One of the things that I love about teaching homeschool is that it provides ample opportunities to see God’s character through the things that we are learning as a family.

I didn’t always think this way. But a few years ago, Joe and I attended a homeschool conference and the keynote speaker, Voddie Baucham, really challenged parents: Everything that we learn in homeschool should point our kids to the greatness of the Lord. Learning is not primarily about acquiring knowledge for the sake of stuffing our heads full of facts. What we learn in homeschool should point us to worship our Creator and draw us into greater intimacy with Him.

We see God’s unlimited intelligence, creativity and splendor as we examine the physical world around us in science. We enjoy His beauty in the sounds of music and the colors and shapes of art. We see his faithfulness, purpose and plan throughout history. We see His humor, ingenuity, emotions, and compassion in the use of language. But what can we learn about God in math??

1 Corinthians 14:33 says, “For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.”

I see this exemplified in every page of math that we cover in homeschool. Have you ever noticed that if you place a decimal one column too far to the right or left that your answer is wrong? Or that when you write out a math problem and don’t get the columns perfectly lined up, then your answer comes out wrong? My point is that math is about precision and order. You don’t haphazardly get “right” answers. Everything has to be done in a certain pattern or alignment- whether the steps followed, or the way the problems are written out. And where did math originate from? GOD. So this mathematical exercise that we take our kids through in homeschool everyday has the potential to teach them that God is a God of ORDER, not confusion or chaos. He is not trying to trick us or play us for fools. But just like math, He is an orderly God, a consistent God, a peaceful God.

In the same way, I believe that math can teach us about God’s attention to detail. The examples I cited about math above illustrate the order and detail needed when performing math. The Bible gives us multiple examples of God’s attention to detail. Here are a couple:

“Why, even the hairs of your head are numbered.” ~Luke 12:7

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” ~Matthew 10:29-31

Do you realize that we lose 100-125 hairs every day, on average? Yet at any given moment, God knows how many hairs are on each of the almost 7.5 billion people that live on earth!!! Not only is God an active mathematician, but His attention to detail is limitless. And God is not only aware of every little sparrow in existence, but he also knows their value (which changes from time and place)! And if He knows the value of two sparrows (because what person even cares about the value of two sparrows?!?!) AND cares to know the exact number of hairs on any one person’s head, He must really, really love His creation (US!!) to pay that much attention!!!

Other examples of God in math…

“Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” ~Psalm 32:2

You have kept count of my tossing; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” ~Psalm 56:8

“He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.” ~Psalm 147:4

I am most thankful for what God does NOT count or number. When we have placed our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have assurance that God will NOT count our sins against us because the punishment for our sins was paid for by the perfect sacrifice: His son, Jesus’, life on the cross. Three days later when Jesus rose from the grave, He defeated sin and death, taking away their power. His sacrifice in our place made it possible for us to be set free from the debt that we owed God and enabled us to be reconciled to the Father now and forever. Yes,

“Blessed is that man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” ~Romans 4:8

Oh, the joy of learning about God- even in math!!

What can you learn about God in math? I’d love to hear how YOU are Doing Life Deliberately in your learning! Please share what God is teaching you about Himself below. We’d love to hear from you!!

~Trisha

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pexels-photo-515169.jpeg“There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.  This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?  For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God.  This also is vanity and a striving after the wind.”     ~Ecclesiastes 2:24-26

I am the type of person that is tempted to strive for perfection.  When I was a kid, my parents taught me that “anything worth doing, is worth doing well.”  I remember in grade school crumpling up paper after paper because my handwriting on my assignments wasn’t good enough.  I would stay up until 9 or 10pm as a 4th grader doing homework because of starting over and over again to have the perfect writing.

Clearly, I took my parent’s teaching to an unhealthy extreme.

Fortunately, my teacher had the wisdom to intervene and work with my parents to help me develop less perfectionist tendencies.  (Thank you, Mrs. Waller. :0)  But, I still catch myself at times- especially now that I am teaching my own kids.  There is a fine line between pushing kids to do their best and pushing them to be perfectionists.  I have had to clarify with my kids many times that I don’t expect their work to be perfect (whether it’s school work, completing chores, etc.), but I do expect them to give their best effort.

But what about as adults?  How does the pursuit of perfection affect our marriages and parent/child relationships?  What about as homeschooling parents?  How does this striving for perfection affect us?  Are we constantly looking for the perfect curriculum?  Are we exasperating our family because they can never please us?  I have to be honest here- I fall into this camp way more than I care to admit.

So much of this is a heart issue.  Who am I trying to please?  Is my happiness tied into having a perfectly clean house or a child with straight A’s?  Have a made an idol of having a perfect marriage, the perfectly behaved child, or the perfect look?  Am I trying to get people to like me by appearing a certain way?  Or am I trying to earn God’s love by having it all together?

The above verses from Ecclesiastes speak of work being a joy- whether our job, our chores, our schoolwork, etc.  If we are striving for perfection, it’s awful hard to have joy because that perfection is always a little (or a lot) out of reach.  God is the only One who is perfect.  And though He holds His children to a higher standard (“…but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct…” ~1 Peter 1:15), He knows full well that we cannot attain perfection.  If we could, we would not be in need of a Savior.  But the fact that “He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16)”, proves that perfection is not a possibility for our sinful natures.  It is a gift from God to have joy in our work, whatever that looks like at whatever age you find yourself.  Perfection is a lie.  It is vanity.

Vanity= “excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements.”                                                 ~Google dictionary

The point?  Rather than striving for perfection in our appearance, our work, our family, our home…. rather than trying to give the impression that we have it all together when we really don’t…. rather than trying to impress others and impress God with how great we are, let’s admit the truth: we desperately need Him to save us from our complete inability to get it all right and hold it all together.

Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ.”  Rather than striving for unatainable perfection, let’s strive to give our very best efforts as an offering of love to the Lord.  God just wants our best.  Not perfection.  Just the best we can do.  And if we’re honest, most of us don’t give God our best.  We don’t do the best we can at our workplace.  We don’t do the best we can in loving on our families.  We don’t do the best we can in serving the Body of Christ.  The majority of us just give God our leftovers.  Or our Sundays.  We give Him a part of us or what’s conveinent to give, but the rest of life is “ours.”

But our leftovers is NOT what God wants from us.  EVERYTHING we do, everything we call work (whether a career, yard work, housekeeping, staying at home with kids, teaching our kids at home, etc.)- it is all an opportunity to offer ourselves in love to God by doing the best quality work we can do in that moment.   And what that looks like is between you and the LORD, and may vary from day to day, depending on what is going on in your life during that season.

In conclusion, let us not strive for the illusion of perfection.  Let us work heartily unto the Lord as an act of love to Him, and enjoy the good gift of work He has put before us.  If you don’t enjoy your work, ask yourself why and ask the Lord to help you.  He will.  It’s in His good nature to listen to our prayers and answer our pleas for help.

May God bless you as you seek to do life deliberately!

~Trisha

p.s. for more homeschool helps and encouragement, please visit my YouTube channel, Doing Life Deliberately.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as a reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. ~Colossians 3:23

Life is short.

So short.

Recently, a beloved brother in the Lord passed away. He was in his early 40’s and had a beautiful wife and three kids. He was the type of guy who did not withhold himself from anyone. He was outgoing, generous, and incredibly deliberate when it came to sharing His faith in Jesus Christ. Whether he was well and things were going great OR he was incredibly sick and in pain, he praised the Lord for it all. He had joy when most people would throw their fists in the air and curse God. His life was too short. But he used his time incredibly well.

I want to live life on mission just like him.

Colossians 3:23 speaks of doing everything we do as if we are doing it for the Lord. You might have a job. But you don’t work for your boss. You were made to work for the Lord- whether you believe that to be true or not, you were made to work for Him. So whether you are a child of God, a mom, a dad, a teacher, a lawyer, a barista, a janitor, a bus driver, an NFL quarterback, a retiree, unemployed, a police officer, a fire fighter, a doctor, WHATEVER YOU DO- God has made you to reflect His righteousness, His goodness, His truth, His love and all of His character to those you interact with in your sphere of influence.

So how do we do it? How do we make the most of our time? Well, I would like to suggest that it can’t happen by accident. It happens when we are doing life deliberately: prayerfully, passionately, and purposefully. That means we have to think through things. We have to reflect and make some choices to change in areas where we are dissatisfied. It means praying and asking God to convict us both our areas of success and failure. It means submitting ourselves to Him in areas where we are failing. 1 Peter 5:5 says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” This means that if we submit and humble ourselves to Him, He will give us the grace we need in all circumstances. But when we refuse to bow to Him and admit our need for Him, we will most certainly find ourselves at battle with Him. He is always guaranteed to win.

During our time of prayer and reflection, it may be wise to do some journaling. Write out our roles: are you a child of God?, are you married?, a parent?, an employee?, a son/daughter?, a friend?, etc. List them and write down your responsibilities in those areas. Make a goal in each area. Then, go through your list of roles and give each a number, signifying importance (#1 being the most important).

Finally, use a planner or a piece of notebook paper to create a weekly or monthly schedule and appoint time to tend to each of your roles and goals. Give first priority to your most important role, then your second, and so on…. If your “plate” is overly full, you may find that you run out of time to do everything. That’s ok! You may need to say NO to some things. And saying NO to some things means you can say YES to more important things- thereby honoring the Lord by doing what you do heartily, unto Him.

So what do you say? Are you doing everything you do heartily, as unto the Lord? Are you making the most of the very short time here on Earth? I know I could stand to re-evaluate and shore up some areas! I’d love to hear your thoughts, so PLEASE, share your comments below!!

Keep Doing Life Deliberately,

Trisha

P.S. If you are a homeschool parent (or know someone who is!), watch and share my latest YouTube video on How To Prevent and Correct Homeschool Burnout. I hope you find it to be a blessing.❤️

That’s a big title, I know. And I bet you didn’t know that God requires that His people homeschool their kids. But it’s there. Just look at Deuteronomy 6:4-9~

4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.

9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Ok, so He’s not talking necessarily about academically educating your children at home. BUT, He is talking about educating your children at home. Our faith in Jesus Christ is not to be a one day a week experience. God commands parents to not only walk with Him themselves, but to teach their children to walk with Him, as well. It is NOT the Church’s primary responsibility to disciple your children- it is primarily the parents’ responsibility to train up their children to know and love the Lord. There is so much rich instruction given in these verses. God does not require that our kids go through a formal curriculum or that they go through a confirmation class- though those things are good and worthy of our time. But God desires for Christian parents to saturate their homes with talk of His goodness, His love, His instructions, His promises. Above all, He wants parents to teach their kids not to be good people, but to be people who can’t help but do good things because they are so consumed by their love of God which permeates every aspect of their being: their heart, soul and might.

It is our conviction, that one of the best ways to convey this love is by home educating our children. This is our strongest motivator for homeschooling. The public school system is certainly NOT going to teach our kids to love the Lord. Their peers at school (on the whole) are not going to teach them to love the Lord. But if we educate them at home, for better or for worse, we (their parent’s) get to be their biggest influencers. And you better believe, we feel the weight of that responsibility.

The curriculum used public schools (and most private schools, for that matter) will not teach them to love the Lord. When homeschooling, we get to choose what curriculum we use. We opt to use Christ-centered curriculum that points our children to the truths of God’s Word- whether we examine the character and choices of men throughout history, examine science through the lens of scripture, marvel at God’s orderly character through math, or read literature examining the worldview and choices of characters.

Finally and most importantly, we can open up God’s Word every day together, pray, discuss what the Word means and how it applies to our lives (and your kids don’t have to be academically educated at home to do that!). It is our greatest delight to intercede for others with our children, to hear them ask questions about God’s Word and to see them choose to seek Him on their own. But these beautiful jewels of love for the Lord and character growth are not accidents. They are also not works that we can fabricate or magically produce as parents. They are gifts of grace from God- a beautiful blessing as we pour the love of God into our kids and watch Him grow them from the inside out.

Our kids are not perfect. They are as flawed and sinful as their mom and dad. Homeschooling is not perfect. Every homeschooling family struggles in different ways. But it is a gift from God to spend quantity and quality time with our kids, influencing them to love and follow hard after the Lord who loves them so much, “He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

If you would like to hear more about WHY we chose to homeschool, click on this link to see my latest video: The Top 10 Reasons Why We Chose to Homeschool

How do YOU deliberately influence your kids to follow Christ? We’d love to hear what that looks like in your family, so PLEASE, share in the comments below!!

Until next time, keep doing life deliberately,

Trisha

Who doesn’t want a grateful kid?  Every parent longs for their child to show appreciation for the kindness extended to them- whether by friend, family or stranger.

But a thankful heart is not something that happens by accident.  It takes teaching, nurturing and consistent practice. When Thanksgiving rolls around, we’re prone to reflect on the good gifts that God has given us.  Below are some considerations of how you can practice showing gratitude with your children and train them to have thankful hearts:

  • consistently teach toddlers and preschoolers to say thank you whenever a kindness is done to them.
  • when praying together (at meals, bedtimes, etc.), make it a priority to thank God for His kindnesses shown to you that day
  • create a poster, visible to everyone, where each member of the family can write down why they are grateful.  Make it colorful- even your smallest children will enjoy listing off and drawing things that they are thankful for.
  • make it a regular practice to write thank you notes to people who show you a kindness- whether a gift or service.  One mom even suggested not allowing kids to play with new toys until the thank you note is written!! (Way to go, Mom!)
  • be quick to draw attention to answered prayers and God’s provision.  Keep a list in a journal for yourself and/or a visible list or poster for the family to celebrate together.
  • praise God in the moment when you- mom or dad- are thankful for God’s activity in your life.  Impromptu praises show your kids that God is at work all the time and not just within the walls of a church or at certain times.
  • memorize bible verses that talk about giving thanks, such as Psalm 9:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, or 1 Chronicles 16:34
  • most importantly, regularly express your gratitude to God in front of your kids for God’s work of salvation through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ!

As Mom and Dad exemplify gratitude to their kids and give them opportunities to join in the blessings of a thankful heart, children will rise to the occasion and learn to be grateful, too.  November is a great time to purposefully up our thankfulness game and deliberately practice thanksgiving.

What are some ways your family practices gratitude?  Please, share your thoughts, ideas and suggestions in the comments below!

This morning started off with a bang. Well, not literally, but close. Our missions team to Mexico boarded our plane only to find out 45 minutes later that our radio transmitter is broken and either needs to be repaired OR we will have to board another plane. Either way, we will most likely miss our connecting flight. We’ll see. 😬

On the upside of things, I have the great privilege of going to Mexico with 14 outstanding individuals- one of which is my daughter, Hannah. The last time she was on an airplane she was 10 months old. And this is her first international experience and missions trip. We are all kinds of excited over here! I have literally dreamed of taking our children on missions trips since before they were born.  My various experiences on short term missions trips have had such a profound impact on my life: learning about other cultures, stepping out of my comfort zone to share the Gospel, doing things I would never do at home, deepening relationships with people from our home church as we share a cross cultural experience, worshiping God in a different language, etc.  I want my kids to see that God is not an American God. He is active and present throughout the entire world. His Son, Jesus Christ, came to be a savior for ALL people of every nation, language and skin color.  I want them to see real need and understand how much we have both been entrusted with and have excess of .  I want them to get a glimpse of God’s purpose for their lives- which somehow seems to gain clarity when one is removed from the distractions of our American materialism. I want them to see that this life is not about them- it is about Jesus Christ and living to be useful to Him in whatever vocations or contexts He gives us.

So… if you think about us this week, will you please say a prayer for our team? We have many young people on our team. Pray that:

  • this trip would have a profound impact on their lives
  • we would have hearts to see the physical and spiritual needs of others and a quickness to serve
  • we would bond tightly as a team- laugh, cry and be authentic with one another
  • we would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and respond to His promptings
  • we would have safe travels and logistics for our disrupted flights would be worked out
  • we would have great personal times in the Word and as a team
  • our families with be protected from harm, illness and attack in our absence

Thank you so much for your prayers- they are the greatest blessing to us as a team!! Stay tuned for more updates here through the week.

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.  It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1 Timothy 6:6-10

I love how God often illustrates His word in our lives.  Upon returning from our recent missions trip to Belize, my husband and I had a lot to process.  Going on a missions trips will do that to you: flood your mind with thoughts about what you learned and the changes you want to make as a result.  One of the things that really stuck out to us this time around was the sheer amount of excess that we have.  Whether wardrobes, toys, school supplies, books, entertainment, and beyond- we have so much.  I think what we find troubling about the excess is how it can detract from Kingdom work: time spent managing our stuff, means time wasted from ministering to others.

Joe was processing the problem of excess in our home one day when the kids began fighting over toys.  It seemed the perfect opportunity for us to share about the meager means of the children we have encountered in Rwanda and Belize, and to  give our kids a small taste of what their lives are like.  Joe instructed the kids to gather all of their toys from around the house and put them in the basement. It took a while, but once the house was cleared of toys, Joe carefully explained that this was not meant to be punitive, but to help them understand what life is like for most children around the world.

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Two of our girls standing over a portion of their toys in the basement. When they were done collecting their toys, our basement looked as though a tornado had struck our home. <:-0

I was skeptical about this experience.  Surely the kids would be bored and fight more.  But in retrospect and to my surprise, I could not find a single negative thing about removing the kids’ toys for several weeks.  Rather than causing added strife in our home, I actually found:

  • the kids fought less, because there were no toys to fight over
  • they used their imaginations in play more (ex. role playing, building blanket forts, etc.)
  • there was more laughter in our home, as the kids looked to each other for entertainment rather than toys
  • they went outside to play more often
  • the kids spent a lot more time reading and drawing
  • the house was much less cluttered, resulting in less stress for me

After about three weeks, we decided to reintroduce their toys.  However, this whole experiment was brought about by the desire to rid ourselves of some excess.  So, I told the kids they could each keep 4 toys.  I know four doesn’t seem like very many toys, but we told them that if they wanted to keep sets like Legos, that would count as one toy. This meant that the kids had to work together and negotiate to keep their favorite toys.  They had to prioritize their possessions- what was most important to them and what could they part with?  I wasn’t sure how this part of the plan would go.  But to my surprise, there was barely a raised voice or negative word uttered by the kids as they negotiated.  I think they were just so thankful to have some toys back that they did not argue with Joe or I about the amount we were letting them keep.  I was delighted to watch as they helped each other out by reserving a spot of their choice to help another sibling keep the toy that they wanted.

Given the option, I would certainly do this little experiment again!  It was a small way to include our children in the missions experience and show them just how very much they have.  Purging our home of “stuff’ means less time picking up clutter- which means more time for more worthy endeavors.  And in case you are wondering, we sorted through the remainder of the toys and put some in storage (toys I have kept for my tiny niece and nephew to play with when they visit), slotted some for sale on the web, and others we will donate to a local thrift store.

How about you? Do you feel like you are spending too much time managing excess in your life?  Would you ever take your kids’ toys away? How have you simplified life in order to make more room to partner with God in His work?  I would love to hear from you!!! 

Do life deliberately today!

~Trisha