Homeschool, Private, or Public?

Friends, homeschool isn’t the only way. It’s not the best way. It’s a way.

Private school Moms, I’m cheering for you!

Public school Moms, I’m cheering for you!

Homeschool Moms, I’m cheering for you!

We can get so tightly wound in our circles that our vision blurs. We begin to look around with judgment.

Do you know what God has called you to do?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)

Do you know what he’s called your kids to do?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)

I have wept this year over school decisions. Jeremy and I have talked. And prayed. And sought counsel.

And while this year we’ve committed to homeschool, we are by no means laying our stake in this privilege for eternity.

Because it’s just that. A privilege.

Our heart’s desire is to raise 5 kids who love the Lord. To love Him with all of themselves. To love Him big enough to do hard things. To go to far places. To glorify Him in every decision they make.

And today we’ll set that example.

By loving the Lord enough to say, “I trust You.”

These kids are not mine. They’re His. Arrows to be sent out into a broken world. Arrows wrapped in love carrying a message of hope.

So this school year, friends, don’t look around. Don’t compare. Don’t compete.

Trust.

We are a privileged people. 

And every choice we get to make…that’s grace.

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When weakness is strength…

“Her greatest weakness was actually her greatest strength.”

That’s the conclusion the kids and I came to after reading The Country Bunny.

Cottontail was told she couldn’t become an Easter Bunny because she had 21 kids. But those 21 kids became the key to her delivering the year’s most important egg.

The lesson hit home for all of us.

One of our boys has fought dyslexia since he was 5. And now, he’s a stronger person because he’s learned to overcome.

We’ve got daughter who’s already looked racism dead in the face, picked up her pride, and moved on. And now, she’s a bolder person than I’ll ever be.

Maybe in the past, I felt like Cottontail. Like having 5 kids was holding me back. Like they were my greatest weakness.

But I was wrong.

Our kids have taught me patience. They’ve taught me how to rely on God. How to love. How to forgive.

What we see as weakness is actually strength in the hands of our all-knowing Father.

You want to know my greatest weakness? It’s my sin nature. And I hate it.

But without it, there’d be no grace. There’d be no cross. There’d be no mercy.

Jesus laid down His greatest strength to transform our greatest weakness. He became what we weren’t so we could become God’s child.

It’s not just that His strength is perfect. It’s that it’s sacrificial.

For you then. For you today. Grace.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (II Corinthians 5:21)

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We can all be thankful for THIS…

There’s one thing you can be thankful for tomorrow. One thing you can jot down in your journal. Or mention at family dinner.

And it’s not what you expect.

Sometimes I go to bed at night thinking about how many times I failed during the day. Counting the number of moments I raised my voice. Regretting the minutes I spent on routine instead of relationship.

Shocked faces and broken tears because of Mom’s sin can leave scars too deep to forget.

You know what I’m thankful for as 2018 starts its conclusion?

…We all mess up…

Every stinkin’ one of us.

You get frustrated with your kids. You rush them to bed. You say things you regret. I know you do because I do too.

And we’ll both do it on Thanksgiving. The family time will feel long. And our patience will prove short.

Today, on Thanksgiving Eve, let’s embrace this truth…We will mess up because we’re all really big messes. We’re image bearers of God trapped in a body of sin. And the battle will overtake us.

But for grace.

The shock of my sin fuels the shock of His grace and fills my heart with overwhelming Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow let’s be thankful. God sees our messes as a chance for overwhelming grace.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ” (Romans 5:6-8) 

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Hmm…it couldn’t possibly be me behind that locked door??

 

 

Fortnite…Thoughts From Another Parent

Confession…I LOVE Fortnite! I love playing it (landed in a tree my first jump). Love watching our boys play it (“Mom…chill out.”).

And I’ve learned a couple things lately. Had my eyes opened.

1-Our kids feel a real connection with the real people they play with.
2-Our kids are experiencing moments each time they sign in.

Let me explain why this has to matter to us a parents.

1-Connection

It’s a huge thing for me as an adult. And it’s a “huger” thing for our kids. On Fortnite, they are playing with real people in real time. That’s a gift and a curse.

In response, we’ve got to guard them. Set up boundaries. Our family rule is you can’t play duos or squads with someone unless you know them. It’s been tricky. They’ve played “a man down” at times. But they’ve survived (not in Fortnite terms, however).

I’ve also seen our boys minister through this online connection. Not like preaching or praying for people. But I’ve seen them love on someone who’s hurting through a game. Through a partnership. And for a brief moment in time, I’ve seen the hurt forgotten in the laughter spilling out of their headsets.

It makes me want to cry.

2-Moments

I just finished the book The Power of Moments. It’s amazing how moments change us and how we can change moments.

When our kids play Fornite, they are having mini-moments in every game that ultimately accumulate in a big moment of gaming. And when these moments are shared with others, they solidify even more.

It only makes sense then that our kids want to play more and more because they are connecting with people in moments that we can’t naturally produce in our homes.

So then…what do we do?

I guess we could ban Fornite. Maybe we should ban all video games. (I’m not opposed to it.) But I also want to “weigh my ‘yeses’ so my ‘no’s count’.” And Jeremy and I have decided to give Fornite the yes for now so we’ve had to think outside the box.

Here’s where we’ve landed…

-We spend time playing Fortnite with our boys every day (or at least watching them). It’s not “the boys play Fornite.” It’s “we play Fornite.”
-We engage with them when “game time is over.” For now the boys want to be with us and we don’t want that to change.
-We talk about battles and dances and guns even when it’s the last thing we want to talk about.

I know. I know. We may be overthinking this. I also know that some of you think it is heinous that we even let them play a “killing game.” And it’s all fine. Really. I’ve learned that I’m responsible for raising my kids not yours. So we can all simmer down a little and be faithful to who God has given us.

I’m writing today mainly as someone who’s had a wake up call to the world of gaming. I’ve realized I can’t compete and I need God’s wisdom and help way more than I thought. And honestly, I’ve learned that our kids are still kids and they still love God even when AR’s and “new skins” are their main topics of conversation.

Breathe. Sit and watch. Maybe play a little yourself.

God has given us these kids and these moments. Let’s not miss them!

“…But that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.” (II Corinthians 13:7b,9)

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(Love these boys and their silly Fortnite ways…Side note-Stephen and I finally won duo’s last night…and I burnt the chocolate chip cookies because of it!)

 

 

 

 

 

Where Moms Fail (Confession Time)

I hate (HATE) to use the word fail. But can’t think of a better one. This has been burning a hole right through me lately.

Every time I utter the 2 words–“I’m fine”–when I’m really not…I fail.

I fail you because I’m lying. I fail my family because they’re getting fragments. I fail God because I’m relying on my own strength.

You know what the kids get most days…me. Like…FULL–ON–ME.

I’m mentally counting the minutes I spend with each kid, making sure they get equal “Mom time.” I’m stressing out if it’s near dinnertime, and we haven’t read a single book. I’m beating myself up over sunny days we’ve spent inside.

And this blog is titled bumps, bruises, and GRACE.

Sigh…still so far to go.

God’s grace seems big enough for my kids. It seems big enough for my marriage. But often it seems too small for me.

Y’all…lots of days…I’m just not fine. I’m really not. I’m meeting needs on the second all  while trying to live simply and be still.

I’m offering grace to others but not letting it spill over onto me.

Father, forgive me. I admit that I easily swing back toward works-righteousness instead of grace. I confess that lots of days I consider you my Savior but not my friend. I’m tempted to make You a thing I do instead of a relationship I bask in. Be my strength. In your beautiful grace, redeem these bumps and bruises.

Friends…let’s be fine with not being fine. Christ came for “not fine” people. He uses “not fine” people.

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1:16)

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