions of true love your husband bestows upon you every day.

We read in Proverbs 31 that a good wife is worth far above rubies. Do we ever consider what a good husband is worth? Do we take time to let him know we love and appreciate him? Do we thank God for him daily and make supplications on his behalf? That is what I want to do right now.

John Davis Anderson, I love you, and respect you on so many levels. I have witnessed you progress from a bright eyed young man to a wiser, better version of you. I have laughed with you, cried with you, hoped with you, prayed with you, and have truly become one with you. I do not see me as me without you. We are a single unit knit together with our heavenly Father. I could never fully express why I love you, but I want you, and everyone else, to know the few reasons that I am feebly able to verbalize.

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1.I love you because you chose me.

You were able to see redeeming qualities in me while I was still immature and very rough around the edges. You were able to envision the wife and mother that I had the potential of becoming. You looked past my flaws and loved me despite me. Thank you for choosing me and for helping me continue to work on becoming all the things you dreamed I could be.

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2. I love you because you love me.

You have seen me at my best. You have seen me at my worst way too many times, yet you still love me. You have watched me transform from that youthful girl you took as your bride to an aged woman with gray hair and wrinkles. You still love me. You have watched me struggle and be my own worse enemy. You still love me. When I absolutely do not love myself, you STILL love me.

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3. I love you because you love our children.

God  blessed us with four of the loveliest babies that have ever existed. You have patiently sat by and waited while my mothering instinct has been at full tilt. Even though it was a financial sacrifice,you have allowed me to stay at home with them and nuture them in ways I could only dream.You have taught them and molded them. You have loved them more than they will ever know, but I know. I know and it makes me love you more every day.

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4. I love you because you sacrifice yourself for your family.

You give even when you are completely depleted. Your hands bear witness of the lengths and depths that a true man will go to in an effort to support his family. You have done without the finest apparel, home, and car to allow your children to actually grow up together. Never think your sacrifice goes unnoticed. Never think you are not praised by your wife and children. You empty yourself that we might be filled. I love your sacrificial heart.

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5. I love you because you love the LORD.

This is the reason I love you the most. You are the spiritual leader of our home. I never have to fear that God will not be the center of our home or that you won’t put Him first. I appreciate the hours you spend in His word to feed His sheep. How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel! You are beautiful to me and I love you.

God knew what He was doing when he created the home. I am so thankful that God blessed me with a wonderful godly husband. I pray that I will never take him for granted. I don’t want to just wait for a special occassion to tell and show my husband why I love him. I want him to know. I want to make sure he knows. He shows me his love each and every day. He loves me; this I know.

Shanna

5 Things I Gave Up to be a Wife and Mother

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I recently came across an article with a title that immediately captured my attention. It was one of those blog posts that, once published, goes viral immediately. Unfortunately, unlike other current web successes such as open letters to daddies who are kind and understanding to other people’s children on flights, concerned mothers of sons advising teenage girls against immodest pics on social media, and husbands spreading the word that marriage is about more than “me”, this post had a decidedly more acrid tone. It was a scathing diatribe against a woman’s decision to be a wife and mother. The title, “I Look Down on Young Women with Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry”, pretty much sets the hateful tone for this short but sad article. Despite my immediate guttural reaction (and against my better judgement), I continued reading said article. I would liken this decision to passing by a horrible accident that you KNOW will be gruesome but having to look anyway. Believe me; this post was WORSE than a train wreck.

After my mommy senses went into overdrive, steam flooded from every orifice of my body, and I screamed aloud, “Oh no, she didn’t!” (well, maybe those last two are an exaggeration), I calmed down and really reflected on my role as a wife and a mother of four. The more I considered what the author said, the more I realized that she was right about one thing. To be a wife and/or mother, you must give up a number of things. Over the past twenty three and one half years as a wife, and twenty years as a mother, I have given up more than a few.

I have given up

1.Selfishness–  Anyone who has said “I do” understands that marriage requires an immediate forfeiture of self.

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Mark 10:7-8
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.”

On August 10,1990 the days of doing it my way and meeting only my needs became a bygone memory. The day I became John’s wife, I gave up pleasing myself, and learned to be pleasing to him.

 Anyone who has ventured into parenthood understands that with the arrival of each new bundle of joy comes the realization that even more of self has to be abandoned. As a mother, you have the responsibility of meeting every single need of a new, helpless babe. Let’s face it, midnight feedings, messy diapers, and projectile vomiting DO NOT fall into the category of things I do just for me. The day I became Titus, Elijah, Norah, and Levi’s mama, I gave up focusing on me, and learned to focus on them.

All this sounds traumatic, huh? You might even ask, “Why would you do this?”

Phil 2:4 says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
And the apostle Paul said in Acts 2:35 ,
“remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
There is definitely a flip side to this coin. By decreasing myself, I am exponentially increasing my joy! My family is much bigger, warmer, lovelier, and happier than singular me.
When I became a wife and mother, I gave up selfishness to become selflessly overjoyed.

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2.Poverty I am almost positive I can hear all of you with families laughing out loud at this one.  After all, according to research the average cost to raise a child to the age of eighteen is between $200,000 and $250,000. Now in my case, multiply that by four. Math has never been my strong suit, but even I know that is a boat load of money! Well, forget the dollar signs, I agree with the John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Money cannot buy me love or happiness.

Psalm 127:3-5
Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.” Psalm 127:3-5

My quiver is full, and therefore, I am rich! The bank account of my heart is bountifully filled with deposits of smiles, laughter, achieved milestones, pulled heartstrings, and “I love yous”.

When I became a wife and mother, I gave up poverty to become richly blessed.

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3. Loneliness-   Admittedly, I fall into the category of loner. I relish my alone time which affords me opportunities to meditate, study, write, read, and pray. However, no one wants to be ALONE. The Creator knew His creation needed companionship.

Genesis 2:18
“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”  

There is a certain lonely void that can only be filled by the intimate husband/wife relationship. Even yet, a house has a certain amount of loneliness that can only be vanquished by the pitter patter of little feet, or at this point in my life, the stomping of at least a couple pairs of size 12 and 13 feet. Whether my children and I are in the same room or miles apart, I never feel alone. They are always with me.

When I became a wife and mother, I gave up loneliness to become connected for life.

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4. Dissatisfaction-  I readily admit that satisfaction can be derived in a multiplicity of ways. However, I know that I could never have reached the level of satisfaction I have attained had I remained as a  single, childless woman. (clearly, my opinion) I can’t help but go to

Ecclesiastes 4:9.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?  And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

My husband makes me better. He lifts me up when I fall. And let’s not forget that threefold cord. In my mind, the three strands of that cord are Daddy, Mama, and children. There is a sweet contentment found in being a strand in that cord.

When I became a wife and a mother, I gave up dissatisfaction to become completely satisfied.

5. Emptiness-  Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived, apart from our Lord. In the book of Ecclesiastes, he proclaimed that all is vanity. In other words, all is emptiness. However, when all had been said and done, this was his conclusion.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” 

Can I be obedient to God without being a wife and mother? Absolutely. Does having a mate that loves God as much as I do, and having children I want to go to heaven make this task easier? Absolutely. I am filled with the responsibility to ensure my entire family lives in a way that is pleasing to our Heavenly Father.

When I became a wife and mother, I gave up emptiness to become filled to overflowing.

Yes, I gave up many things to become a wife and mother. Those things will NEVER compare to what I have gained. I agree with Goerge Bernard Shaw who said, “A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” When I became a wife and a mother, I became everything I ever wanted to be, and in the process have been blessed to experience a little bit of heaven here on earth.

Shanna

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Sticks and Stones

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Words. I love words. I love to read, write, and talk. Words are powerful. Words are precious when offered out out of love, and painful when spewed out of spite. Words can build up; words can tear down. Words can mend wounds or words can create wounds that may never heal. Proverbs 12:18 says,”There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Words, once spoken, can NEVER be taken back. Just like feathers carried away by the wind they can never all be gathered back again.

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We are the only one who can choose how and when we use our words. With that in mind, let us consider ways to cultivate the use of good words and eliminate the use of bad, hurtful words.

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1. Guard Your Heart

We read in Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” The source of all of our words is our heart or mind. We are to protect our hearts with all that we have. If we are filling our minds with worldly entertainment that glamorizes strife and discord, we are sowing the seeds to grow similar words in our hearts. However, if we are feeding our hearts the bread of life and living water, we are preparing the soil of our hearts to bring forth words of love, joy, empathy, and encouragement.

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2. Purpose to be Prudent

“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17:27 Restraint is accomplished by purpose and practice. We should pray for the abilty to be wise when it comes to the use of our  words. Restraint, like many other desirable qualities, can be improved upon when put into daily practice. The perfect place to exercise this practice is in the home. We must meditate on the appropriate way to respond to our spouse and children in all types of situations. It can mean the difference between a happy home or cold abode.

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3. Think Before you Speak

We have all heard about the “count to ten method” and there really is something to be said about this skill. “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 29:20 How many times have we said something in haste without considering the implications involved? If we will only utilize those few seconds before we speak to analyze our words before we release them, we may save ourselves and others from  many hurt feelings.

The poet John Dryden said, “Words are but pictures of our thoughts.” They are the fruit of our hearts. What kind of fruit are you cultivating? The fruit of the spirit or the works of the flesh? Praying we will not grow weary of doing good by using our words with wisdom.Just remember, we will reap in due season.

Shanna