August 3, 2012

Powerful Testimony

Oh, how Good God is today!

I just finished getting dressed, and ready to make my "to-do" list for the day, when the Lord said, "Let's set up a testimony today." I said OK, of course, but thought "what kind of testimony do you want, Lord?" Then I remember last Sunday's message on Jacob, and the previous messages where Jacob set up a pillar of stones at Bethel. Last Sunday, the story from Genesis recounted the testimony established between Jacob and Laban -- a sort of -- hands off "you stay away from me, and I will stay away from you" kind of business. I was thinking "stones" being setup, but here I am back on my blog, so perhaps I am to write something down??

I sat down at the computer, checked my email, and there popped a message from an old homeschooling friend. My friend was writing to ask my advice about her 11th grade daughter's curriculum for this year.  We were homeschooling buddies, long distance friends (me in Az, and she in IL), and we corresponded daily during the summer prep time before the new year would begin. Then throughout the year, we commiserated with one another on our failed choices, our kids who didn't do what they were supposed to do, and so on. She was a great source of support during my marriage crisis, and she propped me up whenever I felt so very low.

Today, she thanked me for my years of help to her children, and all the advice I had given to her in support of her homeschooling efforts. Her email came at the exact moment when the Lord was asking me to post a testimony to His Name. So here I am, posting this short little testimony to the faithfulness of God.

God provided friends to me during those rocky and turbulent years. He provided seasoned homeschoolers who guided me, advised me, and supported me when no one else would do so. He gave me a curriculum to use, Ambleside Online, so that I didn't have to spend hardly any money on books and materials. He gave me an advisory board who provided intensive instruction in how to get started, and then laid out weekly plans so that all I had to do was create a weekly schedule and 'do' the work. I learned so much from my AO support group, and in turn, I offered my own experience and testimony to others just coming up behind me. I still get emails from people thanking me for my curriculum, for my lesson plans and charts, and for my advice on parenting their children.

Throughout my six years as a homeschooling parent, I never felt more in control and in power than when I was creating curriculum for my son's next year. Sure I fretted over it, and sometimes I agonized the decision. But I always felt that we did something good, and my son grew and progressed, and developed into a Godly young man. I faced so much criticism during those years, mostly from my parents and extended family who didn't think I was doing "best" by my son. They believed I coddled him, and kept him from experiencing the "real world." They never understood his needs or the fact that in my life, homeschooling was God's plan for me and for my son. I never wavered in my belief that this was my calling -- a secondary calling to teach my child at home. I quiver now when I say the words because God had called me to be a teacher back when I was first in college. I knew it, and I wanted to do it. But my parents said no, and I ended up taking a very different path. In hindsight, I see that I actually did teach -- just not in a large classroom -- but nonetheless I taught school.

Moreover, in the past thirty years, I have taught children through Sunday school programs, AWANA and camp. I have been actively involved in Children's Ministry for years -- again -- teaching children and parents how to love God and raise Godly children. My life has been full of teaching, and here I sit now pondering that very realization. God gave me everything He desired to give me -- a life filled with teaching (not a career, but a life), and a way to work at home so I could teach my son.

I give testimony to God today because He delivered to me the kind of life He desired me to have. Yes, I didn't do what He was asking me to do originally, and even though I disobeyed His call, when I was faithful to return to it, the Lord blessed me and gave me "another way" to accomplish His will for my life.

God is GOOD that way. He never gives up on us. He never quits trying to get us to let go, to let Him have His way in our lives. When we live fully surrendered, we receive the blessings He has in mind for us. He brings His LIFE into ours and we are blown away by His Graciousness. He gives to us every GOOD and PERFECT gift -- all because we allow Him to have His way in us.

Dear Father,

I am surrendered to you now, and I see that you gave to me everything you promised me. I messed up, I took the wrong path, and I suffered the consequences of that choice. You gave me in your Gracious Compassion your gift regardless of my choice. I was blessed with a life filled with teaching children, a love for children and a heart for ministering to parents of children. You blessed me with a child of my own, and the opportunity to teach him at home. You gave me opportunity to impact the lives of parents and to encourage them in their efforts to raise Godly children. I have lived a life blessed, full and overflowing with your Gracious Mercy and Love. I praise you now, and I thank you for all you have done in my life. I am ready now to take the next step in my life, to move forward into the life you have prepared for me today. It is different than the past forty years, and with this testimony, I mark the passage of that time. The past is behind, and the future lays ahead. May your will be done in every area of my life, and may I experience your Gracious Compassion as you guide me through the next forty years of my ministry and service to you and your HOLY NAME.

I confess this now, and write this testimony to give you Praise and Honor and Glory. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah (pause, and calmly think about it!)

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