Gratitude for the win!!

This past Christmas, I received a Digital Picture Frame as a gift.  I have it set up on my kitchen counter, and while I’m doing dishes, I see pictures of my loved ones.  I see pictures of the moments of our lives.

I’ve been told that people who keep gratitude journals or make a conscious effort to focus on their blessings in life—-are happier, healthier people.  There is scientific evidence that keeping a gratitude journal helps addicts stay sober, and actually changes lives.

Looking at the pictures that come across the Digital Frame, is a visual reminder of all the many, many blessings in my life–all the many, many moments I am grateful to have experienced–all the many, many people I have been blessed with in my life.  

I find that scripture supports this idea of focus and transformation:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  Philippians 4:8

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:2

.….let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…..Hebrews 12:1,2

We are transformed by renewing our mind.  We renew our minds by fixing them on Jesus. Jesus is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent and worthy of praise.  Jesus is the literal Word of God and is God.  John 1

  As we are transformed we act differently–we show what God’s will is to the world.  God’s will is for us to love Him, and to love each other.  Jesus as God in human flesh, showed us what this love looks like.

It’s not hard to understand—it’s just impossible to do–in our own strength.  That’s why Jesus sent us the Helper–the Holy Spirit.   It starts with fixing our eyes on the One who loves us and gave up His life for us.  It starts and ends with Jesus.  I guess that’s why He is called the Alpha and Omega–the beginning and the End.

May We Be Encouraged!!


This week our homeschool co-op started up.  I found myself talking to a couple of young moms who are just starting to homeschool.  One of them started homeschooling because of Covid.  The other one heard a definite call from God to homeschool.  I started homeschooling because of my husband.  He had ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) as a child–and school felt like a prison to him.  It was becoming increasingly clear that our oldest son had ADHD, and we decided to homeschool because of this.

I found myself telling these young moms some of our story—I think because I hoped to allay some of their future trials with homeschooling–although honestly–my parents and probably yours–tried to teach us from the wisdom of their experiences–and I have found that I usually learn from my own experiences not others.

However, in case any parents– are reading this—this is what I wish I could tell them–this is what I wish they could learn from my own experiences:

  1.  Homeschooling is a calling, and God will make it very clear if He is calling you–if you are open to considering it.  (So many moms have told me– “I could never do that”–  In other words–even if God was calling them to homeschool, they would not hear His call. )  Some of us fall into this calling by circumstances–like Covid–or in our case–a medical condition of our child that was best served by teaching at home.   However when my oldest was going into 5th grade, I decided to put him in public school.  God told me very clearly not to do this.  My son had 2 years of being bullied and lost a lot of ground scholastically because I decided to ignore what God was clearly communicating.  Just as a good parent will call out to their child, when the child is entering the street when a car is coming–so God was calling out to me—but I chose not to obey.
  1.  God may call you to homeschool some of your children and not homeschool others, or not homeschool at all.

A few of my children–when they were in the older grades of High School, went to public school.  God made it very clear to all of us that this was the correct decision for them.  My second son wanted to go to public High School because he wanted to reach other students for Jesus.  He wanted to run with the track and cross country team.  A few weeks into the fall term–our third son was killed as he was riding his bike.  Our second son had his cross country team to support him during this time.  They wore t-shirts and plastic bracelets in memory of my third son.  They loved on my second son.  Again–God made it clear to our spirits–before this son went to High School–that this was the right decision for him at this time.

  1.  If God is calling you to homeschool, He will strengthen you, even if you feel inadequate.  I have been homeschooling for over 25 years–and I still feel inadequate–I still wonder if I am going to ruin my child–and not prepare her well for her  future.  In fact, most homeschooling moms that I know, are plagued by the same doubts and fears.   I am only homeschooling one child right now–and guess what–it is not easy.  It has never been easy.  No calling from God will ever be easy.
  1.  God does not expect perfection from us, but He does want us to be honest—He wants us to be honest when we are at the end of our ropes and need help.  He wants to be honest, when we react in anger to our children and ask for forgiveness from Him and from them.  He wants us to be honest with other moms–and not act like we have it all together–because we are afraid of what they’ll think about us if they know how not altogether we really are.
  1.  The fifth and last thing I would suggest to those who are prayerfully considering homeschooling or are homeschooling, but are not in a support group—is to join a homeschool co-op.  

The first few years I homeschooled I had a best friend, (Becki Crain) who homeschooled.  Becki had been a school teacher before she homeschooled.  She taught me so much.  Then Becki died.  I did not have a support group.  So I joined a group.  Wow!!  There is so much power in joining with others!  First, my kids loved it!!  Second, other parents have abilities in different areas than my husband or I have.  It is and was wonderful to have my children learn from others who are teaching them from their strengths.

It was not easy finding this group.  This was before the internet.  However—if God is calling you to homeschool–He will also equip you to this task–and if a support group is what you need–God will provide one for you, be it one other person—or a huge group.

I guess the main idea from all these points–is that the burden of parenting–or homeschooling is not on me, and it is not on you—the burden is on God.  This is what God means when He tells us to abide in Him, for apart from Him we can do nothing. (John 15)

It is also what He means when He says that we can do mighty things, but if we don’t do these things in love, it means nothing. (1 Corinthians 13)

I hope that the thought of the burden being on God–and not you–will encourage you!!  It does me. 🙂