Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Move on Moment

Last November we moved.  
We moved at the end of a long journey - we had waited 7 years for our house fire claim to be over - finally it was!  We received restoration and we were JOY FILLED to find a lovely home, which met all of our needs and almost all of our wants at a steal of a deal!  We were, and truth be told, still are, thrilled with our home.  It will take some time to get everything put away and cleaned and painted and a new roof on the old barn out back but we can not imagine living anywhere else.  We are home!
Think about that for a minute and now consider this....
The month before we finally received our settlement we were living in a rental house. The house was two stories, large, difficult to navigate, in town - and not in a great neighborhood, had a wet moldy basement, and we had three dogs - who sometimes bark. This was clearly NOT the place for us - but imagine that we had received our settlement and just done nothing.  Imagine that we had convinced ourselves that it was just too hard to move on, or there weren't any other good houses out there, or that the benefits of being close to town outweighed the many issues with the house... how foolish would that have been.  So foolish, that had we just put the money in the bank and kept paying rent our friends and family would have likely come to us out of concern for our clearly foolish choices. 

Maybe it is a different season in your life, maybe you too are coming to the end of a long journey and it is completely healthy and normal for you to let go of the last season and step fully into the next season that God has planned for you - If this is you I say - leap! Leap into the everlasting arms that always catch you and find the purpose God has in the new and exciting chapter in your life. Dance into your move on moment with all of your might, praising God for his provision and plans. 

Maybe your move on moment isn't a pleasant change of season, maybe it is a jarring jolt. Sometimes our Heavenly Father lets life become really uncomfortable so that we get the hint  - it's time to move on.  Our greatest tragedy - a house fire - became the catalyst for some major moving on in our lives.  It took burning out the old before the new could take root.  There were days we felt muscles weary and bones dry, when life looked like it might not take a turn for the better, but for the bleak.  Can I encourage you? In the midst of your move on moment, don't give up hope.  Some moves are fast and some take time - some take years! Read Exodus for some time consuming move on moments -  40 years - keep going. Know that through all of this, God is rooting for you! You can do it, and that hard won move on moment will be that much sweeter when it finally comes. 

Sometimes move on moments come in the form of a Red Sea parting, and some times they are more subtle. If you aren't paying attention you might miss some move on clues.  How can you prevent a move on surprise?
 #1 - Read your Bible daily -  if you are in God's word daily you will hear Him more clearly and your move on moment might not be such a shock! In addition, the uncertainty that sometimes accompanies moving on will be greatly diminished because you are in the Word. 
#2 - Pray and talk to trusted counselors - Take what you read in the Bible and what you are thinking and pray about it - talk it over with God.  Then go and talk it over, confidentially, with one or two trusted counselors. 
#3 - If you think your move on moment is upon you, look for the open door, or confirmation of your choice - You've been reading the Bible daily, praying over moving on, and speaking with a trusted friend - expect that God will answer your prayer, agree that no matter the answer you will obey, and be actively looking for the answer in your life and in God's word.  Luke 11:10 ""And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you."

Sometimes we just get the itch to move on. When this happens we aren't moving on, we are moving out - moving out of God's will for our lives. The sad thing about moving out is that unlike moving on - God isn't in it and if you are His, He isn't going to allow it.  Move out moments are painful! It might seem like your move out is going smoothly but if one day you realize that you are in a mess up to your neck and look around wondering how you got here - you may have had a move out moment, rather than a move on moment. Then you need a move on moment to get you back on track with the Lord! 
You might think you are moving on, when you are really moving out, if the reason for your move is one of the following....
#1 - I have a conflict with someone and I don't want to forgive them/resolve the matter, or "I tried to resolve it but they wouldn't do xyz so I can't resolve this" Mathew 18:22 and 33-35 NLT "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
 33Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
I think it's pretty clear how God feels about this. No, you can't always resolve every conflict, but you can forgive and love every brother and sister in Christ. 

#2 - "I'm not getting what I want"  Rather than complaining about the menu, it might be time to pitch in and help or be thankful for the good things and count your blessings. Maybe your move on moment is coming in the form of moving on from only thinking of yourself to also thinking of others! Philippians 2:1-4 NLT "Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too."

I tell you this to say - sometimes, it is time to move on. I know that this post may offend, and that is not my intention.  I have told you before that I am jealous for you, that I want what is absolutely best in your life and so I say to you friend, it might be time for you to move on. 

Your move doesn't mean we can't still be friends, but your staying might!  
Have you ever met someone who missed their move on moment? They missed the boat, and what is worse, they know it. Bitterness and envy are their companions. They spend their time talking about what could have been instead of chasing God with everything they've got. Just ask them and they will tell you that their best days are far behind them.  They missed their move on moment, and they miss the joy that accompanies. 

Moving on can be hard, it can be painful, and it can be humbling, but it can also be a blessing, a time of healing, and a time of great joy.  Don't be afraid of your move on moments.  God has a plan for you and for your life.  Moving on might just be the blessing you've been waiting for.

Good night, 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Homeschooling with Purpose

I've been reading some blogs today - lots of 'rejuvenated' homeschooling mommies blogging today =) This is a good thing. 

I remember convention time as a time away with my husband where we regained focus for the coming year and were strengthened with the advice and encouragement of battle worn mom's and dad's telling us homeschooling in worth the fight, the sacrifice, the hard days - because the end result is priceless.

More and more though, I read feel good messages to home schooling moms that seem to have forgotten that which was hard fought and battle won, they keep saying words like 'freedom', but I don't think that word means what you think it means.   

Here is one example of a blogger today:

"I don’t think God meant for us—or our children—to struggle under the weight of someone else’s idea of a “proper” education.
I think—just maybe—He meant for us to be free.
Free to read aloud. All day if we want to. Even with our high schoolers.
Free to draw and create.
Free to discover the beauty of Creation—unhurried—and without the expectation of a report that is due about our “discovery” at the end of the next day.
Free to forget about preschool.
Free to take a hot chocolate walk for no reason.
Free … to know Him more."

We are BLESSED to live in a country where we can home educate.  Most of us would identify a calling in our lives to home school our kids and that call requires we give our utmost effort to the cause.  Does homeschooling allow us and our children the freedom to know God more? Absolutely! Does this freedom mean that we should shrug off any idea of a conventional education... I'm not so sure.  (Insert Proverbs Chapter 8 here)

I don't think God meant us to become slaves of anything, including an education ideal.  That ideal could be an ideal which says all children must go to college, or all children must study and learn one way.  That ideal could also be that we should be more 'free' in our education.

I think - I think for certain - that God means for us to seek his will in all things.  I have three children, they are each different and unique and have each required a slightly different approach to their education.  One child self educates quite nicely. One child loves delight directed learning, and therefore hates math. One child loves math and also puppies.  If the freedom this mom is referring to is the freedom to seek God's will, develop a plan for each individual child and then educate them in a way which pleases the Lord, then I could agree with her wholeheartedly.

 But that isn't the freedom to which she refers - she refers to the freedom of the grasshoppers.

"In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
     "Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of toiling and moiling in that way?"
     "I am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant, "and recommend you to do the same."
     "Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; "We have got plenty of food at present." But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.
     When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger - while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew: It is best to prepare for days of need."
Proverbs 24:30-36

30 I walked by the field of a lazy person,
    the vineyard of one with no common sense.*
31 I saw that it was overgrown with nettles.
    It was covered with weeds,
    and its walls were broken down.
32 Then, as I looked and thought about it,
    I learned this lesson:
33 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
34 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
    scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.

*emphasis mine

I have no desire to place mom's under the yoke of slavery to an education ideal - but I do have the desire that they test and see what is good!

I sat in on a lecture several years ago in which the speaker suggested that we stop doing math if it caused conflict in our homes.  This is the sort of ridiculous and harmful advice I hear more and more in homeschooling circles.  While it may be popular to play outside instead of complete math worksheets, and you may have the freedom to do this,  I doubt it is always beneficial.  

Having home educated my students for a number of years I have met a number of homeschooling families.  In my mind, there are a few who stand out.  Some stand out for all the right reasons, well balanced and educated children, happy families who raised happy children who started their own happy families.  
And then there are those who stand out for the wrong reasons.  High school students who can't do simple math and graduate high school to have their parents encourage them to move out and find a job.  They ended up working fast food. No career, no future prospects.  Adults who are functionally illiterate - they can not read instructions to a board game.  And while these are extreme circumstances, I bet that if the moms of these children could go back, they might do things a little bit differently.  They might spend a little more time on curriculum and less time on 'freedom' because they would know that this kind of 'freedom' ultimately results in slavery. 

I fear that these feel good bloggers set moms up to fail and help create an online community of false revelry.  I see this on social media where it seems some mommies compete to see who can post the most pictures of their children playing outside or doing the most nature walks. 

I pray that moms will turn away from that which delights itching ears and turn towards the truth.  The truth is homeschooling can be hard, it is a calling, a lifestyle, and a commitment - not something to be taken lightly.  And while there will be days where we drink hot chocolate and play in the snow, those days will need to be far outnumbered by days where we study math facts and practice writing.

Should we delight in creation, in sunny days and time spent with those we love - YES! Of course we should!  Should we do so to the exclusion of preschool? Or the exclusion of rigorous high school studies? Absolutely not!  


PS - Here is a GREAT convention that will encourage you to Teach Them Diligently!