Homeschool Burnout | 5 Things to Consider

Homeschool Burnout? 5 Things to Remember

Welcome to March—home of the spring month!

For me, the month of March is a lot like Wednesdays; if you can survive it, the end of your journey will be here before you know it. 

It’s that time of year when many of us are just about halfway through the second semester of homeschooling. January and February came and went, and April and May will soon follow suit. With that said, some of us are feeling the middle-of-the-semester blues—also known as homeschool burnout.

The discussion of homeschool burnout is alive and brewing all over homeschool communities. And for good reason—it can wear a sistah down! I’m talking about dreading the day so much that you don’t want to leave your bed in the morning, neglecting homeschool responsibilities because you’re overwhelmed, and having an intense desire to enroll your kids in public school—any school—as long as it doesn’t take place in your house!

I’m here to tell you, it’s okay.

Just breathe.

Homeschool is a calling. And like most callings, there will good days and bad ones. We’ve got a tough job! But these trials are supposed to help us grow in character, perseverance, and faith. They are not meant to break us.

Here are five things to remember when you’re experiencing the infamous “homeschool burnout.”

1.    With God all things are possible. 

Challenging, yes—but still possible. The truth is, homeschooling our children is not supposed to be easy. We’re taking on the full responsibility of our children’s education. That’s a big deal! But know that with Christ we can overcome these challenges and persevere. I want you to say this aloud right now:

“With Christ’s help, I can successfully homeschool my child/ren.”

Write down that declaration and put it in a place in your home where you’ll always see it.

Verses to study:

>    Mathew 19:26—With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

>    Philippians 4:13—I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.

>    Mathew 6:33—But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

2.    Teaching God’s word should be the first priority. 

It’s in the word of God, so don’t shoot the messenger.

Let’s look at the bigger picture:

One day our children will be adults. It’d be a shame to realize only then that we’d been so focused on academics and social opportunities that we’ve put God’s word on the backburner. Teaching God’s word to our children goes beyond memorizing verses. It’s an intentional training! Meaning, we are to help our children apply those verses to their everyday lives.

Sometimes, our burnout is God’s way of telling us to slow down, drop the extra-curricular activities, close the textbooks, and intentionally teach our children how to live a holy life the best way we know how.

Verses to study:

>    Proverbs 22:6—Start children off in the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

>   Ephesians 6:4—Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

> Deuteronomy 11:19—Teach my word to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

3.    You need God’s help. 

Listen, we are trying to carry a weight that it takes multiple teachers, staff, and administration to carry. It’s no wonder we sometimes feel like we’re sinking! But if we are truly called to homeschool, God will make provisions for us. The only requirement? Submitting to God and trusting Him to help us.

Verses to study:

>    Psalm 121:1-2—Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

>    Mathew 11:28—Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

>    Psalm 146:5—Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.

4.    There’s a season for everything. 

Homeschool for every family looks different. Some of us will have seasons of public school—or even perhaps seasons of other types of schooling. You may be called to homeschool for one year or eighteen years. Whatever God’s plan is for your family, remember to enjoy your season of homeschool while it’s still here.

Verses to study:

>    Ecclesiastes 3:1—There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

>    Jeremiah 8:7—Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons.

>    Titus 1:3—Now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me.

5.    God gives us everything we need to homeschool. 

How many times have we asked God to give us more patience? Wisdom? Faith? Money?

In this crazy homeschool life, we have everything we need: love, faith, patience, knowledge, wisdom, resources, and more! All of these components grow not by asking God for MORE, but by asking God to help us steward the measure He’s already given us. These virtues don’t magically fall out of the sky. We have to WORK to mature in these areas. They are like muscles—the more we train, the stronger we’ll be.

Verses to study:

>    2 Peter 1:3—His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

>    Philippians 4:19—And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

>    Matthew 6:8—For your father knows what you need before you ask Him.


 

If you are experiencing burnout, I pray that God gives you rest. If you have any tips on how to address/avoid burnout, please leave your comment down below for your fellow homeschool mom/parent!

Be sure to read my other post on burnout: Homeschool Burnout | One Mistake I Didn’t Know I Was Making

Merry Christmas Black Family

A Christmas Note For You

Merry Christmas, friends!

I hope this greeting finds you full of health, joy, and prosperity. I just want to hop on this blog quickly to wish you well. And since it’d be awkward to write a two-sentence post, I’ll share what we’ve been up to.

Yesterday, we enjoyed a relaxing day with our family. I was able to just be because I’d already completed my Christmas shopping before December and did most of my wrapping this weekend. I also organized and got rid of a ton of stuff via donation.

Family Christmas 2018

It was a great day here in Middle Georgia. It was an unusually warm winter day. All we needed was a light jacket and a smile. The sun was blindingly beautiful and very much welcomed after a couple days of gloomy weather. My boys took full advantage and rode their bikes up and down the street with their friend next door.

Later, we had a gift card to Chick-fil-a so it only made sense to bypass cooking and have a tasty drive-through dinner at our favorite fast food joint. Their spicy chicken deluxe sandwich is my fav! I love how our local Chick-fil-a decorates during this time of year. The giant cone tree filled with sparkling lights. The bedazzled manicured bushes. The fairy-light trimmings adorning the building. It’s so fun and festive!

FYI: My meal didn’t survive the drive home.

That night, we let the boys open one gift. When I was a child, my mother always allowed us to open one present on Christmas Eve, so we kept up this tradition with our children. The boys ended up opening their gifts to each other. I love to take my boys on individual shopping trips to pick out gifts for one another. It encourages them to be thoughtful and strengthens their bond.

Since my little-one loves stuffed animals, his brother got him a plush horse. It walks. It’s loud. It’s annoying. But little brother LOVED it. Although judging from the disapproving look on my husband’s face, I think Munchie will have a mysterious disappearance soon. And, yes, Munchie is the horse’s name.

For older brother, my little-one picked out a Perler bead kit. My eldest son had asked for this kit (and many other things!) during one of our shopping trips to Hobby Lobby. But it was NOT on the list, so I said no. No worries, though, little bro had his big brother’s back and gifted him the kit full of thousands of beads that’ll probably end up in the vacuum. Big brother loved it and the entire family had an impromptu crafting session.

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During our crafting session, I asked the boys what they thought Christmas was all about. We’ve had this conversation last Christmas, but I was curious as to what they’ve extracted from it. I love hearing things from a child’s perspective. My eldest son said it best, “It’s about celebrating Christ being born and saving us from our sins.” Oh, how this celebration should take place every single day of our lives!

After watching Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas on Netflix and sipping some hot cocoa, the boys were fast asleep. Soon, the presents rolled out of the closet and made their way underneath the Christmas tree. Join me on Instagram to get a glimpse of my Christmas Eve winddown on Instastory.

When it’s all said and done, I’m truly thankful for the life God has given me.

I want to end this post by saying this Christmas, please take the time to pick up the phone and call someone who could use it right now. Some people have a difficult time during the holidays. I, myself, have a friend who’s entire family literally just fell apart after her husband walked out on them. Today will be tough for her and her children.

And if you’re the one going through the holiday blues right now. Take heart. I empathize with you. I know there’s very little I can say to ease your pain. But just know that nothing lasts forever. Your pain won’t last forever. May you experience comfort during your season of grief, sadness, depression—or whatever you’re going through. May your suffering not be in vain. May you smile for the first time in days. Weeks. Months. May you make it through this difficult time stronger and more resilient.

Peace be with you, my friend.

Until next time…

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Is Homeschool Your Calling?

5 Ways to Know Homeschool Is Your Calling

I fell to my knees. My hands cupped my face. Tears fell into my palms. And I finally cried.

I wanted to know once and for all, “Is this homeschool thing for me?”

It sure didn’t seem like it.

Yet, He finally had me where He wanted me.

God, that is.

For months I’d suppressed the question, “Is this homeschool thing for me?” I’d wondered if I’d just made this whole “calling” thing up. If this was really what God wanted our family to do.

Each day felt riskier than the last. Three years in and I wondered “What on earth are we actually doing? Are we actually trusting ourselves to prepare our BLACK sons for academic success?”

And because fear begets more fear, I started worrying about other things. Financing resources. Hiccups in the family business. Lack of security without a corporate job. Crazy healthcare costs. Taxes.

The light at the end of the tunnel grew so dim that anxiety was the only darkness I could see.

And I fell to my knees.

“Lord!” I cried. “Show us…Show us that we’re walking on the right path. And if we’re not, give us the courage to walk away.”

Suddenly, I couldn’t cry anymore. It was as if peace had forced its way into my troubled spirit. I kneeled there, hands still cupping my face, and listened.

And then a voice said: “Deep down you know that putting your boys into public school isn’t the answer. Deep down you know you weren’t called to live life like everyone else.”

And that voice was right. I wanted to be “normal.” I wanted our family to be “normal.” But I also knew that “normal” came with its own set of problems. That I’d just be trading my current set of problems in for new ones—trading my current fears for new fears.

No. What I truly wanted was peace. Not to be “normal.” The peace of knowing that whatever happens, God works things out for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

I tried to sleep that night, but I just couldn’t. I was thinking about this blog post. First, the title popped into my mind “Ways to Know Homeschool Is Your Calling.” Then, I went through all the points in my head, as I lay there desperately attempting to enter into rest.

“Get up!” I felt a voice saying. “You said you wanted to know if homeschool is your calling, and now I’m giving you the concise reply you are seeking.”

So, I rolled out of bed at 1am and headed to the office with my notebook. Now, here we are: 5 Ways to Know If Homeschool is Your Calling. I hope this post blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

 

1. You have a vision.

Without a Vision Meme, Quote, Inspiration

Vision is everything. In our case, it’s what my husband and I couldn’t see that made our vision plain. When we started discussing our vision for the future of our son’s education, we couldn’t see him in public school. In fact, we’d initially planned on placing him in a private school once he reached school age.

It wasn’t until I’d stumbled upon a text illustrating the rise of homeschool that a lightbulb went off. I didn’t know anything about homeschool, but it seemed like the perfect fulfillment of our vision.

Homeschool seemed right. But it also seemed far-fetched considering we were in no position to homeschool at the time. Still, we envisioned the places we could travel with our children, the types of subjects we could teach them, the freedom our boys would have to learn at their own pace, and the freedom they’d have to be themselves.

Little did we know, after five years of flirting with the idea of homeschool, we’d finally take that leap of courage. But it started with a vision.

God always provides a vision, even when the calling isn’t meant to be fulfilled until decades later. God gave Abraham a visual reference to His calling on Abraham’s life when He told him his “descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky” (Gen. 26:4). It took twenty-five years for that promise to be fulfilled.

Similarly, as a young man, Joseph had prophetic dreams that someday he’d be in a position of power and reverence. He could envision his family bowing down to him even though it didn’t make perfect sense at the time. More than a decade later, that vision was fulfilled when Joseph became second in command in Egypt.

It all starts with a vision.

 

2. It intimidates you.

If it scares you it might be a good thing to try. Inspiration, Quotes, Memes

I remember the mental struggle I went through right before submitting my Declaration of Intent to homeschool. The year ahead seemed very intimidating. I wasn’t sure if I could teach my son how to read, and I wasn’t even sure if I could teach him anything at all for that matter. I weighed the pros and cons in my mind. The cons scared me greatly and served as the foundation for my many objections.

What if my children don’t learn enough? What if they don’t make any friends? What if they hate it? What if they don’t get accepted into college? To ease my anxieties, I bargained with myself—and God—that I’d be brave enough to “try homeschool” for one full school year and see if it’s truly a fit for our family.

You know who else bargained with God when they received an intimidating calling?

Moses.

You’ll read in Exodus that during the exchange between God and Moses, Moses had objections to leading the Israelites out of Egypt. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He asked (Exodus 3:11). That was his first objection. His second objection doubted the One who sent him. His third objection doubted the people he was called to lead. His fourth objection doubted his qualifications. Finally, Moses just outright denies the calling and asks God to, “Send someone else” (Exodus 4:13).

 

3. You have to make sacrifices.

True Success Requires Sacrifice. Inspiration, Quotes, Memes

Financial sacrifice is among the most popular challenges of the homeschool lifestyle. After all, in a typical homeschool family, one parent must either refrain from working or cut back on work hours.

Our family is no different. The decision to homeschool meant we’d be taking a financial hit. That meant we wouldn’t be able to indulge in the luxuries of life without penalty. Dining out, family vacations, new cars, new gadgets, and other luxuries were few and far between. Instead, we put money toward homeschool resources, enrichment activities, and other necessities.

And that was just the beginning.

Essentially, we sacrificed our comfort zone—the ability to call ourselves a “normal” family. Nothing is “normal” about homeschool. It changed the trajectory of our life. It changed our thought-patterns. It changed the way we saw ourselves. It changed the way we saw the world. It forced us to connect with people who don’t look like us, think like us, or believe like us.

But there is nothing new under the sun, especially when it comes to sacrifices and callings.

In the Bible, Moses had to sacrifice his comfortable lifestyle in the Egyptian palace in order to fulfill his calling to lead the Israelites to freedom. Esther was willing to sacrifice her life and position as Queen of Persia to fulfill her calling to save her people from slaughter. Joseph unknowingly had to sacrifice his freedom to fulfill his calling to become second in command in Egypt, where he’d be in position to save many lives from a severe famine. Catch my drift?

Homeschool may not be as profound as the aforementioned callings, but it does come with its own set of challenges that will force you out of your comfort zone.

 

4. It ignites a passion in you.

Passion Memes, Inspiration, Quotes

Even with all the intimidation, the challenges, and the sacrifices weighing you down, something inside you keeps pushing you forward. I’ve realized that “something” is called passion. Passion is the reason I get right back up after a bad day (or a bad week!) and keep going. Passion is the reason I don’t quit even when I want to.

Passion is the reason I’m writing this blog post and sharing my experience with a hope that you’ll be encouraged to fulfill your calling to homeschool.

 

Think about it. There had to be something that kept Moses going when Pharaoh kept saying “no.” Something that kept Abraham believing even up to the twenty-fifth year after a promise was spoken to him.  Something that kept Paul going in the midst of ongoing persecution. Something that kept Jesus going until it was “finished.”

Passion gives way to unshakeable faith.

But it needs to be renewed daily.

If you find yourself losing the passion to homeschool, simply ask God to rekindle that flame.

 

5. It draws you closer to God.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

When God calls us to do something out of our league, we’re going to need Him! He puts us in this position of total dependency so that He can receive all the glory. So that we can never take credit for what we couldn’t possibly do without Him.

I once thought this homeschool journey was essentially about my children’s education. I was wrong. Everything God calls us to do is always about advancing His Kingdom—about drawing us closer to Him so that we can draw others to Him.

For me, drawing closer to God means that I’m growing in love, character, perseverance, and faith. And I know with certainty that my children have front row seats to my walk with God—That I am teaching them through my actions how to respond to challenges, disappointments, setbacks, fears, blessings, mercy, and favor.

I love Solomon’s plea to the Lord, asking Him for more wisdom and knowledge to govern His people (2 Chron. 1:10). But where did this plea initiate? During his father, David’s, reign, Solomon observed the value of divine wisdom and wanted to lead God’s people as faithfully and successfully as David had.

When I think about this scripture a question comes to mind: Are my children inspired by my walk with God or discouraged by it?  After all, they are the future of God’s kingdom.


I want to end this post by saying all callings have a season. Some of us are called to homeschool for the full eighteen years, while others are meant to homeschool for less than half that time. However long or short your season is, remember that God is with you through it all and He will give you everything you need if you just ask Him.

Obviously, these aren’t the only ways to know if homeschool is your calling. I want to hear from you: What inspired you to homeschool?

 

Self Confidence | Three Ways to Feel Beautiful

Self Confidence | 3 Ways to Feel Beautiful

Hello beautiful people! I’m back!

Can I just say for the past few weeks I’ve been stumped on what to write about? Or rather, I’ve been writing, but have been stumped on what to actually post. Much of my writing never makes it to this platform because I believe everything must be done in divine order. Therefore, when it comes to posts like these, I must feel a conviction to share them.

That conviction came after realizing there’s so much self-transformation that I went through as a woman of God that can help other women who are where I was. Confidence is something we all struggle with. Some of us to a larger degree than others. But over the years, I’ve learned some things that helped me mature in this area of my life.

It’s important to remember that confidence is one thing, matured confidence is another. Many of us have confidence but aren’t growing in it as we should. After all, confidence, like many other virtues, is a muscle that must be built up and strengthened overtime.

Today, I’m sharing three simple strategies that transformed me into a woman of matured confidence. These methods aren’t just something to check off my list, but are meant to be followed and lived out on a daily basis.

Self Confidence | Three Ways to Feel Beautiful

 

1. Turn it off!

My journey to matured confidence began when I turned off the television.

That was 8 years ago. During this time, I eliminated all distractions in order to grow spiritually. I realized continually exposing myself to images that narrowly portrayed beauty, and cosmetic commercials that prayed on the insecurities of women, was harmful to my self-esteem and spiritual growth.

Not only did I grow spiritually, but I also grew in self-confidence. The lack of exposure to “one type of beauty” helped me focus on what makes me beautiful, rather than what doesn’t make me beautiful. For years, I was oblivious to fashion, makeup, and hairstyle trends—and it was so freeing to be out of the loop. I just did me.

Years later, I would come to do the same with social media.

Turn it off.

Even though I’ve built a solid foundation for my self-confidence over the years, I’m still very careful to preserve it. That means spending more time living out my purpose and less time watching other people live out theirs.

Spend more time living out your purpose and less time watching others live out theirs.

This has been tricky since I use Instagram and Facebook to connect with all of you. But I’ve been able to master that art of balance by instilling a couple rules that I may talk about in a future post.

 

2. Give Yourself Permission.

Yes, give yourself permission to feel beautiful. I know many women who struggle in this area. They don’t give themselves permission to feel beautiful because they’ve got belly fat, stretch marks, cellulite, acne, dark skin, pale skin, or whatever else is in direct opposition with ideal beauty standards.

But who orchestrated this law that one doesn’t deserve to feel beautiful if they don’t fit the beauty standard? I’ll let you in on a little secret; advertising companies work diligently to ensure we hate the way we look. Why? Because then they can sell us weight loss pills, stretch mark creams, tanning lotions, lip plumpers, or whatever else we desperately reach for in an effort to fit the mold.

I remember conversing about body image with an old coworker of mine, who gasped when I shared my weight with her. Her response?

“I’d just die if I weighed that much!”

Not even kidding. Those were her exact words.

I was trying to make a point that numbers on the scale didn’t matter, considering I was pretty healthy and fit at the time. But in her eyes, there was something wrong with a woman being okay with less than ideal numbers on the scale. To her, I didn’t deserve to have body confidence. But, I let her commentary roll off my back. I loved the way I looked, and the numbers on the scale wasn’t going to change my perception.

After birthing and nursing two children, you’d better believe I have stretch marks, cellulite, loose skin, saggy boobs, and extra weight. But each day I give myself permission to feel beautiful, anyway. None of these things are “flaws,” but are a result of living life and birthing life—a privilege not afforded to many.

 

3. Build Inner Peace.

We’ve all had that moment when we looked upon a gorgeous woman, admiring her beauty, only to discover she has an ugly disposition. Suddenly, that woman isn’t so beautiful to us anymore.

Buy why?

Because inward beauty always trumps physical beauty.  A kind spirit, a joyful soul, and a heart at peace is the biggest enhancement we can make to our appearance.

Consider this verse: “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:13

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:13

This verse reminds me of the first time I realized that walking with God was the best beauty treatment I could give myself.

It was a time when I should’ve been living in despair. Everything around me was falling apart. My husband became unemployed almost as soon as we learned I was pregnant with our second baby. We watched our resources slowly wither to nothing. It was a very stressful time for us.

But it was also a beautiful time.

Beautiful because our peace and faith remained intact. God provided for us in the most mysterious ways. Unexpected cash, checks, and money orders made their way to our mailbox, and we had a community of people that faithfully supported us during that season.

I remember during this time people would ask me, “What’s going on with you? You seem so happy. You’re glowing.” At first, I was confused by this recurring inquiry; I wasn’t doing anything differently with my physical appearance, our financial situation was still a wreck, and I went from being heavily pregnant to a visibly tired new momma. Yet, people were commenting on how radiant, happy, and beautiful I looked—like I was withholding some amazing news.

I could only chalk it up to experiencing the glory of God. The intimate time I was spending with the Lord offered me an inexplicable joy that revealed itself through my countenance and reminded me that true beauty is a heart at peace. That’s when I feel the best about myself.


I want to end this post by saying confidence isn’t something you just say you have. Rather, it must be nurtured, tested, and approved by God because in Him is where it truly rests. If your confidence depends on the material things of this world, it will waver. Why? Because “things” are only temporary, but our God is eternal.

I want to hear from you. What invaluable lessons have you learned about self-confidence? Let me know in the comments!

12 Ways I Overcame Jealousy

12 Ways I Overcame Jealousy  

No one ever wants to admit they get jealous. Yet, jealousy is one of the common strains in human relationships. There are many ways to define jealousy; envious, covetous, resentful, insecure, begrudging, the list of synonyms goes on. Today, I’m going to talk about jealousy in the form of envy.

In my post last week, 50 Random Facts About Me, one of the questions I answered was “Do you get jealous?” My initial response was, no. But I didn’t feel like that answer would set anyone free from the stigmas surrounding jealousy. Feeling jealous isn’t fun. And when we feel like we’re the only one who experiences this emotion, it makes it all the more difficult to defeat the green-eyed monster.

We all experience jealousy at one point or another. But if we never admit to it, how do we defeat something that we’re in denial even exists? Better yet, how do we help others who struggle with this “not so fun” emotion?

So, instead of answering no, I had this to say in my last post:

“Yes [I get jealous]. But I don’t stay jealous for long. I’ve learned strategies to conquer the green-eyed monster whenever it threatens to steal my joy. Perhaps I’ll write a future post about it.”

Well, the time is now to write that post! Today, I will raise my hand and say, “Yes, jealousy can be a struggle for me if I don’t check it at the door.” It’s not an everyday thing, but when it does happen, it can take anywhere from a couple seconds to a couple days to heal from it—maybe more depending on where I am spiritually. The great news is, the more I overcome jealousy, the less power it has over me.

Here are some methods I’ve put into practice that helped me put jealousy to rest.

 

1. I wanted to change.

And I wanted it badly. I hated “hating on” other people. It hurt. I can’t quite pinpoint when this desire emerged, perhaps my mid-twenties, but I can say it’s been a passion of mine ever since. Jealousy was a disease that I wanted no part of. It was debilitating. That’s why I’m writing this post; in hope that someone will take the necessary steps to be freed and healed from this dangerous emotion. But, you must want to change, first.

 

2. I realized jealousy has a root.

That root is fear. It helps to know this because I could then ask myself questions like, “Nike, what is it about this person’s accomplishments that you fear?” The answer? In my younger years, I feared that someone else’s accomplishments, beauty, spirituality, possessions, etc., diminished my own. In other words, I allowed myself to feel small in the presence of another person’s greatness—to fear that I’m not enough.

Never allow yourself to feel small in the presence of another person's greatness

 

3. I admitted I was Jealous.

Everyone knows that admitting the problem is the first step to recovery. I used to mask my jealousy by putting it off on the other person. I would say things like, “That person is soooo braggadocious” (yes, I used words like “braggadocious,” haha) or, “That person thinks they’re so much better than everyone.” But when I closely examined the thought-process behind my words, I realized my assumptions were rooted in jealousy. It wasn’t until I admitted this ugly truth about myself that I could begin the healing process.

 

4. I made a choice.

Once I became honest with myself, I had a decision to make; I could continue to poison myself with jealousy by holding on to it, or, I could free myself and let it go. The ball was in MY court. I didn’t have to entertain jealousy. I didn’t have to STAY jealous. I could let it go. So, I did. It wasn’t always easy and still isn’t, but each time it gets easier.

 

5. I filled myself with good things.

What you’re full of eventually spills out of you. I’m a Believer, so I like to fill myself with scripture, focusing on this particular verse:

Philippians 4:8 Verse Scripture MemeThe power of thoughts is not some new-age concept, this notion existed since the beginning of time. The more I meditate on good things, the less room I have for negativity. Think about it; is it easy to pour liquid into a full glass of water? In the same way, it’s not easy to pour jealousy into a full spirit.

 

6. I recognized jealousy is a seed.

Once you entertain it, once you nurture it, it just keeps growing until it can no longer be contained. Remember when I said, “What you’re full of eventually spills out of you?” Trust me, you may think you’re hiding your jealousy well, but it WILL come out. When it does, it will reflect poorly on your character. It happened to me. That’s a story for another day. But I’ve learned what’s done in darkness is always brought into the light. It may seem like “just a thought,” but any thought, when meditated on long enough, has the potential to be carried out into action.

 

7. I became more productive.

I asked myself, “What are you doing with your disposable time?” Am I idly scrolling through social media? Am I binge-watching Netflix? Am I entertaining gossipy conversations? These things are not only breeding grounds for jealousy, they are thieves of time! Have you ever heard of this saying?:

The difference between the wealthy and the poor is how they spend their free timeI’ve found that being productive is a great way for me to mind my own business. When I’m minding my own business, I have no time to invite jealousy by seeing what she’s up to. There’s no time for me to meditate on the things I don’t have by watching shows where people are glamorous and live glamorous lives. And, there’s no time to entertain conversations that start off with, “Girl, you’ll never believe what so and so did.”

 

8. I monitored my self-talk.

Self-esteem is measured by the way we think and feel about ourselves. I used to think of myself as a confident person, but I became amazed at the things I told myself when I wasn’t paying attention. A devotional by Barb Roose, titled Beautiful Already, was what inspired me to REALLY listen to the lies I told myself about myself. Even today, I must still take heed and pay attention, lest I subconsciously fall into negative thought-patterns. Why is this important? Because when we don’t feel good about ourselves, we project those insecurities onto others. In other words, we become jealous of other people’s confidence and seek to tear them down. After all, misery loves company.

 

9. I realized God doesn’t owe me anything.

Ah, entitlement. That dangerous feeling we get when we feel like God, or the world, owes us something. It seeps out whenever we see someone we view as “less deserving” receive something we want. A husband. A new car. A raise. Fame. Status. I can attest that it doesn’t feel good when you have to watch someone receive all the things you’ve been hoping for. But I’ve come to learn that God doesn’t owe me anything. It’s a tough truth to grasp, but we must all take hold of it, nonetheless. The sooner we do, the less hold jealousy will have over us. I can’t tell you how many times I must remind myself of this truth to this day. But when it sinks in, my inner peace is established.

 

10. I practiced contentment.

I’ll let you in on a little secret; if you don’t practice contentment, you will always want MORE. Why do we want more? Because we develop a habit of fixing our eyes on things other people have that we don’t have—envy.  I remember it clearly. I was discontent with the way things were going, sitting on my couch moping around. Then I had a vision:

I was sitting on an expensive couch, but in a huge mansion filled with beautiful things. Yet, I wasn’t happy. I was still dissatisfied. Still moping around. I could feel myself getting frustrated, asking myself, “Girl, why are you so dissatisfied when you live in this huge mansion?” It was then that this truth sank in: If you’re not happy with the little things, you won’t be happy with the big things.

If you aren’t happy with the little things, you won’t be happy with the big things.

11. I realized I needed help.

God’s help. I’ll always lose if I try to battle jealousy in and of my own strength. Trust me, there was a time when I tried and failed. No. My strength must come from God, and it begins with repentance—confessing my jealousy to God and seeking his strength to overcome it.

12. I worked toward REAL confidence.

When we place our confidence in how much we have, how much we’re adored, how good-looking we are, how talented we are, how famous we are, how educated we are, and how many titles we earn, we set ourselves up for failure. Real confidence does not come from any of these things—it comes from trusting in Who’s in your corner.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.” (Jeremiah 17:7)

When we take hold of true confidence, we experience true fulfillment. Isn’t that what we’re all striving for, anyway? Isn’t that why we run after material things? Status? Relationships? Power? To feel a sense of fulfillment? To fill a void? Isn’t that why we become jealous of others? Because their life seems more “fulfilled” than ours? Consider this verse from James 4:1-3:

James 4:1-3 Verse, Scripture, Meme


 

I don’t quite know how to end this post. But what I want to say is that no one is exempt from the temptation of jealousy. We can, however, choose whether we give in to that temptation. These are some of the steps I took, and still take, in order to stand firm against jealousy. I cannot take credit. All credit goes to God the Father, who is a wise and patient teacher.

If jealousy is something you struggle with, pray this prayer with all your heart, mind, body, and soul:

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for my jealous ways, and direct me toward the ways of the Lord. I thank you, Lord, that you are a patient God who is slow to anger and abundant in love. I praise you for your mercy that is new every morning. Reveal to me all the seeds planted in me that gave root to my jealousy, so that I may be steadfast and alert of the enemy’s schemes. Help me to renew my mind daily, dear God, to reflect more of your truth. I praise you in advance for giving me everything I need to live a godly life that is pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

God bless you! Have any tips to add? Don’t be shy! Let us know in the comments.

Stay at Home Mom

So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom

First off, I commend you. Making the decision to be a stay-at-home mom isn’t easy. There are a series of what-ifs coupled with conviction and excitement. I’ve been there.

The moment God placed it on my heart to become a stay-at-home mom wrapped me in a swirl of emotions. I never saw myself as the soccer-mom type, but suddenly there I was, knowing for certain that staying home was the best thing for my family—yet still struggling with doubt that triggered from the what-ifs. What if we can’t afford it? What if my husband loses his job? What if I hate staying home?

Let me tell you. All of these things happened and more! But God’s grace is always sufficient and, with His help, we are fulfilling our call to be the parents He destined us to be. Eight years in, and two kids later, I’ve learned some things I’d like to share with you. So without further ado, here are eight things to consider as you journey into becoming a stay-at-home-mom. 

1.    God is with you. When God told Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land, God’s exact words were “Do not be afraid; Do not be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Whenever God gives us a task that initially scares us out of our wits, we can rest assured that He is with us. With that said, being a stay-at-home mom is not easy. There’ll be sacrifices, tough moments, and unwarranted opinions that’ll tempt you to give up. Trust that God will never leave you or your family hanging. Yes, it WILL be tough at times, but it is in those moments that we strengthen our character and persevere. 

2.    You should consider the cost. Going from a corporate job to a stay-at-home mom can be quite the adjustment. You may be accustomed to contributing to your household and, perhaps, having that extra income to splurge on the things you desire. Please, place your desires into perspective and consider the cost of being a stay-at-home mom. Your household budget will likely tighten, but it is set in place to help you afford the opportunity to stay at home with your children. Remember, “Don’t begin until you count the cost” (Luke 14:28). For our family, that meant no cable television, one cell phone and car between us, and many other sacrifices, like dropping my husband off at work early in the morning (6am!) so that I could have the car for the day. 

3.    You may hate it at times. Even people who absolutely love their job have off days, maybe even an off week. Please don’t let a bad day or a bad week convince you that you’re not cut out for the job. At the end of the year, you’ll see that those bad days don’t even matter in the grand scheme of things. Trust me, you’ll have more good days than bad. Remember, “do not grow weary in doing what is good. For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). And what is that harvest? All the good things that result from investing time into your family!

4.    Your husband may lose his job. Yes, this happened to us. I want to stress how important it is to have multiple streams of income. The word of God tells us to “invest in seven ventures, yes in eight; for you do not know what disasters will come upon the land” (Ecclesiastes 11:2).   Therefore, consider investing your money elsewhere, whether in stocks, bonds, a startup company, or other ventures God may have for you. Not only will this grant you peace of mind, but you’ll have a cushion to fall on should your husband lose his primary job. 

5.    You can still work. I know that may sound like a longshot when you’re chasing down your toddler, but consider that there’s a time for everything. Of course, when I was a new mom, my main priority was caring for my babies, especially since I nursed them around the clock. But as my children grew older, more independent, and I started getting enough rest, I seized the opportunity to invest in my own ventures to help add more passive income to our household. Proverbs 31 tells us about the virtuous woman who managed to run her home while contributing to household finances. It can be done!

6.    You may lose yourself. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the needs of your children, husband, and home. But you must take care of yourself, first. This doesn’t just mean physically, but also mentally and spiritually. Feed your mind by continuing to invest in the things that interest you. But, most importantly, feed your spirit. When Martha opened her home to Jesus, she became easily distracted by all the preparations she had to do. But her sister, Mary, ignored the preparations and sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to his teachings. What did Jesus tell Martha? “Mary has chosen what is better” (Luke 10:38-42). The lesson? It’s great to serve the ones we love, but never place it before spending time with God. 

7.    The grass will look greener in the corporate office. There will be times when you envy working mothers. Not only do they get regular breaks from their children, but they also get monetary recognition for their work ethic and achievement. Take heart and know that God sees and values all of the work that you do. Remember when David worked as a shepherd boy? It seemed no one noticed when he fought off lions and bears to protect his sheep. But God did! God gave David (who later became king!) an opportunity to shine before men (1 Samuel 16). Remember, what’s done in secret will be rewarded openly (Matthew 6:4).  

8.    This is your calling. Being a stay-at-home mom is not for everyone. It is a calling. Therefore, resist judging mothers who are not called to stay at home with their children. God has a different path for them. It’s easy to believe EVERYONE should be doing what we’re doing when we feel so passionately about something. However, when we don’t consider that every woman has a different walk, we place God inside a box and put ourselves on a pedestal as “the only way to do it.” Even worse? We stifle other women’s passions and pursuits by forcing our own on them. Stay on your own course and fulfill your calling with a joyful heart. “For the gifts and callings of the Lord are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). 


There’s so much more I want to share, but those topics deserve a post of their own! For now, I’ll leave you with the first eight things God placed on my heart to share with you. Whatever path you’re on, remember not to compare your journey to others. Comparison will always be the thief of joy.  

Join me this month for my new series called “The Better Mom” Tuesdays! Every Tuesday of this month I’ll be sharing some nuggets of truth I’ve learned from being a young wife and mother. You don’t want to miss it! 

 

5 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Homeschool

5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Homeschool Success

When I stumbled across the book, Don’t Limit God, by Andrew Wommack, I found myself unable to put it down. Let me confess that I don’t watch television and am unfamiliar with Mr. Wommack’s ministry, so I don’t know much about him. What I do know is that God spoke to my heart through his book.

Earlier this week, I posted a photo on Instagram with Wommack’s book pictured. A friend of mine inquired of the book by asking how it resonated with me. Instead of replying with a long-winded comment, I decided to write a post about it.

Now this book focuses on taking limits off God to expand our potential for success. Obviously, it resonated with me business-wise, but I felt led to share how the book resonated with me when it came to my homeschool journey. As a disclaimer, these points are directed at me also, so I am not pointing fingers. And, of course, this post is from the perspective of Faith.

Here goes…


5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Homeschool Success


1. You Don’t Believe You Can. This is a common concern amongst homeschool parents—they just don’t think they’re cut-out for the job! I shared this sentiment, despite the fact that I studied curriculum development and earned a Master’s degree in Education. There were several “buts” that I begged God to consider. “But I’m not smart enough.” “But I’m not patient enough.” “But I don’t have enough money.” The list seemed infinite.

Still, God said, “With me, you are enough.”

If God had a limited mind like us, He would’ve never called Sarah to bear the promised son even though she was past child-bearing age. He would’ve never called Moses to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land even though he had a speech impediment. And, He most certainly wouldn’t have called Christ to take our place on the cross even though we didn’t deserve such grace.

So, you see, it may not make much sense to you but God certainly knows why He called you. In fact, God has a history of choosing unqualified candidates to carry out His purpose. The Word says, “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise” (I Cor. 1:26-27). Why does God choose unqualified candidates? “So that your faith may not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:5).

With God, you are enough!

2. You compare yourself to others. It’s dangerous to measure the success of your homeschool by the standards of other homeschool families. Yes, I’ve had a few noses turned up at me when I confessed to building my own curriculum rather than purchasing a boxed one. Yes, sometimes I subscribed to the belief that our homeschool would be more successful if we had money to do things like “that other family.” But in those moments, I limit God…and you will, too.

God wants us to discover that there is more than one cookie-cutter way to run a successful homeschool. Don’t miss out on some beautiful discoveries by trying to be like that other family. Those “beautiful discoveries” may minister to struggling homeschool parents one day.

Instead, we must adopt apostle Paul’s attitude when he says, “I do not think I am the least inferior to those ‘super-apostles.’ I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge” (2 Cor. 11:5-6). Here, Apostle Paul admits to not being a great speaker like the other apostles, but he doesn’t allow comparison to make him feel inferior. Instead, he focuses on what he does have and trusts that God will compensate for the rest as he carries out God’s purpose.

There is something that you have to offer your homeschool family and community that no one else can. Ask God to reveal to you what that “something” is, so that when you find yourself feeling inferior to other homeschool parents, you can quickly remind yourself that you also have what it takes.

3. You don’t aim high enough. Guess what? You’re called to raise the bar, not submit to it. Deuteronomy 28:13 says this, “The Lord will make you the head, not the tail…you will always be at the top, never the bottom.” This is God’s vision for those who obey Him.

Let me paint a picture for you; last year, I read numerous resources about homeschool and subscribed to some really “average” ideologies. For instance, it’s become a culture to boast of laziness, expect bad days, and count an impromptu day at the beach as a “field-trip.” Let me just say, there is grace in these practices, but we should never set them as our standard. We limit God when we try to be like everyone else.

Instead, aim for excellence in your homeschool. Boast of productive days, set high expectations, and call an impromptu day at the beach what it truly is…a day at the beach!

4. You’re too busy. In order for our homeschool to reach its potential, we must take enough time out of our busy schedule to just be still, hear God, and receive instruction. God speaks to us in many ways, but the Word reminds us that sometimes God’s voice is but a gentle whisper that can only be heard when we quiet our lives (1 Kings 19: 11-12).

Some of us make our lifestyle unconducive to having a growing relationship with God. There are never-ending house chores, a morning full of school work, an afternoon full of extracurricular activities, and an evening full of scrambling to catch up on work that was missed. And then we go to bed with all the cares of this world dominating our thoughts, infiltrating our hearts and spirit.

I’m here to tell you that if you are not still enough to receive God’s instruction for your homeschool, you are treading dangerous waters. But don’t just take my word for it, remember that it is God who lights our path (Psalm 119:105).

5. You fear failure. This has by far been a primary concern amidst homeschool parents— the fear of failing to properly educate our children. In fact, this fear has been strong enough to drive many parents to quit. What a way to limit God and your homeschool potential!

Why focus on the worst case scenario when you can focus on all the wonderful things that could go right? “As a man thinks within himself, so he is” (Prov. 23:7). That means, if you’re not careful, what you believe will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Fear cancels out faith. And without faith, there is no hope. Therefore, you must visualize your child’s success. See them holding that college degree, succeeding in their dream career, purchasing their first home—whatever hopes you have for their future, meditate on it (Hebrews 11:1).

Lastly, I want to remind you that God did not give us the spirit of fear, but the power, love and self-discipline to carry out His purpose for our lives (2 Tim. 1:7).


Homeschooling is challenging enough, don’t do it without God’s help! If you are reading this and have not accepted Christ into your life, but want to, simply repeat this prayer:

“Dear heavenly Father, I know that I’m a sinner and I need your help. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins, was buried, and rose from the dead to fulfill your Word. I accept Christ into my life and into my heart as my personal lord and savior. Thank you, Lord, for forgiving me. I now rejoice because I am free from condemnation! In Jesus name, Amen.”

If you said that prayer and believed it with your whole heart, CONGRATULATIONS! You are officially born again! Drop me a line at nikemanderson@gmail.com and let me know how I can help you!