Sunday, February 17, 2008

Homeschooling from Overflow

Are you homeschooling on empty? Do you wake up feeling tired? Or do you run out of steam half way through the day?

God desires for us to minister to our family out of the increase, from the overflow of what He has poured into us. The Lord so longs to pour into you, to feed you from the Bread of Life so that you may be full. Taste and see that the Lord is good!

More important than choosing the right curriculum, keeping to your schedule, more important than doing, doing, doing is being – being in His presence and filling up on Him.

Set an hour aside each day for Him. Tell the children to read and be silent during that hour (explain how you need to get with God so you can be a better mommy).

Close yourself in your room, or in a closet – wherever you can get away. Then focus your heart on Him, let Him fill you.

If you are out of the habit of having time alone with God or are not sure how to really receive from Him. Below is how I would encourage you to begin this journey anew:

Bring your prayer journal, your Bible and maybe some worship songs – I occasionally will begin with worship music, sometimes I just sing my own worship songs. As you begin to spend time with God, if your to-do list pops into your mind, quickly jot down those things and set them aside to keep them from distracting you. If anything else comes to mind that you need to deal with, just write it down and set it aside. Don’t let anything hang around in the corners of your mind to keep you from fully focusing on the Lord.

Begin by praising God and worshiping Him. Do this even if you don’t feel like it - remember, we are to be led by our spirit, not by our “feelings.” So, don’t wait until you feel like spending time with God – let your spirit rule, not your flesh.

Sing or tell God of His greatness. Confess any sin that comes to your mind and thank God that you are forgiven. Don’t dwell on it, thus allowing the enemy to keep you distracted with condemnation and defeat. Know He forgives and set your mind on Him and His Word, His Truth. Ask the Lord for total protection from the enemy during your time with Him.

Then, begin to pray. I write all my prayers in my prayer journal. Writing my prayers keeps me from getting distracted while I pray. Also, because it takes me longer to write out my prayers than to actually pray them, it allows me time to focus and sense God’s leading or answer. Instead of yammering away with ceaseless chatter to God, I can slow down by writing my prayers and hear Him more clearly.

Then, I read the Word, asking the Lord to speak to me in His Word; the Word of God is living and active because His Holy Spirit can give us hope and instruction and special truth just for us while we read. Ask the Lord to guide you, to make His Word come alive to you and to speak to you while you read. If a particular Scripture jumps off the page into your heart, that’s the Holy Spirit. Write it down and meditate on it throughout the day.

Spend the rest of your day in constant praise and thanksgiving to Him. If you mess up, confess and remember that you are human (just like Peter who messed up a lot, but became the pillar of the church). Don’t get down on yourself and let yourself feel defeated – simply begin to praise Him again.

If, at some point, you need another hour in the closet, do it. It’s more important than anything. Remember, God wants to fill you with Him so that you can shine His light in your home, in your community and everywhere you go. If you are full of the Lord, you will have the peace and joy you need to get through the homeschool day...the homeschooling months and years.

If you feel like the homeschool journey is too hard - let me assure you that EVERYTHING is too hard without a close walk with God. He earnestly desires to fill you up with His presence, purpose, forgiveness, freedom and joy. He wants to take you, just as you are, and make you whole. He wants to take your burden and exchange it with His strength to complete every task He has given to you.

He doesn't want you to homeschool alone - yet, like the Israelites who were given manna every day, you have to go out and gather it up. Every day, we need fresh bread, fresh manna from God. Even if you have to stop school in the middle of the afternoon to get refilled. Do it. It's more important than anything that needs to get done.

Certainly Martha needed to get the dinner ready – all those guests really did have to eat. But Jesus didn’t think it was more important than spending time absorbing from Him. So, maybe dinner would have to wait, maybe dinner would not be perfect, maybe the guests would not have everything just right. For us, maybe math won’t get done, we may be late for an event and the kids will have to get their own breakfast, lunch or snack, but if we are choosing the spend time with Jesus - we have chosen the better part.