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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

In Other Words Tuesday-Valleys

Today's In Other Words Tuesday is a quote from a wonderful author I have a great deal of respect for-in fact, it is probably not a simple coincidence that I have decided to participate in this weeks' post, and this just HAPPENED to be the quote to respond/ponder/meditate upon.

When you are in a valley, it is really nice to know you are not alone, and that others have gone that route before you-and I am feeling like a pilgrim lately, lonely, fatigued, battle-weary-wondering where the joy went.

“The Christian life is a pilgrimage. At times the road is difficult and we get lonely. Sometimes we may get discouraged and consider abandoning the journey. It is at such times that God will place a friend alongside us. One of God’s most precious gifts to us is friends who encourage us and lovingly challenge us to ‘keep going.’ “ By Henry T. Blackaby & Richard Blackaby from their devotional book, Experiencing God

Ok, I am kind of surprised at the way God has chosen to bring someone along side me this time. It's not the hand-holding, lay your head on her shoulder and have a good cry type of friend, but I have been mighty encoouraged to keep on keeping on never-the-less.

In the midst of the valley of despair, discouragement and disgruntled confusion in which I have been contemplating next year's homeschooling, I have been feeling quite a failure, very inept, and basically a mess. All I see is last year's unfinished projects, last year's unmet goals and aspirations, and piles of papers I have found on the internet in an attempt to find the "PERFECT" activity for my children which will engage them, encourage them, and inspire them.

I wonder why I even attempt to teach my own children, when I feel my own life is such a mess of disorganization, unfinished projects, and disarray. Basically, I am having a pity party, and it hasn't been much fun.

Enter a dear old friend I had shelved for a while due to busyness. Wipe off the dust, open up the pages and begin to be refreshed, revived, and rejuvenated by the words of this dear book I have read several times already, but really needed the relief it provided this weekend.

No, it was not the Bible. But it is practically my homeschooling Bible. Written by another homeschooling mom, who has also written her own curriculum, Heart Of Wisdom Teaching Approach by Robin Sampson was just the instrument God has used to renew my vision for homeschooling and give me the gentle nudge I needed to trudge forward with new hopes and dreams for the coming year.

Robin has truly BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!!

She knows how it feels to be defeated by circumstances, and to take your eyes of Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. She also knows the victory that comes with returning to our first love, Jesus, with a new vision and new sense of trusting Him to provide for our every need.

In the book, she compares our homeschool experience to the Israelites leaving Egypt, having their every need met by a loving and faithful God, and yet, they still manage to mess up, forget, murmur and complain, worship idols, and turn their eyes back to Egypt instead of focusing on the Promised Land.

Oh, how easy it is to let life carry us along on a riptide of emotions, instead of letting Jesus' grace and strength provide for us. How easy it is to take our eyes off Jesus, and focus on the difficulties, the failures, and the messes we create.

Well, I am not sure I am completely out of my valley-I still feel pretty empty when it comes to enthusiasm and zeal for the new school year. But, hopefully, with a bit more reading in HOWTA, as well as God's Word, I will find my strength renewed, and I will be able to mount up on wings as eagles, to walk and not be weary, to run and not faint (Isaiah 41:30).

So, even though we have never met in person, we have communicated a bit in email and I consider Robin Sampson a very good friend, and a worthy companion and mentor on this road of homeschooling, and I so appreciate her insights, her loving words of encouragement, and her reminder to focus on the one who gives us strength in our times of weakness.

And thank you to Bonnie at INK IT BLOG for hosting this week's In Other Words. Hop on over to her blog and read what others are writing about this week's quote, and be blessed along your own journey, wherever it may be taking you this week/month/year!!

In Him