Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Why We Homeschool and Why You Shouldn't

I am not going to change your mind.  I’m not even going to try.  I am about to broach a hot-topic, and I’m ok with that.  So please hear my heart on this: I have absolutely no desire to persuade you to pull your children out of their public schools.  I simply intend to write about God’s movement in my heart, and hopefully in doing so, to speak to your own heart.

Over the past couple of years, God has been teaching me this thing about the vast importance of being real.  Honest.  Even in my ugliness. So here it is:  the real truth is that I have spent many years believing that homeschooling is for those who are fearful.  Those who couldn’t bear to send their beloved children into the “lion’s den” of the world.  

Sigh.  Since when do we, as Mommas, need one more thing to feel judged and insecure about? Such a messy heart of mine, black with judgment. 
That was the state of my heart this past July when I found myself extremely uneasy over the thought of my oldest two children going back to school.  The summer was progressing quickly.  I did not want to fight for yet another year to attempt to see my daughter challenged in her classroom.  Our Will learns so differently than other kids;  I was well aware that it would take a special person to figure out how he “fires” and help him keep that love for learning.  Perhaps most importantly, I had experienced how disconnected my Sophie-girl had become throughout the past school year after spending hours at school away from us each day.  It took a summer to reconnect and I deeply yearned  for more of that time to train their hearts!  

I simply felt… stuck.  

Then I heard the Lord's whisper.  “You don’t have to be stuck, Child. Walk with me.”  Hours of discussions and many prayers later, we knew what God was asking our family to do. 

When He placed this plan to homeschool on our hearts, God immediately supplied us with peace over our decision.   But  to better explain to you the work of God in me, we need to get a few things straight very quickly.  #1: I am neither a teacher nor naturally patient.  It only took me one college internship to realize I could NEVER work with tiny, squirming bodies in mass quantities ever again.  #2: I am not a crafty person.  If you ever wonder whether I made something cute I am wearing, please save yourself the breath of asking.  I have my craft mafia, and I pay them well.  #3: I am not overly intelligent.  I began college in the remedial math class and cried all the way through Dr. Newell’s Psych Stats class (full of thanks for an engineering boyfriend).  I knew that my name would not end up next to “homeschooling guru” in the dictionary.  However, I have seen the Lord supply what I need in many situations.  I had full confidence that He would prove faithful to carry my weaknesses yet again.
So… yeah.  Remember that honesty thing?  Here’s the embarrassing part.  Even while I had full confidence in what God was asking of us, and even though I knew that He would supply what I needed, I was still full of anxiety.  This fear inside me had nothing to do with the logistics of performing school. 

I was afraid of what others would think. 

Seems pretty silly, huh?  It made me feel like I was standing outside of my new school on the first day of 7th grade with a large zit on my nose and hand-me-downs from my cousin Bertha.  But in reality I was a 34-yr-old mother of 3 and supposed to be past all of that peer-pressure stuff. 

When it is hard to do things that make us seem different from others, this a problem.  A problem that begins with a heart discontent in God’s plan.  As if I know better than HE, the creator of my very soul and the One who allowed me to awaken yet again today.

You and I, we were never meant to be just like each other. God created us to be different.  Since the very beginning of His creation, he’s been doing this thing called different.  For me, fear always sets in when I fester on the thinking that I should be more like HER, and that other gal should be more like ME.  When exactly did this become Motherhood – this clawing at each other in the midst of our insecurities, allowing Satan to lead us to believe that we each are not doing what is best for our beloved children?  These differences are the very tools that God intends to use for His purposes - to mold and shape our children into who He desires – yet we are too scared to step onto His new path.  And so we work desperately to keep our feet right where they are, holding our children tightly within our grasp, teaching them to be cookie-cutter children.  The only problem is, cookie-cutters can’t point a hurting world to a God who creates beauty and heals big hurts.

Father, He is reminding me of this daily.  Only I know my children.  Only you know yours.  My husband and I, we fall to our knees and cry out for His help.  We tip-toe into sleepy rooms and utter desperate prayers for wisdom with tear-streaked faces.  We scold little hands when they hurt others so we can point them toward Love.  I know you do the same.  We really aren’t different, you and I.  We love our children fierce.  And you and I, WE CAN DO NOTHING as parents.  On my own, I will fail to measure up to some other Mom - every single time. 

But the beauty of the Father is, He says it is NOT about me vs. you.  It is not about whose kids know their math facts best, who spends more time outdoors, or what year our houses were built.  It never was about those things.  It is about HIM.   I seek HIS call for MY family, and I follow.  You seek His different call for YOUR family, and you obey.  And that is success.  EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

I cannot tell you how many times in my years as a Momma I actually said the words, “I could NEVER homeschool.” (Open mouth, insert foot.)  Even so, 12 weeks into our school year, I am deeply in love with Heartwaves Academy.   It thrills my soul to be in this place with my precious ones – watching them learn and laugh, teaching academics, training small hearts in life to the fullest, preparing soldiers for future battle.  Heartwaves has robbed me of my time and replaced it with gifts unexpected, eye-opening, beautiful.  Doesn’t He promise that if we trust Him, He will knock our socks off in ways we never even imagined?  He means every single word.

And you, my friend?  You encounter the Father in your own walk in other ways.  Your children see the Lord when you serve their teacher and when you love on that over-active child in their classroom. Or when you pick up your sweet ones from school and take them first to deliver food to your elderly neighbor.  

When we invest in our children just as He asks, we allow Him to pave the road for them He intended.  A perfect path just for them, to lead others to Him.

I can’t tell you what next school year will bring for the Tyson family.  In this house, we will seek the Lord.  As for you, I hope I have not convinced you to homeschool –  I honestly have no idea what you should do.  But He knows.  Seek Him with all of your heart.  Ignore the impulse to listen to your own understanding – follow HIS.  Then HE will set out your path.  It will be different.  But it will be straight.  Full of peace.  Infused with joy.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Love Wild

Something is brewing big in this heart of mine.  Something wild and untamed.  Something that cries for more of God and more of His love and to just BE love in the midst of all. this. chaos.  Such a mess we are, this world.

Two weeks have passed and still I pray.  What would you have me do, Lord?  What would you have US do?  The thoughts that rush through this skull of mine cannot be stilled.  Yet Satan is fighting back.  Fear lingers.

All these ideas, these plans, these small pieces that Christ is placing where they are needed; what is He leading us to?  While we wait and listen, we know that HE knows what He is preparing us for.  

And Satan, He whispers lies.  You cannot do this.  Who do you think you are to take on something like this?  Remember that gal who fights anger?  She will return.  Besides that, you will be so uncomfortable!  You will lose so much of the little free-time you have.  And your precious children - can't you just imagine how this will this affect them?

My 2-year-old, he has had a fear for most of his short life.  Chubby little hands gripping slices of apple, peering at the red skin, pretending all of the things his toddler-mind could think-up about what the apple peel would do to him.  Then proceeding to eat only the meat, he would leave a rind of apple peel much like a small watermelon slice.

For two years I have watched his little routine and chuckled.  Yet a couple of weeks ago, I decided I was done cleaning dried apple rinds out of his carseat, and decided to begin the battle with him.

"Seth,"  I said from the front seat of the van.  "Today I want you to eat ALL of the apple.  Eat the red part, too."  He is a redhead.  He is stubborn.  So even as I heard his little "Ok, momma," compliance is not what was expected.

Minutes later, I parked the van and turned to see the progress he was making.  The apples were gone, every last bite, every piece of peel.  He handed me an empty bag and grinned that cheeky, dimple-filled smile to show how proud he was of his accomplishment.  As easy as that, he conquered his fear.  It was only the anticipation that stopped him.

So here I am, fighting against my own peel.  I am so scared of it.  I cannot fathom what is waiting if I eat it all, and so, I continue to eat only the stuff that looks good.

Yet isn't the anticipation always the worst part?  While I listen to Satan's deception, I imagine all of the negative consequences; I can so clearly see all of the things that could go wrong.  It is debilitating.  It stops me from obedience.  It will keep me from living wildly.  It is the reasoning of the human mind, not of Christ.  And it will never allow me to live the full life.

Didn't I promise my God that I wanted to follow Him?  Really follow Him?  For if I claim to follow Him, I must live as Jesus did.  Christ, He lived big and He lived wild and He lived uninhibited. He lived LOVE.  He did not sacrifice just in death.  He sacrificed in life.

We are praying, Lord.  We are crying out to you and we are quaking in our boots.  But we are ready for this life unrestrained.  Show us what you are calling our family to.  The love of Christ compels us!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Beauty for Ashes

Tears have certainly been shed today as I consider this part of the story God has written over my life.  I am indescribably thankful.  Glory to His name!!

Humbled by your reading just a portion of God's work in me, for truly, He has needed to do much more in me than just this.  You can find it here.

Friday, March 29, 2013


 In our Easter garden this day, all is dark, just as the world was on that Friday so many years ago.  The tomb is now inhabited and a stone covers it's entry.  Silence.

Sweet 2-year-old voice plays in my head.  Big blue eyes that see with such depth and express thought in that perfect way that only a toddler can.

"Look, mommy, he's a hero!"

Yes, baby, he is THE hero.

We wait in anticipation, for death does not have the victory today.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Choice

Oh Lord God.  To find thanks in my trial... this is so hard, Father. To be joyful for this?  This gnashing of teeth, these anger-filled words, this moment of screaming so loud that my voice catches, breaks.  And little ones, Father.  Six precious eyes so big, gazing, gaping wide.  Lips protruding with quivers.  They are still, those bodies that wriggle and squirm and run all day, they are still.  Silent.

And yet, to find thanks for tears falling, too?  Not theirs, but mine. Such guilt.  Such shame.  Huge, gushing drops falling so fast I can't count them.  But You do, Lord.  You know their number.  Do you love me so much, even now?  Even when Ugly comes and leaves nothing but silence in it's wake?

The tears... falling and falling and perhaps never stopping.  Cascading onto pancakes flipping, eggs tossed on plates.  And little
voices whispering, their tiny sounds breaking the silence of worry, of fear.  "Momma, are you done cryin'?"

And still, you ask thanks, for their Daddy's absence at just such a time?  The man who would take spatula from sobbing wife and feed hungry mouths and allow me escape.  Tenderness calming fears, strong arms enfolding, gentle quietness speaking more than words.

Yet even now, you show me.  Joyful thanks for wholehearted amazement.  For lessons of reliance on my God, not the spatula-wielding, child-feeding man.  For humility, for don't I often pray that prayer?  For tender hearts that probe my heart and cry out for me to seek what I most desire.

What YOU most desire.  Not life defeated, a crumpled mess on a cold, hard floor.  To live, Lord.  To live with depth.  For eyes that see Truth.  Clarity.  The old victory over this anger, it was but one battle.  A big one, perhaps.  Yet You gently smile and nod your head.  A layer, my dear.  Just a layer.  I long to take you deeper still.  

Grasping tightly, I am ready.  So much gratitude for wherever You take me, Lord.  I am ready, only with You.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

We Are Frantically Gulping Down Every Last Drop of Summer

Please pardon my continued absence, my friends, while we take care of the important stuff around here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Will

There, in the middle of Walmart, it was happening.  Again.  He had chosen to disobey, and when made to sit in the cart as a result of his actions, the fit began.  The screaming, the shaking, the red face.

He's always had a very strong will, but this is a new thing.  My husband and I spoke in hushed tones as we drove away from the store, frustrated and scared and unsure what to do.  After we reached our house, it started up again in full force, until he was dry-heaving from screaming so hard.

My precious boy who can snuggle up to me at the drop of a hat and lay close while I sing "How Great Thou Art" into his ear.  The one who tells jokes and laughs and finds such excitement in life.  My boy who, at 3, already wants to save the world... as long as he can take a light saber and cape with him.  HE is not this one - this boy who throws an angry fit until he's literally sick from screaming for over an hour, allowing nothing to calm him.

Feeling sorry for myself, I found myself sobbing by the end of the week.  Why is he doing this?  What are we supposed to do?  I am so desperately afraid, to the very core of my soul, that we are completely messing up this child!!

The next morning I awoke to this scripture in my email inbox:
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
 I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. 
Isaiah 42:16

My spirit soared within me as I read it, read it again, and then hurried into the bathroom to share it with my husband, getting ready for work.  He has shown me this before, my God.  Yet He knows how human I am, and how I often am lost in this "spiritual amnesia" (as Ann Voskamp so beautifully coined it).

I drank it in; let it fill every crevice of every dark place within my bones.

YES - this is a place we have not known - and we are absolutely blind.  He will lead us.  YES - this is darkness to us.  He will turn it into light right before our awestruck and humbled eyes.  YES - this is most certainly a rough place.  Yet even as I write, He is making it smooth.  He promised it would be so.  And I believe Him with all of my anguished and joy-filled heart.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Be Careful How You Celebrate A Birthday

True, your little girl only turns 5 once.  That being said, if you allow the birthday girl to think she's the star for three days in a row, you just might be setting a bad precedent.  For those of you who desire a loving first-week-of-being-five, with snuggles and kisses and gentle whispers of, "Yes, right away, Mommy!"... here is a list of what NOT to do:

Day One:  Talk all day about the coming slumber party/movie-fest with her 2 besties.

That evening, take her and said besties, along with BOTH Mommy and Daddy, to the theater.

After sodas the size of their heads and an extra-large bag of candy at the theater, proceed to your house where you allow them to eat a giant piece of sugar with extra-fattening sugar added onto the top,

Allow her to model new clothes as if she is the focal point of the evening.

And let her choose not only where to sleep (a giant fortress built by Daddy in the basement), but also at what time she would prefer to travel on to Slumberland.

Day Two:  Awake the Sleeping Beauties to the wafting aroma of birthday-girl pancakes.  More sugary goodness in a whole-wheat pancake disguise.

For a birthday t-ball game that is ridiculously being played while it is 104 degrees outside, be sure your child shares her developing diabetes with the entire t-ball team.

Leave the t-ball game and venture to the grandparent's house where more spoiling awaits.  

*Here is the most fun part - do not miss this step!*  Do not attempt to put the birthday girl in bed before 10:00.  As she was up until midnight the night before with another little chatterbox, this is the moment when you will finally recall, with deathly clarity, the words of your own mother ringing in your ears, "Well if you're going to act like this after you go to a slumber party, then you're just not going to the next one!"

 Day 3:  Detox, detox, detox.  And then when a package arrives from the Utah family brimming over with more presents than the Obama kids have, you can detox all over again.

Oh yes, and make sure to do one more thing.  When, in her delusional and exhausted state, she comes to you 10 times a day and asks you to hold her... put down your laundry, sit down on the chair, and snuggle up close.  
And just try. not. to. blink.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Remember the Dora bedspread? That girl dresses herself now. I realize what a hypocrite I will be when I
admit this, but she actually wore her Disney Princess pajamas to Kohl's with me last night.

To all the moms I judged pre-children for allowing their kids to look like this when out in public, I sincerely apologize. I now realize how important it is to help them build confidence through making their own choices.

On the agenda for tomorrow: hiding all of the character and holiday clothing behind the sweaters on the top shelf of my closet, followed by fervent prayers that she'll forget all about them.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ten Years and Better Than Ever

Ten years ago today I married this man.  He is the love of my life; the one my heart loves.  I never could've imagined where the last ten years would take us and I wouldn't change it for the world. I especially never knew how watching him be a tender, loving, so-much-fun Daddy could cause me to fall more in love than ever with him. I am looking forward with great anticipation to all the new adventures God will bring us together!