Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Living with Eternity in Mind

A couple years ago I was in a small group and we read and discussed the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. To sum it all up in one sentence, it was about living your life and making decisions based on how they will affect eternity.  I felt very challenged by this and continue to feel challenged by it when I think about it.  How different would my life be if, before making any decision, I thought about whether it would make a difference in eternity?  I think it would look very different.  I get so caught up in wanting the latest thing or making the latest recipe or craft from pinterest that I easily lose sight of that goal of making a difference for eternity.  Sometimes, I think about how much more I could do if I didn't get so caught up with the materialism of life.  I could give more of both my time and money.  Making some fancy new recipe or trying a new craft that will most likely turn out badly is not all that important in light of the knowledge that there are billions of people in the world who are in need, both spiritually and physically.  I think about what the Bible says about my calling as  a Christian...taking care of the orphans, widows, and other needy people; spreading the news about Jesus so that others may know Him; encouraging other believers; and simply building relationships with people.  There are many more I could list, but those are some of the ones that have been on my heart lately.  For a long time I've wondered what I could really do. I am only a stay at home mom of two young children.  I don't have the time or energy to accomplish those things right now, or so I thought.  The thing that I've realized is that it doesn't necessarily take as much effort as I once thought it did. I don't have to have it all together or have a great abundance of time and energy to minister to someone else.  I can take care of needy people by donating money or even material things I don't need anymore to different organizations.  I can reach out to another stay at home mom and plan a play date, which in the end meets one of my own needs as well.  I can take 5 minutes to sit down and write a note to encourage someone, whether it's sent through email, facebook, or regular old snail mail! The point is it doesn't take that much time or energy to make a significant difference in someone else's life.  There are some other bigger things that I feel God is calling me to but don't feel it's time to share them now.  Maybe in a later post. 

My prayer is that the Lord would give me a heart like His, eyes to see what He sees when he looks at people, and the motivation to make a difference. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A decision to homeschool

I was a teacher before I became a mother, and I always thought I wanted to homeschool.  That is, until I had kids.  Shortly after becoming a mother, I realized that homeschooling would mean that I would almost never get a break from my kids.  I didn't think I could handle that. I began looking forward to the day when I could send my kids off to school and get a real break from them, get things done around the house without being interrupted, make appointments without having to get a babysitter, go shopping by myself, and much more.  A couple of years ago I went through a pretty severe depression in which I was having a really hard time being alone with my kids so I found a little mother's morning out program and put them in two days a week.  Bella especially enjoyed it, and I liked having those few hour,s two morning a week, to just focus on me.  At that point I wasn't even considering homeschooling.  It didn't seem like an option for me with what I was going through, and my kids seemed to enjoy being in school.
Then about a year ago, I started feeling the little nudge in my heart that maybe I should give homeschooling a try.  I had always wanted to do it, and I was almost afraid that I'd regret not at least trying it.  For a few months I thought about it and weighed the pros and cons; I eventually decided I wanted to keep Bella in preschool and that homeschooling probably wasn't the best option for my family.  That little nudge in my heart just wouldn't go away, though.  Every time I thought I had made my final decision to not homeschool, something would come up to make me think about it again.  When I really began praying about it and thinking about why it would be beneficial, even for my very social daughter, I realized that I needed to give it a shot.  Brian was a little reluctant for a while there, but eventually came to the same conclusion that we should try it.  So I took Bella out of preschool mid-year, which was really hard because I knew she loved being with her friends.  For a few weeks I thought that maybe I had made a bad decision. Bella wasn't very interested in learning from me and she said she missed her friends at school. I was having a hard time getting into a routine and almost gave up. I checked out several good Christian schools and was pretty close to enrolling her in one.  That little nudge still wouldn't go away, though.  So I decided not to enroll her and we began working more at home and were able to get into a good routine of learning reading, math, and Bible.  She started to enjoy it and the progress I have seen in her, especially in reading, in just 6 short weeks is tremendous. 

So, what were my reasons for choosing to homeschool?  There are many, but the main one was that I want more than anything for my kids to know Jesus and know that following Him is more important than anything else. I know they could have learned a lot in a good Christian school, but I felt that they could learn more at home. Homeschooling allows me and Brian the opportunity to be the most important influence in our children's lives.   I also feel that, aside from the Biblical world view I want my kids to have, they will learn more overall by learning at home.  I can take them through the different subjects at their own pace.  We can take extra time on areas they struggle in and we can move them forward more quickly with areas in which they excel.  There will be plenty of social outlets as there are numerous homeschool groups and classes in our area.  We can take lots of field trips.  My kids will learn to interact with a wider variety of people...if they were in school, they would mostly be interacting with kids their own age. I also like the idea that my kids will have more time at home, learning basic life skills, like cooking, cleaning, and taking care of a home. 
In the short amount of time that we have been homeschooling, I have been able to teach my kids several Bible verses, and listening to them quote scripture is probably the most rewarding thing yet!

I'm not one of those people who believes homeschooling is for everyone, and even for my family, we are taking it one year at a time. For now this is our decision and we will continue to follow God's leading on this!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Heart Revealed

It's been a year since I've posted anything, but I've had all kinds of ideas going through my head about things to share.  The first thing I decided to do to restart my blog is to change the name.  I don't like being thought of as the quiet girl, but when I started my blog it seemed appropriate because I felt that's how many people view me.  So over the last few weeks, I've been thinking about what I could change the name to if I decided to start writing again.  A few days ago, it came to me...A Heart Revealed.  That is what I feel this blog is mostly about, revealing what is in my heart and what God has put on my heart to share with others.