Saturday, August 31, 2013

made for more

It's that time of year again. The time of year where the Boss man heads back to work, big yellow buses begin to roll by, and children everywhere head back to the classroom. Unless you are one of my crew. And then you stay home.

When Boss and I first made the decision to home educate (over four years ago, now), we knew there would be things we would be asking our children to 'give up'. The special first day of school excitement, the holiday classroom parties, skipping with a best friend to the playground after lunch, and the general feeling of goodness that comes with being a part of something that is larger than yourself. And sometimes when I think about it for too long, even four years later, I still get sad that my children are not a part of those things. I worry we have scarred them in some way by keeping them from the traditional American way of life.

But then I am reminded.

Deep in my heart I am reminded that my children were made for more than this world. They were put here for a purpose, to embrace their calling as a Christ follower should they choose to give Him their lives, to fulfill the plans that God has for them. Plans that include knowing God more and more each day and pointing others to Him on their journey. My children were not put here to get caught up in all of the current cultural trends, to be swept along with the world as it spins madly around and around again. And for all that my children have had to 'give up', there is one thing that they have gotten to keep. Each other. Our family does life together. Every single day, all day. The good, the bad, and the ugly of it. And that is what I love most about this journey of home education. I love that we do it together.

I know there are those who do not believe home education is for them. And personally, I am good with that. We all have different stories, different heart stirrings, and I believe if we are committing our ways to the Father he will guide us in the direction we should go. But for us, homeschooling provides the hope that we can hang on to our children's fragile hearts. For us, homeschooling allows us the day in and day out opportunity to mold the little people God has blessed us with into men and women of big faith. Soon enough our children will fly the nest and our steadfast prayer is that they will fly stronger and more assuredly because of their years spent in our home.

This year our focus is books, books, books. We will squeeze core work in, too, but the majority of our time will be spent with our noses in the cover of a good book. I want my girls to read solid stories about ordinary people who turned their lives over to an extraordinary God. I want them to see that God has had a plan all along. For his creation, for the people that lived in Bible times, for the country that we live in today. And I want my daughters to be inspired, to know that God has a plan for them, too. We will read about Christopher Columbus and Anne Frank. George Washington and Helen Keller. We will see how God continually uses faithful people to fulfill His purposes time and again and really, is there a greater lesson that my children could ever learn? I don't think so, and I am excited to see where this year will take us.

I don't know where you are in the story of your own life, but I want to dare you to dream BIG. To hand the writing of your story over to the very Author who created you in the first place. It is our prayer and the focus of our family this school year. The constant handing over of the pen, and then handing it over once again. And who knows? The beautiful chapter that we (you) have been longing for might only be but a page away.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

on making it count

Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that counts. (Hope Floats)

And that's where I am in life. In the glorious middle, striving and hoping every single day to make my days count. My middle finds me in Ohio, married to a really good man. A really good man that I do not deserve. He folds laundry and sweeps floors and washes dishes and changes diapers and earns the paycheck. He tells me that I am beautiful and he dances in the living room with our daughters and he makes our boys smile. I take him for granted and I shouldn't. My middle finds me the mama to four children, and my oldest is nine and most days pass too quickly for comfort. Because the only thing growing faster than my children's bodies are their feet, and the screen door swings open as they exit with the early morning sun and it doesn't swing back shut until that morning sun is setting low. And there are bellies to be filled and baths to be had and then it is off to bed with a kiss and an I love you. And as another day passes I wonder aloud, did this one count? Did I make the most of my day, my time, my life? Because you only get one. One life to make count. And the truthiest truth is that most days I feel like I didn't. I slept too long or sat too long or spent too many minutes reading about other's grand lives while wishing mine was something other than what it is, instead of determining to make my one life the happy that I dream of.

I read on a sign today that bold change requires bold commitment. And I want that bold change in my life. In the story of our family. Not change in our setting. Our setting is my happy place. And not change in our cast of characters. I wouldn't trade my family and friends for the world. The bold change that I long for is a bold change inside of me that spills outward and up and all around. The bold change that takes someone (me) from merely existing through life to fully embracing it. Because I am tired of busy and debt and extra weight. And I am tired of snappy tones and frustration and discontent. And I am tired of just 'waiting' until this or that happens and then and only then can our happy begin. Because our happy is now. Right here in this glorious middle. And I fear we are living some of our very best days and we don't even know it, because we are living our days in this world that is spinning out of control.

In the heavenly realm the first are last and the last are first. Less is most definitely always more and God is always more than enough. He is everything. But most days I don't choose to live with a heavenly mindset. I choose to get caught up in the current of our culture. Our world where the first and the prettiest and the wealthiest are the most important and where we can never have enough. Of what, I don't actually know. I live in a realm where God seems nice, but it doesn't seem like he is really real. At least not in an alive and active kind of way. So I walk around in this world where we have it all wrong, and I continually bump my head as I try to turn myself around. Because this world I am living in is exhausting and in the inner most places of my soul I know that I was made for more.

And so that is what I am seeking. This more. This more of God. And scripture says that if I empty myself before him then he will fill me up. And that if I seek him I will find him. And it will take bold commitment but it will be worth it for bold change. Bold change in this glorious middle where I currently find myself, so that at the end of my days I can find that they did indeed count.