Selah! Things I’m Thinking About

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I should be careful not to make my kids my world. Because the day comes when I’m not their world.

I can’t control my kids’ choices, but I can control my own reactions to them. I can choose to keep my love on. I can keep the connection strong between my children and myself by loving them and showing affection no matter what and listening to them.

Selah.

Helpful Reading:

Families Where Grace Is in Place: Building a Home Free of Manipulation, Legalism, and Shame by Jeff VanVonderen

Keep Your Love On: Connection Communication And Boundaries by Danny Silk

Experiencing Father’s Embrace by Jack Frost
and Jack Frost videos on YouTube

Translating God: Hearing God’s Voice For Yourself And The World Around You by Shawn Bolz

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Are You Enough?: Encouragement for the Overwhelmed & Exhausted Homeschool Mom by Roxanne Parks

Why Spirit-filled Parents Should Homeschool Their Children

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Watercolor by Breezy Brookshire @Breezytulip.com

 

 

As I look around my world, I see lots of homeschoolers – my Facebook Friends list is filled with homeschoolers! But truthfully, not many of them identify themselves as Charismatic or Spirit-filled.

As I shared in my last post, my mountain is Family. I feel that my assignment is to share with Spirit-filled people – mothers especially – how important it is to make your family your primary ministry. And I consider homeschooling a very important part of intentionally building a strong, close-knit family.

By keeping your children at home you protect them from:

 

  • false teaching that fills public schools
  • bullying
  • demonic attacks that occur outside of your home and that you are unaware of unless your child is able to tell you about them
  • worldly influence
  • negative peer pressure
  • scrutiny, criticism, and possession by the school administration

Benefits of homeschooling your children:

You have more time with your children when you have them at home with you every day.

You can:

  • teach them the ways of the Lord
  • train them to have good character
  • pray for them whenever they need it
  • teach them to pray continually
  • teach them to operate in the gifts of the Spirit
  • teach them to do everything out of love for others
  • build a family culture and identity based on putting Jesus first in your lives
  • prophesy over them and help them find God’s will for their lives
  • get to know them better as you spend more time with them
  • help them discover their passions and interests, gifts and talents as you draw them close to your heart
  • moderate the kinds of media they indulge in and the kinds of people they interact with
  • they will learn how to relate to those outside of their own peer group

When our family left Ohio, we traveled across the country, looking for a place to stop and settle. It took several months before we finally landed in Kansas City, Missouri. When we were settled in and ready to start school again, I asked each child what they wanted to study. Shawn (my oldest) was about 15 years old and said he wanted to study his Bible. I was, naturally, rather surprised.

 

I asked him to write about what he was reading and to do some math and some science as well. He agreed. He really majored on Bible study for most of the rest of his homeschooling years. He even studied some Hebrew and Hebrew roots to get a better understanding of the context.

 

He later read Dante’s Inferno and Purgatorio as well as many Christian books by authors like Rick Joyner, Frank Peretti,  John Paul Jackson, Kim Clement, James Goll, Derek Prince, and A. W. Tozer.

 

For read-alouds, we studied the book of Genesis through several fiction and non-fiction books. We also read a lot of George MacDonald books, which are full of biblical, moral and allegorical teachings that do not shy from major issues that are ever-present in the modern world – such as selfishness, greed and pride. We really enjoyed reading and discussing these stories, both while we were reading them and after we finished for the day.

 

We read a lot of missionary biographies together such as Lillian Trasher and “The Heavenly Man”.  We got to read lots of really good books together that portrayed loving families that helped cement the idea that family is important and doing things together makes life better. They set a high standard for us of living together and loving each other, rejoicing with each other and being best friends to each other.

The experience of reading a good story aloud together has been a very bonding exercise for us. We share many memories of characters, events and lines in stories that we really enjoyed, and when someone brings up a memory, it causes a warm feeling in each of our hearts. It gives us a real sense of belonging and having common ground, despite the vast differences in our personalities, dreams, and hobbies.

We spent a lot of time praying together for my husband at work, because his job was very stressful and there was a lot of spiritual warfare happening there. And we have a policy that states if you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us. Which is very true, especially when whoever is under stress comes home and darkens the atmosphere of the house with their bad mood.

 

We watched videos by David Barton about God’s hand in American History and prayed together for our nation. We have prayed together as a family over the years; for provision, healing, friends and loved ones, specific needs and desires of members of our family, and a place to call home.

 

I have done Bible studies with the children, let them watch lots of Bible videos and videos of good stories based on biblical values and strong moral teaching.

Not to say they’ve never watched, played, or listened to any media other than those with blatant Christian labels. We try to be careful what we allow into our home, but we don’t live in a box. We have fans of Ninja Turtles, Nintendo, and lots of other franchises in our diverse household. The important thing is to stay away from media that glorifies evil or immoral lifestyles.

Idolatry is something every person struggles with. Humans have a need to worship, and we have to give our kids the best chance they have of finding the One Being it’s okay for them to idolize. The best way I know to do that is to provide a living example of the way we trust God and seek His will – for our lives and theirs. Prophetic parenting is needed.

I have been able to spend lots of time with my children, answering their questions, pointing out the wonders of God’s creation and loving and supporting them through everything they have faced.

I want to help homeschoolers do it well so their children become all they’re meant to be. By living a homeschooled life, you can pass on a love for learning that your children will carry with them for the rest of their lives, even after they’ve graduated, as well as priorities that many believe in, but few practice. Spiritual life and character are more important than academics. Relationships are more important than getting work done. You’ll likely find, as you’re teaching, that you’re learning right along with your kids.

A blessing crafted by a friend of mine named Amy Hansen:

“May the Spirit-filled families being called into Spirit-led homeschooling and prophetic parenting find the support they need to take brave steps into making their family their ministry and pursuing God’s calling for their family life. Discipling their children. May our children trust and enjoy receiving input from parents about life-altering decisions.”

Prophetic Declaration For This New Season: Take Your Mountain

An important part of my spiritual growth has always been listening to prophetic, biblical teachers.

Recently, the Lord has led me to listen to Lance Wallnau.

He does a Periscope broadcast almost every night and has acquired a big following because he is very prophetic and also very personable and funny. He takes us with him into meetings he attends, and he even lets someone hold his phone and broadcast to us what he is teaching sometimes. It feels like we’re right there with him! We are his bosom friends. That’s how he treats us anyway.

He is energized by his audience and loves to entertain us as well as give us the word of the Lord and pray for us and make prophetic declarations. I can feel the anointing when he speaks and especially when he prays.

He did a 3-day conference and let us join him on a livestream.

During the meeting he made this prophetic declaration and had us write it down:

“I am just beginning the greatest chapter of my life. I am stepping out of an old season. I have divine appointments set up and scheduled for my life. They are happening now. The dreams and desires and even the disappointments of the past are being woven into the fulfillment of prophecies I’m about to walk into. But there are new dreams, new aspirations, new assignments that will require great COURAGE. And that boldness will come by being filled with the Holy Spirit.”

I have been feeling the Lord speaking to me personally that I am to do more in this next phase of my life. I still have little ones at home, and they are still my priority, but I feel that my message, my calling, my assignment has become more clear and crystallized into one main message.

Lance teaches that we are to identify the mountain that God wants us to work in. Mine is Family.

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Lance teaches that there are 7 major mountains that shape culture. And I see family as the foundation for all the rest. The other mountains are education, government, media, arts and entertainment, religion and business.

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Most of what I do in life has to do with taking care of my family and trying to encourage others to make family their main priority in life. I believe we can change the culture and build happier, healthier people if we do family right.

So my main message is to make your family your priority, make sure God is at the center of your family, build strong, healthy relationships within your family, and let the Holy Spirit lead you in the way that your whole family should go.

You will find that discipling your children and seeing them grow in the Lord is the most rewarding job a mother could ever have.

This is really not a change in my message.

But there is a new dimension to what I feel like the Lord is telling me to challenge mothers and fathers to do. There is a specific group that I feel I am to speak to now.

Spirit-filled parents.

If you want to learn more about what the Lord’s message is for Spirit-filled parents, read my next post.

 

And I encourage you to do some soul-searching and praying and find out what the Lord has for you to do in this new season. Which mountain are you called to conquer?

You Be You, I’ll Be Me

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I am me. You are you. She is she.

And the converse is true.

I am not you. You are not me. And she is not you or me.

What am I saying?

God has made each of us unique.

So why do we compare ourselves to each other?

I will not do things the way you do them. I don’t want to do them the way you do them.

I do not see things the way you see them.

It’s okay. I am me. And you are you.

I discovered something while teaching my kids how to drive. I noticed things that they didn’t notice as I was looking in the same direction that they were. In some cases, I saw things that I wished they had been paying attention to, like the brake lights on the car ahead of us!

But in other cases, they noticed things that I didn’t see that helped us get to where we needed to go.

At first, some of them noticed nice cars that they liked all around us. That drove me bananas! I couldn’t believe they were paying attention to such insignificant, unimportant things when they should be paying attention to the road ahead of them, the traffic, and making sure they were in the right lane to get to where we needed to go.

As they got more experience, they started to learn about what they really needed to be paying attention to. Some near misses, some exclamations from me, some honks from other drivers, missing exits that we should have taken, and getting lost helped them to realize that they needed to pay more attention to their driving than to the nice cars around them.

They learned how to drive safely. But they don’t do it exactly the way I would.

They learned the most important skills and what really deserved their attention while they were driving. They still don’t notice the same things I do as we’re driving along. But they take care of the important things now.

There are some things that we all need to pay attention to. You and me and she all have to do some of the same basic things, like take care of ourselves, our families and our houses.

But the way we do these things will vary with our priorities, our interests, our goals, and our personalities.

My way is not the right way.

Neither is yours!

OK, I’ll be me – you be you.

I’ll take ideas and inspiration from the things you do and the way you do them.

And you can see if there’s anything I’m doing that you may want to try.

But do it your way. The way that works for you and your family.

Deal???

Deal.

Second Honeymoon

Have you ever felt like God just chased you down and surprised you with a blessing?

That’s how I felt a couple of weeks ago. I had been planning my mom tea party, and we had a couple staying with us while they look for a job and transition to Houston who happened to be expecting a baby any day. The mother of the pregnant woman, who is also a very dear friend, was coming to stay with us, too, to help when the baby came and to help with the couple’s 15-month-old. All of these things were swirling around in my mind when Gary called from work and said that they were going to send him to Charleston for a few days. I just flippantly said, “Can I go with you?” He said, “Yeah if you want to.” REALLY? Could I really do something so spontaneous with all of these other things happening and about to happen at my house? Could I just take off and leave in the midst of all the preparations and plans and unknowns that defined my life right at that moment? It turns out the answer was “yes”!

It seemed crazy, but we started planning our escape – I mean, departure – and it all worked out. The day before I left, the expectant mommy had an appointment with her midwife and found out she was dilated to 3 and the baby had dropped and she could have it any time. Her mother was planning to drive to our home and arrive about the same time that I would be returning from Charleston. The tea party was planned for the following Thursday, and I had planned to go to Goodwill to get tea cups and other serving dishes for the tea party during the week of Gary’s trip.

But I dropped all of that and flew off to Charleston with Gary.

We had to run through airports and barely caught both of our flights. But when the dust settled, we sat beside each other and held hands as I gazed out the window and enjoyed the view from above for the first time in about 23 years. I really enjoyed it.

We got a rental car when we arrived at Charleston, and Gary drove us to our hotel. He is familiar with Charleston since he lived and worked there for a year in 2011.

We checked in and got situated, then went on an old-fashioned trolley to eat at Chick-fil-A. We found out we were in “college town”, and the restaurant was an express Chick-fil-A with a limited menu and limited space that catered to college students. It was interesting to be among so many young college students, but they behaved themselves well, and we were surprised at their civility.

Nothing spectacular, but none of the street jargon and immature behavior that I’ve come to expect from young people these days.

We enjoyed our lunch and our walk around town as we headed to the nearest Trolley pick-up point.

Neither one of us was in a hurry or felt stressed about anything. We just lived in the moment and enjoyed being together.

Gary was the most relaxed I’ve seen him in a long time.

He just wanted to please me and show me a good time.

We had some ideas of places that we wanted to see because a woman we met at the baggage claim at the airport told us some of the best places to go and even went and got some pamphlets and ran back to give them to us. We felt lots of favor, like God was really smiling on us and causing people to go out of their way to be friendly and help us.

One place she said we HAD to go was Magnolia Plantation. So we did!

Charleston Magnolia Plantation

It was cold! We rode on the “train”, and I had 3 blankets covering me! Our driver was a good guide, and we enjoyed our nature ride, even though we were freezing. We’re used to temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s most of the time. That day in Charleston was probably 50 or lower, so that was really cold for us.

I visited the petting zoo alone – all alone – I was the only person in there among all of the animals. Some of the deer were roaming free. There was a deer just inside the gate. I turned to him with my hands out to pet him, but he mistook my sign for “I’ve got food for you.” He tried to eat me! When he realized I didn’t have food in my hands, he went for my purse. He put his nose into my purse, and I pulled it away real fast. Then he got ahold of the zipper on the outside of my purse with his teeth and yanked his head sideways. He unzipped the front pocket of my purse! That was enough for me. I ran to the gate, opened it and got out of there! I watched from my safe place until the scary deer walked away. Then I worked up my courage and went back in.

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Oh sure, look all sweet and innocent, why don’t ya.

He really did get aggressive with my purse and everything.

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I walked around the corner of a building and there was this goat looking at me all curious-like.

I laughed and snapped his picture.

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There were lots of pretty peacocks preening for me. I don’t know if they were trying to get food from me or what, but a bunch of them were showing off, even this poor old bedraggled guy.

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Gary and I got along so well, and had so much fun just being together. There was this one time, though…
We were all excited. We had a block of time that we could just go and do something, but we didn’t know exactly what to do or where to go. I wanted to see some live oaks. It was too late to visit any plantations or the Angel Oak Tree we had heard so much about, because they all closed at 5:00. So we got in the car and started driving. Gary asked where I wanted to go. I didn’t know specifically since the places I wanted to go were closed already or about to close. I don’t know the area, and I just had a vague idea that we ought to be able to find live oaks with a pathway through them that we could walk on or something like that. I was poring over our tourist book and the pamphlets we had, trying to find a specific place with an address. Gary was driving in heavy traffic asking me where I wanted to go. I asked how far we were from Mt. Pleasant, because I saw a picture of a path going beside some live oaks, and the only information I could find on the page was that it was in Mt. Pleasant. Gary took the GPS off the windshield and told me to find it.

I don’t have much experience with a GPS, so I wasn’t sure what to do. He was fighting traffic and waiting for a destination, so he was slightly distracted and overwhelmed. I was frustrated, because he was asking me where I wanted to go when I didn’t know what was there or how to get anywhere. So we got angry at each other and raised our voices. I felt like he was blaming me for everything that was bad, including the traffic. The way he worded things and the attitude he seemed to have made me feel like he was blaming me. We had our little argument over whether it was my fault and took out our frustrations on each other, then I spotted an address of a park in Mt. Pleasant, so we put that in the GPS and headed there. When we finally got there, we were not happy with each other, but we got out and looked around anyway. There was nobody else there. It was cold. It would be really pretty on a warm day. There would be lots to do there in the summer. But it was pretty abandoned that day. And we didn’t see any live oaks there. We took a few pictures of a lagoon, and looked around some more. Neither of us was saying much.

Then he drove to the beach that he knew was near there. I’m not a fan of the beach. My lack of balance makes the whole beach experience very uncomfortable. And I’m not a big fan of sand, either.

And it was extremely cold.

So he parked the car and got out and walked to the beach while I waited in the car. He came back after a while, and we drove back to the hotel in silence.

I don’t remember how we got back into a happier mood that night, but eventually we did. If I remember right, we were okay when we got back to the hotel and the valet took our car to park it. We always enjoyed little chats with the valets when we brought the car back for them to park. And I don’t remember that night being an exception. So somewhere along the way, we must have made up. We lost our connection for a couple of hours, but we both forgave and re-connected with each other before we got back to the hotel. It’s a shame that we lost that fun block of free time that we both had looked forward to, but we did get past it and come back together in a shorter time than it used to take. I can’t remember specifics, but I know that I, at least, am being more intentional about not nursing a grudge or replaying in my mind what he said or did that offended me or was rude or inconsiderate, and I’m trying harder to re-establish the connection between us when things like that happen. Reading the book, Keep Your Love On, has helped me with this. I’m also trying harder to communicate what I was feeling and why I said what I said or reacted the way I did, so that Gary has a better chance of understanding what went went wrong instead of being clueless and trying to figure out on his own what just happened. I remember that I did pray that God would help us to get back in right standing with each other. I didn’t pray in pity party mode, telling God how mean Gary had been or a “get him, God” attitude, which I’ve done in the past. I sincerely asked God to help us get through this situation in a loving way, and He did.

These things happen, unfortunately, but I’m thankful for the keys I’ve learned recently, like protecting the connection no matter what, and doing what I can on my part to keep on acting in a loving way and communicating even when it’s difficult and uncomfortable to do so. Communicating in a respectful, calm way.

I share this, not just to air our dirty laundry, which I really don’t enjoy doing, but to give an example of how things can go awry, but they can be resolved without bloodshed if we really try to walk in love, keep our love on. It takes a continual dying to self and a constant reminding ourselves that we love each other and we are on the same side, not against each other. We are trying to have fun together, not find fault or criticize the way the other says or does things. We are trying to be unoffendable. We are far from perfect, but we are trying.

Charleston Live Oaks Magnolia Plantation

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That was really the only sour time we had during our four-day getaway.

The rest of the time was very sweet!

Charleston Fudge

Gary really went out of his way to please me. He wanted me to enjoy myself, and I really did.

One night we went out to eat at the Irish Pub the lady at the airport told us about where a really good violin player and his dad and another guy played. Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub.

We sat at the table closest to the musicians. We went early and just stayed until the music started. And we stayed through almost all of it. We enjoyed it immensely.

Then we went to see the highlight of our trip. Angel Oak Tree.

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We had heard about it 2 years ago when Gary was working in Charleston. I did not want to miss out on it. We planned to see it on the way to the airport on Saturday. We spent an hour there just admiring it and taking pictures of it.

It was truly a marvel of God’s creation.

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We both walked around trying to find the best angles for photographs.

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I loved our second honeymoon so much. It was much better than the first. Married love, mature love (sort of) is awesome! Stick with your mate. It will be worth it.

I am so glad that Gary and I have held on to each other through all that we’ve been through. And I’m so thankful that God is teaching us how to get along better now when it’s so crucial. He is revealing to us hidden issues and showing us how to deal with them.

We are becoming more united, more one all the time.

Prayer works! I want to encourage you to keep praying for your mate. And learn as much as you can about building good relationships. Life is meant to be joyful, fun and fulfilling. The same for marriage. But we have to work at it. It doesn’t just happen.

God is there to help you with your marriage. Make sure you put Him at the center of your own life, your marriage, and your relationships with your children and everyone else.

The Angel Oak Tree has a fence around it. They say that tree is 1600 years old. And they want it to live as long as it possibly can. So they have warning signs telling people not to deface it or carve on it or climb it or basically touch it at all. This tree is well-protected. They close the tree at 5:00 and nobody can get near it again until they open the gate the next morning.

If people care that much about a tree and take such measures to protect it, we should be willing to take measures to protect our marriages. And the best protective measure I know of is to pray for it.

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Let your love grow, spread, and shoot out branches to reach out and overshadow and protect all who come near. Like the Angel Oak.

To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3

Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord. Psalm 96:12

And the sun goes down on the palmetto tree!

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