Saturday, September 17, 2011

Making the Commitment to Home School

Before I began the journey of homeschooling, I read many books and spoke with home school mothers. During this decision process, I prayed much for direction and talked extensively to Ken. He was very supportive and encouraged me to start. I knew I had a deep desire to educate my children. I thought about all the benefits: a strong Christian education and a close relationship with my children. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.)

I kept looking at my insufficiencies, my weaknesses, and shortcomings, if I just focused a couple of minutes on these things, I immediately gave myself a winning argument to not home educate. I feared inflicting my character flaws on them. (Romans 8:1-2, Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.)

Until one evening when my thoughts weren’t even on home school, the Lord showed me II Corinthians 12:9, Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Then Paul said, “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” I realized that I was to look to Him for strength and guidance. It is when I am weak that He can be strong. I knew then He was going to change me as a result of my obedience to Him. In Gregg Harris’ book, The Christian Home School, he states, “Don’t doubt in the darker moments what God has shown you in the light.”

After I had the Scriptures to back up my plan, I still continued to think about how I would have to give up a career outside the home, less time for my personal endeavors, less money which means less things, more time at home, and more cleaning and cooking. I thought about all these things and I prayerfully submitted these to God. You may think that I was having second thoughts, or doubting, but it is actually biblical to do that. (Luke 14:28, Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’) Gregg Harris writes, “It is a foolish person who starts something and then discovers halfway through that he can’t, or won’t, pay the price to finish.” Count the cost first, and then leave them at the alter for God to supply your needs.

Your story may be similar to mine, or it may be quite different. If, and when you doubt your decision, ask your spouse and another home school mother to pray with and intercede for you. Philippians 4:6-7, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. The Holy Scripture IS sufficient to meet your needs, II Tim 3:16-17. You can also read books or listen to CDs on home schooling. There are so many great resources out there. They are a great encouragement and very often will alleviate many questions and stress.

Pertaining to reading the Word of God, I used to have certain scripture to help me pray through those times where I wonder if I was going to be able to home school! (Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight; Luke 9:23-24 Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” Romans 12:1-2 Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - This is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will.)

I no longer doubt my decision, but I now have Scripture to encourage me to not lose sight of the goal, and these Scriptures are my promises from God. (Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus; Philippians 3:13-14 Brother, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus; Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.)

Before you begin your home school year, may you find time to write out Scripture to memorize so that you will have His Word to encourage and change you and your family. May you and your children have a faithful and spiritually growing school year!

(I wrote this for a local homeschool group in August 2006. I am fully confident of the decision Ken and I made to home school is God's mandate. I am still finding the Scripture references above to be fully applicable to all of life.)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spicy Chicken Vegetable Stir-Fry

We had this meal on Wednesday. Chinese Stir-fries are healthy and easy-to-make meals. It's a great way to get lots of vegetables in my family, and it uses a lot less meat than what a typical recipe may call for. All the ingredients used can be purchased at an Asian grocery market. It is not rocket science to make stir fries. I have no specific measurement. It is according to taste.

Here is one of the versions of a spicy stir fry using cut-up chicken pieces:

Heat cold pressed extra virgin olive oil in skillet.

Sprinkle some garlic flakes to season the oil.

Lightly brown the garlic but do not burn.

Add diced chicken and cook until no longer pink.

This brown sauce is vegetarian oyster mushroom sauce. I add just enough to cover the chicken.

I added rice wine (can also be purchased at the Asian grocery store).

I added diced orange peppers.

Add diced green peppers and diced white onions.

My skillet is getting full! I lightly stir fry the vegetables. I like a lot of crunch in my vegetables so I won't cook this very long. It is best not to cook your vegetables for too long so the nutrients are not destroyed.

I added the asparagus that I had blanched earlier in the week so I won't cook this very long.

I love mushrooms. I add lots.

Stir and evenly distribute the vegetables.

I add chili garlic sauce It makes it spicy, which our family all enjoy, even the little ones.

The last ingredient just before I turn off the skillet is sesame oil. I probably only put about 2 tablespoons. It doesn't take very much. Serve over brown rice. It is a healthy meal that our family enjoys.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Broken Marital Promises

As I wait patiently in the aisle of the checkout lane of the grocery store, I can’t help but glance at the titles of the magazines. I read about several of my most watched movie star breakups with their spouses due to the popular reasons - - irreconcilable difference or adultery. When I think about my church community, I now see over ½ of the population that are divorced.

I don’t want to write this to condemn those that have gone through divorce. I write about this topic with utmost sincerity. It is what has been on my mind. I am writing merely to understand, and to express my thoughts. I want to understand God and what He feels about divorce. I want to write the truth - - God’s truth.

So I search through Scriptures. It is what God has given me to live life. It is the Word that I teach my children when I am correcting them, and where I go when I need answers. It is also where I go to be with Him.

The more I search through the Scriptures, the more I ache for us, the people of God. We have become deceived by Satan, the world, and even ourselves. We have been listening to the enemy, that when our marriage is not what we envisioned it to be, we bail out, leave, because the grass will be greener on the other side. We have allowed the world to dictate and make up laws on what is permissible than searching through His Word about the laws of marriage, divorce and remarriage. We have even denied the knowledge of God in our hearts, and used human reasoning to justify our selfishness and taken advantage of His grace and mercy for us. We preach about love and forgiveness, but we fail to do that in our first marriage. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves but we quit at loving our spouses unconditionally. We’ve spitted out words like divorce to our spouse, and in front of our children whenever disagreement arises. Yet we are in agreement when we pray for the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts to be pleasing to Him. When the world looks at the church, they do not see people that walk the talk. They see us doing both but in opposite directions. Thus all this, we have rendered the power of His shed blood on the cross powerless.

Here are the most common reasons for divorce: 1. They didn’t know each other before they married, 2. They were too young, 3. They didn’t take the time for each other, 4. Unfaithfulness, 5. Addictions (sexual, pornography, drugs, alcohol), 6. Financial problems, 7. One or both were Non-believers, and 8. Abuse (physical, verbal). I empathize with all these troubles in the marriages. I must add, if there is domestic abuse, an immediate separation is required.

God hates divorce. He says it in the book of Malachi. When Jesus came to the earth, He reiterated God’s law, He didn’t change it. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Divorce breaks up families and it hurts God. We need the people of God to not accept divorce as a way out.

We need to be intentional in teaching biblical truth to the next generation. Even though we may not do it right in our marriage, it doesn’t mean they are subjected to the same. But, it is imperative we are transparent to talk about all of it, and we have to show it to them from the Word what God says. This all starts from an early age where we begin to tell them that boys and girls don’t touch. No holding hands, no kissing. We teach them to save this for the special person God has chosen for them. As they are old enough to watch TV, we monitor their time on there, even watch it with them. If we come across ‘bad parts’, we talk to them about it. There are so many shows on there now with blended families and single-parent families. These representations are not evil by any means, but they are not God’s best for us. We need to be sensitive that these things can affect them unknowingly. As they are reaching the adolescent age, we begin to talk to them about the dangers of dating and lust. We begin to tell them what God says about being unequally yoked. As parents, we are to keep the door open for them to come tell us when they are struggling with feelings for the opposite sex. We are able to help them overcome and rationalize their thoughts. To have this type of communication is one to be highly prized, for this begins when the parents are listening and talking to them when they are wee ones.

Ken has begun the discussion with our children that before they have a suitor, they must honor parental authority and responsibility. The Bible states that fathers are the head of their sons and daughters (Numbers 30 and Ephesians 6:1-4). Parental blessing and affirmation is to be consulted (Genesis 24, Proverbs 15:22).

You may think these are not culturally acceptable practices in the modern world, but the contemporary methods are severely malfunctioned. The divorce rate in the church statistically is indistinguishable from the unbelieving world. We have gone away from the biblical approaches and now it is literally a moral disaster.

I think people who have gone through the divorce and remarriage, they need to speak the biblical truth to their children. It is their duty as Christian parents to talk to them of God’s commands regarding the issue of marriage, divorce and remarriage. I have seen God restoring 2nd marriages, but this is not the intention and plan of God, and is not to be glorified. It is the grace and love of God that these relationships are prospering. How awesome is our God! The church, instead of condemning, need to help these families and nurture them so they don’t end up doing the same thing again.

I am deeply saddened when I hear of marriages ending. Each time we hear of broken marriages, we need to be on our knees praying for the restoration of the family rather than divorce, and we need to be interceding for our marriages as well, as none of us are exempt from being in the same position. Our world is fallen and it’s not going to get any better.

Finally, please find the time to read this important biblical teaching on Restoration of Christian Marriage.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. II Timothy 2:24-26

Our children can do some pretty rotten things to make us fly off the handle, but this is not the godly response. As parents, we must develop the godly character of self control. If we call on the Lord to help us with self-control, He will give us discernment and clarity to train our children. We will be less prone to losing our temper. At the same time, we are developing godly character and becoming better parents.

Let’s not give in to our flesh and pass quick judgment on our children; they are sinners just like us. Just like the Lord is patient with us in our lack of self-control, we need to be diligent in working with our children on theirs.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Teaching Our Children Diligently

Deuteronomy 6:6-9
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

Do you know how to train your children in character and God’s Word? It is important that we pray for God to grant us the diligence, patience and love to teaching them God’s Word daily. Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” But, as I break the scripture in Deut. 6:6-9 apart, God is teaching me much more on how I can train my children Godly character through His Word. As great as my intentions may be, I often read them stories from the Bible or do daily devotions, but these methods are not as great as sharing my personal insight and application. You see, the more of God’s Word I have internalized (v.6), the more I see my children’s spiritual growth.

The more I share my life’s lesson with them, the more effective God’s Word will internalize within (v. 7-9). Lou Priolo writes in Teaching Them Diligently, “ Your goal should be to increasingly become like one of the scribes Jesus speaks of in Matthew 13:52, who knows the Scriptures so well that he “brings forth out of his treasure things new and old,” that is, things he has learned from others and things he has figured out for himself.” Therefore, God is calling me to place His Word in my heart and in my soul first, so that I may ‘impress’ these things in their hearts.

If I truly believe that my life’s questions can be answered in the Word, it’s imperative that I live it out through daily meditation and reading by myself and then with my children. At this time, I am finding out there is no effective shortcut to training my children. The more I seek the scriptures for wisdom and instruction, the more I am finding my character needs altering at the same time. I do feel encouraged that as long as my children see my need for God’s grace and mercy, daily seeking change and His will, they will seek God to change their inner being through watching me.

I’d like to encourage you that as you are doing your regular Bible reading, studying, talking, and singing songs of praise with your children, you will be able to show them how the Scripture can govern all areas of your lives. Ultimately, if God’s Word is in your heart, it does affect your entire life.

I also believe as we spend more time in His Word, we will begin to feel more confident in training our children. We have been given the responsibility to indoctrinate our children, the question now is not whether we are going to teach His Word to them, but rather are we going to obey God’s Word ourselves.

A God-Given Profession - - Homemaker

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35

Homemaker is the best profession to live out the above passage. It is a profession of service, and truly a role for biblical womanhood. One cannot be a homemaker and be selfish and discontent. But in these self-centered times, we are bombarded with a message that housework and child-rearing is something less than desired or important to making a difference in society. God is not fooled.

Keeper at Home, may I encourage you to reread Proverbs 31, and delight yourself in this profession. May you see that there is great gain in service to your family, and that the Lord finds great joy in seeing you build-up His kingdom.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Surviving Fatigue Raising a Newborn

There is no simple solution to escape fatigue when you just birthed a newborn. I almost hesitate to write this blog post because I do not want to tell you a list of things that you should do. It seems like I’ve had plenty of advice and warnings in the past. Many of these advice are out of good intentions, but every life and situation is so different that some advice are almost difficult and undoable. So whether you have one child or many children, whether you have family or friends around to help, we all need to rely on the Lord for strength and encouragement. He is faithful to provide what we need when we need it.

Since moms of a newborn baby is already sleep deprived, it’s very difficult to have that designated prayer and devotion time first thing in the morning, especially if that first thing in the morning begins with a feeding and diapering at 2 a.m., with a followup of the same thing at 5:00 a.m. Moms shouldn’t be loaded with guilt because they aren’t able to have the personal time with the Lord. Scripture says we are to pray without ceasing. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.) Moms of a newborn baby may sacrifice their time with the Lord in the mornings, but they don’t have to sacrifice a relationship with Him throughout the day. Throughout the day, a mother can offer up prayers of thanksgiving for this new life in her arms. She can ask Him to give her the strength to care for her other children, to make the meals, or to clean up the messes. She can ask Him to show her how to direct the home school schedule with the older children. The quiet time with the Lord happens throughout the day, and it may be for a few seconds or a few minutes.

It’s also easy to be distracted by things that may discourage like the dishes that pile up in the sink, the spills and messes throughout the day, and even the pants that still don’t fit 2 weeks postpartum. It’s important to have a joyful heart though. I find that by playing worship and praise songs on the radio, iPod, or CD player can be refreshing, keeping my heart joyful and thankful. In Psalm 126:3, “The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Throughout Scripture, the word “joy” is often expressed with a shout or song to the Lord for the ‘great things He has done’. Simply humming a hymn does wonders for one’s spirit as well. When I hear it, say it, sing it, the enemy and my flesh is unable to defeat my spirit and purpose. (Psalm 118:14-16, “The LORD is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous.”)

Eventually, I will have time with the Lord, but I do continually to read the Bible with my children. I have several readers in the household, so during our devotion, I have them read the Word while I may nurse, change diaper(s) and sip a cup of herbal tea. I try to make family bible reading a priority because the Word tell us that all those who go to Him will be satisfied. I have seen the result of keeping our devotion together. (John 4: 13-14, “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”) There will be times where the kids will remind each other what we read during devotion time, and many times it will apply to me as well, and I’m convicted. One day we read a passage in the Bible about God answering people’s prayers, my young son pointed out that God answered our prayer of bringing dad safely home from work, just like God answered Isaac’s prayer for Rebekkah to be pregnant. I was awed at how sensitive he was to sensing God at work through our prayers. I may not have the time or energy to have a daily personal devotion, but as a family, we are still growing in the Lord together. When I had really young children, I played CDs of the Bible that I checked out from the library. I had Scripture on 3x5 cards that I'd flip through several times in the day. Spending time in the Word can come in so many different forms.

The Lord knows how much you can handle in this season of life. He is the provider of your needs. He will provide you enough rest and strength to handle the day’s tasks. The Lord will also give you the wisdom to plan your schedule, assess the priorities, and He will protect your physical and emotional being. This season of your life will pass quickly, and these tiring days will no longer be the memory of raising your children. The most important thing of my post is to encourage moms to always keep the focus on Him and to always seek Him first, and the Lord will be faithful to carry you through.