I have known the Lord Jesus for almost 40 years now. My spiritual birthday is August 13, 1977, according to the inscription I wrote in my first Bible. I was 13 years old, but I still remember it clearly. Coming to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior that summer day was the best one in my life. Oh, how I love Jesus! Not only did He spiritually save me that day, He saved me that year from taking my life.

He has redeemed my soul from going to the pit, and my life shall see the light.” -Job 33:28

In the last 40 plus years, I have known the deepest joys of being a daughter of the King, wife to my dear Chris, and mother to seven, precious children. I have also walked through many deep valleys where all I could do was look up. In those places, it seemed as if I could go no lower in my heart or in my circumstances.

Yesterday was a low point for me; it felt like the stab of a sharp knife in my side. August 4th should have been a day of celebration for me – it would have been my 5th wedding anniversary. God has written a very different story, however. Deep valleys…loneliness…helpless to change anything or anyone, except myself. But Lord, You are with me…always.

Yes, there is sometimes a painful lesson to be learned in hardship – we can’t change others. We are helpless to help others do what God wants them to. Unless they want to change, it won’t happen. And because of their role in our lives, we may suffer for it. Lean hard on Jesus, friend, if you are in that place.

A devotional by Charles Spurgeon spoke to my heart when in one of the lowest points of my life last year:

“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.” ~Isaiah 49:16

Spurgeon says, “He never fails; He is never a dry well; He is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapor; and yet we are as continually troubled with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears as if our God were a mirage of the desert.

“Behold” is a word intended to stir our admiration. Here, indeed, we have a theme for marveling. Heaven and earth may well be astonished that rebels should obtain such a closeness to the heart of infinite love as to be written on the palms of His hands. “I have engraved you.” It does not say, “your name.”

The name is there, but that is not all: “I have engraved you.” Consider the depth of this! “I have engraved your person, your image, your circumstances, your sins, your temptations, your weaknesses, your wants, your works; I have engraved you, everything about you, all that concerns you; I have put all of this together here.

Will you ever say again that your God has forsaken you when He has engraved you on His own palms?” ~Charles Spurgeon

As His children, knowing God has engraved us on the palm of His hands​ is the starting point for resting in Him when mired in the muck of living in a fallen world.

From this spiritual home base, assured that God will never forsake us, we can move through our days confident in His love. And although we cannot change others, we can change ourselves. We can run to Him who is always faithful, always there for us, always good in His actions toward us. We can trust Him with everything in our lives. Feast on His goodness, oh, my soul!

We can also take tangible steps to become healthy in our own heart and soul before the Lord. I will probably write more about this in the future. God has taught me so much about myself, where I needed to grow in my faith and trust in Him. He has also helped in showing me where I needed to love others more by standing strong in God’s truth in His Word, and then helping me to do this.

Doing so has sometimes resulted in my circumstances becoming more difficult, but again, living honestly before God and hurting for doing what is right does not shake the deep, perfect love God has for us. He is an anchor for our soul!

So, although yesterday was marked by acute sadness, I am confident in His wisdom and rest in His goodness and unfailing love. Are you aware of His great love in your life? May God pour these words over your soul and anchor you in their truth, friend.

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” -Lamentations 3:22-23

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Remembering Why We Teach Them at Home

by tklicka on July 5, 2017

Last year in the spring, like I’ve done for many years, I stopped to think about the reasons why I homeschooled my children. Our journey lasted 26 years, from the time my oldest of seven children turned three, until my youngest child graduated this past December. While I loved teaching my children at home, there were several times I wanted to quit. It would help me to remember the benefits, right at the time of year (early spring) when I usually felt most like a failure.

Perhaps you have just finished your school year and are now breathing a sigh of relief, not ready to think about starting another one in three months. Whew! Yet, this is a really good time to look back and count your blessings. Here’s a list of just a few of the reasons why homeschooling has been the best choice for our family.

Through homeschooling:

1. Your family shares life together – yes, the ups and the downs, but also the most meaningful moments of our days. This strengthens the bond between parent and child, and between siblings. Through your example, your kids can learn what it looks like to form and develop healthy and deep human relationships, which can help them in building relationships with others. When my husband developed advanced MS the last years of his life, being with their dad was the most important thing in the world to us and to our children. Homeschooling made that possible.

2. Your kids can develop the qualities of a leader – because doing truly great things requires being someone of great character, homeschooling provides you the opportunity to both inspire as you teach and lead as you train. You can help your children value the qualities of loving truth, serving others, working hard, finishing a job, being creative, taking initiative, admitting failure, forgiving offenses, and loving others for who they are. I remember thinking several times while my seven kids were growing up together, “Well, they’re either going to kill each other, or learn to die to self and become great leaders!” Guess what? They’re all still alive! Seriously, they are all leaders who love each other and those around them, and have a vision to make a difference in their world.

3. You can encourage your children to be who God made them – beyond their primary academic studies, your kids can gain important life skills (so they can live independently and successfully as adults), and pursue, develop, and excel in areas in which they are gifted or have an intense natural interest (such as art, music, sports, debate, engineering, computers, missions, creative writing, etc.). For instance, my youngest son John was able to pursue acting in film when he was 11-13 years old, like the film Undaunted, in which he played the moving role of young Josh McDowell. During that time, he developed many skills and good character qualities that have helped shape the young man he is today.

4. Kids can learn subjects at their own pace – whether a child finds that spelling is easy or math is hard, the freedom you have to let them speed up, slow down, or give up (just kidding!) can make a big difference in how much and how deeply they learn. Homeschooling is particularly great for children who have learning disabilities. My daughter Amy, now 22, knows she has a very mild case of Asperger’s Syndrome and has been officially diagnosed with a math disability. It took her three years to get through Algebra, and even now, unless she is doing a certain kind of math problem on a near-daily basis, she forgets how to do it. Yet she’s working a cash register at Chick-fil-A, took honors English and history courses at our local community college, and still loves learning every day.

5. You work harder, but you can also play more, and enjoy the big picture – When it comes right down to it, life is about much more than formal learning. Playing games are a great way to learn, spending time in the great outdoors boosts one’s sense of well-being, and sharing time and talent through volunteering changes lives and expands the capacity of the human heart. These kinds of opportunities made possible through a homeschooling lifestyle make a powerful case for developing a well-rounded adult emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

These are just a few of the reasons that helped me stay committed for over 26 years. I wouldn’t change my decision to teach my kids at home, not for all the gold at Fort Knox.

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Fragile times that Truth Strengthens

June 7, 2017

A couple Fridays ago, I was blessed to attend a Steve Green concert with my daughter Charity, who invited me to share in the experience with her. I raised my kids on many wonderful Christian artists’ music, including Steve Green. From Hide ’em in Your Heart CDs for kids, to his outstanding praise and worship music […]

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When God Demonstrates His Personal Love for Our Kids – and nudges us in the process of showing them

April 24, 2017

These two have a special relationship, which all began about seven years ago. To understand how important this pooch is to my boy and what God has to do with it, you need to hear the whole story. When my son John was 9, he asked his dad for a dog. My Chris, having Solomon-like […]

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On Waiting…

April 16, 2017

Much of the Christian life is about WAITING – Waiting for God to answer our prayers for His provision of a job, a spouse, or our house to sell. Or perhaps it’s waiting on Him for healing or relief from a long-standing infirmity, the duration of the pain or limitation at times almost more than […]

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Do You Want Your Husband to Succeed?

March 14, 2017

  Of course, as a wife, I want my husband to succeed. I don’t think I’ve ever met a woman who doesn’t want her husband to succeed. But success is one of those terms that can mean a lot of different things, so I think it’s worth thinking about. What does it mean for our […]

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The Surrendered Life

October 29, 2016

Ten years ago, in the summer of 2006, I had an opportunity, a rare gift, to spend some time in Montana at a weeklong art workshop, taught by my long-time friends, Barry and Saundra Stebbing of How Great Thou Art (HowGreatThouArt.com). Barry had been teaching mostly homeschooled children for many years on how to draw […]

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Contentment in Dangerous Times

September 11, 2016

Hello! It’s me…long time, no see (or read anyway). [Editor’s note: For those who have been reading my blog over the years (starting with my CaringBridge blog before my late husband Chris passed away in 2009), I apologize I haven’t written since April of last year. The reason I haven’t is somewhat complicated, but the desire […]

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