Friday, September 24, 2010

Who Might You Be Taking For Granted?

I love my family.  Last night I spent some time talking to them via Skype (I'm in Canada right now for a speaking engagement) and I was immediately reminded of how hard it was to be away from them when I was on Survivor three years ago.  I couldn't Skype (there really wasn't Skype back then, but if there was, I couldn't have done it!), couldn't talk to them, couldn't see them - nothing - for almost 2 months.  It was sooooo hard. 

The ache you feel is like none other when you long to be with the ones you love.  You promise yourself you will never take them for granted again and that you will never let them out of your sight once you return.  But inevitably, time goes by and you begin to focus on things that don't matter, on pleasing people who don't really care and spending time doing things that don't include them.  Why do we do this?

As I pondered this today, I was reminded of how God must feel when I do the exact same thing to Him.  I mean - He loves me - unconditionally.  And yet it seems I spend an awful lot of time trying to please people who only "love" me when I please them or do what they expect or desire of me.  I tend to spend time keeping up with the latest news instead of reading and meditating on His Word.  I do things that don't matter in the eternal sense of what is important instead of asking Him "What would YOU have for me to do today?" Nothing else matters.

Thinking back, it seems it takes a pretty big shake-down to make me realize I'm chasing the wind during those times.  God, in His amazing love & grace, will allow something to shake me in a way that will turn my attention to Him instead of what is going on around me.  I usually hate when it happens and sometimes even start to blame Him for whatever I'm going through.  In reality, though, it's not His fault at all.  He allows things into my life for a purpose though - and instead of focusing on "Why me?!" I am learning to focus on "Ok, Lord, what are you going to teach me through this trial?"

Who is it in your life that you might be taking for granted?  Is it your family?  Your friends?  Maybe it's God?  Whoever you might be taking for granted, I pray you will ask God to help you keep things in perspective and keep your priorities in order.  Once things start to slip, you will know it.  And it's never too late to start over.  Our God is the God of second chances!  Embrace the ones you love today - and never let a day go by without letting them know how much you love them either in word or action. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Our First Week!

So far, so good!  We are two days into our second week of homeschooling and Kennedy is doing well.  I will be honest, we've had a few times of tears - she does miss seeing her friends every day.  We are trying to be more intentional about her spending time with them on the weekends and evenings. But I can already see a difference in her attitude and she is a lot less stressed out.  I am excited to see how things go!

We met with her Language Arts and History teacher yesterday to go over a few things and try to catch up.  She attends school at Lakepointe Academy twice a week, where she is given assignments for us to do on the other three days together.  I'm already learning a lot - I can't believe how much I've forgotten since middle school!  We laugh because I skipped sixth grade (I was in a Christian school with a PACE curriculum and worked my way through fifth and sixth grade in one year) so Kennedy keeps saying "Mom, you were never even IN sixth grade, how are you going to be my teacher?!" haha

Peyton, Stephanie, Me and Kennedy - my girls!
Kennedy has been cooking more and doing more around the house as part of her home economics training.  She's helping with grocery shopping and planning the menu.  We've created a little area on my Facebook where she takes pictures of the food she creates and post the recipes.  She's such a little cooking diva!  She has also been going to the YMCA with me three times a week where we do "PE" class.  She seems to enjoy the break after a couple of hours of school work and I love taking her with me.

Another thing she is doing with me is attending Bible Study at our church.  It's a women's study on Wednesday mornings about character building.  We are studying the books of Judges and Ruth.  She is obviously the youngest girl there, but with a room-full of ladies who love the Lord to pour into her life, I see this is a huge step in the right direction!  There's a young mother in our church who is mentoring her, as well.  This is a huge answered prayer!  When I sent her an email asking her if she would pray about mentoring Kennedy, she replied right back and said "You're not going to believe this - the Lord put Kennedy on my heart last week to mentor and I've been praying about it already!"  I love how God works.

Anyway, I just wanted to give you an update on our new adventure!  I obviously haven't had much time to blog, but I will get into a groove eventually and find more time for it.  Until then, I'm going to focus and keep my priority where it needs to be - with my family.  I appreciate your prayers as we continue to learn and grow through this transition!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Priorities

My family is going through a big transition this week.  Our daughter, Kennedy, begins homeschooling tomorrow and will attend a University Model School just twice per week.  (This means I am stepping WAY out of my comfort zone, by the way!)  However, my heart is completely resting in a very peaceful trust as I feel that it is what is best for my girl and I believe with all my heart that God will give me all I need to be able to pull this off - regardless of how inadequate I might feel sometimes! 

These are formative years in my daughter's life.  As a parent, I don't take that lightly.  It's not that I think public education is bad - as a matter of fact, we live in an excellent school district and she will probably even go back to public school for high school.  My two older kids both spent most of their school years in the Fort Mill School district and they did fine!

However, as a Christian family, we see some holes in the teaching in public school systems.  The holes are made when our government purposefully cut God out of all of the curriculum.  He is just irrelevant in public school curriculum.  We didn't notice it much in elementary school, really.  But it was middle school when my oldest daughter was sent to the principal for talking about her faith in Jesus with another little girl.  And it was in middle school when my son was reprimanded for putting a cross on his poster when he ran for office in the school.  It was middle school when my oldest kids were taught that the world came from a random, big bang and that evolution was how we got here.  It was middle school when they both began to drift from their faith.  One of them came back around, the other is still wrestling with it.

Do I have regrets?  No, I don't - at all.  I know both of my adult kids are on the paths God has for them and He has a plan and will use everything in their lives to make them into the people He knows they will be!  I know the persecution and situations they faced in middle school have made them stronger and more confident in their lives.  However, I also know that I've learned from experience that these are formative, important years in my kids lives.  If I can teach them their studies with a biblical worldview, I want to do that!  It's a wonderful opportunity and I'm excited about it.

Am I angry with the public school system?  Not at all!  I have many friends who work there and I respect many of the people who give so much to the public school system!  They are doing what they are told to do, plain and simple.  And I'm just doing what I'm told to do - that is the bottom line.  I feel very strongly that if someone believes their child is best off in public schools, then they should keep them there.  A lot of Christian kids do fabulously in public schools and shine their light for others in the process!  Every child is different.  Being sensitive to that is what my husband and I want to do as parents.

Our first assignment is for me and Kennedy to both write letters to ourselves.  Our letters will include reasons why we made this choice and it will be an encouragement to us so that if we have a bad day or feel overwhelmed, we can read those letters and remember the importance of this decision.  We did not make this decision for our daughter.  We gave her the option, explained the process and we all prayed about it.  She decided for herself, and we supported her decision.  I thought that was important because I want her to "own" this decision and put her whole heart into making it work. 

As a result of this transition, I won't be spending much time on Facebook, Twitter, or my blog as much for awhile.  I will check in and update when I can, but it will be a lot less frequent.  So don't take it personally if you message me or leave a message for me and I don't answer it right away. :)  This will be a big adjustment for me, as I find so much joy in connecting with you!  I am new at this whole home schooling thing, though, and I want to stay focused and intentional about it.  She deserves my best - and I want to give it to her!  My youngest daughter goes into middle school next year, and if all goes well, we will also be doing the same with her next year. 

In the meantime, if you need to reach me right away, I will be checking my email every day!  Please feel free to email me at lnease@leslienease.com.  I would appreciate your prayers and will keep you updated on how things are going as we travel down this new road together! 

“So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.  Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,  so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.  (Deuteronomy 11:18-21)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bed Time Battles

Bed time is difficult for my youngest daughter.  She seems to have a lot of fears and has a hard time sleeping.  I remember going through this as a child.  It's scary sometimes when you start to realize the world isn't full of sweet, well-meaning people who love you and would never want to harm you!  This world has some not-so-nice people and some pretty horrific things happen and of course, the news focuses mainly on those bad things.  Between house break ins, murders, bad weather and fires - her little mind is being completely attacked at night as her imagination ignites her deepest fears.

Do you have a little one who has fears like this?  Or maybe it's you - maybe you, yourself, struggle with a wild & vivid imagination and have thoughts you wish would go away as you try to get some rest?  As I told Peyton last night, the Truth of God's Word will always win out against these fears.  Fears are, as we all know, False Evidence Appearing Real.  But God's Word is Truth - and it's our weapon against bad thoughts that try to invade our minds.

If you or someone you love struggles with this, here is a list of scriptures I gave Peyton. I know there are plenty more, but these are the ones we used. By the time we were finished praying last night, she was fast asleep.  Our God is powerful!  Have your child (or you) read these out loud in the room and believe that God will do a mighty work in their mind as He transforms their thoughts and they rest in the Truth of His love:

Psalm 4:8
Psalm 5:11-12
Psalm 23
Psalm 34:3-7
Psalm 37:3-9
Psalm 91
Philippians 4:6-9

Sweet dreams!

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