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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

Chris

14 comments:

lori said...

Isn't it funny just HOW God sends a "friend" in a form that we would never imagine? I LOVE this!! He is there...sending what we need, when we need it....timed perfectly...ususally in the midst of that pity party!

Robin is an amazing lady....
what a wonderful post!
peace to you as you come out from under the mountain of papers...we ALL have been there!
Have you been over to Heart of the Matter....great support there!

peace,
lori

MiPa said...

This is great! It shows how God meets our needs in such creative ways that only He could plan them. Thanks for sharing.

Heather@Mommymonk said...

I often feel the same way about books/authors. They can be true friends right when we need them. No, they can't wrap arms around us or pray for us (although I bet Robin would if you asked her), but authors pour out their hearts in their writing in the same way as friends. I'm glad to hear that Robin has encouraged you to keep on keeping on.

Michelle Bentham said...

"So, even though we have never met in person"

Such a great post, with an unexpected twist! Love it and it reminds me to thank God for all these "bloggy" friends I've made along the way... God does send us the most unexpected blessings in the most unexpected ways.

It reminds me that we all have an opportunity to impact our sphere of influence whatever that looks like in each of our lives. Thanks so much for sharing! Blessings.

jamie in rose cottage said...

I've been reading Robin's book, too, and will be incorporating some of it in this homeschool year.

Susan said...

Chris,

This post was incredible. I really like the way you shared your heart. Your honesty was refreshing...

I'm so blessed you have found someone to help you along your journey of home-schooling.

I admire you for doing this, like all the home school moms out there. What tribute to being a GREAT~DEDICATED mom.

Maybe you're being too hard on your self?

I have also formed relationships with people online, and had the awesome privilege to finally getting to meet them!

Blessing to you♥

PS Did you do a make over on your blog, it's simply BEAUTIFUL!!!

Terri Sue said...

I am so glad God provided what you needed when you needed it! I know we have all been at the spot of giving up or going on! God does provide the answer! May your new school year be blessed!

Laurie Ann said...

God's timing in giving you a friend to help you walk through this valley is wonderful. Looks like you are almost out of the valley! God bless you for sharing your heart with us today. I really enjoyed reading your post.

Karen said...

Loved the post. Praise the Lord that God can work through our friends to help us stay focused.

Bonnie W said...

All my children are grown and gone but my daughter is home schooling her children. Robin's book sounds like it would bless her too. Thanks for sharing your heart today.
Bonnie

Denise said...

Bless you dear one.

Tisra said...

I've only half-way homeschooled in the past (our church has a homeschool academy that is two days a week). Well, our oldest did public last year and we KNOW that God has total (non-academy) homeschool for us this year with both boys (K and 3rd). I'm excited, bought curriculum, and am reading some great "tips" types of books so that I feel prepared. BUT, there is till a bit of fear of the unknown, fear of the intensity of it, and fear of not getting it done properly or loosing time for anything else. But, I keep thinking that God hasn't given me a spirit of fear (especially regarding something He's called me to!). I'm going to press on and enjoy the fullness of what is to come (even if I stumble a bunch as I hash out a new "normal").

Tisra
waiting for referral from Taiwan, for our 4th child
http://lifetrain.blogspot.com

PS. Rebecca (who used to be part of the Taiwan group but is now adopting Owen from China) started a christian homeschooling Yahoo group for those involved in adoption and its a nice group... let me know if you want details.

Robin @ Heart of Wisdom said...

{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}

Thank you so much Chris for allowing me to be your friend.

What a sweet post. It is a a joy to hear someone was helped by my book-- The Internet is a real blessing, we can make friends acriss the world.

Thank YOU for taking the time to let me know it helped.

I was reading your post when "God Will Make a Way" started playing. Beautiful version. He always does make a way--when we lean on Him!

Ain't it grand? :)

Thank you again.
Blessings,
Robin

Sarah k said...

Chris,
This is how I always looked at Valleys and Mountain tops.. Mountain tops are where the beauty lies, it is where you stand awe inspired as you look back over where God has brought you from and the beauty that God has created for your very eyes to behold. However, the mountain tops do not have nourishment and they are without fresh streams to drink from so all you have is a glorious view. You must then come down to the Valley again. The valley is where God teaches us, where we are nourished and brought closer to him through trials, failures and triumphs. Without these moments of being nourished by the holy spirit in he quiet, and common valley, the mountain top would never be anything more than mundane. No accomplishment in Christ, no awe at what He brought us through and no determination to make it up to that next mountain top to see what God has for us there. Keep your stepping light and your heart focused! This valley will bring you to a mountain top, they always do!

Sarah k.
Taiwankiddo2.blogspot.com