I love Public School – Confessions of a Homeschooled Mom

Today the Thanksgiving break ends and my little munchkins head back to public school. Will you think me a bad mom if inside I did a little happy dance?!

Sweetest kids!

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I was homeschooled 10 of the 12 years of my school life (two years were in small Christian schools). In the 80’s. We were the jean jumper wearing, Bible Belt, conservative evangelical, Volkswagen bus driving, homeschool freaks. It really wasn’t as bad as it sounds, but I think I’m still recovering.

Actually my parents made the choice to homeschool us out of profound love. There were lots of motivating factors. I had (at the time undiagnosed) ADHD. We moved frequently due to dad’s job. Schools in rural Mississippi back then were substandard, to say the least.

That was then. This is now.

For a while I felt so guilty that I wasn’t homeschooling my kids. As I’ve traveled this parenting road, though, I’m becoming more and more comfortable with the decisions my husband and I make.

When my son reached kindergarten age, six years ago, we lived in Wyoming. It’s a wealthy state, their schools are excellent, class size is small. I had become very sick. And I had a toddler. In some ways circumstances forced the decision. God does that occasionally; he uses our weaknesses, our available resources, and other people to help us change course. I’ll confess I tried to homeschool him for the first month of kindergarten. I almost died. So did he.

The relief I felt that first day I walked him into his classroom, several streets away, and left him in the capable hands of a veteran teacher was palpable!

Our family has the tendency to move as frequently as my family of origin did. My now sixth grade son has been in public school in Wyoming, Ohio, Alabama, and Georgia (that’s another topic). And in each school I have found incredible things to celebrate.

Here is why I love public school:

  • I’m not a teacher. My mother was a patient teacher, wholehearted homemaker, inquisitive. I’ve got my own style, and that’s not it. Every parent needs to engage, but that’s going to look different in every family.
  • Diversity. My kids are learning to work with and value children and adults of many colors and ethnicities, as well as unique physical and mental challenges, and belief systems. Exposure to diversity is good.
  • Discipleship opportunities. Certainly my parents discipled me and I had some very unique experiences. For our immediate family though I feel we are more intentional and consistent in teaching our kids how to approach life with truth and grace when they are in school.
  • Relationship building. We’ve gotten to know a variety of families and individuals we wouldn’t have known otherwise and have a different presence in the community than if we were homeschooling.
  • Missional opportunities. As I’ve spent time at school volunteering I’ve prayed regularly for children in obviously vulnerable situations. I’ve prayed for the teachers and staff, and I hope our family’s little light has shined.

Honestly we’ve been blessed to have some amazing teachers. Some have very actively built into our children’s spiritual life by teaching them to be spiritual leaders in the class, when they themselves can’t be. I know teachers have prayed for my kids and have nurtured their gifts. I’m beyond thankful.

We’ve also had a couple of stinky teachers. Teachers unwilling to be gentle or fair. Teachers overworked and overwhelmed who haven’t handled situations well. Which has provided opportunities for our kids to learn how to advocate for what’s best for themselves (with our help of course). In one situation we moved our daughter to a new classroom. She learned through that process that her parents were for her, that she had a voice, and that sometimes change just needs to happen. They’ve also learned healthy conflict management and to live at peace with everyone so far as it depends on them.

Recently Max had an unpleasant encounter with a fellow student. He was called names and punched. It hurt. He was embarrassed and sad. Thankfully a teacher saw what happened and got involved. The situation was an opportunity to learn that life isn’t fair. Sometimes people are mean to us, not because of us but because ugliness is in their hearts. He learned that he can only control how he responds. We talked about a kingdom response to that kind of mistreatment and how Jesus called his followers to a unique way of life. To mercy, forgiveness, and compassion. We imagined the boys circumstances. What if he’s abused at home, or his parents cuss at him? What if he doesn’t have a dad at home and he hasn’t had a right example set for him? We also signed him up for Taekwondo.

I’m proud of my kids willingness to try to respond correctly. I’m proud they care about following Jesus wherever they are.

I do realize one day we may face circumstances that warrant stepping in and protecting or removing them from a situation. Until then I’m thankful for the opportunity to help them stand on their own feet. I’m also thankful for a school system with a lot of like minded people. I think choosing to send kids to an inner city school would be a whole different decision.

Let me make sure you hear me say that I’m not knocking homeschooling. There is no wrong style to parent our kids so long as a strong foundation of love and truth is being laid. And maybe that’s my point. I’m thankful for public school because it fits our family, it’s been a great way to educate and disciple our children. But I’m also thankful for the option of homeschool. Sometimes it fits best and offers a deeper relationship with parents that kids need. We actually did homeschool Max in the second grade, and both Max and Maggie for part of last year as we were moving. But those were the exception for our family and just confirmed our decision to send them to public school.

Education is a constantly changing beast. Occasionally we all need to evaluate how things are going in our home, question why we’ve made certain decisions, and ask if adjustments need to be made.

For homeschoolers ask yourself; Am I homeschooling my kids out of fear? If the answer is no. Great! Blaze ahead making sure to engage them in the world around them. If the answer is yes, address that fear. Communicating that the world is dangerous and bad is not helpful to your kids. Of course bad things do happen and human nature has been harmed by sin. But the image of God alive in people and the beauty of creation makes the world a wonderful place, one that your children can affect for the better. Protecting them from the world is a poor motivation for homeschooling. Teaching them to interact with the world and influence it in a positive way is healthy.

For public schoolers (and private schoolers for that matter) ask yourself; Am I appropriately involved in my kids education and social life? If the answer is yes. Great? Keep on investing in your kids and community. If no, re-evaluate your level of engagement. The only way to have kids in the school system is to participate. Get to know their teachers, volunteer at school, get to know their friends, keep lines of communication open. Be careful not to assume anything, not the worst or the best. Have realistic expectations. Set a godly example for your children and help them navigate relationships and the secular arena well.

Parenting is hard work! We will all mess up some time or another. Guaranteed. I learned a long time ago that the best gift we can offer our kids is healthy parents. If we are whole mentally, spiritually, emotionally, relationally, etc. our kids will have a secure place to grow from. You can homeschool them  or public school them but if you have a broken view of God,  poor relationship habits, unresolved anger, or a bitter heart it will make little difference where they get their education.

Embrace whatever choice your family has made for educating your kids, but even more so, embrace the power of God alive in you to be an example of a person growing daily in truth and grace. Your kids are watching to see how you deal with life, that is their biggest education by far!

I want to hear from you! What challenges have you faced in educating your kids?

And please feel free to pass this post on to friends or family who are wrestling with these issues. Invite them to join the conversation too!

Why tell our children about Christians being beheaded?

Cross 10The news is surreal. It has become all too common to see orange jump suited captives being led to slaughter by evil hidden in black masks. For years Pastor Saeed has been incarcerated for his faith. Around the world Christians are paying dearly in this life to gain an inheritance of faith in the next. The cross still costs. But here in America we don’t feel the pain like our brothers and sisters do.

I’m tempted to hide the reality of the world from my kids. I hide a lot of ugly from them already. I limit their exposure to media, news, commercials. They are 11 and 6. I don’t apologize for guarding their minds and hearts.

Ultimately my goal is that they learn how to guard their own hearts from evil and value what is holy. Yet I don’t want them to wake up from a make believe world unprepared. Knowing what to expose our children to and what to shield them from isn’t easy. I didn’t chose to let them watch the Super Bowl half-time show. It seemed unnecessary to need to explain to them why a girl would sing “I kissed a girl and I liked it.” But I have shown them pictures of me holding a malnourished child in an Eastern European mental institution. If God provides the means I would even take them to stand in that harsh reality.  It all feels like a balancing act. One I think each parent has to navigate according to prayerful wisdom and conscience.

This week as I looked at the pictures of those brave men kneeling at the feet of masked killers I had to ask myself, “at what point do we tell our children about the sacrifice our brothers and sisters are making globally?” How can we expect them to understand the sacrifice? Will the truth frighten them?

It’s strange to me that a scene so grizzly could also be so precious. For centuries the cross has resisted our natural attempts at whitewashing. Nevertheless it will always be an invitation to death. We who would follow must lay down our earthly lives and desires. Some saints are asked to do so in the rawest of ways. They make us stand at attention. We have to ask ourselves if we are serving the same gospel.

When we read the list in Hebrews 11 of the faithful and their legacy I think it’s our duty to add the names of modern day martyrs to that list. The world isn’t worthy of them, eternity is.

I want my children to understand eternal things. I want them to know that life is about more than game cube and Nerf guns and barbies. Human hearts are hungry for meaning and valor. And while it pains me to tell my children something they can’t truly understand, something that will make them sad, I want so much for them to understand the eternal nature of their relationship with Jesus. I want them to know he’s called them to something far greater than comfort.

I won’t tell my children that the death of the 21 Egyptian Christians is a travesty of justice. I won’t compare their deaths to a Muslim’s or say it’s unfair because of the lack of political outrage. Because they deserve more honor than that. They deserve to be recognized for understanding that faith is eternal and worth infinitely more than what this world has to offer. I don’t want my children to compare the death of these saints with an Islamic jihadist or see it in light of politics. I want them to hold their deaths up to the standard of scripture and hear what Jesus has to say about them.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12

If we are careful to study God’s word we can see the warning of what’s to come in this life. I wonder at our shock. Not our sorrow, but our shock. How have we forgotten that Jesus calls it an honor to die for the gospel and every one of his followers should be prepared to lay down their lives? I wonder if we understand that what’s happening globally isn’t truly political, it is the birth pangs of redemption.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t speak up for freedom, protect the innocent, and stand for life. That is something we should value for all mankind. We should work toward equality and liberty. But we must also recognize the nature of the fight. We have to know evil doesn’t fight by the rules and the battle reaches beyond what our eyes can see or our minds understand.

As hard as it is I will tell my children about the faith of these men, their brothers, because I want them to learn to value what God values. I want them to learn to stand in honor of what’s honorable. And through it all I want them to learn to pray that the blood of the martyrs will sow the seeds of the gospel, even among their captors. I want my kids to learn to live with eternal perspective and values.

Of course it’s easy for me to pay respect to these brothers and sisters from a comfortable armchair in a very safe town on the other side of the ocean. But I think it’s important in light of these violent days to practice our faith muscles. We don’t want to be caught off guard and unprepared. And ultimately we have a job to do. In America we may not be asked to die for the gospel but it’s our responsibility to pray for those who are.

Mamas, let’s lose the guilt in 2015

lose the guiltFew groups seem to have a corner on the market of guilt like moms. Can I get an amen?

You just put in the third Barney video of the morning (wait it’s 12:00, does that count as morning?), your kid has only eaten dry Cheerios (mostly off the floor), and you have no idea when you’ll get dressed for the day.

You know what? It’s okay!

How do I know? Because I’ve been there.

My kids are 10 and 6 now. Hallelujah, they can get their own breakfast (sort of)!

But I remember those sleep deprived, haven’t seen another adult all week (other than my sleep deprived husband), will I ever be more than a lactating feeding station, days. Now I’m in the media patrolling, manner reminding, refereeing stage. It really hasn’t gotten a lot easier. Although I do sleep more (that’s a definite bonus!).

Being a mama is hard. It’s easy to feel like we never do enough, that we don’t have our act together. It’s easy to feel guilty that we’re not getting this parenting thing right.

Here are some words we all need to hear.

It’s going to be okay.

It really is. You will survive, your kids will survive, and actually they’ll probably do more than survive, they will shine. Take a deep breath and don’t stress out over that third Barney video, some days are just like that!

I had a pediatrician tell me once that toddlers are perfectly capable of surviving solely on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I loved that man. Likely your toddler (or preteen) will grow out of their three-food-only phase too. Now that I look back I can see that with a little patience, trust, and love most of the things I worried about when my kids were tiny have worked themselves out. And as we run screaming towards middle school, I’m believe that will continue to be the case.

You’re doing great!

When’s the last time someone’s told you you’re doing a great job? Well, you are! You might not feel like it right now but it’s true. If you have kissed a boo-boo, said I love you, read a book, or wiped a nose in the last day (or maybe all of the above in the last hour) then you really are.

It is no easy task to be a small human’s superman, but that’s what moms who care are. You keep your pulse on the emotional needs of your family, sacrifice for their well-being, keep tabs of their physical needs and respond at a moment’s notice. You are amazing! Give yourself a high-five and cut yourself some slack!

I won’t judge you.

I might encounter you at the grocery store, or playground, or school, but wherever it is I promise I won’t judge you. Even if you don’t have your act together that day. I so get it. Chances are just yesterday I didn’t either, and I probably won’t tomorrow. There are a thousand ways to raise a child – organic, not organic; home schooled, public schooled; breastfed, bottle fed. The list goes on and on. Thing is, most of these aren’t right or wrong issues, they are just some of the many ways we can care for our families.

As long as children are being raised with love there’s a lot of room to cut each other slack. On the other hand children are regularly abused and I’ve never been one to shirk from asking the hard questions and involving the right people when that’s necessary. But even in those situations there’s a lot of room for understanding and compassion because this parenting thing is not easy.

So moms can we agree not to judge? Let’s put our eyes back in our heads, stop the whispering, and offer a friendly smile to each other!

In this new year I wish you confidence, joy, and a good night’s sleep! If you get a chance scoot those bath toys out of the way and have a good soak in the tub. Run the kids around the house a few times and put them to bed early so you can watch a movie with your husband (or maybe all by your lonesome!). Breathe a prayer over those babies and trust them to Stronger Hands than your own. It’s going to be okay.

And while you’re at it pass this on to all the moms you know who need a virtual high-five and tell them they’re doing a good job too!

Kids Need Community Too

Maggie and her friend Nathan

Maggie and her friend Nathan

I don’t know about you but in a world full of bad news I find it easy to over protect my kids. That’s part of our responsibility as parents – protecting and setting boundaries around our children. The statistics of abuse are constantly screaming at us. We don’t want the next tragic story to be our kids.

I have to admit one of the draws of homeschool for me is constant access to my children. I don’t have to wonder if someone is taking advantage of my son in a school locker room.

And while that fear of other adults taking advantage of our kids should be a very real consideration I don’t think it should become a motivation.

Suspicion isn’t something we want to teach our kids. Caution perhaps, wise evaluation, but not to be suspicious of everyone.

If I’m honest I need my kids to have the godly influence of other adults in their lives. Kids need community too. They need to see unique men and women approach life from different perspectives and experiences. I want them to ask questions of, laugh with, and even at times confide in other mature adults. The grace of Jesus takes on new depth when seen through another person’s story.

So how do we lose the fear and embrace community?

1. Set boundaries. I think we can alleviate our fears by maintaining certain boundaries. I don’t allow my children, who are six and ten, to sleep over at anyone’s house that is not family or that I don’t know very well or have a history of trust with. Allow conversations and interaction with adults to happen with your children during preset boundaries and in less intimate or private circumstances.

A sleep over is not necessary to build a relationship, but a trip to Dairy Queen – a public setting for a brief period of time, is completely reasonable. Of course the older and more mature a child is there’s less need for strict boundaries and more room for involved guidance in those relationships.

Any adult who seeks or pushes for unlimited, private access to your kids should be viewed with caution.

2. Listen to your child. Sometimes connections happen naturally and your child will feel an immediate friendship to an adult. Maybe it’s their personality or life experience, whatever it is your child just likes them. If they appear to be a good influence and responsible let the relationship take shape. Remember they don’t have to be perfect, and you may not even connect with them yourself.

That being said if your child is resistant to an adult listen to that as well. You may know the ‘perfect’ mentor for them with a good reputation who says all the right things. But if your child is uncomfortable or resistant don’t push.

3. Bring the relationships home. Encourage adults to spend time with your family. Maybe it’s a young college student your kids love. Have them over for pizza and a game night. Or maybe a senior citizen has shown interest in your kids. Invite them to join you for a holiday celebration with your family.

Having adults in your home allows you a chance to observe how your child and their adult friend interact. If there are manners or behaviors you need to address with your child you can see that right away. It also allows you to connect with the adult so that you can be partners in your child’s life. If an older child is being mentored by an adult you trust never ask them to break confidence, but do partner together to talk about ways to help or encourage your child.

I had some amazing adults in my life as I was growing up. Couples who invested in my siblings and me, women who nurtured my heart. My relationship with my parents was overall a very good one, with the occasional bumpy season, but I still benefited from godly adults speaking into my life.

I could make a list of people from early childhood through the first years of marriage who wove meaning and truth into my life. Grateful doesn’t describe it. I want the same for my kids. And I’m happy to say I see that happening. (Big shout out to Miss Kathy, Miss Amanda, Nathan C., and Chris S.!)

Instead of seeing a predator behind every bush we can set healthy boundaries in our family and encourage mature adults to positively influence our kids. We will all be the richer for it!

How I became an Accidental Homeschooler

Max readingToday, much to my amusement, I found myself teaching little people. We started a unit study on Egypt, went to the library, reviewed some math skills from last year, and spread the table with markers, papers, scissors, pencils and books. 

I shake my head and chuckle. Often. Life is weird isn’t it?

I always wondered if I would homeschool my kids or not. I’m a recovering homeschool kid from the 80’s. Oh yeah, we’re talking, Bill Gothard, jean jumpers, Volkswagen bus, and Carmen kind of recovery. I don’t want my family to be known as “the homeschoolers”. I’ve already done that.

But like I said, life is weird. And everything has changed since the 80’s, aren’t we all glad. My 5th grader has been to 4 years of public school, including kindergarten, a couple of years ago I taught him at home. My philosophy is that life is full of change, as parents we have to evaluate what works constantly.

In this season of life my family is facing a move before the school year is out. (If we don’t move before then we’ll have other issues to worry about due to my husband’s reduced employment.) Homeschooling makes sense to us. If we’re going to move I hope to keep the re-adjustment for the kids to a minimum. It probably goes deeper than that too. The balance between releasing a 6 and 10 year old into a messy, imperfect, public arena, and smothering them in an over protective bubble is not something I’ve found the secret to just yet. So I do my best. This year it looks like homeschool.

As I kick of the year as a former homeschooler who’s homeschooling here are a few lessons I’ve learned.

Parenting should never be us against them.

There are hundreds of ways to parent. Different isn’t wrong. Just because I’m homeschooling doesn’t mean I think public or private schools are a bad choice. I would love to see more grace between parents and less criticism and insecurity.  It’s easy to divide ourselves into the stay at home mom, working mom, single parent, homeschooling, public schooling, little family, big family, camps. But I don’t think we should. There is too much to learn from each other we might otherwise miss. When my kids were born I was a stay at home mom. Up until kindergarten I wrestled with the schooling decision and then became a stay at home public schooling mom. A few years later I was a stay at home and homeschooling mom, the next year I was a public schooling and working mom, this year I’m back to stay at home and home schooling. You know what? It’s all hard. But my priority has stayed the same; raise kids that understand their purpose is to glorify God and to find satisfaction following him, to be mannerly, community minded, and kind. I think we should cut each other slack. 

Let go

This is a hard one. But I’ve seen it a hundred times. We forget that our children were born to us so that we could raise them into adults, ready to thrive in the next generation. That requires continual letting go. This is especially hard if you homeschool. Ask me how I know. Actually that’s another post. It’s hard on mom’s and kids when you spend 24/7 with each other, for years, and then it’s time to fly away. For those of us homeschooling it’s important to be intentional about training our children to be responsible and independent and then give them opportunities to practice. Of course those opportunities should always be age appropriate and safe. It can start as simply as taking your toddler to a babysitter regularly and be as white knuckled as sending your teenager across the world on a missions trip or summer abroad program. While it’s essential for us homeschoolers to provide those solo test runs for our kids, it’s just as important for families with kids in school too. I think mostly it begins with the attitude that these precious kids aren’t ours. They’re a sacred trust. Our amazing job is to get them ready for the adventure of following God out into the wide world, using their own flare. It’s not about us.

Remember to connect with their hearts

In the business of making sure everyone has their lunch and gets to activities on time, or that every subject is covered during the school day and chores are done it’s easy to miss our kid’s hearts. Which is sad, because that’s what we’re aiming for, isn’t it. I find sometimes though that I’ll get to the end of the day and while I’ve spent the entire day with my kids I haven’t really had those moments where you know you’ve connected at the heart. I think it’s important for us as parents to be interruptable. It’s important to have structure and goals, but not to the detriment of grabbing a hold of teachable moments. More important then knowledge is character, more important than skill is love. Sometimes it’s okay to be late or miss a dance class when a little heart pours out questions and asks why. Why are clouds fluffy and far away and do you think heaven is behind them and how do I get there? You just don’t want to miss those moments. So whether it’s staying up a few minutes later than usual or putting the book you’re reading down, don’t miss the opportunity to grab and shape your kid’s heart. I’m so talking to myself here.

Don’t sweat it

All that being said, don’t sweat it. If you’re worried about being a good parent I’m going to bet you won’t mess up too badly. Your kids will survive you! I’ve already started apologizing to mine. Kids are forgiving and resilient, and God is gracious. Remember? I survived homeschool in the 80’s and I’m not too messed up and actually, weird as it was, I’m grateful for my jean jumper, homeschooled years. I have amazing memories of exploring nature with my adventurous mom, wonderful art and music appreciation, luxurious days spent with my brother and sister side kick romping the woods with a BB gun and imaginations. I also know what it feels like to worry about a small boy being picked on at public school and not communicating well with a teacher and just wondering if you’re doing it right. As parents the best thing we can do is press in, be present, shepherd their hearts and enjoy. But worry drives wedges and causes us to miss out on the good stuff. Parenting with fear is rarely effective, parenting with love is powerful. I’m still working on that. 

So moms (and dads) here’s to a great school year, whatever kind you choose!

Let’s Pray For Our Kids on this Thanksgiving Day!

Friends, I’m thankful for you!

Thankful for your reading and commenting, thankful that you join me to pray for our kids. Thankful that you let me share this journey that’s gone from accidental to purposeful. Thankful that you share your own beautiful journey with me! Truly you bless my heart.

Takingawalk

As we pause this Thanksgiving to savor the goodness of life, the kindness of God to us, let’s thank him for our children. As much as they may drive us crazy day to day and stretch us to our limits they are great treasures aren’t they! My children are the greatest blessings I never knew I wanted!

I hope this thanksgiving season, as we’ve practiced thankfulness as a family, my kids hearts have grown. I long for them to be blessed and be a blessing to others. I heard this gorgeous Psalm earlier in the week and I wanted to pray that it would be true in our kids lives as they grow. Feast your heart on it’s powerful words.

I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart;
I will sing your praises before the gods.
I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed
by all the honor of your name.
As soon as I pray, you answer me;
you encourage me by giving me strength.

Every king in all the earth will thank you, Lord,
for all of them will hear your words.
Yes, they will sing about the Lord’s ways,
for the glory of the Lord is very great.
Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble,
but he keeps his distance from the proud.

Though I am surrounded by troubles,
you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
and the power of your right hand saves me.
The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
Don’t abandon me, for you made me. Psalm 138

Father, we bow down and give you thanks for your unfailing love. We pray that your faithfulness will reach out to our children. Thank you for answering us as we pray for them, for your kindness, protection, guidance, and grace. Will you work out your plans for their lives, caring for their humble hearts, protecting and saving the little ones you have made. Thank you for blessing our lives with our children. Each one different and precious, with purpose and value. Thank you for the joy and challenge of parenting them. Thank you for walking with us on this parenting journey and strengthening our hand to the task. Amen.

I hope your day is filled with laughter, warm memories and new ones being made, and the sweet presence of Jesus. Bless you friends on this Thanksgiving day!

I want to hear about your kids! What are you thankful for in your children’s lives?

Project Thanks ~ Week 4

Project ThanksI’ve got to confess this week was crazy busy and we lost some momentum in expressing our thanks as a family. But this is our last week and I’d like to end this project on a good note! So let’s finish off this week by thanking some people who are very near to my heart.

Everyone wants to be appreciated and recognized but I think there is a group of people especially in need of our thanks, our spiritual leaders. I am so thankful for our pastor, my husband (our worship pastor), and our children’s ministry leader at church. What a huge gift they are to me and my children.

Of course I have a unique view on things, I was raised in a pastor’s family and am now married to a pastor. I have never been engaged in more difficult or rewarding work than growing in intimacy with Jesus and then leading others to do the same. Ministry life is not for wimps, it’s for bravehearts.

My life is better because I’m led well by godly men, and my kids hearts are stronger because of the nurture they receive at church. I am thankful.

I hope you can say the same thing. I hope you have a pastor, a women’s ministry leader, a Sunday school teacher, etc. who has led you to Jesus, enriched your life, nudged your faith into new territories! If so, this week (busy as it is) will you join me in saying thanks? I know they will appreciate the encouragement. A plate of cookies, a thoughtful note, an offer to babysit will go a long way in telling them you see their hard work and value their commitment.

So, have you joined me on this journey of thanks over the last few weeks? If so what have you learned?

I’ve learned that it takes time, and sometimes planning, to be aware of other people. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own lives and lose sight of others; it takes effort to see the people around us. I’ve also learned a thank you goes a long way in building strong communication.

I hope you will join me in telling the spiritual leaders of your life thank you this week, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!