Time Alone with God – For Mom
February 7, 2018
Hey Mama,

Drove off by myself in the car, just me and the Lord, chatting. Well, I did the chatting, pouring out my heart. He has already poured out His in the Bible, His Word. It's how He talks to us. God's Word can be trusted. It's our food, our sustenance. Such power there, such wisdom to be learned. Truth about living life now for Christ and the life to come. I'm so grateful for His Word. And between reading His Word and going off by myself sometimes just to pray, just to share my heart, I have my two-way communication covered right there. My "tank" is full. He is there with me. I have a Heavenly Father who listens and who loves me even more than I love my own children. That's huge! I can trust His heart.

Do you know this Lord? E-mail me directly so I can share Him with you. If you already know the King of kings, and just need some heart talk, take a look at some of these articles from The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine: 

And remember, Mama. . .

Life’s not about formulas. Well, it was for baby Zion for a while, not anymore though; can you believe he's now five?! Funny how babies love that creamy, smelly white stuff in their bottles.But no formula will last forever, and parenting is so far beyond that anyway. Formulas are for newbies—amateurs. And babies.

A solution, however, is a molecular mixture of two or more substances. Marriage is kind of like that—a mixture of two bags full of flesh and bone and heart melded into one. You’re not gonna find any formula for the perfect marriage, either.

But there is One who is highly interested in our relationships here, Mama. He wants our marriages centered squarely on Him. He wants our children to be raised in His love and admonition. That means we need to know His Word—the Bible.

So, if you want a formula today, I’ll do my best. But it’s inferior to the real solution: a Christ-centered home, schoolroom, and life. God’s Word is full of doctrine, words of wisdom, and instruction. Get into it with your husband and kids. Today Paul was reading out of Genesis to the three littles, complete with Q&A time. It's amazing the conversations that are sparked by getting into His Word as a family—weird, sometimes, especially with giggling five-year-old boys. Still, it's incredible how God uses that time in His Word to bless every single hearer. It won't return void.

On to the “formulas and solutions,” since some might be curious:

Be real with your kids. Transparent. You’re not perfect, and neither are they. They also are not dense; they see our hypocrisy. So keep it real. Love them with all your heart, and make sure it’s a tough love, too. Sappy is not for you, Mama. They’ll only mock that later. Stand true and stand strong; they’ll come around. You’re the Mama, and they know deep down how much you love them . . . Remember all those seeds you have sown? GOD will water those. So wait on Him, OK? Patience.

They may walk a foolish mile. Pray them through it. Don’t bend to it, excuse it, or fawn over it. You’re a parent during that time, not a BFF (because that comes later). Pray them through that foolish mile, and be in the Word yourself. Ask God for wisdom. Cry it out, but wait on Him; He says to wait on Him! Do it. Endure. Pray. Lay that child at the foot of the cross. Jesus is mighty to save!

Marriage? Be your man's best friend. His heart can trust in you, Mama, always. Never be divided against him in front of your kids, ever. If you disagree, be quiet and dignified about it, privately. Guard your mouth—don’t spew. Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and His Word. Love your husband with a fierce and faithful love. God will bless you. Pray for him often. Know that the enemy prowls about and that your husband is not perfect. He is a man. God's not done with him yet. Love, love, love him. He is your first love (after the Lord God); your children come next.

But even with that . . . there are no guarantees. We live in a sinful and fallen world. LIFE eternal awaits us all who are in Christ, and that is when the true adventure will begin. This life is soooo temporal, so fleeting. Let’s make it count the best we can. May we be found FAITHFUL to the end.

You are a faithful Mama. And His mercies are new every morning. Drink that in, Mama. You are included if you are in the Lord. You are.

Now, throw the formulas that people have been trying to stuff into your life out the window—and just live for the Lord! Love Him with all your heart. Love your neighbor. Don’t worry about self; it already loves you too much. Live for Him, and everything will fall completely and wonderfully into place as you spend time in His Word. Formulas are a good starting point, so take them with the grain of salt they are, and spit out the bones, if any. Eyes on Christ, OK? 

Much love,
Staying Relational   
Dear Friends,

Time alone with God. . .

Does that spark in your mind an image of some sort of spiritual retreat center where you could have a weekend (or a day!) all alone? Maybe in the mountains, a place where you could take walks and think thoughts without having a million questions fired at you by children intent on having your attention?

“Mom, where is. . .?”

“Mama, can we. . .?”

“Mother, why not?”

“Mommmmmmmy, I need you!!!”

Blap. The mental image is gone and you’re sitting in the midst of a mountain of—not alpine splendor and solitary walks, but—dishes, diapers, and demands!
How can you possibly have time alone with ANYBODY when you’re a weary, busy homeschool mom?

I have a 300-year old suggested read to help you with this question. It is called The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. For about the price of a coffee at Starbucks, you can get this 94-page book on your phone. . .

This little gem (particularly the letters Brother Lawrence wrote, which are in the second half of the book) gives the sense that no matter where you are, no matter what you are doing, you can commune with God. Constantly. Day-in, day-out. That, as we “practice” the presence of God, prayer and communion with God will become as normal to our spirits as breathing air is to our bodies.

There’s a “mom” example of this kind of prayer life, too. Just as Brother Lawrence prayed while doing the dishes at a monastery, so Ruth Bell Graham (late wife of Billy Graham) would pray while doing dishes—bringing to the Lord not only her concerns but her worship. She prayed while she did the dishes; she prayed while she was driving; she prayed as an everyday part of life . . . she prayed for her husband, for her children, for her neighbors, for her world.

These two people, whose practice of prayer in the everyday moments of life, were my models as I navigated a constantly-needing-to-be-cleaned house and constantly-needing-to-be-fed children, a never-ending list of to-do’s and a constantly-growing list of how-to-better-meet-my-children’s-needs-while-we-homeschool.

Looking back over more than six decades of life, it is clear to me that God met me in those crazy-busy prayer times. He sustained us; He healed us; He loved us through the difficulties and pain. I know Him better now than I did then, and He is still the One who meets us whenever and wherever we cry out to Him. 

So, dear one, time with God can be yours right now, regardless of whatever else is going on. Open your heart and welcome Him into your day.

With much love,

Jodi Riddle
Are you the perfect mom? Are you the one who never raises her voice, never loses her cool, is always organized, and certainly has it all together—all the time? Me neither! But I have found something very profound that sure keeps those kinds of days to a minimum and helps me focus on what is important and reminds me why I am doing what I am doing—time alone with God!

Have you ever had anyone ask you to give a list of the things most important to you? Most of us, in our minds, have the right order. We say 1) God, 2) our spouse, 3) our children, and the rest usually consists of extended family, church, and work . . . in some varying order . . . but, let’s look at our lives practically.

 What I have found (especially when those days are not-so-perfect), I have reversed that order and sometimes, have even left God out altogether! It’s no wonder things don’t always go so well! It’s easy to justify—kids and spouse need you . . . there are activities at church . . . a family member is coming in from out of town . . . and before you know it, my time with God (who would have gladly given me all the instruction and “time” I needed that day) gets pushed to the side. I end up being more in my flesh and less in the Spirit, which is what gives me the power and strength to endure each day.

John 15:4-5 says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” 

Granted, on this side of eternity we can not be perfect! We could, however, spend more time bringing forth His fruit, if we would spend time alone with Him daily and get our priorities “practically” back in the proper order. Don’t just know about God; know Him personally! The best way to get to truly know someone is to spend time with him, and God is no different! Abide in Him, and He will abide in you!

Jodi has been with TOS since April 2016. She serves as a Human Resource and Operations Assistant and is also the Homeschooling with Heart  blog manager. Jodi is a pastor’s wife and has three boys. She has homeschooled for seventeen years and also taught in the private and public-school settings. Jodi enjoys teaching, playing the piano, scrapbooking, and making cards. Her heart’s desire is to help others learn to enjoy these things as well!
Marcy Crabtree
Quiet Time

That elusive desire of most moms.
Time to be still, soak up the Word, pray. 
Time to repent, renew, reflect.
Time well spent.
Are you wondering why it is so hard to take the time for a daily dose of fellowship with the One who loves us most? Me, too. And I have a few answers (for me). 
I’m often too busy.
I’m often too distracted. 
I’m often too lazy. 
Sometimes, I just don’t know where to begin. But when I am struggling, He is so good to remind me of what I’ve done in the past that has helped me get back into His Word and in fellowship with Him. Here are a few ideas that may help you on your way to a more meaningful quiet time as well. 

Remember why you want a quiet time. 
Your quiet time is your time of fellowship with the living God! It’s important for one simple reason—love. You love Him, because He first loved you. Communicating with those we love, including our Heavenly Father, is imperative to a close relationship.  

“The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” ~Psalm 145:18

Choose a time that will be uninterrupted. 
For most of us, planning to have quiet time first thing in the morning is best. It’s just a great way to get your day started, and if you’re able to rise before the rest of your family, you’ll have less chance for interruptions and distractions. The bonus is that once you’ve started your days in this manner for a while, you’ll realize how much better things go. You’ll have something to chew on all day long. You will see Him working in your life, and that just spills over into the lives of the rest of your family.

“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” ~Psalm 5:3

Gather your study materials in a convenient location. 
For me, I want my Bible, devotional, a journal, and my favorite pens handy and placed on the table next to my favorite chair. Do what works for you, but be sure you have a way to jot down your thoughts and teachings, and place them where you will have your quiet time. 

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” ~2 Timothy 3:16-17

Remember, quality over quantity. This isn’t a Bible-reading marathon you’re having. It’s time for conversation with your Father. If you read one verse and it begins speaking to you right away, then stop there and meditate on that for a while. Think about what God is trying to teach you. Is He revealing a sin you need to confess or avoid? Is He giving you a promise or a new tool to use for the day? What truth is He revealing to you? Whatever it is, write it down. 

Pray after your time in the Word.
You may have been praying while in the Word. I often do. But I also like to take some time to pray for needs I’ve recorded in my prayer journal. Pour out your heart. Praise Him for what He’s just taught you. Thank Him for His many blessings. Confess your sins and ask for forgiveness. Lay your petitions out before Him. Tell Him how you feel. He wants to hear from you!

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” ~Psalm 100

Are you spending quiet time with Jesus every day? Or is it a struggle? It is my prayer that these simple suggestions will bless you as you seek after Him. 

Marcy Crabtree is a Christian homeschooling mom to one teen son. An encourager at heart, she is passionate about cultivating relationships with other moms and spends much of her time doing so, both on her blog,  Ben and Me , and in social media.

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Contest Corner  
For the month of February

Morty the Meerkat Has Autism

I will admit I had never heard of autism before until I watched a character on a popular show act the same exact way my little kiddo was acting at the time. We had been struggling in silence for nearly four years, thinking it was just us. I remember thinking in my head as I sat out in the pediatrician’s waiting room that I must be crazy to make an appointment based off a tv show. But, I did, and I was right, my boy had a diagnosis and my eyes were opened to a whole new world--a crowded, yet lonely world. autism is so prevalent, yet the average person knows nothing about it, not to mention young children who may encounter a child on the spectrum at school or the park, only to be scared or confused by their behavior. I will admit my son can be found on a playground making "bark angels" and never look or speak to a soul out at the park, if I can even get him out to the park. 

You know I often wish that I could educate everyone we meet but given the circumstance that’s not always possible. Also, how do you break autism down to a level that even a young child could get some sense of what it’s all about? Luckily, several weeks ago I was able to review a children’s book written by J.L. Avis, called Morty the Meerkat has Autism . I was surprised, hopeful, and could not wait to read it with my 10-year-old son. 

After reading this book a handful of times, I have to say the overall thoughts are all positive. The story begins kind of like most ASD discoveries. Morty’s parents noticed some differences in him compared to his siblings. Differences like he didn’t want to be hugged, touched, or wouldn’t look at others when they talked to him. Morty’s siblings and friends noticed his behavior and had questions regarding the reason behind his actions. You can easily see how frustrating it can be when you are trying to communicate with an Autistic person who does not know how to communicate back to you. ( . . .

I thought this was a terrific way to put some positive light on autism, and share what it’s like to be on the spectrum. To show others, especially children, that it’s ok to be different; if you have autism hold your head up and be proud of your strengths and instead of focusing on your weaknesses. ( Read the rest of the review.

Elle the Little Lost Wombat

I am always looking for ways to really make the kids “visit” places we are studying in geography. Recently, we had the opportunity to review the book Elle the Little Lost Wombat , by Sharon Bracken. It opened up a whole new discussion between the girls and me about international adoption and the feelings of children that are being adopted.

Elle is a little Wombat who loses her parents very suddenly. She is forced to leave her home and move into an orphanage. Of course, this is a very frightening experience for Elle. She not only is very sad because of losing her parents, but now she must live in a strange place that is not as nice as the home she was living in. Life in the orphanage is very different. She has to live in a large room with other wombats, and no privacy. Her clothes do not fit, and she has no toys to play with. Her sadness turns to anger as she goes through the grieving process. It’s very stressful for Elle.

Elle saw so many other wombats be adopted, but she remains at the orphanage. Would she ever find a new home? Did she want to find a new home? Finally, one day, Elle meets a family that has traveled to take her home. But they do not speak the same language. Elle becomes scared again. While they are at the orphanage, there is someone to translate. She loves the visits of this new family. But after Elle travels to her new country and home to live, there are new challenges to face. ( . . . )

Life is different in her new home. But she finally has her own room and new clothes that fit! She has plenty to eat. Elle is very scared though. But she soon realizes that her new family is scared also. They just want her to be happy because they love her. ( . . . )

Elle the Little Lost Wombat is a great addition for families that are going through the process of international adoption or even if you just want to help your child to understand how adopted children can feel. ( Read the rest of the review. )

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