Weary

Week after week passes, each week the same.

Dishes to wash.

Classes to teach.

Dinners to cook.

Groceries to buy.

It is so easy to grow weary. It is so easy to think that life is without purpose or meaning. Yet, the light shines in the darkness. The Lord gives strength to the weary. In His mercy, the Lord opens the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf and the hearts of the captives.

I find encouragement in knowing that our Heavenly Father never grows weary. In my weariness and weakness, I am able to recognize the enormity of God’s power.

God alone is almighty. He alone is outside of time and space. He alone is able to do everything and know everything. He intentionally created me to need food and rest, that I would recognize my humble state and praise His almighty glory.

So, today, sisters, let me encourage you. Do not grow weary of well-doing. God is not finished with you. In this world you will have trouble, but you can take heart because Jesus – Son of God and Son of Man – has overcome this world! This world is temporary, but the new heavens and new earth are eternal. Do not work for the food that perishes! Instead, work for the treasures which are everlasting. (John 6:27) God Himself is your peace in the storm, the giver of every good thing.

We are together in this earthly journey. Let’s encourage one another as we see the end drawing near. As my Chinese friends say, “Jiayou!” (Keep going!)

All glory to His Almighty name

TWIG

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9 ESV

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”

Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV

Study … Obey … Teach

“For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” Ezra 7:10

Teachers are held to a higher standard. We have to be careful to study, but we better not skip that personal obedience step before jumping straight to teaching.

Thank You, Father, for giving us Your Word. It is a light to our feet. It shines in the dark corners and speaks truth to our souls. Thank You for Your mercy and grace and for the wisdom that You give day after day. I’m praying for my own role as a teacher, but also for the teachers of our nation’s children, whether in the schools or the church. Give them Your wisdom and strength for the glory of Your name.

Trust = Obedience. Distrust = Disobedience.

“If deep in our hearts we suspect that God does not love us and cannot manage our affairs as well as we can, we certainly will not submit to His discipline.” – Elisabeth Elliot (Nor His Word or His plan for our life.)

The more we know the Lord’s loving goodness and mercy, as well as His almighty power, the more we will trust Him and His plans for us.

You can know God. Imagine that! God has given us His Word, so we can know and trust Him. The more you know and trust Him, the more closely you will follow and obey Him.

How can I come alongside you?

Message me or leave a comment.

Life Skills and Habits to Develop Before Finishing High School

Having graduated my oldest two and now looking at my 11th grader and 8th grader, I took the time to write down a list – 6 pages long – of the skills and habits I’d like to help them develop before leaving home. Can you think of anything I missed? 🙂

Bible reading

  • Daily Bible Reading and Prayer Journal
  • Genesis – Deuteronomy
  • Joshua – Ruth
  • 1 Samuel – 2 Chronicles
  • Ezra – Esther
  • Job – Psalms
  • Proverbs – Ecclesiastes
  • Isaiah – Daniel
  • Hosea – Malachi
  • Matthew – Acts
  • Romans – Colossians
  • 1 Thessalonians – Revelation

Scripture Memory

  • John 3:16
  • Romans 5:8
  • Romans 6:23
  • Books of the Bible
  • Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17)
  • The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)
  • Psalm 1:1-6
  • Psalm 23:1-6
  • 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
  • Philippians 2:1-16
  • Colossians 3:1-25
  • Romans 12:1-21
  • Matthew 5:1-16

Books to Read

  • Hudson Taylor, George Mueller, Gladys Aylward by Benge (or other Christian Heroes books)
  • The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by Lewis (The whole Narnia series)
  • Mama’s Bank Account by Forbes
  • Man of the Family by Moody (the whole series is great)
  • The Hiding Place by Ten Boom
  • The Knowledge of the Holy by Tozer
  • Knowing God by Packer
  • The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Hymns

  • Amazing Grace
  • The Doxology
  • Come Thou Fount
  • It is Well with My Soul
  • Take My Life and Let it Be
  • Be Thou my Vision
  • How Great Thou Art
  • To God be the Glory
  • In Christ Alone
  • Before the Throne of God Above
  • Silent Night
  • The First Noel
  • Oh, Holy Night
  • Little Town of Bethlehem
  • Joy to the World
  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Missions

  • Support a missionary in prayer, as well as financially and corresponding with them
  • Visit a missionary or serve with a local outreach ministry
  • Share the gospel clearly in 2 minutes

Social skills

  • Serve others – an elderly neighbor, a sick friend, your church – however the Lord leads
    (write a letter, cook a meal, help out)
  • Answer the phone properly and take a message
  • Set the table properly for your family
  • Use proper manners eating at home using silverware and a napkin
  • Order and pay at a fast food restaurant
  • Eat at a fancy restaurant using proper table manners
  • Express thanks consistently when others serve you
  • Greet and converse with adults with eye conduct, proper voice volume and listening attentively
  • Make a phone call to order pizza or other food delivery
  • Make a phone call to set up a doctor’s appointment
  • Life skills
  • Childcare
    •  Play with, change diaper, feed bottle, make lunch, clean up, child development
  • Woodworking
    • Hand saw, table saw, miter saw, electric drill, hang a picture, repair nail hole, repair dry wall, caulk sink or shower
  • Electrical work
    • Check breakers, understand types of light bulbs, install a light fixture or ceiling fan, change outlet, install light switch
  • Plumbing
    • Plunge a toilet, unclog a drain, understand how a toilet works, turn off water to house at street, turn off water at a sink or toilet
  • Painting
    • Wall, trim, cabinet, door
  • Car repair and maintenance
    • Change oil, replace windshield wipers and fluid, change tire, jump battery
  • Tie a variety of knots
  • Pack for a trip
  • Plan a trip
  • Set a mouse trap
  • Tie a necktie
  • Shine shoes
  • Organize a closet, cabinet or dresser and your bedroom
  • Iron a button-down shirt and dress pants
  • Sew on a button
  • Mend a hole in a sock or shirt

Healthy Living

  • Plan a week of meals as well as make a list of meal and snack options
  • Grocery shop for a week’s groceries
  • Cook dinner for the family
  • Understand a variety of over-the-counter medicines and supplements
  • Know the name and phone number of your doctor, insurance and medicine you take
  • Learn how to store food – fruit, vegetables, fridge, freezer, pantry
  • First aid skills (choking, fainting, heart attack or inability to breathe, cuts, burns, fractures or sprains)
  • Make a First Aid kit

Academic skills

  • Tell time using an analog clock
  • Use a dictionary, a thesaurus and an encyclopedia
  • Read a book or story aloud to a group
  • Speak in front of a group
  • Find a book at the library using the Dewey decimal system
  • Put books on hold online
  • Check out and return books on time
  • Check out and listen to a digital audiobook

Computer skills

  • Keyboarding skills of at least 25 wpm
  • Type a chapter of the Bible
  • Write a letter to a political representative
  • Write a cover letter to apply for a job
  • Write a resume
  • Write a family newsletter or Christmas letter
  • Make a blog
  • Make a PowerPoint presentation
  • Build a computer from parts

Financial and Time Management Skills

  • Discuss stewardship – stewarding our time, talents, treasure and testimony
  • Make a daily schedule
  • Make an online annual calendar with important dates and birthdays
  • Open a bank account
  • Write checks, use a debit card at a store, use an ATM, set up auto pay, track your expenses and check your bank balance online
  • Learn about car insurance and health insurance
  • Discuss paying taxes
  • Discuss tithing and giving offerings
  • Memorize your social security number and know why you need it
  • Make a weekly, monthly and annual budget
  • Clothing shopping on a budget
  • List and price what you need to buy other than food and clothing (shampoo, deodorant, cosmetics, feminine care, shaving, laundry soap, dish soap, TP, first aid …)

Cleaning skills

  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • Clean mirrors, glass doors and windows
  • Wash dishes by hand
  • Load the dishwasher
  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Scrub a toilet
  • Clean the shower
  • Clean a whole bathroom
  • Clean blinds
  • Wash, dry, fold, hang up and put away clothes

Cooking skills

  • Breakfast – muffins, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, bacon, sausage
  • Eggs – hard boil, fry, scramble, egg salad
  • Lunch – grilled cheese, ham, PB & J, macaroni + cheese
  • Dinner – spaghetti, hamburgers, fettucine alfredo, tacos
  • Potatoes – baked, mashed, roasted, potato salad
  • Vegetables – salad, broccoli, green beans, corn casserole
  • Dessert – cake, cookies, pudding, pie

Arts, crafts, creative skills

  • Take, edit and share photos digitally
  • Make a video with music from digital images
  • Make an album from digital images
  • Sketch with pencils
  • Watercolors
  • Oil painting
  • Embroidery or cross stitching
  • Knit or crochet
  • Sew curtains or a pillow with a sewing machine
  • Play a song on a piano, guitar or other instrument
  • Read music accurately
  • Sing a song on pitch from memory
  • Make a model from scratch or from a kit
  • Write a poem
  • Memorize and recite a poem

Outdoor skills

  • Build a fire and learn about fire safety
  • Cook a meal on a fire or grill
  • Set up a tent and camp outside for 24 hours
  • Mow the lawn
  • Use a trimmer
  • Use a blower
  • Rake and bag leaves
  • Plant and maintain flowers or garden
  • Weed a garden or flower bed
  • Shovel a sidewalk or driveway
  • Archery
  • Marksmanship, gun safety, and maintenance
  • Go fishing – tie a hook, put on bait, catch a fish, take it off hook
  • Gut and cook an animal or fish

Download a PDF of this list here:

Micah 6:6-8 with a 21st Century American Twist

With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before God most high?

Shall I go to church every Sunday morning and Sunday night?

Shall I attend Wednesday morning Bible studies and Wednesday night choir practices?

Will the Lord be pleased if I post Bible verses every morning on Facebook and every night on Instagram?

What if I homeschool my children from birth to high school graduation or put them in the finest Christian schools?

Shall I wear long hair and long skirts and bake homemade bread and desserts for my family?

He has told you, O woman, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.

To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. Faith, hope and love abide, but the greatest of these is love.

See Micah 6:6-8, Matthew 22:34 – 23:39 and 1 Corinthians 13.

Moms as Missionaries

I love reading missionary stories, whether by myself or with my children. I love hearing about the gospel being proclaimed to the ends of the earth. I love to see the biggest to the smallest prayers answered. I love to see people set free from their chains to sin, pride and selfishness.

For many years, I’ve wished that I could be a full-time missionary on the front lines or that one of my children would be called to go to an unreached people group on the other side of the globe, but so far that hasn’t happened.

But, do you know what has happened?

I’ve still had plenty of opportunities to be a missionary on the front lines outside of my home, in spite being a full-time homeschooling mom. I’ve shared the gospel and seen people saved. I’ve discipled and seen people grow. I’ve prayed and seen God respond in mighty ways. I’ve spoken and written the words that God has given to me and I’ve seen people touched.

But I’ve also gotten to be on the front lines of my own home – a privilege NO ONE ELSE has.

My children have read and studied and memorized the Word – at my dining room table, in my queen-sized bed, and on my sectional leather couch.

My children have prayed bold prayers for themselves, for those they love, and even for those they’ve never met.

They’ve seen prayers answered and lives changed.

And they’ve learned how to share the gospel themselves and seen the power of Christ transform lives.

Moms, don’t lose heart. Our God is a God of eternity, of yesterday, and today and tomorrow. Make the most of today. Pick up one of the Christian Heroes books by Geoff Benge – maybe Hudson Taylor or George Mueller or Gladys Aylward – to read with your kids. Read “The Insanity of God” or “God Smuggler” or “The Hiding Place” or “Tortured for Christ” for yourself (or with your older children).

Read the book of Acts.

Memorize a verse or a passage or a whole chapter with your younger disciples.

Pray boldly and watch God move.

You are on the front lines in this battle between good and evil. You are training up warriors for God’s kingdom. God has called you to this and He will equip you to do it.

And I’d love to help you.

You are my Sunshine

Today, April 4th, 2020, my oldest daughter, My Sunshine Girl, had planned to be married. God had other plans. She and her Sunshine Guy got married a couple weeks early and I couldn’t be happier for them.

But … I tell you what, I miss her like crazy. “Social distancing” is nothing compared to “daughter distancing!”

Emily and I grew up together. When she was born, I was a baby Christian. I didn’t know Christian nursery songs, so I sang, “You are my Sunshine,” to her night after night as I rocked her to sleep. She has brought light and sunshine into my life like no other.

And now that she’s living in another state in the midst of COVID-19 lock-down, I feel like a part of me is missing (and it is), but that little girl was never meant to be the source of my joy or the light of my life. Jesus was.

Look at these references to light in the Psalms:

  • For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness. (Psa 18:28 ESV)
  • The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psa 27:1 ESV)
  • For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. (Psa 36:9 ESV)
  • Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psa 119:105 ESV)

In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jhn 8:12 ESV)  In Heaven, there will be “no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Rev 21:23 ESV)

Would you join me in praying right now?

Father, Help me to be grateful for the good gifts that You have given to me. I pray that I would be a spotlight, pointing people’s attention to You and not to me. I pray that my little light would shine like a city on a hill with nothing hindering it. I pray that you would use each of us as candles shining in a dark world that people would see something different in us, that we would live daily as children of light. I pray your blessings on our children, that they would shine for your glory and that we as parents would not make idols of these precious gifts, but that they would be straight arrows for Your kingdom rather than our own. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

5 Tips For Those Suddenly Stuck at Home

In 2001, I began my homeschooling journey. My oldest daughter was just starting kindergarten and my son was two. Since then God has blessed us with two more children and we’ve moved three times, but we’ve continued plugging along.

My heart goes out to those who suddenly find themselves with a whole family at home … all the time. This isn’t the regular reality of homeschooling. My regular homeschooling lifestyle has involved plenty of field trips and social time with others. Normally, you’d have time to plan out your school year and you’d be in charge (not your school district). This is harder. If you can do THIS, you can homeschool. (Hint. Hint.)

Here are a few tips to help you in your homeschooling journey, whether this is your first week, your first year or your tenth.

1-Make a loose schedule for the order of your day.
Plan out what to do first, second, third, etc … Intermingle your schedule with some breaks and switching up activities. If there’s plenty of screen time, then mix in some exercise. If there’s plenty of book work, add in some screen time. You don’t need to watch the clock, rather watch the order of things.

For example: First, we get up and get ready for the day. Then, we eat breakfast. Next, we sing a song together led by someone on YouTube, read a chapter of the Bible, work on memorizing scripture and pray for our day. Then, Mom does math with big sister, while little brother reads by himself. When Mom is done with math, then sister reads and book while little brother works on math with Mom. etc…

Write out this schedule on a piece of paper and each day have your child put a check next to it. If you have a laminator, laminate it so you can reuse it week after week. If you don’t, you could tape it on the back side of a glass door/window and cross it off with a dry erase marker. Or, you could write the whole list on a dry erase board glass surface and check it off as it goes.

2-Schedule the most important things first.
When you’re making your schedule, put what is most important first. We are committed to giving God His time first. Then, math and language arts. If that’s all you accomplish in a day, then … so be it. First things first.

3-Have some time together and some time apart.
We go back and forth between time together and time apart. We have Bible time together. We read aloud together. We eat lunch and play a board game together. We walk the dog together.But we also spend time apart. What that looks like has varied based on the ages of the kids – sometimes an older sibling takes some time with a younger one, sometimes the kids are alone in their rooms, sometimes there is one-on-one time with Mom, sometimes Mom needs some time to herself.

4-Use a timer.
I love timers. Timers help hard tasks to feel lighter, and easy tasks to done more diligently.  “We will work on math for 30 minutes right now,” is easier to stomach than we will finish this whole lesson no matter how long it takes. “You need to clean up your bedroom for ten minutes,” is easier to manage than, “Don’t come out of your room until it’s spotless.” “You will stay in your room quietly for fifteen minutes,” can gradually be worked up to thirty minutes to sixty minutes. (This is how I taught my three year old to keep napping until he was six.)

5-Make the most of this time.
The days go by slowly, but the years go by quickly. Somehow my “Sunshine Girl” and my “Little Man” grew up and met those spouses we’d prayed for since they were little and got married.

Don’t lose sight of the great blessing it is to be home and to be together today.

Read a book or two or three. Play a board game. Learn a song. Memorize scripture.

Take pictures. Make a video. Clean something. Start a blog.

Discover a new hobby or learn a new skill. Better still, learn a new hobby or skill with your kids!

Have you considered keeping a family journal for this time? Write down (or have one of your children write it down) what you did each day. Make note of your prayer requests and praises. Write down what you read in the Bible and how God spoke to you through it.

Did you know you could read the whole New Testament in the next sixty days by reading one chapter in the morning, one at lunch, one at dinner and one at bedtime? Check out this 60-day reading plan on YouVersion.

I’d love to answer any questions you have.

How can I pray for you?

How are you using this time at home?

TWIG