Thorns of Encouragement

Thorns of Encouragement #homeschooling #parenting #encouragement #faithSoon our school year will be just another memory. What began nine months ago is quickly coming to an end. Are you like me, feeling as if each year ticks by faster than the last? I mean there are moments during our school year that seem to drag on forever like fractions, anatomy, pre-calculus… (Did you sense a trend? If you guessed we tend to struggle with math and science, you guessed correctly.) However, for the most part it has flown by. Taking the year as a whole, I feel as if it was a blurred whirlwind of events.

My oldest is wrapping up her freshman year of college. I’m in my third year of denial that my middle child is in high school, and this is pretty bad considering she will be a senior this fall. I don’t even want to think about the fact that in 5 short years my two youngest babies will graduate and most likely leave my nest at the same time–double whammy!pink rose closeupI’ve been reflecting on our homeschool journey a lot lately. I remember when we began. Stepping out on faith into the wild unknown of homeschooling was a frightening experience. Time with my precious children was what I always wanted. I knew it wasn’t always going to be rosy, but I had no idea how much time I would spend fussing about the lack of attention span, worrying about silly state education standards, cleaning up messes from science experiments gone wrong, and sweeping up the hair I pulled out during math meltdowns. I spent a lot of time focusing on the thorns instead of smelling the roses.

Even more valuable and memorable was the quality time I spent with my blessings. I didn’t realize how much time we would spend cuddling up on the couch with a good book, laughing at poems and short stories they’d written, teaching the time-honored but not forgotten traditions, crafts, and life skills of yesteryear, marveling and worshiping God and His creation, honoring our ancestors, hugging through the meltdowns, praying through the struggles, and thanking God for the honor and privilege of homeschooling. I am so grateful for these beautiful blossoms in our homeschool.

Now that I think about it, those thorns lead to some delightful blossoms; those moments were well worth it. I would endure the pricks and thorns one million times over to homeschool my children. After all, you can’t have true roses without thorns. They have a God-given purpose. Who am I to question God’s design and plan? Roses are one of God’s most beautiful creations. I can’t imagine avoiding the soft, delicate petals, the lovely fragrance, or the intricate beauty of a rose simply because of the thorns.

It won’t be long and I’ll be reflecting over our summer break and heading into the 2016-2017 school year. Our homeschool journey is moving way too fast for me.  Maybe you feel the same. It is my prayer for us all to take time to enjoy the roses of our homeschooling journey, thorns and all! Roses don’t last forever.

SC Flood of Beauty – Motivational Monday

It’s hard to believe just a few weeks ago we were visiting this SC beach–walking along the shore, splashing, laughing, collecting shells, enjoying God’s creation:

South Carolina Edisto #SCFlood #prayforSC

 

And in the blink of an eye so many beautiful SC destinations have been destroyed by one of the simplest things that make it so beautiful–water.

I have been a South Carolinian all of my life.  I’ve never lived anywhere else, and I couldn’t imagine calling any other place my home.  This has been one of the most devastating times for my home that I have ever witnessed.  I have been in shock at the destruction from the storms and flash flooding washing across my home.  (Before I go any further, my family’s house had absolutely no damage, but my heart grieves for my home South Carolina.)  Even with all my home has been through, I believe it has also been one of the most beautiful weeks my home has ever experienced.

Through the storm, rushing waters, and devastation, there has been a beautiful peace.  We have once again handled adversity by walking hand-in-hand with The Lord.  We have relied on Him.  We have given Him the glory through it all.  He has faithfully blessed.  He has been there to hold our hands, wipe our tears, and dry us off.  He is the reason we have persevered.  He has been our refuge and very present help in trouble.

He has spoken to the hearts of many who have left the safety of their homes to come into this flooded mess.  They have given of their time, talents, gifts, finances, hearts, and prayers to help in any way they can.  I don’t think I know of one person who hasn’t done something to help our beautiful home.  For this, I am extremely grateful because God’s beauty remains.  (If you are feeling led to help, you can find more information at this link:  SC Emergency Management Division.)

Even more than thankful, I am feeling motivated.  God has been so good to us.  His faithfulness motivates me. It drives me to desire to give back to Him.  It makes me want to conform even more to His likeness.  It compels me to  live a life of gratitude for all He has done!  He deserves this and so very much more!