Colossians 1:6 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.7 You learned about the Good News from Epaphras, our beloved co-worker. He is Christ’s faithful servant, and he is helping us on your behalf. 8 He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.
Rachel and I are planning on making another vlog this week. Some of the topics include What is the Good News, Identity, Educational Philosophy, Emotional Health, Friendships, and Current Interests. I hope some of those conversations will be helpful. And since our conversations are unscripted I’m excited to see what suprises might surface up when we delve into them. I also do not edit the videos so it is what it is: Raw. Unfiltered. Honest. I hope. Our channel is on Youtube at Kim Huitt.
Woke up bright and early this morning at 6:00 but it is already 8:20. I noticed in my reading/journaling time my brain seemed all scrambled so I prayed for clarity. I also had to pray to stop pushing for topiocs and something to talk about on the vlog but just show up as usual to hear what the Lord was telling me this morning. Praise the Lord our time together is not hinged on my efforts but the inner working of the Spirit.
The 31-Day Challenge is on its home stretch.
Becoming emotionally healthy, holding love and tenderness in balance with boundaries. I had a powerfully cleansing cry on my walk around the lake with our corgi yesterday. Ultimate Christian Communicators is hosting a 31-day Challenge and Gina Parris was ministering to us. Just started to brush away my tears when I ended up walking next to a sweet teen girl who was out with her labradoodle. She called to me from across the street to ask me if I went to church anywhere. Amazing question from a teen! Turns out she homeschools as well through IDEA Homeschool. I’m hoping one day her mom (think she said her mom is Cassandra?) and I might cross paths and our daughters can meet each other since she is interested in music and traveling to Italy this May! I shared with her how we are going to England in April. Of all things. Rachel wishes for a friend to live nearby. Oh don’t we wish for our children’s wishes.
Reading two books a month and not grazing over 2 and never finishing a book. Well, this area is slow going. I’m busy with this challenge and the new projects from it. But believe me I’m still working away on it. I’m sure some of the topics will come out in the vlog.
Staying on target with spending plans in time and money. Trying to stay focused on the small habit of doing the next right thing. Each adjustment recalibrates and I would really like my trajectory to be instilling good habits in myself and modeling it for my children. The budget may be quite “blown” this month with a boiler repair, a new dishwasher, etc. but it’s in the budget to save up for those types of things so it’s okay. We will just keep building our menus and staying on target with other areas of spending. Oh and this is my husband’s birthday month so we have to surprise him with something! Looks like skiing is supposed to be good this weekend. (wink, wink – I wonder if he reads my blog?)
Praying for continued healing and empowerment of the Spirit. Time to get going!
4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Paul used these encouraging words after appealing to two ladies to settle their disagreement. I find this so interesting because it’s is the basis for the books I’ve been reading. The Lord is always so good to speak in many ways, through dreams, conversations, nature, music. Remembering that the Lord is coming soon seems to be a very good motivator to think on what is important and pleasing.
Well this morning is slipping away, so quickly. I awoke at 7:30 and it is already 8:30. Spending the morning reading His word and praying/journaling/listening is an amazing practice. I used a wake up to exercise but this is the better option. Because of my schedule I can exercise later in the day. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8)
So here is the last update in January 2020 of the 31-day Challenge:
Becoming emotionally healthy, holding love and tenderness in balance with boundaries. Do you remember the song, “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling.” He is calling us home, to His arms to find rest.
Reading two books a month and not grazing over 2 and never finishing a book. Reading “Boundaries” and “Try Softer” while also slipping in a little listening of “Range”. I’m not finished with these books yet but will continue to glean from them into February. I’m so thankful for these books and for the people who went through their struggles to offer help on the other side of the suffering. “For I, the Lord your God will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not I will help you’.” (Isaiah 41:13)
Staying on target with spending plans in time and money. Big happy dance here. I’m so happy for the progess this month to manage these resources in a more reponsible way. Being a good steward is important and important things require tiem and work. It just doens’t happen on its own.
Going to cheer on the players for the basketball game today. I pray that everyone will see that we are considerate in all we do – the parent, coaches, and players. God is so good. He calls us out of my base desires and “He brings me out to a spacious place; he delivered me, for in me he takes delight.” (Psalm 18:19)
Philippians 1:9-11 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation – the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ – for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
Luke 24:45, 46b – 49 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. “There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent. You are witnesses of all these things. And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”
I think the number one most important habit that has changed my life is daily reading/journaling through the scriptures and prayer. Having a time to reflect on what really matters and who really loves me changes everything. Now I’ve seen and heard about situations where people have this practice but come out of their prayer closet in an angry mood. That has happened to me. It’s as though I was praying to me, to my needs, to my desires instead of listening to what the Spirit was leading. Coming to the Father without a laundry list of to dos but simply to spend time with Him helps me to not come out of the morning prayer as a white-washed tomb, a selfish time bomb ready to explode on anyone who doesn’t give me what I want. Because this is not about me, but what the Spirit is leading.
So this morning I woke up at 7:20 which is a bit later than I expected – which is to be expected because I went to bed late. Think I told myself earlier this week to get to bed at a decent time? Suppose I should set a clock with bed and wake hours? Maybe.
As for the 31-day challenge goals:
Becoming emotionally healthy, holding love and tenderness in balance with boundaries. Met with a wonderful mom last night to pray for the teens in our school, the coaches, and the other players. She has such a sweet spirit and we are going to look for each other at the games and try to reach out to other parents who also want to see some healthy changes in the basketball venue for the Christian schools.
Reading two books a month and not grazing over 2 and never finishing a book. Listened to “Range” yesterday. “Learning is best done slowly to accumulate lasting knowledge, even if it means performing poorly on tests that monitor progress. The best learning looks inefficient – like falling behind.” Well then we are doing fabulous!!! Ha! I also read some more from “Boundaries” and it is actually so humbling and empowering at the same time. This is a must read for Everybody.
Staying on target with spending plans in time and money. Only two days left in January and I’m so happy with the progress made. Learning to simply show up, not expecting perfection, just take the next step is empowering. This lesson spills over into every area of life really. As for money, I’ve been logging our expenses each day. This seems to be a system that really works for me. Using an inexpensive 6-column columnar pad allows me to enter the top 6 spending areas where we want to create more discipline (groceries, dining out, entertainment, children’s personal items, fuel, and our personal items). I write the total monthly budget for each area at the top and have plenty of lines to make the daily entries. I just tally up twice a month. Wish I would have started this YEARS ago! But now is better than never.
Well onto our day! Our son has a home basketball game today so he gets to dress up in a suit when he gets to school. Tomorrow is the game with the other Christian school. Praying for God’s leading and presence to be evident there. He has laid this on our hearts to pray for the basketball teams and we have. We continue expecting great works from Him. Fun times!
9 O God, we meditate on your unfailing love
as we worship in your Temple.
10 As your name deserves, O God,
you will be praised to the ends of the earth.
Your strong right hand is filled with victory.
11 Let the people on Mount Zion rejoice.
Let all the towns of Judah be glad
because of your justice.
12 Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem.[b]
Walk around and count the many towers.
13 Take note of the fortified walls,
and tour all the citadels,
that you may describe them
to future generations.
14 For that is what God is like.
He is our God forever and ever,
and he will guide us until we die.
My teen son plays basketball for the Christian school that my husband and I graduated from many, many moons ago. On his uniform is the cross. Oh this gets me. He is wearing a cross on his uniform! I pray that he comes to understand deeply the significance of this cross, and to all those who see him wearing this symbol. My heart has been wrecked thinking that the players at this school will talk trash with the players from the other Christian school in town. Oh Lord, where did our children pick up on this behavior? I’m not saying that he has, they have not even played their first game together. But, I’ve heard of the years and years of this rivalry. My prayer is that these teens will overflow with the love of Christ and simply enjoy the fun of competition. Let there be unity in the churches. Let the parents come together and support the teens from both schools and encourage them to enjoy being young and strong enough to throw their whole selves into the game. I pray that any pride or hostility will be silenced. I pray for humble spirits that night. May the world see us by our love. The parents, coaches, leaders, players – let us all simply enjoy the game and each other.
Whew! Praise God I’m feeling some excitement this morning. Maybe it’s the power of the sunrise. Twilight was at 8:34 a.m. today! We are gaining daylight! So looking forward to sun up at 4:30 a.m. in the summer. That’s the time of year I love to go on early morning walks. It’s coming! And I believe that revival is coming to our children. If it has to skip over the adults, so be it – but let it reach the children. Let them see the Glory of God and be touched by his life-giving Spirit.
So onto the three focus points for the 31-day challenge:
Becoming emotionally healthy, holding love and tenderness in balance with boundaries. I continue to sense breakthroughs in this area. When I would have wanted to force changes and smooth everything over I’m feeling less anxious and trusting God with his timing and outcome. “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14.
Reading two books a month and not grazing over 2 and never finishing a book. Well, um, this area is starting to slip. I now am working on 4 books – “Boundaries”, “Trying Softer”, “Persuasion”, and “Range”. But I’m making progress and creating landing sheets in my yournals for all I’m learning. And really a lot of this is to model for my children how to keep learning and pressing in our whole lives. I’m sure I seem ancient to them, but we are never too old to learn.
Staying on target with spending plans in time and money. It seems my spending plans with money is going better than my budget with time. However, there have been some unexpected bumps in the road as life always seems to present. That is fine because I’m learning to keep going and not expect perfection from my list or intentions. Making daily progress and building good habits is the ultimate goal.
So now it’s time to dig into breakfast and morning time. I pray that we will be sensitive to Father’s leading and watch this day for his nudges and invitations.
My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me, and my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”
As a young girl I heard many sermons on being used as a tool of God, which sounds good on the surface. Many words were spoken to get the flock serving others around us by being this holy tool. There was little talk about God’s grace, but a lot of words brimming with wrath. So not surprisingly, I saw adults acting as a hammer, sometimes an ax, coarse sandpaper. Shepherds were being trained to use the rod and staff to beat their sheep and shame them into submission.
As a young married couple we moved out of state and to a different community of believers. The first sermons were on the topic of grace. I spent a morning crying in the church bathroom, not sure why I was so touched by the sermon but repeating to myself, “I never knew….I never knew.” Fifteen years in church, five years of AWANA, eight years of private Christian school, and I never knew of God’s grace. I thought it was up to me to be that “perfect little tool” to slap people over the head with scripture and set an example of the “perfect little Christian life”. Hiding behind that mask was a lifeless, sin-filled, totally lost sheep who had wandered away from the flock.
Fast forward to today. I’m a mom of two teens and a grade
schooler. We home educate and many times I default into trying to be a tool in
my children’s lives. My focus can be on outcomes, behaviors, externals. But again,
and again I am reminded through scripture reading, times of worship and retreat,
walks, gazing at the wonder of nature, that God is our Good Shephard who does
not beat his sheep. He uses his rod and staff to gently guide us, protect us,
and keep the enemy out of our green pastures. He does not USE his sheep nor
does He desire for us to use others.
1 The Lord is my shepherd , I shall not want . 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures ; He leads me beside quiet waters . 3 He restores my soul ; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake . 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death , I fear no evil , for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff , they comfort me 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies ; You have anointed my head with oil ; My cup overflows . 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life , And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
When we view our Father as one who wants to USE, we can infer that we are less than human – a thing to obtain an end. Then we start to treat others non-humanly. We look around and see who we can use instead of connecting with hearts, souls, minds. We manipulate. We put up an image of perfect families, systems, programs as an idol in our hearts. And then we become disillusioned when our “perfect little families” idol blows up in our face. People to leave the faith because of this disillusionment. We feel we gave God A, B, C and He owes us X, Y, Z. This is what happens when we build on our terms. But God’s purpose for creating us was relationship. Relationship means communion. Communion means oneness. I am not at oneness when I’m trying to make someone bend to my ideals.
“Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than they love the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest and sacrificial. God hates this wishful dreaming because it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. Those who dream of this idolized community demand that it be fulfilled by God, by others and by themselves. They enter the community of Christians with their demands set up by their own law, and judge one another and God accordingly. It is not we who build. Christ builds the church. Whoever is mindful to build the church is surely well on the way to destroying it, for he will build a temple to idols without wishing or knowing it. We must confess he builds. We must proclaim, he builds. We must pray to him, and he will build. We do not know his plan. We cannot see whether he is building or pulling down. It may be that the times which by human standards are the times of collapse are for him the great times of construction. It may be that the times which from a human point are great times for the church are times when it’s pulled down. It is a great comfort which Jesus gives to his church. You confess, preach, bear witness to me, and I alone will build where it pleases me. Do not meddle in what is not your providence. Do what is given to you, and do it well, and you will have done enough…. Live together in the forgiveness of your sins. Forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts.”
As we start up another year of home education I can see the results of my former scaffolding falling away, which is so good. I don’t want to live as a tool, trying to shape and mold people into my image. Our family can live in the freedom of following our Shephard. He alone guides our hearts. Many times I believe I’m the reminder of how broken we humans are and how amazing and loving Father is with us. And we pray.
Two resources that have been so helpful in understanding our
Father as Shephard are:
Our exceptionally warm and sunny weather gave me ample time to sit on my front porch early every morning to read, journal, grow, and be inspired. We are approaching a different season in which I will need to find encouragement from things other than the sun and leisurely mornings to drink tea and think dreamy thoughts.
So as the new year of schooling begins and plans are underway, there are a few scriptures that come to mind. These ideas fashion the vision for this year. We can take shelter in His words because we know that we cannot survive in the desert of false ideals. In all the advice we come across in the internet about how to homeschool well – we can take to heart what is found in The Word.
GUARD OUR HEARTS
Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.
1 Timothy 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
(In everything let my goal be to live in the Love of God through Christ Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.)
Matthew 5 5 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Disciples and the World 13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
(These words from Jesus speak to me of complete surrender to the life I am living. I have no need to feel insecure, no need to compare my life to others. We are all unique and living the life that God designed before He spun time and matter into being.His beautiful promises are available to us all. And because of our position we can be filled with His Light and Love.)
Matthew 6 25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
(We are greatly cared for and adored by our Father. He knows all our needs. He is doing His work in ways we cannot see and will do more than we can imagine. We can be confident in the Heart of your Father who tenderly cares for us.)
Hebrews 2 16 We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters,[h] so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. 18 Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.
(Amazingly, we are considered the sisters and brothers of Christ. He is able to help us in every aspect of our lives. He suffered and is our understanding High Priest.)
Romans 8:13-15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.
(We are God’s children and our spirits are joined to His.)
2 Peter 1 3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Because of His kind intention and powerful will, we share in His divine nature and have all we need for living a godly life.)
Proverbs 1:23 Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise.
(This tells me that God shares his wisdom with us. He joins are hearts to His.)
I could literally type up all the scripture here because it all speaks or who God is and ultimately who we are in Christ. This journey is His and ours to share. It is amazing how many times little coincidences appear and connections are made when we listen and watch. Spend time looking for the fingerprints of God in this academic school year. Write up the scriptures that resonate with your heart for this coming year. I wonder what splendid stories we will be able to share at the end of the 2019 – 2020 school year?
I’ve been reviewing 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, etc., and notice a significantly concerning trend. As mentioned many times in prior posts, my twitch is to look for solutions, purchase books and curriculum, and buy into other people’s view of what homeschooling ideal is the “best”. After many years it appears I’ve taken by eyes off my children and focused them on following Facebook and Instagram feeds. So late last year I completely deleted Instagram and Facebook. What a relief! I feel I can breath again and my children have my attention.
Now that the firestorm of voices trying to sell me an idea or ideal is turned off I have time to calmly walk through our house and see the huge piles of books and papers I’ve accumulated. Extravagant hours and money have been spent to try to become all the things the voices said I and my children should be. It appears I was trying to use osmosis to learn because we have not actually read most of the books. Instead of taking these years to walk our own unique journey I stopped at a fork at the road and dug a deep trench filled with a varied and deep library that is not relevant to our family. My children stay very busy and curious studying a few select things which gives them time and energy to be curious and discover their own talents.
So as a journaling lover, I’ve decided to put a few rails in the road to help me to stay focused on God and my children instead of the materials. One way I plan to train myself to not twitch into purchases is to go through a real planning and implementation exercise. With the Christmas break I have time to reflect and create. Super fun! So I thought I’d share some images of my journals. This system is birthed out the desire to have some stretching and strengthening in crafting my personal intentions (I like that word so much better than “goals”) while also being able to use my personality and creativity to track and implement my intentions.
This simple and creatively inspiring journaling process will be helpful in keeping my intentions. Deeply rooted into the Cultivate What Matters yearly journal and the open-ended Daybooks are the expectations that flexibility and changes will need to be occur. I can make changes along the way but all the while checking in with my heart and seeing where the Lord is leading us.
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and power to do what pleases Him. (AMEN!)