Not Just a Good Idea

I have watched my married sons and their wives work patiently with their children to teach them to be grateful. It is amazing what persistence it takes to make progress against the selfishness of the flesh, and oh how delightful it is to hear sweet little “Thank yous.” First we teach a child to be grateful to those around him who bless him. Then he needs to learn to thank God, Who is the giver of all good gifts, and Who cannot be seen.

We all enjoy being around grateful people, but those who are ungrateful tend to weigh us down. Are we dads setting the example for gratitude in the family? Are we looking for things others in the home do so we can share our gratefulness with them? It is one thing to say “thank you” and quite another to express why we are grateful for what they did.

Who would have thought how absolutely foundational being thankful can be even to a person’s eternity? “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful.” (Romans 1:21)


Running in the Dark

Teri and I have been walking early in the morning when it is still dark. Many mornings we meet an “out and back” runner who on his return runs barefoot on the sidewalk. It is amazing how tough his feet are as evidenced by the pounding we can hear as he approaches us. Running barefoot on pavement in the daylight is one thing but in the dark, quite another.

Over the weekend we noticed several glass bottles had been broken on the sidewalk, likely by partying teenagers desiring to remove “evidence” from their cars. We were quite concerned for our barefoot runner “friend.” If he ran unaware into that broken glass, his “good idea” of running barefoot might be superseded by an unexpected result.

So often what seems like a good idea, maybe even one that is popular with others, is seen later in a different light when over time the fruit of that decision comes to light. (Think of cholesterol, youth groups, debt.) May we make right decisions as we lead our family. May we seek the Lord’s direction in all things and then follow Him obediently. That is the path of no regrets.

“The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.” (Matthew 11:19)


A Real Profession?

I’m shocked at how many families who profess to homeschool spend many hours out of the home each week. Homeschool is comprised of two words—home and school. How many hours is your family away from home during the school week? It’s not homeschool if you are not home. When home, are the children doing real schoolwork? Significant learning does not occur by osmosis; it takes consistent daily planned effort. If your wife is struggling, we can help.

Dads are responsible to the government to meet the requirements of the state. Are you sure that your homeschool is doing so? Light years more important than the law is that we are responsible for preparing our children for their success in life. For that, we are answerable to a far greater authority, our God.

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” (Romans 13:1)


Homeschooling with Depression

I was a homeschool mom who suffered with depression for the first eight years of homeschooling. I hope sharing what allowed me to function and homeschool in the midst of depression and what brought me through it might be helpful to other moms who find themselves depressed, discouraged, or simply feeling down.

Depression wasn’t a part of my life until after I began having children. Then it was something I faced on a regular basis over the course of several years. Amazingly, the Lord called our family to homeschool while I was still in the middle of dealing with my depression.

A Schedule for Life in Depression

I know I say this often, but I will say it again. Having a schedule was a lifeline to me as I managed homeschooling with depression. I did not want to give up homeschooling because of depression. The schedule was a tool that allowed me to care for my young and growing family plus homeschool.

That schedule directed my time usage and alleviated many decisions that I know would have been overwhelming to me, and which I likely wouldn’t have been able to make. When we think of a woman and depression, we tend to imagine her curled up in bed all day. The schedule, along with a great measure of God’s grace, got me out of bed each morning and moved me through the things that needed to be accomplished every day.

Because of the schedule, even with depression we had meals at a set time. We were faithful with homeschooling, and the children excelled in their academics. I could keep up with laundry and housekeeping. Can you imagine how not doing those things would have fueled my depression because often depression can lead to a vicious cycle? Tasks aren’t being accomplished, and the feeling of failure and the increasingly-overwhelming list of things to catch up on leads to still deeper depression. If you want to know what I learned about scheduling and how you can schedule, that information is found in Managers of Their Homes.

Scripture Overcomes Depression

Part of my schedule was time in God’s Word first thing every morning. Does a depressed homeschool mom feel like reading her Bible? For me, the answer was no. To be honest, I didn’t feel like doing much of anything, except maybe crying—and I did a fair amount of that. Yet I knew the ultimate solution for my depression was in the Lord Jesus, and I was aware that His communication to me came through His Word. I clung to passages of Scripture that I could relate to and that gave me a measure of hope. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

Not only did Scripture give me hope while homeschooling and being depressed, but it also directed my thoughts when they were consumed with negativism and gloom. I regularly read Lamentations 3, and I related to the descriptions there. These verses were something I could use to push out the wrong thoughts. “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him” (Lamentations 3:21-24). Hallelujah!

Because my depression included worry, anger, and self-pity, that time in the Word each day was teaching me God’s way to deal with each of those. I certainly wasn’t a perfect student, reading a verse and applying it immediately and consistently to my life. However, in spite of my slow and stumbling spiritual learning style, the Lord gently taught and encouraged me.

Living the Word Helps Depression

Reading His Word had to translate to moment-by-moment action, which for me was harder than simply reading the Word. Sometimes I remember feeling spiritually uplifted and excited as I read my Bible, only to begin my homeschooling day in defeat if my mind was playing the same negative, broken record of depressed thoughts. Those thoughts needed to be replaced with Scriptural thoughts.

I found this verse to be very true: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). I needed to pair that with this verse: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

“Learn and do” was the theme of my spiritual walk during those days. The doing was not so much physical, although many days it was acting differently than I felt. The doing was mostly accomplished in my mind—taking the wrong thoughts captive and replacing them with the truth of the Word.

My natural responses came from my life before Christ when I was walking in the flesh, filled with selfishness and pride. Those all had to be transformed by the renewing of my mind with the Word and then obediently using what I was learning.

Prayer Enables Through Depression

Does it sound like at that time I was a spiritual giant to be able read God’s Word, learn from it, take my thoughts captive, and be a transformed woman with no more depression? I was too weak to do that on my own so I was continually crying out to the Lord for His grace, mercy, and strength. Often I felt like it was a minute-by-minute prayer. “Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily” (Psalm 86:3).

I was bringing my failures to the Lord in repentance and asking for His help in overcoming them. Failing, repenting, and failing again in the same area heaped guilt onto an already fragile heart. These two verses were ones to which I clung: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). That was truth!

Exercise and Depression

Another priority we kept in my schedule was daily exercise. For me it was a walk. That put me outside in the fresh air, away from the environment that I struggled in, and gave me some time away from my normal responsibilities—all that in addition to getting exercise. I usually walked with my mom or with Steve so I had companionship and communication during the exercise, too. These days we read that exercise provides not only physical benefits but also mental ones by stimulating the production of endorphins. I think, for me, it had both those positive impacts.

I Didn’t Use Medication with my Depression

In my depression, I chose not to use medication. That was my decision, but my husband agreed and approved. There were several reasons I didn’t want to use medication. The main reason was that I wanted my healing to be from the Lord. The secondary reason was that I thought there was a possibility that if I started on medication, I might not be able to stop using it. I was concerned about the long-term health effects of being on a pharmaceutical.

Homeschooling with Depression

I am eternally grateful that the Lord allowed me to homeschool through my depression by giving me physical and spiritual tools to combat the depression and to be able to live life with it. Even though that depression lasted over the course of about eight of our thirty years of homeschooling, He gave me many more homeschooling years without depression than with it.

While living with the depression seemed long and tedious, I now look back and see all the work the Lord did in my heart to bring me out of the depression, to allow me to homeschool with it, and to mold me into what I am today. I praise His glorious name.

We have some resources that might also be beneficial to you in this area:

Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit
Sweet Journey
Sweet Relationships

Each of those books have come out of my experience with homeschooling, depression, and the work the Lord Jesus was doing in my life. The testimonies we have received over the years affirm that they can help you too.

Here is a link to another article I wrote about my depression.

Good News – Bad News

“And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:29

The good news of fasting is the spiritual blessings that will abound. I imagine you’ll also find after fasting that physical food has never tasted better! The bad news is to have food taste great and get the blessings, you will have to go without it and pray. I don’t enjoy fasting. However, I have found that fasting is incredibly good for me spiritually, and I want to share the opportunity with my brothers in Christ.

This will be the last Seriously fast this year. I have found that some of you preferred weekend fasts and some weekdays, so this is a one-size-for-all fast. I’ve scheduled this one from Saturday, November 7th through Sunday, November 15th. You can choose one day, a few days or all—however you feel the leading of the Lord and the burden of your heart.

I will happily come alongside my brothers and pray for the things you list on the Fast Signup Form. I don’t share your prayer requests with others, but I commit to fasting and praying with you. I will send out a “welcome” email for those who signup and commit to fasting.

I love being a part of such a group as you all.

Blessings in the Lord Jesus Christ.


Posted in: Seriously