Because…

BECAUSE is what drives me…” 

I heard this phrase the other day and it struck a chord with me.  I feel like the past 3 years has been a long season of pruning and weeding and fine-tuning; honing down to the essentials of living a life driven by purpose.  Not that I knew what that was 3 years ago… or what that even meant.

Three years ago I was exhausted, ragged, broken and hurting.  So much was going on, had been going on, and was in the throes of coming to a head.  We’d lived through a lot and it was as if the toll of all we’d lived through was depleted emotions, empty relationship, hollow faith… a lack of identity.

It was in the middle of the night, in the darkness as tears flowed, that I asked the Lord;

What am I even here for?

In response our lives shifted almost immediately.  Suddenly my husband was eager to move, suddenly we were facing big decisions, decisions that changed the flow of our daily lives and who was apart of our life.  Suddenly, I was thrust into the presence of people who knew exactly why they are here, and how they are going to live it out.  Suddenly, I was faced with the opportunity to define myself… to locate my identity.

I found it in the quiet places, the dark of the night, searching for His voice, His thoughts, His ideas about me.  I became driven by His identity for me.

Soon I began to live life because of who He says I am.  Because He says I hear His voice; Because He says I encourage others; Because He says I love like He does; Because He says I can do all He did on this earth, and more…

My life transformed when I began to live from my identity – when my because began to drive my choices.  Everything I do has meaning, a cause and effect.

Because I need to hear His voice I watch less TV… in fact, we don’t currently have a TV in our house.  It’s located in our garage with the workout equipment and workout DVD’s.

Because I am growing in my ability to hear His voice I guard my relationships vigilantly and unapologetically. I am careful about who I spend time with and how much time I spend.  I rely on relationships with those who are more mature and practiced in hearing His voice, and I don’t rush into relationships for just any reason anymore.

Because I can do all that He did on this earth and more I take risks and seek out environments and circumstances full of opportunity to develop in these ways.

And, because I have so much more to do and to learn, I do a whole lot less of those activities that deplete my energy, whether positively or negatively, so that I have the energy, time and focus to do everything He’s assigned each of my days.

With my Because as the driving force in my life there has been a steep cost.   At times I’m miss out on things I used to love to do.  Relationships have changed drastically, and some are marred with critical misunderstandings.   For a long while I was really lonely, and at times I still feel alone. Especially when what I need to do to live out my purpose means I don’t do things that important people in my life think I should be doing, or should not be doing.

However, two questions keep me focused most of the time:

What do I want more of?

What am I willing to do with what I have? 

 I have a God who, when I am weak He is strong, when I don’t have enough He is more than enough, and when I am empty He can fill me to overflowing.  I have a God who loves me enough to gift me with greater understanding of what it means to be loved.  I have my identity, which He gifted to me.  I have choices.

And, as for what I want more of?  Everything I already have… to do all He did and more… to love like He loves… to encourage more people… to live more fully driven by my Because.

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About Our Back-to-school Plan

It’s here!  

The school year has kicked off with enthusiasm and hope.  Actually, we are in our second month of school, being the homeschooling family that we are… Ambitious?  Maybe.  However, we sat the kids down and explained a basic principle.

~Regardless of when we start, the same amount of work has to be done.  We can start early and finish early, start on time and finish on time, or start late and work later into next summer. ~

They chose to get an early start!

The school system we use is 24 weeks long.  We use a classical curriculum and once a week we meet with a large group of students, breaking into age appropriate classes.  We also meet with a smaller group of friends – other moms and their kids going through the same system.  This is the first year we are doing this, and it’s been wonderful!  The best part is we came up with a point system that challenges each of our kiddos to raise the bar in family life.  The kids spend 7 days earning points for specific goals and each time we meet they bring their accumulated points to add to the group’s goal of having a party.

We gave them fun names:

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With descriptions we all agreed on, and each of us tweaked for our specific family dynamics:

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They each get chores to check off daily.  Bigger chores for big kids, little chores for littler kids:

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And chores are explained and posted so there isn’t any misunderstanding:

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Which makes the side of our fridge into our points station:

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So far it’s been a really good start to the year.  I should add that my older two are in a challenge program working toward earning a special incentive trip at the end of the year for mastering all their school material. That’s 24 weeks worth of history, english grammar, geography, math, science, latin grammar, US presidents, and a passage of scripture memorized in english and translated in latin!  This is on top of writing & presentation assignments, memorizing grammar charts and dissecting sentences…

Have I expressed my mommy-pride loudly enough?!

It has been a handful, I have to admit.  I’ve had to become more routine and disciplined than I ever was while we were in a traditional school system.  With a kiddo just starting his school journey, two kiddos entering a new phase of their learning and development adventures, and a toddler enjoying life in the mix, a routine has become our life-line.  So has our support system – the other mommies and homeschool kids who understand both the sometimes intense pressures, responsibilities and amazing freedoms that come with a homeschooling lifestyle.  Gratefully we have both families in our classical system of homeschooling, and families who are pursuing different methods – both are refreshing, adding perspective and creativity I wouldn’t have on my own.

Whatever your schooling adventures are this year, we hope you are having a wonderful start and are full of hope and joy each day, overcoming hardships and enduring through the challenges in order to taste amazing success and victory!