Our home school story

IMG_2111

There are many reasons to home school.  If you talk to ten different home school families, you may get ten different answers as to why they chose the home school path of education.  Here is the short version of why our family chose to home school.

It all began with a phone call.  I was on my way home from work.  At the time I was a nurse manager for a local OB/GYN office.  My job required my full attention…and I enjoyed it, most of the time.  I was having issues  balancing my life.  When I was home I was constantly thinking about work.  Work was taking over my priorities.  We knew we had to make some changes, To this day, when I think of that one call, I still feel sick.

I called home just like I did every evening after my work day.  The conversation went like this;  Me: I’m on the way.   My husband: We had some excitement today! Did you forget that our sitter (who happens to be one of my best friends) was on vacation?  ME:(panic as I remembered) scream!  what?! (how could I forget)  MY HUSBAND: yep, our daughter went to someones house she didn’t know and asked to use the phone.  ME: (my heart was sinking…the terror of what could have happened, what was my daughter thinking?  How could I forget my biggest responsibility?  I was so caught up in my work life that I completely forgot about my daughter.  I forgot that there was not anyone to care for her after school.  I forgot about a precious gift that God had trusted me with…my youngest daughter.  Oh, what that did to my momma’s heart.  The what if’s went through my mind, to this day I can’t stand the thought of what could have happened.  That afternoon I had not given one thought to my daughter getting off the bus.  It never crossed my mind that afternoon, was my daughter safe?  Did she make it to where she was supposed to be? ….to tell the truth my daughter’s safety had not crossed my mind.  I was so caught up with my “position” at work, my daughters safety NEVER crossed my mind.

Something was wrong in my heart, that day made me see it. My work was beginning to become my identity.  The staff at work had become more important than my family.  Work issues would consume my mind in the evening and weekends.  When I was home, I was not really home.  My husband would complain about being the last guy on the “totem” pole…and as much as I denied it, he was right.

It was obvious that something had to change.  We needed to make some adjustments in our lives, it was time to take charge of my priorities.  Home school was not where I ever thought our family was headed.

I began to look at my time at home and time spent with my youngest daughter.  I realized that in a normal week I was really only spending a couple of hours with her.  The child we had prayed for and my husband had a vasectomy reversal so that we could have her.  This was not what we wanted, how did we get here?

Our daughter who is the “ours” in the yours mine and ours has wanted to home school ever since second grade.  Two of her dear friends who lived in our neighborhood were home schooled and she loved visiting them.  I was employed full time at a doctors office and never ever considered it a option for the usual reasons. I can think of  three off the top of my head. All of which we have proved wrong…except number three.  Pretty sure are still considered “weird” to some folks.  I’m not sure if home schooling has anything to do with that.

1) We couldn’t afford it

2) I couldn’t teach

3) home school families are weird

For our family it was never about what was wrong with public school.  For us, it was about what is right with home school.  We don’t know how long we will continue the home school journey. The one thing that is for sure,  home schooling has benefitted our entire family more than we could have ever imagined.

I’ll never forget when we finally decided that we were going to try home schooling our, at the time our daughter was at the end of her 3rd grad year.   Oh the questions: “what about socialization? what about college? how can YOU teach her, you’re a nurse?  If the folks questioning me only knew I had the same exact questions and was terrified of messing up.

Clearly our daughter who just finished the 5th grade is excelling.  We recently received her standardized testing results for fifth grade.  Her lowest performance level was slightly above average and her highest was highest level.  Her average for the entire test was a 93.  Not all families test, there are  good reasons to support testing and not testing. As far as her social skills, they are probably better than mine.  Our family unit is tight and we are more of a team than ever before.  This is not to say that there are days that are hard, perhaps I’ll write about those kind of days in the future.

For now I know that I know that I know that THIS was indeed God’s will for our family and I wouldn’t change one moment of it for anything else this world has to offer.

Karen

Advertisements

Dear Woman in Black

IMG_0135

Dear Woman in Black,

Hello, my name is Karen and I am a Christ follower.  You may not have seen me in the store with my ten-year old daughter today,  my heart hopes you didn’t.  This letter is an apology to you.  You see, while I would have denied it up until today, I realized that I have let this world taint my heart.  When I saw you in your traditional clothing, unable to see anything except your eyes, I was filled with fear.

You see, dear woman in black, when I saw you I couldn’t get my daughter out of the store fast enough.  I kept thinking things like ISIS/terrorism and felt the need to protect myself and my daughter.  It is with shame that I admit that perhaps, after searching my heart, I have been racist.  If I am being truly honest, I would take that perhaps out of the previous sentence.

Dear woman in black, if you did see the fear in my eyes, I hope you did not see the cross around my neck.  As a Christ follower, I strive to live as Jesus did.  Jesus would not have looked at you with fear, He would have looked at you with love.  He died on the cross for you too.  That’s how much HE loves you.

You left the store shortly after my daughter and I.  We were in the parking lot when I saw you walking out of the store with your two small children.  They were beautiful by the way.  In that moment I knew I was wrong.  I knew we were probably more alike than different.

I wish you the best in this life dear woman in black.  I know it’s a hard time to be you in America.  I am praying for boldness and confidence to show you how much Jesus loves you and your children next time I see you.  When I see you looking my way I pray for the courage to forget what the world says and look right into your eyes and smile.  If I ever get that opportunity again I pray you will see my smile and our Jesus.

I will be praying over your family dear woman in black.

Karen

The “F” word

FEAR!

I am reminded of a devotion that one of my dearest mentors/friends, Darlene, led in Africa.  Darlene said, “tonight I am going to do my devotion on fear”.  I blurted out….the other “f” word!  Heads turned, but truly it is fear that holds us back from our purpose…if we let it.

I always love Darlene’s devotion time because we get to do things like meditate and draw.  Darlene had us fold a piece of paper in half and draw things that we were fearful of on one side.  One of the many things I adore about Darlene is she makes you believe you can do anything…like draw.  I remembering drawing a picture of me leaving for Africa and my ten-year old throwing up. I drew more things but that is the only one that stuck with me.

It was very interesting as we went around the room and each of us talked about our fears.  It was a miracle that we were all sitting in a room on a different continent.  Each of us had to face different fears and pushed through them so that we were all sitting in that room at that time. Exactly the way the creator of the universe planned.

In the past I would have dwelled on my fears and never made it to Africa.  The “what if’s”.  What if my kids get sick, what if there is an accident, what if I die there, what if , what if.  what if. Fear, fear, fear.

On the other half of the paper Darlene had us draw things that we loved. Most of us drew our family, something to represent Christ, some drew the continent of Africa.  Then she had us fold our paper so that the love side was on top of the fear side, so that love covered fear.  1 John 4:18-There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  Ahhhhh…the perfect love.  Jesus Christ, the voice of TRUTH.  The one who died for us because we were worth it, not because we earned it and we certainly did not deserve it.  God sent His son to the cross because he loves us that much.  The perfect love…the ultimate sacrifice.

As the days pass and we wait.  We wait for the news of medical reports for loved ones, we wait to hear for the news that Ebola has been contained, we wait to see which way our country will go next, we wait to see if we can finally kick that addiction that bothers no one as much as ourselves.  Are we going to be filled with anxiety and fear?  Or are we going to allow our Jesus to cover us in HIS perfect love?

My prayer today is that each of us remember what God says…that you are worth it and so am I.  Let the perfect love cover our fears.

-Karen

The story behind “Because You’re worth it and so am I”

I want to sit at your feet drink from the cup in your hand lean against you and breathe feel your heartbeat.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NI_1YliutzA

One of my favorite morning songs, Keri Jobe “The More I seek You”.  In this song Keri tells a beautiful story of what it is like to sit at our Jesus’ feet.  We are encouraged as Christ followers to seek HIM in all things.  To meditate and memorize HIS word.  One morning I was doing just that a meditation…something I had heard from a sermon.  I do not remember who the speaker was and I have not been able to track it down on the internet.  I believe it was Franklin Graham.  The pastor was speaking about a recent missions trip he had been on.  He was in the middle of extreme poverty and began to meditate on Luke 8:26-29, Matthew 8:28-34 and Mark 5:1-20.  This morning I was seeking, and what I found was a word for me.

In these three chapters of the gospel, Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell a story about Jesus going into a community of gentiles (non believers) and casting demons out of a man and into a herd of pigs.  In Matthew and Mark  one man is mentioned. In Luke two men are mentioned, my study Bible says that is probably because only one of them spoke.

In these stories the TV pastor went on to describe scene.  These fellow’s were shunned and chained up in a grave yard.  They had zero worth to their families and community.  They cost more than they were worth.  Jesus saw them, their worth and cast the demons into a herd of pigs who drowned themselves.  You would think the community would be happy, some of them were.  Some of them were amazed, but there were others who begged Jesus to leave the area.  He had cost them too much money as all of the pigs were now gone.  They valued money over human life.

The TV pastor went on to say that on the mission trip he was convicted to tell the folks that he encountered that he was there because God says that they are worth it.  His story touched me deep in my heart and I was thinking about some of the folks in the villages of West Africa that I had met.  Did they know that God sent me because they were worth it? One morning during my devotion time I was meditating on these verses and on this pastors story.  I was imagining being on an outreach in Bo, Sierra Leone Africa.  I was thinking about the many women who I had met during my mission work.  Women who live each day to survive, to keep their children alive…women who have experienced more heart-break than I believe my heart could ever bare.  I was imagining that I was speaking to a large crowd and I was telling them how Jesus sent the mission team because the women were worth it.  I was saying it with every ounce of my heart so that they would believe it.  It went something like this: God has called us away from our families and friends to come here.  To be with you, to help you BECAUSE HE SAID YOU ARE WORTH IT!.  I was telling them from the deepest part of my soul as if that would show them the love of my Jesus, their Jesus, our Jesus!  I was meditating on that image with my heart when I heard the voice of God from deep within me say: “Because you’re worth it Karen”….I beg your pardon??  “Because you’re worth it Karen”.  I’ll never forget that moment…so filled with the spirit,  redemption, the truth.  Here I was so passionate about telling women across the ocean something that I do not know if I had ever truly believed for myself.  That I was worth it.  How could God forgive me for my past, forgive me for my present and heaven knows what messes I’m going to get into in my future?  I received it that morning.

I had tasted God’s love and acceptance for others…but if I am to be honest, I think that is the first time I fully believed it for myself. I believe that is part of the mission God has given me, it’s so simple.  He wants you to know that you are worth it!  Our Jesus didn’t just die for Christ followers.  He died for every human being on this earth.  God has told me that this is not only a story for folks living in extreme poverty.  This is a story for every human…from the ones with the least to the ones with the most.  Because you’re worth it and so am I.

-Karen

layette kits african women

My personal journey with Ebola

africa-outreach-layette1.jpg

I had no idea when I saw this picture for the first time what it would mean to me later. This picture was taken on my last trip to Sierra Leone Africa. October 2013. A village outreach, full of the joy!  Oh how I wish I could relive that moment. At the time I had no idea what was coming, none of us did.

I have always felt very safe in Bo, Sierra Leone Africa. One of the poorest countries in the world. A place where 1 in 23 women will die during childbirth. A place where 1 in 5 children will die before their 5th birthday. A place where 1 in 5 neonates will die due to complications during pregnancy. There is malaria, yellow fever, and many other tropical diseases that can prove deadly.

My only concern that I crossed my mind when I went to a village outreach was…what if I have to go to the bathroom? What then? Seems so silly now.

Something has happened…something that we never believed could happen in Sierra Leone, Africa. A word that I have become so familiar with. A word that I wish never existed. A word that is as offensive as a curse word when I hear hurtful, ignorant statements from those I love the most. A word that can make me well up and burst right into tears if I really let my heart go there. That word? Anyone who knows me has already guessed…EBOLA.

I believed that God was protecting Sierra Leone Africa as one by one each bordering country became infected with the deadly disease. Then it happened…it crossed into Sierra Leone. You know how major events happen in your life and you will never forget where you were when you heard the news? When I heard the news that Ebola was in Sierra Leone I was in New York City, having a wonderful time. The news was frightening as this was a Friday, our May team of missionaries was not due to leave Bo, Sierra Leone until Sunday. We believed that the team would be safe and that Ebola would remain in the jungle and never make it to BO. Praise God that our team made it home safely. However, we could not have been more wrong about Ebola not making it to Bo.

Before the October 2013 team left we prayed over Mercy Hospital. That is where I do most of my work in Bo. We laid hands on the building. The current chairwoman was on the October trip and her term was going to be over that December. I would be taking on that position in January 2014. We prayed over Mercy’s future and for protection over the staff. We prayed for guidance as to our part in Mercy’s future.

As Ebola spread through Sierra Leone Africa like wildfire it was as if Mercy Hospital was being protected. I would go to bed at night and imagine a light around Mercy Hospital. A light of protection…God’s light. I must also mention the Child Rescue Center. The Child Rescue Center is an orphanage that was started after a ten year civil war that devastated the country. Now the orphanage is a place where children who are victims of child trafficking are rescued. Those children know how to worship. I would imagine a light so bright from the child rescue center that it oozed out of the guarded gates.Karen Africa 2012 2As anyone who has social media or watches the news you know that Ebola did not stay in the jungle. It moved. It moved, it moved, it moved. I can not tell you the cries that my heart let out. As if my prayers were responsible as to if Ebola made it to Mercy Hospital. I believed my prayers were keeping Ebola away. Until they didn’t.

Africa Jen holding baby

If I am going to tell the entire story I must mention my friend Jen. Jen was a missionary on the October 2013 team. I received a text sometime this summer stating that Jen needed prayers. She had hip surgery and something went wrong. Jen had developed a blood clot and was in ICU. As I prayed for Jen I knew she would be okay. She was strong, I knew she was going to beat this and come through with that beautiful smile that lights up an entire room. Jen didn’t come through…she lost the battle. Where are you God?

Myself and others who knew and loved Jen were sure she was going to take care of this Ebola thing. She was going to get to heaven with her clip board and get this mess under control. It didn’t happen…where are you God?

Not long after Jen passed, it happened again.  One of the staff members at Mercy became infected with Ebola.  Ben, our community outreach coordinator.  I thought for sure he would survive.  Ben was strong and healthy, he did every thing right.  Reported exposure and received treatment. He did not cross the thresh hold of Mercy being extra careful not to risk infecting anyone else.  Ben died three days after I received word that he tested positive for Ebola.  Where are you God?

Karen Africa 2012

africa-2013-layette-kit.jpgThen it happened yet again, Mercy was infected with Ebola.   A post-op patient from a different hospital presented himself to Mercy Hospital in Bo with post op complications.  A few days later he was showing signs Ebola.  Before the results of his test were back the patient was dead.  Sure enough his test proved that he was indeed infected with Ebola.  Mercy hospital was closed for 21 days.  The hospital that serves a community regardless of their ability to pay.  The hospital that has a nutrition program and a prenatal program.  The hospital that saves lives.  The hospital that I believed with my whole heart was being protected. The hospital that changed my life.  God where are you?

ben

Three of our staff members were infected.  Two of the nurses recovered, which was a miracle.  One of those nurses had a nursing infant who was never infected…another miracle.  Then there was one of the cleaners, Mr. Stevens.  He did not make it.  It was heartbreaking as I spoke to another missioner about Mr. Stevens.  She knew and loved him.  We spoke about how it can be lonely as Ebola unfolds all the way across the ocean.  We are walking around with heavy hearts in the midst of all of America’s “blessings”.  It seems we are always talking about Africa.  We walk around knowing our friends are in danger, not knowing.  It can be a very lonely place.

By now my prayer life had started to take a different form.  I was praying every which way that I could.  On my knees, prostrate position, declaring, asking, begging.   My husband came down one morning as I was in deep worship in my pink polka dotted bathrobe, hair sticking up, hands in the air.  God was drawing me in.  Into a deeper relationship I had not known before.  Drawing me into his words.  As my heart was breaking, He was wrapping me up in His arms.  God began answering prayers that I had long since forgot about.  He was showing himself to me in the midst of something that I had no control of.  None of us did.

When I went to bed at night, God would remind me of my previous trip to Bo.  The trip where the first two deliveries were still births.  The third delivery happened seconds after the second still birth.  By this time, it was three in the morning.  I was  worn out.  When I say worn out, I mean like ready to come home.  It was only our first 24 hours.  By now, a thunderstorm was in full force.  If you have ever been in Africa during one of those storms you know how the thunder will wake you out of a deep sleep, sounding like  bombs are going off.  The third mother was as exhausted as the American doctor on the team and myself.  She was pushing, crying for Jesus with every push.  She was holding onto my hip squeezing as tight as she could.  I was feeling defeated, exhausted, done.  With each squeeze of my hip I began to cry out to Jesus with every push right along with her.  The doctor and other nurse joined in. The three of us: JESUS!, JESUS!, JESUS!  Right in the middle of the storm, JESUS!  Soon we had a healthy baby.  There he was, at 3 o’clock in the morning.  The Holy Spirit hovered in that room, there was no mistake where God was.  I am reminded of that moment many times when I am seeking.  Right in the midst of being defeated, He is with us.

There was the day that the tears stopped.  The day that my husband came upstairs as I was getting ready for company and he told me “Right now Ebola is worse in Sierra Leone then anywhere else”.  I sat on the edge of the bed and sobbed for about 10 minutes. I didn’t ask God why or to fix it.  I just sobbed.  Got myself together and had not cried about it since until a prayer gathering at our church.  Only this time the tears were different.

Our church leaders were invited to a prayer meeting.  We were asked to go into different areas of the church and pray over different things.  Each other, our building, the future of the church.  I went into one of the rooms where we prayed for our missions.  There were pictures on each table of the many missions our church participates in.  I saw the pictures from the children at the Child Rescue Center, pictures from outreaches at Mercy, pictures of the women and children of Bo.  The tears came as I prayed.  As I prayed I was reminded of this journey, that I am not alone.  That HIS ways are not my ways. That ALL things work together for those who love God.  There were tears of relief knowing that I am not in charge, that God loves me and I am worth it.  That it was finished when my Savior died on the cross.

-Karen

It’s not easy to shake the dust off when your feet are wet.

IMG_2111Matthew 10:14- If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.

Recently, I have been meditating on this verse. Why is it that for me my feet always seem to be wet when I am trying to shake the dust off? You know, like when you go to the beach and your feet are in the salt water then you walk in the sand…hard to shake off. You can shake off the loose sand, but you must find more water to really clean your feet. Sometimes it does not seem like it’s worth getting your feet wet in the first place.

Our bare feet touch the sand and sometimes it can be hot and burning. We put our feet in the salt water and our feet are healed and cleansed. Then we are in the sand again…itchy, scratchy, sticky sand. The hot sand can be like life…hot, burning. The salt water is like God’s word, cleansing, healing. Then we return to the sand with our wet feet. Into our lives our relationships…itchy, scratchy and sticky. Sometimes you just can’t shake the sand off until you rinse with more water.

I always thought of shaking the dust off as just that. Shake the dust off…keep on moving don’t look back. Close the door. Some how it does not work that way for me. No matter what, I would always have some dust stuck to my feet. Maybe just between my toes a little but still there, reminding me that I didn’t rinse well enough. Reminding me that I have not cleaned them all the way, that I have not truly looked for God’s will in the situation.

When Jesus told us to shake the dust off, I believe He was talking about those who did not receive Him as the Son of God. When I read this verse during this time in my life, I believe that sometimes, Christians must sometimes shake off other Christians. That does not mean that you don’t pray for one another or even love one another. It does not mean that you gossip about each other or post passive aggressive face book posts about each other. It means telling the truth in the most loving way that you can. It means that we are not the light, we are to point to the light, and it is not our job to fix people. Even other Christians. Our youth pastor showed a sermon at one of our meetings about how we are not “the” light and I believe that all Christians need to get that into our hearts. Jesus Christ pulls us out of the pit, we just shine the light up. If we continually look at other Christians to pull us out of the pit we miss the true light, Jesus.

Interesting enough, the only time I have had these situations arise in my life are with other believers. Believers who believe that their convictions should be the same as everyone else. Believers that think that I should be a part of their lives when they are contradicting the gospel in ways that are offensive to my heart. Believers that will not seek help and continue to make excuses for poor behavior. Brothers and sisters, if you believe the gospel, you will know that Christ is our healer. Not each other. We can pray, we can support but we must lean on Christ.

My prayer is that I am always in the word when I need to shake the dust off. That no one that I serve misses HIM because I am trying to be “the” light instead of pointing to the true light in my life. Jesus Christ.

-Karen

Why can’t you be more like me?

John 3:16 :For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Have you ever sat down to read scripture or a devotion with someone and think…what in the heck is wrong with them? Last night James and I decided that we would do the devotion from our church’s transformed series together. That’s exactly where my heart went…what the heck is wrong with my husband? He does not get it…I need to explain this so he understands the verse in the same exact way that I do. There is a difference between explaining the way you see it and convincing someone else that they need to receive God’s word the same exact way you do. The experience was quite humbling…for me.

The devotion went on to say that this verse is basically “Christianity in a nut shell”. It talked about how you see this verse on field goals at football games and at the bottom of fast food cups. Pastor Warren goes on to break the verse down into four points. After the devotion there are questions to answer.

The first question is: What did you hear? Me: I hear that God loves me so much that he gave his child that he loves as much as I love my children to save me. James: I hear that verse broken down into four points.

Second question: What do you think? Me: God loves me THAT much. That he would send his one and ONLY son to earth for me!! James: I’ve heard this verse lots of times before, and I’ve never seen it on a field goal.

Third question: What will you do? Me: I will continue to grow and seek God’s will for my life. James:to live out what God wants me to do…you know the two greatest commandments. Love God and love each other.

After we answered the questions there is a section that says now talk to God. James closes his eyes for a minute or two and flips the TV on. This is happening while I am writing out my words to God. I had enough…and decided to speak my mind.

I went on to tell James that he only gave “Sunday School” answers. That he was not thinking deep enough, that God gave His only son and he is acting like it is not a big deal. Ever heard of humble pie? Well God started feeding it to me right after that, through the night and this morning. In the most loving way of course.

We are all designed different. I am all about feeling the words on the page…imagining it. Like a friend of mine said “I like to put myself in the story, think about the smells, the sounds, what they are seeing”. Exactly!!!! me too. James is about reading the words on the page, pulling out differences. Many times to my heart if feels like criticism.

Guess what? God knows my heart and he knows James’ heart. He put us together because we are very different. We balance each other. Let’s face it, if it were not for James, I would have a house full of chickens. If it were not for me, James’ life would be very boring (kidding…sort of). There are many things that both of us are on the extreme opposite ends that we are forced to meet in the middle. (I’ll save that for another blog)…

Anyway, the same friend I quoted earlier also said she used to feel like “I am an executive of a huge company (the kingdom) and everyone has to be like me…it was wrong.” The thing with me is that I tend to extend that grace to EVERYONE except the earthly man that I love the most. James is one of the most loving men I have ever met. He has extended grace to me many times when I do not deserve it, he serves others and loves God. Who am I to decide if he answers his devotion questions right or not?

This was a beautiful way that God spoke to my heart about my husband. I hope someone reading this will extend someone in their life a little grace. It’s okay if you walk different as long as you are going toward the same direction. Toward Jesus.

-Karen

A living sacrifice???? Do what????

Romans 12 1-2: (1)Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to GOD-this is your spiritual act of worship. (2)Do not conform any longer 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 and pleasing will.

sacrifice:The act of giving up something highly valued for the sake of something else considered to have a greater value or claim. (dictionary.search.yahoo.com)

Our church started a new sermon series “transformed”. It is Rick Warrens study. We have a workbook and everything! The first part of the seven week study is spiritual growth. As usual our pastor inspired and encouraged us to jump fully into the study so that we can experience the transformation of what being a Christian really means from the inside out.

After the service I went to say hello to one of my friends. This friend in particular inspires me in the way that she seeks Christ. We have the best conversations about the ways that we have seen God move or things that we are wrestling with in our lives. Last night at the 6pm service was no different.

During the sermon, the pastor brought up Romans 12 1-2. My friend looked very concerned and said she was having issues with the words “living sacrifice”. When you combine it another verse from the study, Mark 10:45-For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.” The fill in the blank that goes with that verse is: I must “serve others unselfishly.” That sounds a little exhausting…and it is if you do not include God in your decisions to serve.

Sometimes I get caught up in what humans think I should be doing instead of God. You know “we could really use your gifts here or there…or I need you to drop everything and help me.” I can also get caught up in the comparison trap, thinking I need to live up to what my other Christian friends are called to do. I have some friends that clearly have gifts that I do not. I am thinking of a woman who has been the key person in the nursery at church for years…to me, that’s exhausting. Thankfully last year I read a life changing book: The Best Yes by Lysa Tyrkeurst. Lysa clearly explains that God does not mean you must do every single thing that you are asked simply because you are a Christ follower. God has specific plans for each of us. If we are busy saying yes to every single request coming our way, we can not give what God desires for us 100%.

The sacrifice in Romans 12 is our open hearts. To get into the word each and every day. We are to ask God to speak to us, to give us His desire for our lives. To let go of what the world says is important and hold on tight to what IS truly important, what will give us peace. Every single time you say yes to one thing you are saying no to another. That is between you and God. Not you and your spouse, children, or even your pastor. You must seek Him, no one else can tell you His plan for your life.

I read over this post and it sounds like I have it all figured out. That is the furthest thing from the truth. I still find myself looking for the approval of humans, seeking worldly desires, not going to God before I say yes. I am still a baby in my walk with Christ…learning everyday. Thankfully God does not love me based on my performance.

-Karen

Why I started a blog.

One of my New Year resolutions for 2015 is to be committed to keeping a journal.  I have had this “resolution” in the past but never seem to keep up with it.  I mentioned this to my daughter Tori and she encouraged me to keep a blog.  I think she has some motivation as on more than one occasion she has stated that I fill up her Face Book news feed with my post.

I will be using this blog to tell stories about home school, my family, Africa, and most importantly how I see and feel God moving in our lives.

This blog is not about how many readers or “likes” ( I don’t know if “like” is a blog thing or not) I get.  It’s about sharing and keeping all of the stories/information in one spot.  If God uses it to speak to others..WONDERFUL.  If that’s not what His intention is, WONDERFUL too.  HIS will be done!!!

Very excited to begin this journey.  God Bless and here’s to keeping a New Year resolution.

-Karen