Called to Homeschool???

Matthew 14:18-22

New Living Translation

18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. 22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.

God called me to follow Him into homeschooling in 2007.

At the time, I had,

-A newborn son who required constant care. 

-A non-verbal, sometimes violent, yet musically gifted daughter on the Autism Spectrum. 

-A smart, social butterfly daughter who thrived being in the presence of a loving teacher & her very best friends every day in a public-school classroom.

-A natural born, strong-willed leader daughter who felt constant pressure from the system to perform a greater quantity of work in exchange of quality work.

Let me be perfectly clear: I did NOT want to be a homeschool mom! For heaven’s sake, I purposefully changed my major from Music Education to Mass Media Communications because I realized after talking to a long-time educator that I didn’t want to teach bratty kids, deal with ungrateful parents and fight an impossibly rigid public-school system. Plus, we had become a single income household after our 3rd daughter was born, so I logically concluded that we couldn’t afford to pay state taxes for public education AND pay for our children’s homeschool education! 

So, I politely told God, “no.”

He laughed.

Several months (and many tears) later, I finally relented to HIS will.  

Matthew 16:21-26

New Living Translation

21 From then on Jesus[a] began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.

22 But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him[b] for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?[c] Is anything worth more than your soul?

I’ll spare you the gory details of what it has cost me to follow Him into homeschooling. But after 16 years, I say with absolute confidence, HE IS WORTH. IT. ALL!!!

Instead, my friend, I want to ask:

Did the Lord call you?!

IF the Lord called you to follow Him into homeschooling, 

(not your spouse/kids/friends/self- wanting an alternative to public or private school)

THEN He will require you to:

(Matthew 16:24)

  1. Give up YOUR way = time, talent, treasure 
  2. Take up YOUR cross = train your children in the way they should go (not the way everyone else is going)
  3. Follow Him to YOUR death = as you teach your children, Jesus will teach you how to obey the Father; HIS Kingdom, HIS will, HIS way (not man’s kingdom, man’s will, man’s ways).

IF you chose to follow Him into homeschooling, 

THEN you will be a servant who will suffer many terrible things at the hands of:

(Matthew 16:21)

  1. “elders”
  2. “leading priests”
  3. “teachers of religious law”

Many won’t applaud or support your decision to homeschool. That’s ok. Please the Father, not people. He alone will judge us according to our deeds. 

IF you will give up your life to follow Him into homeschooling,

THEN you will save it.

(Matthew 16: 25)

What needs to be saved in your life?

  1. Your spirit? (Salvation in Jesus)
  2. Your soul? (Mind, Will, Emotions)
  3. Your relationship with God? (Worshipping Him in Spirit & Truth)
  4. Your relationship with your husband? (Becoming One = body, soul, spirit)
  5. Your relationship with your kids? (Loving them from the overflow of love you receive from the Father)

The cost of homeschooling has been great in my life. But what I have gained far surpasses anything I’ve lost. I pray the same is true for you!

Please share your homeschool story with us! (Comment below)

Innermost

Hebrews 4:12-13

New Living Translation

12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest twoedged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

We’ve been living in the land God promised our family for over a year now. Indeed, it IS a land flowing with milk and honey. Actually, its flowing with orange juice and cattle! Centrally located between east & west coast beaches, Polk County, FL is full of cattle ranchers and citrus farmers.

Ten years ago, the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me in the secret place early one morning. He said He was removing the tent pegs of our temporary tabernacle, which would require us to leave our fathers land (both our dads were born & raised in NC) to settle in a new land where our family would dwell in a multi-generational house of prayer on a lake (HOTFM; Lakeland, FL). A series of dreams, divine encounters, visits down south and countless confirmations in Scripture confirmed the call for each member of our family- and the spiritual, emotional and physical cost each of us would pay to obey.

Living in- and leaving Egypt was a painful process, as I’ve written about in very raw language on this blog many times. I suffered rejection, betrayal and denial of what the Lord said through several of my closest relationships. I readily admit that I didn’t handle all the words spoken against me in a healthy way. Nor did I deal with the silent treatment that also ensued. Although I tried to forgive and forget while continuing to fight the good fight of faith, many scars began to fester and I started fighting a few battles in my flesh. A bitter root emerged as a result of self-righteous anger and the perceived injustice I felt.

But praise the Lord…Jesus still heals and delivers us from all our sin!!! By the power of His Spirit, the Word made flesh used several parts of His body to pray, encourage, correct and rebuke this emotionally temperamental teenager! One brave soul literally told me she saw a bitter root entrenched in my heart…and proceeded to intercede so that I could be set FREE. Hallelujah! A wonderful Christian Counselor has also helped me untangle from the thorns and thistles that grew in the soil of my soul the last 10 years.

Today, I can now say with confidence that like Jesus, I’ve learned obedience by the things I’ve suffered in this wilderness season. I’m not completely out of the desert, but I am beginning to see the end of this valley of the shadow of death, and I’m leaning even more on my Beloved!

Hebrews 5:8

New Living Translation

Even though Jesus was Gods Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.

Psalm 23:4

New Living Translation

Even when I walk
    
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
    
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    
protect and comfort me.

Song of Solomon 8:5

New King James Version

Who is this coming up from the wilderness,
Leaning upon her beloved?

The pain of the past is being consumed by the fire in His eyes. Jesus. The Word. IS powerful! When He speaks through Scripture, or by His Spirit in prayer, visions, dreams or divine appointments, He cuts straight to the heart. Separating between soul & spirit, He exposes… Every. Thing. Everything we’ve tried to hide from Him, ourselves and others in the garden. But if we’ll learn to trust Him through this process, we’ll receive His loving kindness which leads us to repentance.

Romans 2:4

New International Version

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that Gods kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

In His presence, we are once again naked and unashamed. Fixing our gaze on the One who gave up His life for us. In that place, we realize HE is the only One we are accountable to.

As I am breaking free of this fear of man, I am re-discovering the need for God’s order of operations:

When I love God first, I fear God.

When I love others second, I fear God.

Conversely,

When I love others first, I fear man.

When I love God second, I fear man.

Matthew 22:37-40

New Living Translation

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[a]38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Psalm 118:6

New Living Translation

The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.
    
What can mere people do to me?

I’m sure I have many more lessons to learn in this land flowing with citrus and cattle, but for now I leave you with this encouragement, my friend: Seek FIRST the Kingdom!

Yours truly,

Momma Jo

Matthew 6:33

New International Version

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Who is my Mother?

Matthew 12:46-50

46 As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.47 Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they want to speak to you.”[a]

48 Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 49 Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. 50 Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”

The Lord began highlighting this passage of scripture years ago, when He called me, like Abraham, to leave my father’s land to go to a new land which our family would inherit. In the midst of the process of uprooting from North Carolina, God continued asking: “who is my mother?” Simultaneously, He continued confirming His call to leave everything and follow Him over and over again through Scripture, dreams, visions and divine appointments with complete strangers! One dream in particular, He whispered “consider the cost…” I had NO way of knowing at the time, what that Word would require. Sure, I knew to some extent the “cost” would include physical hardships in selling a house, buying a house and moving a lifetime of stuff from NC to FL. And I knew there would be a spiritual battle as I obeyed. But what happened, was completely unexpected, as warfare often is. At some point in the process, many people I love opposed the Word in me. Yes, friends and family, alike, knowingly or unknowingly partnered with the accuser of the brethren against the promise I carried. The enemy would not go down quietly, without a fight. He wanted my soul to stay in Egypt; in bondage to Pharaoh, enslaved to the work of churning mud into bricks without straw (He literally gave me this vision at a corporate prayer meeting one night). Battered and bruised, I would not be moved! That slithering serpent even sucker punched me, with one final low blow beneath the belt when we arrived in Florida.

I realized pretty quickly, once we got somewhat settled into our new home and covenant community that I needed to come off the battlefield to rest and recover in the RED CROSS tent.

I’m still there.

It’s a strange thing to be living and growing and learning in the fertile land God promised, while simultaneously allowing the Lord to bind up my broken heart. In this season, I am surrounded by mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters in the faith who are caring for me in ways I cannot begin to comprehend. It’s miraculous. I’ve found my family!!! And we are living together in our Father’s house; a house of prayer- in central Florida, surrounded by cows and citrus farms! Multiple times a week, I meet with other intercessors who carry a burden to see His Kingdom come, His will be done. I often praise the Lord on my drive to and fro, “THANK YOU, Lord. You are faithful! You fulfilled your promise! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!” Gratitude explodes from my heart. And yet, sometimes…even in the proceeding moment- I cry out in the deepest grief.

How can this be?

I believe it’s all a part of the process ….of being transformed into His image.

You see, it was His Spirit that whispered the promise my elder Brother heard from Our Father in heaven. It was His Spirit that gave me the faith to obey His command. It was His Spirit that prepared me to leave Egypt. It was His Spirit that sustained me in the wilderness. It was His Spirit that enabled me to continue marching on towards the land flowing with milk and honey. And, it is by His Spirit that I am coming up out of this present wilderness, leaning on my beloved as I grieve the loss of my mother, leaving my father and sister, my spiritual mommas, and extended family and friends.

He is still with me; in gratitude AND in grief, He is with me…

Comforting me with His rod and staff.

Leading me through the valley.

Renewing my strength.

Guiding me.

Preparing me.

Honoring me.

Pursuing me.

And I will dwell in His house forever and ever, Amen!  

and a

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

New Living Translation

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

For everything.

Every. Thing.

There is a season.

My great grandfather, grandfather, and father were all farmers at various times in their lives. I, however, did not inherit their skill of plowing, sowing, waiting and reaping. In the physical sense, anyhow! But by the Spirit, I’m beginning to catch a glimpse of the Father’s heart regarding times and seasons.

Solomon, in all his wisdom, declares that there is a time to plant and a time to harvest. Instinctively, we tend to focus on the doing part of this verse (plant/harvest), but what about the being part; the “and a” season of transition?

A time to plant = doing

and a = being

A time to harvest = doing

Every farmer knows you never reap in the same season you sow. That “and a” season in between allows the seed TIME to die, take root, grow, emerge, and produce after its planted. Every parent understands the same analogy. There’s a transition between the seed being fertilized at the moment of conception and delivery. It’s the growing season called pregnancy! Nine months of developing until the appointed time for the child to be born. I’ll be honest, this child of God doesn’t really like transitional seasons. I can easily become impatient with the PROCESS. Often times, my impetuous nature tries to convince me to push through the transition because it’s so hard to just BE! To be still. And know that HE is God.

In this “and a” season, I am learning to embrace the PROCESS of death. For to know the power of Jesus in His resurrection, we must participate in His suffering, becoming like Him in death, amen? (Philippians 3:10)

The literal death of my mother.

The physical death of moving; our home, our church, our community.

The relational death (rejection, betrayal, denial) of family and friends.

From my vantage point, it has been a long, hard, painful season of:

Killing

Tearing down

Crying

Grieving

Scattering stones

Turning away

Searching

Throwing away

Tearing

Quietness

But from God’s vantage point, this PROCESS of transformation is but a moment in the timeline of eternity. His time and seasons have a PURPOSE. He wants to PRODUCE good fruit in me! He’s a good Farmer, He knows what He’s doing. I simply have to trust Him.

For everything.

Every. Thing.

There is a season.

On the Shore and On the Sea

Matthew 4:18-20

New Living Translation

18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothersSimon, also called Peter, and Andrewthrowing a net into the water, for they fished for a living19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

Like Peter, when the Lord first called me over twenty years ago, I obeyed; leaving my nets on the shore at once to follow Him.

And, when He called me to move to Florida, I obeyed; stepping out of the boat and onto the sea in the midst of a storm of people’s opinions.

Now my faith, like Peter’s, is being tested.

Matthew 14:22-31

New Living Translation

22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home.23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.

24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three oclock in the morning[a] Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “Its a ghost!”

27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. Dont be afraid,” he said. Take courage. I am here![b]

28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if its really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

29 Yes, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong[c] wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. You have so little faith,” Jesus said. Why did you doubt me?”

A few years before our move, I received a prophetic word from one of the elders in our church. He foretold that I would step into a stormy season and like Peter, I would begin to sink. He encouraged me not to be afraid- reminding me that the Lord would be with me. He said that in the end, I would be OK. Then he pulled out his phone to show me a picture that captured what he was seeing by the Spirit: https://www.amazon.com/HavenLight-Yongsung-Kim-Painting-Reaching/dp/B076HSJBL8?th=1 (I bought a copy of that print when we moved; I’m literally staring at it as I write!) I’ve never reacted so strongly to a prophecy. Quite frankly, it pissed me off!!! How dare this religious leader tell ME that my faith would fail!?

Spiritual pride, much?!

Absolutely. It may have been hidden below the surface of my self-righteous heart at the time, but the Lord knew it was there.

Nine months into our Promised Land journey I started realizing that storm was churning in the sea of my soul. All of my coping mechanisms of control were failing. And I came face to face with the reality that I was sinking….

Staring at the wind and waves, I began to lose sight of the One who beckoned me to, “come.” I cried out, “Lord, HELP!” Desperate attempts to save myself led to sinking further and further into the darkness. I couldn’t pray it away. I couldn’t cast it out. I couldn’t get delivered from it. Exhausted from trying to tread water on my own, my faith was failing. Grasping for answers, I contemplated another way out. Maybe I needed others to pray it away or cast it out or deliver me from evil? None of it was working. Don’t get me wrong- this is all biblical! (If you’ve followed my posts, you know I am a HUGE fan of Spirit led Healing & Deliverance Ministry! I’ve received & walked with many on their journey of freedom in Christ over the last 10 years.) But it’s NOT what the Spirit was saying. No quick fix, miracle, sign or wonder was coming to rescue me. Instead, in His goodness and for His glory, He’s allowing me to walk through this valley of the shadow of death called: PROCESS.

This PROCESS is painful.

But it’s necessary. And it’s beautiful.

Just like it was for Peter.

Yesterday, after my counseling appointment (part of the PROCESS) I stopped by Lake Morton. As I sat on the shore, feeding the birds, I watched another summer storm roll in. As the wind blew and the waves moved across the surface of the water, I felt such peace.

For a brief moment, my soul settled as I realized, He is with me. He will not leave me. He will not forsake me. AND, He is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for me!

Yes, I am in the midst of a storm.

Yes, I am being sifted like wheat.

But… I am gonna be okay.

His Word is true!

He IS a good Shepherd; on the shore and on the sea.

Are you in the midst of a PROCESS, my friend?

Let me know how I can partner with the Lord in prayer for you.

Please share your story in the comments section below.

“The difficulty in surrendering to process is that there is no road map. I can’t tell you what you will experience along the way, or who you will be when you get there. I can tell you that it isn’t going to be easy, that it may get worse before it gets better, and that the alternatives to taking this journey are worse than the journey itself. These alternatives may include depression, prolonged numbness, decreased satisfaction with your remaining relationships, addiction, emotional difficulties that manifest as physical symptoms, or significantly less zest for living…the one thing that I do know with certainty from my own struggles and from being a midwife to countless others as they face their dark sides: Feelings that find expression change. And THAT change is the process that brings transformation.”

-The Jewish Book of Grief & Healing