By Renée Gotcher
This week I’m participating with a homeschool blog link-up called “The Homeschool Mother’s Journal” hosted by The Homeschool Chick. It’s been a pretty steady week of “ups” in the homeschooling department thanks to our recent school area “reorg” — which has been really refreshing — but it’s been a very challenging week for people I know and love, so lots of prayers going out.
Here are a few of the highlights and not-so-pleasant moments…
My favorite thing this week was… wrapping up an 11-week Beth Moore study called “David: Seeking a Heart Like His.” It was probably the first time in my 30+ year walk with God that I’ve studied one person in the bible so in depth — and what a wealth of wisdom there was to uncover! A man after God’s own heart, who was still very much a man, full of human weakness and contradictions.
It would take me many more paragraphs to fully capture what I learned in this study (I’ll save it for a future post!), but at the end of last week’s homework, Beth asked us to summarize what stood out to us the most about David’s life at that point in time. This is what I wrote in my study journal: “God doesn’t see us the way the world sees us: He cares only about the condition of the heart. He knows that our humanity prevents us from pleasing Him with our actions, so He is looking for a willing, undivided heart that He can captivate to show Himself strong in our human weakness. We were created to glorify God, but we can only do so when we have a devoted heart fully surrendered to Him. Then our lives can speak volumes about God’s awesome power and loving grace.”
If you ever get the chance to do this study, you should — it’s a game-changer!
As is typical with a “pre-holiday” week, there were some extra things to squeeze into the agenda besides our weekly regulars like my Women’s Bible Study, Awana and PE Plus. But I was really relieved to see that my girls are starting to get the hang of how to go with the flow without completely getting off track.
We take a unit study approach, and my goal is to hit two units per day (like math and history) after starting the morning off with a bible devotion. This week there were times when I wondered if we had enough time to get anything done in between activities, but the girls stayed focused and thanks to our recent reorganization of the school area, had no trouble pulling out the right notebook and diving in when it was time for math, bible history, ancient history, reading or writing & language arts. Today my eldest Audrey even ran the history “expand” activity for me — talk about applying what you’ve learned!
Even my four-year-old Elise has picked up a rhythm for school time. She now knows exactly what to grab and where to go when I say “It’s time for our reading lesson now!” Of course, her focus on the task at hand only lasts about 15 minutes, but despite that, I was completely impressed that as soon as she was done with reading or math time, she knew to go straight to her cubby and pull out something productively fun in to do in between, like a coloring or cutting project. Mission accomplished!
A photo, video, link, or quote to share… This week was particularly full of new “Elise-isms” — funny sayings from my four-year-old that are full of wit, thoughtfulness and humor. Earlier this week Elise, my little “dress up” girl who loves to wear skirts and girly things, came into my bathroom undressed, with a t-shirt and jeans in each hand. She excitedly explained that she’d picked out her outfit with her eyes closed, pulling two things out of the laundry basket at the same time with both hands, and was holding them up for me to admire. When I asked why, she said “So I can surprise myself, you know – surprise!” Luckily it was a t-shirt and jeans. Surprise indeed!
I’m reading… I recently finished reading both “Radical” and “Radical Together” by David Platt, and I don’t think I’ve been quite the same since. Reading these two books in tandem with participating in the David study has taken me to a new place in my spiritual journey, and both really confirmed principles about what it means to truly follow Christ that had been weighing on my heart for some time. Have you ever noticed that when God really wants to get through to you, you start to hear the message EVERYWHERE?
Yes, Lord — I hear you! If you haven’t heard of these books and you want to know what it means to “take back your faith from the American dream,” check them out (and by the way, you can literally check them out from the library — I did!). For us, homeschooling was one major step away from where our comfortable American lives were taking us and closer to where we feel called by God to live for His glory. Now I feel God asking us to take yet another step closer as a family, and the issues raised by these books really helped confirm what those steps might be for us. I am anxiously excited about where God is taking us — yes, anxious and excited, because I am sure the road ahead will be anything but smooth!
I’m praying for… friends who need God’s comforting embrace in their lives right now. I’m very thankful that we had a wonderfully smooth week considering all the extra activity, however there was a lot of bad news in the lives of people I am close to.
A young mother in my bible study recently miscarried her second child. A young Christian couple I know who were active in the youth ministry of their church is separating after the husband revealed infidelity to his completely unsuspecting wife. A veteran homeschooling mother in my local group is facing a potential major surgery. And my sister-in-law Rosanna and her children were in a terrible car accident that totaled their van — praise God they all walked away from the scene!
There were moments when I could barely contain myself from screaming out to the Lord — WHY??? Why are you allowing these things to happen to women who love you and follow you? Why am I blessed today, while my sister in Christ is devastated?
I cried and I prayed. Then God reminded me of a verse that we hear so much, I think we often forget what a powerful message it is: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” — Rom. 8:28.
Those words really comforted me in my prayer times this week. Those who are called according to His purpose are not promised a comfortable life. In fact, Jesus warned us to expect quite the opposite. But those who love God are promised His comforting presence, His fatherly love and protection, and His strength in our weakness, lifting our burdens off our shoulders and carrying them for us, giving rest to the weary.
I’m so grateful this week! I’m grateful not just for the joy and the blessings in our family, but the knowledge that if all of that is stripped away, I won’t be left standing alone.
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised.” — Psalm 18:2-3
If anyone felt the lowest of lows and the highest of highs, it was David. I’m thankful that his words of praise are captured in the Psalms to remind us that we have a Sovereign Savior who will deliver us from our enemies. I’m praying that my friends will feel rescued this week, held in God’s loving embrace and strengthened by His powerful presence.
As for me, I’m thanking God for another day! I rediscovered an old favorite song on my iPod during my run this morning — Natalie Grant’s “Another Day” — that seemed extremely appropriate for how I’ve been feeling this week. Click on the link to listen to it for free via YouTube. I couldn’t help but belt this one out with complete abandon today, what an inspired song! I am truly thankful to my Lord and savior today.
— Renée Gotcher is an entrepreneur, writer, wife & home-educating mother of three daughters: Audrey, Claire and Elise. Renée was homeschooled during her last two years of high school and started homeschooling in 2010. She currently resides in Castle Rock, Colorado.