Saturday, January 31, 2015

When my heart is overwhelmed....

Yesterday I threw a really big fit!  Don't worry I didn't throw myself on the ground and start kicking and screaming, but I certainly could have been mistaken for a 2 year old by my actions. 

I was having a hard day emotionally and probably should have put myself in a time-out in my bedroom to work through my stuff...but instead I was attempting to help my 11 year old with her math.  Can I just say....bad idea.

Back when I first started homeschooling, the greatest area of struggle was, can you guess?....yes math.  I can remember getting so frustrated trying to teach a Kindergartner math concepts.   I would cry and think, "I can't do this" or "I'm such a failure, I can't even teach math to a 5 year old."  We went through multiple math programs until we came across Queen Homeschool: Math Lessons for a Living Education.  It was a keeper for us and we have used it for the past 5 years. 

No matter how great a curriculum you find, if your child doesn't like a certain subject or struggles in it, you are going to have difficult days....and this was just one of those sort of days.  I was already in a place of feeling overwhelmed and the combination of my daughters attitude was too much for me in that moment.   The end result of my "fit" was a math book in the garbage (Sorry Angela O'Dell, wonderful author of this curriculum, but keep reading).  I know, such a mature thing to do right?

We all have hard days.  We all have days where any combination of circumstances, fatigue, sickness, kids with attitude, pressures, stresses, and demands on our time can be so OVERWHELMING.   
We can't do anything in our own strength.  We need Jesus every moment of every day.  We can't parent in our own strength, we can't homeschool in our own strength, and we can't face all that life throws at us in our own strength.
My daughter actually approached me first to apologize for her attitude.  I held her in my arms and cried and apologized for my fit...but I still wasn't ready to remove the math book from the garbage.  I jumped in the shower (aka my prayer closet) and just poured my heart out to the Lord.  I was wrestling with so many things.  I started to realize that the combination of my already emotional state, added to teaching math to a child having attitude, were not a good combination.  Also the math was just moving along at a quicker pace, teaching too many new concepts with not enough review in between, for my struggling child. 
The math book was salvaged from the garbage can (Yay!)...but it's going up on a shelf for a little while.  I printed some free math worksheets for some much needed review. 
If I could pass on any encouragement to you it would be:
1) If you are facing some heavy circumstances in your life or having a rare emotionally rough day, give yourself GRACE - We are not and will never be perfect.  Rough days are inevitable, and thank goodness, because they remind us we are frail humans who need to rely on the Lord.
2) Know your LIMITS and readjust your EXPECTATIONS- As much as we all wish we were super human, we are not.  We are limited, weak, and easily overwhelmed.  Give yourself permission to retreat to your room, if possible, to take a moment to pray, cry, read from your devotional, or simply to take a deep breath and calm down.  The Lord will carry your burdens if you let Him.  If you homeschool and need to let go of, change up, or put a curriculum on the shelf for a's OK!

3) Where are your prioritiesIs it in projects or in people?  I have said it before and I will say it again...Homeschooling and life in general are about so much more than academics, agenda's, programs, busyness, and projects....It's ALL about relationship!  When there is more emphasis put on checking things off a to-do list or not falling "behind" in homeschool curriculum, you will always be left feeling undone, overwhelmed, anxious, frustrated, and may possibly throw your own tantrum (but please refrain from throwing anything in the garbage...unless it's truly trash!).
"Lord, I lift up to you this precious woman, whom you see and know and love.  You understand all the desires of her heart and all the decisions, demands, and duties before her.  You know her strengths and her weaknesses, her struggles and gifting's.  Pour out your grace in those overwhelming moments, days, or circumstances.  Help her to let go of trying to perfectly balance everything in her own strength.  Show her what needs to be at the top of her priorities and to let go of anything that is unnecessary baggage.  And most of all engulf her in your unending, unfailing, unconditional, unrelenting, and unchanging love.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen."

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Thursday, January 8, 2015


For the past few years a friend and I each choose a word we proclaim for ourselves at the start of the new year.  My word this year is Restoration!

I love to watch shows on TV that show the restoration of a home.  Shows like "Property Brothers", "Rehab Addict", and "Love It or List It".  The transformation is always so unbelievable to me.  You start out with this old, worn out, cluttered, chaotic, out-of-date, disorganized house and in a 30 minute segment it is given a brand new look.  Same House - New Look!!  Although to the viewer it feels like the restoration takes place at the snap of the fingers, it's actually weeks and weeks of a process-a lot of sweat, hard labor, time, and money. 

I have some friends who have restored old furniture and it's so remarkable and amazing to see the end result.  It's hard to believe that something so beautiful, clean, and in "mint" condition could really come out of something old and falling apart.  From junk to a treasure.  From an "eye sore" to a stunning sight.  From a waste of space to having purpose!!  From old and decayed to brand new!

The definition of Restoration is:
: the act or process of returning something to its original condition by repairing it, cleaning it, etc.
: the act of bringing back something that existed before
: the act of returning something that was stolen or taken

God is the original "Restoration Genius"...that is what He is in the business of!  He takes the old and makes it new.  He gives meaning, purpose, and value to our lives.  And even though He is capable of restoring us overnight, it's usually a process, a long and sometimes painful process that involves our cooperation, hard work, commitment, surrender, tears, and often money (counseling).

In order for me to get to that glorious place of restoration I have to first walk through the valley.  In the valley there are thorns, rocks, raging rivers, mud, the scorching sun, and dense forests that I have to endure.  It's hard, it's painful, it's difficult, and there are certainly days when I don't think I can press on.  The tears come so easily.  The pain is so raw.  The anguish is so real.
But I have a promise in God's word that He is with me, He is beside me, He is close to me, He is comforting me, He leads me, and He protects me.  I don't need to be in fear, I don't need to be in want, and I don't need to be in doubt.  I will walk THROUGH the valley and come out on the other side whole, complete, healed, and restored. 
So here is to a year of RESTORATION! 
Do you need restoration in your life?  Do you need God to bring healing? Transformation? Growth? Freedom?  It might get a little messy in the process...but I am going to bet the outcome is well worth it.
"Lord I lift up those reading my blog who need you to move in a mighty way in their lives.  They may be sitting here today feeling so lost, broken, wounded, ashamed, rejected, abandoned, unloved, or hopeless.  May they encounter you in a brand new way.  Your love, forgiveness, joy, hope, peace, freedom, healing, and restoration.  You are so good.  You love us immensely.  Begin a new work in their life right now.  May they hold tightly to you and trust you through the process.  Help them to be brave to face whatever it is they need to face and find restoration on the other side.  In Jesus mighty name I pray, Amen"
One of my favorite songs that has been a blessing to me during this season of my life!

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