The Question I Never Wanted to Hear

I  remember a day long ago when Patrick was about 6 years old (he’s 17 now) when he came to me and told me that Jordan and Shawn were carrying buckets of water and he tried to carry one, too, but he couldn’t.  I asked him how full it was.  He said it was about half full.  I told him to dump out some of the water and try to carry less.  He said he did, but it was still too heavy.  I’ll never forget the sorrow in his voice when he said, “Mommy, the other boys can carry those buckets real easy.  How come it’s so heavy for me?  Why can’t I carry things like they can?  I’ve tried to do other things they do, too, and I just can’t do them.  Why is it so hard for me?”  Then I know what the problem was.  He was discovering the limitations that arthrogryposis had put on him.  My heart was broken.  I never made a big deal about the arthrogryposis because I didn’t want him to feel like there was something wrong with him.  I wanted him to try things without thinking, “Oh, I can’t do that because I have arthrogryposis.”  And it had worked really well.  He did everything on time and better than my other kids.  He was a daredevil and rode a bike sooner than his siblings.  He did tricks and jumps on his bike!  But he had discovered that his biceps were not as strong as theirs.  And he was asking me why.

 

I told him about the arthrogryposis and how the doctor said he didn’t have as much bicep muscle because of it.  But I told him that he could still work on it and try to build as much muscle as he could.  I told him to start with lifting the bucket with nothing in it and gradually add a little bit of water to it.  He wasn’t sure if he could even lift an empty bucket, but I told him to keep trying.  I told him that he was already a miracle in what he was able to do.  That the doctors had told me that he may never be able to feed himself or brush his teeth or groom himself or walk or ….  He had proven all of that wrong.  He was able to dress himself, feed himself – everything – all of his life!  So I told him that God would help him with this problem, too.  That we were praying, and we believed that God would heal him completely.

 

Just look at him now!  He can bench more weight than his older brother!  And he has a powerful punch. God is an awesome God.  He is our healer.  Patrick tells everyone he meets what God has done for him.  God is willing and able to heal if we press into Him and believe His promises.

God’s Curriculum for Your Children

I was recently asked how I let God give me His curriculum for my children.

I have learned to pray and ask the Lord what I need to teach the younger ones and how I need to teach each one. He speaks to me in my spirit and lets me know what I need to do. He has reminded me at times when one of them is ready for Phonics when I may not have been aware of it. He helps me to know the kind of book to get or what subject that they need to learn. He gives me ideas of how to teach certain concepts.

For example, early this morning I woke up before I was ready to get up. I was praying and thinking. I started thinking about teaching fractions. Yes, I really did start thinking about that. I realized that an easy way to help the twins understand fractions would be to use measuring cups and let them stack them and fill them with water and pour them into equivalent fraction cups, etc. That way, they will understand that 4/3 equals 1 and 1/3, and 2/4 = 1/2, things like that. I intend to do that soon. Probably the next time I bake cookies or something with them. I believe God was giving me a plan for the best way to teach the twins the basics about fractions.

The Spirit nudges me when one of the younger ones is ready to learn to recognize letters or numbers. Sometimes He lets me know when they already have a concept mastered, and I need to help them move on to the next step, like teaching them about how letters go together to make words. And then sentences. And then paragraphs. And then more difficult words. And so on.

I use materials we have on hand to start out:

-Paper and pencil or crayon
-Alphabet books
-Early reader books
-Letter magnets
-Letter flash cards

I teach them to write their name. They start to ask me how to spell certain words. I help them write what they want. I believe in doing what comes naturally in most things. When I try to force things on them that are artificial or contrived, they often rebel and don’t really learn what I wanted them to learn. I go to the library and get lots of books that have simple but interesting stories and beautiful pictures. I love picture books and read lots of them to my little ones.

In some ways, the kids help me direct their learning by asking questions or trying new things and asking for help. But behind it all, I can sense the leading of the Holy Spirit. Recently, I was led to buy manipulatives like Pattern Blocks and Teddy Bear counters. We’re still in the fun, play-with-them phase, but I plan to teach concepts with them soon. I have idea books for how to use them to teach different concepts.

We have done plays that the Lord helped me to write. We have done unit studies that I suddenly found in my files on my computer or from ideas that just came to me of things that we should study about.

I go to the library and peruse the titles on the shelves. Sometimes a particular title jumps out at me, and I check out that book and read it aloud to the kids. Many times those books lead to further study on related topics. The kids will research and find out more on their own.

We have studied the Old Testament very thoroughly. I understand the whole story of the Bible so much better now than I did before I started homeschooling my children. We are just starting to dive into the New Testament. I believe the Lord led me to lay a firm foundation in the Old Testament first so that my children can understand the culture of the Jews, which Jesus was part of, and the prophecies that He fulfilled and the background of all of the writers and stories and teachings of the Bible. We have used several different curriculum to cover our study of the Old Testament. We have used:

Heart of Wisdom by Robin Sampson

Ancient Civilizations and the Bible by Diana Waring

The Daily Bible by F. LaGard Smith

Historical fiction based on stories and books and people of the Bible

The Heavens Before and the whole Genesis Trilogy by Kacy Barnett-Gramckow

This trilogy covers Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth and Nimrod and the Tower of Babel up to Abraham. It is fantastic!

When we landed in Kansas City after the traveling (homeless) part of our Journey of Fire, I asked Shawn what he wanted to study. He said he just wanted to study his Bible! I was floored. I was happy, but I also wanted him to do some Math and other subjects, too. So I asked him to do some Math and to write about what he was learning in the Bible. He agreed to that. He has studied many other subjects, too, but his main area of study really was the Bible. He was 15 years old.

I went through the library catalog and found historical fiction about Abraham, Jacob, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, etc. and read to the kids so that they would be able to relate to the people and situations in the Old Testament. I found some through book lists such as Sonlight catalog’s history and readers book lists for different history periods. In this catalog, you can also find books at all levels from before preschool and up that will teach some Bible and history to even very young children.

We are loosely following Diana Waring’s curriculum Romans, Reformers and Revolutionaries for Early Church History through 1799 AD.

I have taught my children to pray and ask the Lord what He wants them to learn.

I believe that God will show you the books to use, the subjects your children need to learn, the skills they need to learn, and the best way for them to learn them if you will just ask Him.

As your children get older, they will start to learn because they want to know a certain thing. It is really hard to keep a child from learning! If you have encouraged them to explore and discover, they will continue to do this as they grow and mature. And the Lord will lead them into the thing that He created them to do.

I have linked this post to Big Family Friday at Holy Spirit-led Homeschooling

Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling

Five Steps to a Supernatural Life: Find Out Your Purpose

Step 5: Ask God to show you what your purpose is, and find out who you are in Him.

I just added another part to this step, so I guess this is a two-step now!  This series is now Five-and-A-Half Steps to a Supernatural Life. 🙂

It’s important that we know who we are in Christ. There are many scriptures that contain the phrase “In Him”, and we need to study those and make them a part of our being. They clarify who we are in Him.

There’s a little mini-book by Kenneth Hagin called “In Him” that contains many, many scriptures that tell us who we are in Him.

I used to own it, but I don’t have it now. I just found it at Nest Entertainment and ordered it for $1.20. (While I was there I ordered the New Testament DVD’s for my kids. I can afford them now, PTL!)

But I will start a little list here with the help of the Online Bible.

Acts 17:28* For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

2Co 5:21* For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

2Co 13:4* For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.

Php 3:9* And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Col 2:6* As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

Col 2:10* And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

2Th 1:12* That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1Jo 2:6* He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

1Jo 2:8* Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

1Jo 2:27* And the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone teach you. But as His anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and as He taught you, abide in Him.

1Jo 2:28* And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

1Jo 3:24* And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

1Jo 4:13* Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

1Jo 5:14* And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

1Jo 5:20* And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

Here are a couple of “with Him” verses:

Ro 8:17* And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

2Ti 2:12* If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

And here are a few verses that use the words “In Christ”.

Ro 8:1* There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

2Co 2:14* Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

2Co 5:17* Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Eph 1:3* Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Eph 2:6* And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Eph 2:13* But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

And here are a few more verses about who we are in Him and what He has given us.

1Co 2:16* For who has knowledge of the mind of the Lord, so as to be his teacher? But we have the mind of Christ.

1Jo 4:16* And we have seen and had faith in the love which God has for us. God is love, and everyone who has love is in God, and God is in him.

1Jo 4:17* In this way love is made complete in us, so that we may be without fear on the day of judging, because as he is, so are we in this world.

Ro 8:37* Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Take a little time and meditate on a few of these verses and let God speak to you about who you are in Him.

Then get more specific, and ask the Lord to show you what your purpose is in life. Take all the time you need to hear from Him. It may take days or weeks for Him to reveal to you what He is calling you to do in this season of your life. Just keep asking and listening. Ask Him to direct your thoughts so that you can see clearly what you have been doing that is from your own reasoning or desires and is not producing good fruit or bringing fulfillment to your life. You may have to prune some things from your life. Ask Him for wisdom. Ask Him to reveal to you talents that you didn’t even know you had.

I know my calling now, but it took several years for me to find out. When I was a young mother, I kept trying to find fulfillment in things outside of my home. I did lots of things in church. I tutored and homeschooled other children. I did homeschool assessments. I sang in a quartet. I found my identity in many of those activities. The Lord slowly whittled everything away until I was left with only my husband and my children. Slowly the light dawned that my ministry in this season is to my own family. When I did all of those other things I was always neglecting my ministry at home.

Now I have accepted my calling for this season. I am much more content and confident in my calling. I feel fulfilled in my role as a wife and mother. And I know that God is pleased with my work.

I am raising my children to live a supernatural life. We are believing as a family for miracles, signs and wonders so that God’s name will be glorified and the works of the evil one will be destroyed. It may not look like much now, but our ministry will be powerful to set the captives free and heal the brokenhearted.

So what about you?

Do you know what God has called you to do as an individual? As a family?

All you need to know is His will for you for this season. He will most likely tell you the next thing when the time comes for a change.

Seek Him and find out. He wants to tell you. But He wants you to come to Him and ask.

Get lined up with His will, and He will do supernatural things in and through your life.

Five Steps to a Supernatural Life: See Yourself As God Sees You

Step 4: Ask God to show you how He sees you.

Now that you have been set free and delivered from every chain that had you bound and you are starting each day by putting your spirit above your soul and living by your spirit instead of your soul. And you are learning to trust God and look at His Word and His promises instead of circumstances, what is the next step to living a supernatural life?

Now you should ask God to show you what He thinks about you.

The Lord had to work on me for a long time before I even thought to ask Him this question. He kept nudging me toward it, but I was hard of hearing.

When I was in my early 20’s, I was a church camp counselor, and one night I saw young children receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. I had been praying for that experience for myself for several years but had never received it. I felt a little bit upset about not having received it yet, when these little children were receiving it so easily. I knew that it was probably because of fear blocking my ability to receive. But it made me really determined to seek God and do my best to clear the way so that I could receive it. I stayed at the altar for a long time that night just asking God to help me get over my fears and inhibitions so that I could receive everything that He wanted to give me.

Another counselor who was older than I am came and started praying with me. I told her what I was praying about and she prayed for me to be able to receive anything that God wanted to give me.

Then she suggested that we go somewhere quiet because she wanted to really be able to share and talk with me. We went back to my cabin, and she comforted me and built me up with scripture about how much God loves me and wants to answer my prayers and bless me. The main scripture she read to me that caused me to sob and feel His love in a way I had never felt before was Isaiah 43:1,2

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:

“ Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.

There was such a strong anointing on those verses in that moment that I felt His love for me – for ME – I really felt it. I knew that He was calling me by my name. I knew that I was somebody to Him and that He was trying to communicate His love and care for me.

When I got that revelation, I suddenly started saying a three-syllable “word” that was not a word that I knew while I was trying to thank Him for loving me. Then I felt an overwhelming sensation of love flow through me. I felt loved, and I felt love for everybody, even those I didn’t really like that well. She took me back to the chapel and told people what had happened, and I went around hugging everybody there, which was not the way I usually behaved! I just felt so much love I wanted to hug everyone on the planet.

Well, that was wonderful and it really impacted my life in big ways. I started singing in front of people and doing things that I never could have done before because of fear and shyness.

But I still had some issues of inferiority and insecurity that needed to be dealt with.

Life went on and I met my True Love and married him. We had a child, then another and another and another… My life became very busy with learning to be a mommy, a housewife, a wife, along with tutoring and homeschooling and doing homeschool assessments for about 100 families every year. My spiritual life was put on the back burner for a while.

We were still going to church, but I couldn’t get much out of sermons because I was usually in the nursery or helping with other kids’ classes, which was expected because I had kids in the program.

One night as I was alone in the van (a rare occurrence) headed home from a class I needed to take to renew my teaching certificate so I could continue to do homeschool assessments, I sensed that the Lord was trying to tell me something. I had asked Him to speak to me now that I had a minute alone. It took about 20 minutes of really listening to understand that He was saying, “Penney, I delight in you.” I was floored. I couldn’t believe that He would delight in me. I didn’t feel worthy in the least. But I was sure that was what He was saying. I pondered on that all the way home.

It changed the way I viewed myself. It changed the way I viewed God. It revealed to me that I didn’t have to be perfect for Him to love me in such a deep way that He would describe it as delighting in me. I felt loved and special.

It was several years later that He showed me in His Word Psalm 18:19 “He delivered me because He delighted in me.”

I knew that verse was talking about me. By that time, He had delivered me and was about to deliver me from some pretty scary situations!

I got the revelation that He always will deliver me, because He delights in me. I can count on His deliverance. I can also count on His delight in me. Not because I’m delightful, but because that’s just how God is. That’s just how God sees me. He delights in me in spite of my failings, my issues and my problems.

After that revelation, He kept dropping into my spirit little hints about how He feels about me. He showed me through my little baby who was just learning to walk that He saw me the same way I saw my little baby girl. He felt the kind of tender love and compassion and pride in me that I felt for my little baby girl who was trying so hard to walk in spite of fear or failure or pain.

I came to a point where I understood that I needed to really know how God feels about me. I had some preconceived ideas from the teachings I had heard all my life. I had a view of God as a father who loves all of His children and takes care of them en masse. I had to deal with this kind of thinking as I mothered my children. I realized that I was treating my children as a group instead of individuals with different needs and personalities. The Lord helped me to see them as more than a responsibility that often got in the way of things I was trying to accomplish. I used to herd them from one place to another without taking into consideration what they really needed or wanted. I assumed that my plans were good for all of them, never thinking that some might benefit from less activity and others from more.

As I began to understand that I was wrong to think of my children as a herd, I realized that God doesn’t think of us in that way, either. He taught me that He loves me all by myself. I’m not part of the collective that He takes care of in a generic way. He cares about me and loves me and knows my name. He knows how I feel. He cares about what I care about. He is crazy about me!

Now I knew that I needed even more revelation of how He feels about me. So I intentionally prayed the prayer, “Lord, show me what You think of me. Show me how you feel about me.”

Ever since then, He has been speaking to me through prophetic experiences where people have prayed over me and prophesied that He is happy with the way I have taken care of my children and the way I have protected them and taught them about the Lord. He has turned my husband’s heart toward me in such a way that I feel God’s heart for me through him and the way that he expresses love for me.

The first prophecy contained phrases from Song of Solomon and Isaiah and other scriptures that were personalized for me:

I am His chosen one
His princess
His Esther
His queen
His favorite
No more shame
No more desolation
No longer forgotten
My land shall be married
He is ravished with my beauty
He has given me beauty for ashes
He delights in me!
Change the DNA of my heart – what I think about God and myself
I have His favor
He has put His robe on me – a robe of righteousness and a ring on my finger, and a crown on my head
Sing over her. Let your winds blow on this fragrant garden.

God spoke to me so profoundly and ministered to my heart through these words.

Now why do we need this knowledge and revelation of how God sees us? Because we can’t really know Him unless we know how He feels about us.

Ephesians 3:16-21

16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,

17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—

19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

When we know His love, His love for us individually, we will be filled with all the fullness of God.

With His fullness in us, we can live this life the way it was meant to be lived.