Friday, June 29

Homeschool. Obedience. Panic Attack.

Last November, Phillip and I made the decision, after lots of prayers and tears, to not re-enroll the boys in the private school they have been in.  It had been something that was heavy on my heart for a while. While in  Ethiopia in November, for our court trip with Emme, I felt like God had spoken to my heart about missions. He impressed on my heart that my first mission was in my home. Right where I am at in this present moment. He has placed me here with these children for very specific reasons and I was to shepherd them and raise them up in a way that glorifies Him. For our family this means homeschooling. Part time. Maybe God meant full-time but I think he really meant part-time.

 Here in the town we live in, we have this great little school that I feel offers the best of both worlds. Home School and School.  It took me until February to come to terms with Parker leaving the friends he has made at his first school. The school he is at is a fantastic school. I love the school and I am sad that we are leaving such a great program behind. Not only are we leaving a great school but, we are leaving our very best friends. That part gets me. But when God calls us to do something, no matter how hard, uncomfortable, challenging or impossible it may seem we must be obedient and follow his voice. His voice is leading me to this school. Here is some info straight from their website:
The Grammar School at Midland Classical Academy exists to provide an excellent academic foundation from a Biblical worldview. The program offered by MCA Grammar School is unique to the community because of the quality academic program combined with a high level of parental involvement. We believe that successful completion of MCA Grammar School will provide an outstanding education in a classical Christian environment and will equip students to succeed in the MCA Upper School and beyond.

Structure of the Grammar School
The Grammar School at Midland Classical Academy operates on a “university model” schedule. In other words, students at the Grammar School attend school two days per week for the core academic program. Fridays are reserved for science and enrichment classes.

MCA seeks to partner with committed Christian families who are willing and able to supervise the home component which complements the school’s three day per week on-campus program. The part-time, on-campus concept allows parents to remain intimately involved in their children’s education, allows tuition to remain substantially below that of traditional private schools, and is practical for those who can effectively supervise their children’s work at home. Typically, teachers introduce concepts and provide schedules of assignments for reinforcement at home. In keeping with the classical tradition for the grammar stage of learning, MCA focuses on achieving an excellent grasp on the fundamentals of each subject, with heavy emphasis on reading classic and high-quality children’s literature and understanding God’s plan and work for mankind through history.

We LOVE what the school stands for. We LOVE the structure and the standard of the school. We LOVE that they will be home more then they are at school. I LOVE having my kids home. Lately I have found myself on the brink of grief that my children are growing and they are growing FAST! a third of my time with Parker is already gone and that saddens me deeply. What a precious season of life I am in. Though it is hard some days and I am getting gray hairs at 25 I love where God has me. I want to cherish each and every moment I have with these little before they are grown and gone to live their own life making memories of their own. OK.. I gotta stop... I am getting weepy.

We hit a little road block with Parker's enrollment. You see, you have to test into the school to find the right place for you. I prepared Parker with encouragement and pep talks and little hand holding prayers before his test. I felt really confident that he would do amazing since he is doing so, so great at the school he is at now. So one morning I took him out of his school to have him "evaluated", that sounds a little better then tested. Or maybe it doesn't ;). 20 minutes later he was finished and I took him back to school. A couple of weeks passed and we received our call for our family interview. (Phillip and I both had to be interviewed...together...not separate) When we sat down, the precious ladies in front of me opened Parkers file and begin to tell me that they were recommending that we hold him back and allow him to do Kindergarten over again. They felt strongly that this would be the best place for him since his fine motor skills aren't developed to where they should be and he only knew 4...Yes 4!! letters of the alphabet. WHAT?! Those poor ladies. The defensive momma bear came up in me. I immediately heard them telling me that Parker was Dumb and couldn't do 1st grade. (Which is so not what they were saying but thats how this momma's ears heard it!) I quickly told them that their test results surprised me because he is one of the top in his class at his school! He can read and he can spell and do numerical tallies, count coins, speak some spanish... I ran through all the things my child can do. I am sure I sounded pretty ridiculous arguing with the professionals who had tested him. What do they know right?! They just don't know how smart and special my son is?! HA! These were real thoughts people. During the rest of the interview, I was in a fog trying to figure out what in the world went wrong. Why did he flop this evaluation?! The meeting was ended, we shook hands and I went on my way. Immediately texting my closets friend who had been praying about this whole ordeal since the very first thought of homeschool came up and told them how crushed and confused I was and what in the world should I do?

After a few weeks of prayer, (they gave us the option to re-test) we decided to retest. We re-tested in early June only for him to flop it again. WHAT?!?! I had even been working on some of the things with him. The sweet teacher showed me how he wrote his name and drew his self portrait. I am not even sure Parker drew that!! Parker is our little artist. He is extremely detailed and artsy. He drew a tiny little stick figure with NO detail and wrote is name with some letter backwards and slanted across 4 lines. The sweet teacher clearly saw my confusion and heartbreak that I so eloquently wore on my face after peering at his work and said "Kindergarten is my recommendation but if you feel like he can do first grade, then we will put him in first grade. You will just have to do double the work at home to get him where he needs to be. I even recommend going to Mardel this summer and getting work books for him to work in and handwriting books for him to practice on before school starts so he doesn't fall behind."

I prayed for several days and decided first grade is where he is supposed to be. I feel like he freezes up when he is around people he doesn't know. Plus the kids HATES performing for people. Everything he does is usually on HIS terms. So I called the school with our decision and they signed him up for first grade.

Yesterday, I went to Mardel to get some work books for us to have special school days for the remaining of the summer. I cannot even begin to explain to you what happened to me yesterday standing there in the school area of Mardel. I picked up one book called Letters per Week and flipped through it. I felt like the entire store was spinning around me and my body started to get hot. I thought I was going to hyper ventilate right there in the homeschool section. I grabbed another, slammed it shut, grabbed another, slammed it shut. Over and over until I nearly came to tears. I was so overwhelmed. Can I really do this? Did I hear God right?? Can I really be disciplined enough to educate my son myself? His whole education relies on my ability to follow through with what I am supposed to do. For those of you who don't know me well, I am a very whimsy, spontaneous and very bird brained. I am not sure I can do this. But I will! I know this is where God has called me. I will follow Him and trust in Him. I want to be so great at this. I left Mardel empty handed...well not exactly Parker scored an awesome $.99 cross necklaces that apparently makes him look like a "real" Christain! HA! But I left without the work books I intended to get. If there are any homeschool moms out there who have any advice I would LOVE what you have to offer. I would love to hear how you do it. Where do you start? What should I get to help him out before school starts? There are way to many options. I am feeling a little crazy and a little unsure that I can really do this.
Will you pray with me? 
For Strength...
These are the book options that sent me into a mini panic attack. I can't hardly even look at them without feeling panicky all over agin. I am pathetic! 

Tuesday, June 12

Patience. Endurance. A Rising Up.

 After writing out my previous post, we headed up to one of our team member’s rooms to worship the Lord. God met us there. We had some amazing words of encouragement from a couple of the team members.  I adore how God has used this time to teach us. Grow us. Change us. Challenge us. During one of the devotionals we got word from our team leaded that we needed to be in the Lobby ASAP. We were heading home. I had a sudden surge of peace. I knew that it was time to go home. God is not done working.  This has been a major spiritual battle. You could feel it. You could see it.  We are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies but against evil rulers and authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12) We have a STRONG team. STRONG. And the other side knows that. We are going to Ethiopia with PURPOSE. With authority and empowerment. We are going to bring people into the kingdom. We are going to awaken a passion for Christ in the hearts of our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia. The enemy knows that and he wants to prevent that.  Today it had become clear that a door had been shut that no man could open and we weren’t doing any good just sitting in the Marriott at the airport. I don’t know why our trip ended up like this or exactly how for that matter. What I do know is that God will use it.  He has used it. I know that when we do get to go back we will go with more power, more strength and a stronger awareness of our authority that we have in Christ Jesus. We walk in the same power that Christ walked in. We must rise up and use it.  We will Persevere! We have learned to wait on the Father. To have PATIENCE.

Patience: capacity, willingness to endure
Endure: bear hardship
Hardship: personal burden
Burden: mental weight, stress 

We learned to endure the hardship of our personal burdens and stresses during the weight of this trip. We praised him through our storm and we will continue to PRAISE HIM. For He is WORTHY of all of our PRAISE. As we continue to wait upon the Lord we will praise and seek wisdom and guidance on what to do next.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. 
Hebrews 11:39

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 
2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 
Galatians 6:9

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

While sitting quiet yesterday I was reminded of a story I had once read. I couldn't remember all the details to post it exactly but I woke up this morning and a friend had posted it on the church Facebook page. How perfect. Here it is: 
Heidi Baker, missionary in Mozambique Africa, set up an orphanage and a medical clinic in Mozambique at great effort and expense. The government deemed the project as uncertified and shut them down. So, she regrouped and set up a 2nd orphanage and clinic at great effort and expense. This time she pleaded with the government for support, but they refused her again and shut her down a second time. They took her orphans to the local hospital due to several cases of Cholera, and asked her to leave the country. So, she regrouped and assembled a small prayer team to go to the hospital. Only doctors were allowed in the Cholera unit within the hospital due to its deadliness. However, Heidi and her team waltzed right in through the front door, past security, and began to pray over 100 infected children and adults. They were vomited and defecated on over the course of the afternoon as they cried out to God for the people. The Spirit of the Lord suddenly rained down from Heaven and every single person with Cholera was instantly healed! The entire wing of the hospital accepted Christ, including the staff. A doctor working there, after seeing the miracle, gave her heart to the Lord. She immediately resigned from the hospital and took a job with Heidi. This doctor encouraged Heidi and the team to open the orphanage and clinic up for a 3rd time!!!
They did and the doctor was able to get them certified by the government!

His encouragement to us: DO NOT GIVE UP! Regroup and go again; even a 3rd time if necessary or a 4th. God’s desire is to bless the people of Addis with hope and the enemy employs his smoke screens, land mines, traps and snares. You guys are going to walk right through the front door of this country and see miracles.

After waiting on standby last night for a flight home, we decided to bail and rent some vans. We drove all night and finally got home at 5:30 this morning. But it ok! We will not give up!! We will RISE UP and go again!! We will PERSEVERE!! 

Praise in the Storm

   We are now home. However, I wrote this post moments before we made the decision to head home....

Trust Me and do not be afraid, for I am your Strength and Song. Do not let fear dissipate your energy. Instead, invest your energy in trusting Me and singing My Song. The battle for control of your mind is fierce, and years of worry have made you vulnerable to the enemy. Therefore, you need to be vigilant in guarding your thoughts. Do not despise this weakness in yourself, since I am using it to draw you closer to Me. Your constant need for Me creates and intimacy that is well worth all the effort. You are not alone in this struggle for your minds. My Spirit living within you is ever ready to help in this striving. Ask Him to control your mind; He will bless you with Life and Peace.

Isaiah 12:2
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense, he has become my salvation.

Romans 8:6
The mind governed by flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Again, Jesus Calling devo has been right on. Meeting me exactly where I am. Meeting our team right where we are. How easy it is, to let fear drain you of every ounce of energy you have. Fear, worry and doubt. They don’t add a single hour to anyone’s life. They take the life out of you. They drown you. Suppress all energy. Toady we wait. Like we have before. Instead of fighting it and trying to push to make things happen, we sit and we wait.  We continue to sing His Song, Praising Him through this storm.  It is so easy to praise God with full energy when life is running smoothly. When life is easy. When you are getting new jobs, or that raise you have longed anticipated, for good health, good friends, when your family is getting along and when all the other things just seem right. It is a little more challenging to Praise God in these unexpected storms. Storms that cause panic and uncertainty. Like this. After months and months and months of planning, raising funds, prayers, tears, testimonies, prophecies and we find ourselves looking face to face with a 50-foot cinderblock wall.  Not having any clarity on what move to make next. No doors swinging open or paths made clear. Just waiting, listening and praising.

We have a 2-hour break from the group before we meet back for a time of worship (worshipping him in this storm together has been amazing!! A time with everyone I will forever cherish) and devotional together. During my break, I have sat back and thought about all the people in the Bible who Praised God in the storm. 

First, I think of David who lost his first son with Bathsheba. David fasted and prayed and upon hearing that the child had indeed passed David rose, and went to the house of the Lord and worshipped Him and gave praises to Him.  David was clearly in a storm. Yet he offered praise and God rewarded his praises and blessed him with Solomon.

Second, Paul and Silas in prison after being falsely accused. While sitting in the prison they didn’t rebuke God, nor did they loose hope and or loose faith that God would set them free they sang praise to him. Witnessed to a jailer and his family and continued to praise. Suddenly an earthquake shook the foundation of the prison and the doors flew open.

Third, Job.  Job had lost everything. Sons, daughters, all his land, livestock, servants health. Everything. But he still fell to the ground in worship. I am not sure I would do that. After losing everything. I am pretty sure I would be bitter and angry with the Lord. But, if Job was able to Love God enough, the same God I Love and serve, to fall to the ground and worship Him during the storm then I should be able to. The Bible says he did not charge God by wrongdoing.  How many times am I so quick to charge God with wrongdoing in my life?  Or be mad at Him and confused and frustrated with Him. When I should be praising Him. God rewarded Job with double blessing because of His faithfulness in the storm.
There are so many more people who remained faithful to the Father during the storm. I want to be one of those people. A person who sticks to God through the storm and remembers his faithfulness. He is oh so faithful.

We know that God has us in the palm of His hand. We are right where we need to be.
We are praising him in the storm and trusting Him.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

A friend sent me this verse a little while ago. I stand on this and receive this!

Isaiah 43:1
But now, this is what the Lord says….Do not fear, I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

YES! He has summoned me! He has summoned all 16 of us! He has redeemed us and is drawing us closer to him. He is awakening our spirit. Teaching us to worship him in the storm, teaching us to remain faithful in the storm. He is pursuing us.  Rise up! We must respond! All of us. Here in Houston and on the home front. Oh how He Loves us!

“My joy is not based on what is happening TO me, but one what God is doing IN me and THROUGH me.
 – Craig Groeschel

I feel joy, an unfamiliar peace, a calmness and a stillness. I am taking refuge in resting in the will of the Father. 

Here are some highlights of our trip. It hasn’t all been a swirling storms we have found a way to have a lot of fun.

1)   While in in the Midland airport Jana and Mike led a man to the Lord. If we hadn’t of been delayed and stuck at home this man would have not known Christ. His story is neat. I pray Jesus meets him right where he is at. (If all falls through, that one mans soul is worth all this mess)
2)   Movie Quotes at dinner
3)   Charades outside of Salt Grass last night.
4)   Time of Worship in the bottom of the South Tower at the Marriott at the airport crammed in a corner with no AC. It was powerful worship with amazing and encouraging words from the Lord. A time I will forever cherish with you all.
5)   Bible trivia. I feel like an inadequate Christian now. How have I missed all these things about the Bible? Like who broke the bible down in to chapters? What year? My question I was given was : What is the one things that is asked of you to bring to every sacrifice? I said sheep. I was wrong. Its Salt???! SALT!! Geez! HA!
6)   Morning breakfast, more movie quote trivia and charades in the restaurant.

I can’t wait to see what else this day has to hold!!!

Sunday, June 10

Piece Us Together

REST IN ME, MY CHILD. Give your mind a break from planning and trying to anticipate what will happen. Pray continually, asking my Spirit to take charge of the details of this day. Remember that you are on a journey with Me. When you try to peer into the future and plan for every possibility, you ignore your constant Companion who sustains you moment by moment. As you gaze anxiously into the distance, you don’t even feel the strong grip of my hand holding yours. How foolish you are, My child.

Remembrance of Me is a daily discipline. Never lose sight of My Presence with you. This will keep you resting in Me all day, every day.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ. Do not quench the Spirit.

Psalm 62:5; 8
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him....Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

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I woke up this morning with an urgency to pray for our team. To pray for our trip.  With a burning need for God to show up. To reveal his plan. His purpose. His will. My spirit is anxious and restless. Confusion and peace flow in and out of my heart and my mind. I feel like a ship out at sea caught in a storm that came by surprise. Being tossed from side to side. Being tossed from Faith, Peace, Joy, Empowerment to Helplessness, Frustration, Confusion, Question, Doubt, Fear and Worry. All things the Lord tells us to not dwell on for they are not His Spirit He is the Spirit of Peace. He calms the storm.

Let me back up…

Yesterday June 9th, myself, and our team of 16 headed out to embark on a journey to spread the Love of Christ to the precious people of Ethiopia.  We arrived at the Midland airport full of joy and excitement about this trip. God has given so many people words, confirmations and has provided in supernatural ways for this trip.  Personally this trip means a lot. God has birthed a powerful and overwhelming Love in my heart for these people. A Love that I couldn’t create on my own. A Love from the Father. Many people on this trip share this Love. I long to minister to the sweet people. To be with them. Of them and serve them. We boarded our plane only to de-board because of maintenance issues with the plane. There was a “funny sound”.  We sat in the floor in the Midland airport for over 6 hours waiting on the mechanic (that they had to FLY in) to check it out and give it a good to go clearance to transport us to Houston. (Where we were connecting and hopping on a KLM flight to Amsterdam and ultimately to Ethiopia.) Seeing that we sat and watched our plane sit at our gate in Midland for 6 hours, we missed our connection to Amsterdam. However, we did finally make it to Houston. Only to negotiate new tickets and another flight for over 2 hours. Hitting a wall with no luck. We stayed the night in Houston with no game plan. We prayed, cried and pleaded with the Lord to make a way. With Hope fleeting and Faith slipping away that we are supposed to go to Ethiopia, we went to bed.  My sister at dinner last night shared her favorite part of the day and she proceeded to remind us all that we DO NOT have the spirit of fear and depression within us. We have the Spirit of God in usA Spirit of Joy and Peace. Right on sister!! Way to whip is into shape.

Today at breakfast we got word that there is a KLM flight departing from the airport that we are at, departing at 4:05 with 16 seats available. And that we had the seats! Not on standby, but that we had the seats and they were Firm! What an amazing miracle! We arrived at the airport here in Houston as soon as we could. While standing the check in line we quickly learned that Delta was showing in their system that they reserved our seats on that KLM flight but KLM shows that they have a full flight and we would be on standby and they felt strongly that we would not get on that plane. Once again, Disappointment and Confusion meet and flood our team. We pray. Seek God. Ask for a way. His way whatever it may be. Get us to Ethiopia.  So here we are, sitting on the cold concrete floor in the airport. With no direction. No plan. Clinging to hope, clinging to Jesus.

When I woke up this morning with the urgency to pray, I prayed with a restless heart. Stumbling on what I should be praying. Struggling to find what it is exactly that we should be praying for. Is Ethiopia our team’s final destination or is there someplace else that the Lord wants us to be? I couldn’t focus and my words bounced around like a bouncy ball in a rubber room. No control, no aim, no focus. So I opened my beloved Jesus Calling devotional, I am sure that many of you are familiar with this little gem written by Sarah Young. Some days I struggle with it and it doesn’t sit or resonate with me, but then there are days like today. Days where it is so dead on, it is eerie. 

I started this post with the devotional quoted straight out of the book with a few added verse because this is what we are all standing on today. How wonderful this sweet reminder is that God is our Companion. He has a STRONG grip on our hand. How foolish we are. We are on a journey with God today. An adventure reallyHe is our refuge. My hope. Our Hope. Comes from him and him alone. We will Rejoice in Him today. We will pray continually for his wisdom, guidance and direction today. Will you pray with us? We WILL give him thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will in Jesus Christ. We will not quench the Spirit and let the enemy rob us of our purpose. Our Joy. Our Hope. Our security in our Father. He is FOR us NOT against us. He is so Faithful and Constant. Even when we can’t see what he is doing with our physical eyes, I know that he is for us, he will not forsake us in our weakness.

We don’t know what he is doing here with this situation. I know that God is good and he is working on all of us. Strengthening us, challenging our flesh, growing us closer to him and getting us to a place where we are having to rely completely on him. He will get the glory in all of this. Him alone.

I keep rolling this quote over and over in my head and believing it!!

When we are shattered by disappointment, we are pieced back together by Grace. – Bob Goff.

Will you believe this with me? We are shattered with disappointment but we KNOW God’s grace is sufficient and that we, each of us, and this trip will be pieced back together by HIS Grace!

God you can have me. You can have us. You can have this trip. We want to be where you are. Here are our hearts, our plans. Consume us and move us. Show us your way. Piece us back together. Stronger and more empowered then ever before with faith that can move mountains.