Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what we are made of. ~Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Boxing gloves, sassy mouths and education

For A while now friends and family have been encouraging me to get a blog. Even though I saw the benefit of a blog I just could not get myself to commit. As tempting as it was to have a place where I could share my thoughts, feelings and convictions I feared that some would leave dishonoring comments and then I would have to get my boxing gloves out and my very sassy mouth and the end result would be Jeni haters due to my flesh. As I thought about it more and became passionate about sharing MY convictions I realized that no matter what I stand for, there are always going to be those who disagree with me (that's okay),  and many who won't even want to consider what I am suggesting.

The reason I named my blog Ruffled Feathers......I've been told that I have no problem with speaking truth (or my opinion) and so therefore I've been know to ruffle a few feathers out there. Although I am trying hard to learn how to speak the truth in love, I am also learning when it is appropriate to speak up or shut up.  It's hard though, because when you are passionate about God's word and changes start to take place in your life you want to share those changes but what I have come to realize is often those changes make others feel uncomfortable.  My convictions are personal and I refuse to debate over them  however, I do encourage and invite anyone who wants to challenge my thoughts with SCRIPTURE. I understand we all have our opinions as do I, but if it is not rooted from the word of God then you can get your own site and blog about it and I say that out of love :).

As far as the boxing gloves and very sassy mouth goes I have decided that I am going to practice self control and try very hard to keep those boxing gloves for my boxing bag and my very sassy mouth/tongue bridled. If you choose to leave dishonoring comment I promise to pray over it and consider my heart and your heart.

So there I mentioned one reason why I never wanted to blog, there is a second reason I feared blogging. Here is me being transparent. I am educationally challenged. I was going to use the word dumb but my husband said it sounded better to say "educationally challenged". Now please I am not saying this to get any sympathy and really, you don't have to make a comment to make me feel better (but if you want too, well I am not stopping you LOL).  I take all responsibility for this area in my life, it was my choice.  My family and very close friends know that in my past I never had the desire to learn. Cliff notes and the person sitting next to me in class were my best friends. I am proof that educationally challenged people can get through the system. It amazes me still that I graduated hi-school. I am not so sure though who the dumb one is, the one who graduated me or me???

Last year God began to move me in big ways. I began to have desires to learn, convictions to home-school my kids and to go off birth control, SAY WHAT! Go off birth control??? I know crazy huh, or is it? I will  save that one for another post. But like I said God has given me a deep desire to learn and He has convicted me to home educate (seriously I can see it now.... "Ok kids 9+9=15... and that's right girls, George Washington was the one who founded America"). This should be interesting to say the least. I am fully aware of my short comings, but I also know that God finds strength in my weakness soooooooo in wanting to be obedient to where God is leading I must edjamacate my kids.

There are also other changes taking place in my life and areas where God is challenging me, which I plan to share as well in due time.  I will try not to get in the way of what God is doing on this blog so forgive me please if at times my flesh comes out from time to time! It is my desire to be his vessel, willing to share His story in hopes that He would encourage others.

So now that you have been given the full disclaimer I guess it is time to start ruffling feathers.......(in love of course)



I would like to start off by getting something off my chest. It has come to my attention that there are some who believe that it was my CHOICE and my DESIRE to home-school. Yes I do believe we all have the capability and free will to choose, but I try to choose obedience over my will (try being the key word here). And just for the record, I DID NOT CHOOSE HOMESCHOOLING, AND IT WAS NOT MY DESIRE TO HOME-SCHOOL! Whew, now that I have that off my chest I can go on. OK, so let me expound on that a bit if you don't mind. I believe God in His sovereign plan for our family choose Home Education for OUR family and His Word convicted me of that. I also believe there are times when we as Christians (of course speaking from experience) confuse convictions with desires or visaversa (sp?). We wait until we have the desire before we make a decision. Does God give us desires, yes, but sometimes obedience is required before the desire. If you are a parent you should understand this. Our young children don't start off desiring to honor and obey us but obedience is required. After a while you can only hope and pray that the desire to honor and obey comes.

As a Christ follower it is my desire to honor and obey where He commands and convicts me. Sometimes I do it with a good and willing attitude and other times I go kicking a screaming like a two year old. Nevertheless I do fear God and I will try my best to obey even if it is something I am not desiring.

When my husband and I were contemplating homeschooling we thought of all the reasons why it might not be a good fit for us. I have compiled a list of 10 questions most of us have had when thinking about home education or at least you have thought of when you see a family who home-schools. I too have added my answers to the questions in hope of shedding some light. I do not claim that this is the end all to the many questions and concerns swirling around in our heads about home-school but hopefully I have at least hit the tip of the iceberg. I also want to state that these are answers I have personally come up with of course with the help of great teachers and the Word of God. They have helped ME to take the step I needed to take in obedience. Other home educators please chime in as well and share your questions and answers that you may have battled with or come across.  I also want to mention as well to the ones who read this and really don't think you have been called to home school...I do not think (not that it matters what I think) you are a sinner for not home schooling your children unless of course God has called you to home school and you are ignoring the calling,  I also do not claim that there is a biblical mandate to home school your children.  I do however believe there it is a biblical mandate to give your children a christian education. Now, as far as those questions/ doubts go...

1. "I don't know if I could ever home-school"

This is simple, YOU CAN'T. Hello, did you read the part about me being educationally challenged. I wasn't making that stuff up people. Now I do believe there are some that are definitely more capable of home-schooling than others but in my case, actually in all cases I believe the Lord equips where he leads. I am completely leaning on that and the fact that "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me". Phil. 4:13

2. "I don't have the patience to home-school"

OK, once again if you know me then you'll know my middle name should be impatient (actually I would much prefer that middle name then the one I have, sorry mom). I know it is not easy being a patient parent let alone being the parent and school teacher. I do believe though it is God's plan that we would become more patient and not to use "lack of patience" as an excuse to not home-school. As most of you know it just so happens to be one of the fruits mentioned in the bible. "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience..." Gal. 5:22 and not to mention "Love is patient..." 1 Cor. 13:4

3. "My kids or kid does not learn well when I am the one teaching"

So am I hearing you clearly here? Are you saying that God made a mistake? Prov. 22:6 says that it is the parents who are suppose to train (pretty sure that means teach) up a child in the way he should go... Ask yourself a question..... To whom has been given the responsibility of raising and instructing our children? Moses says in Deut. 6:5-7 "And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart: And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up."
I believe (and I know that some will interpret this scripture differently)  that this passage says that we as parents must teach at ALL TIMES and EVERYWHERE. Sitting in your house, traveling from one place to another, before bed time and when you wake up. Also in order to teach them to "Love the Lord with all your heart..." you must make the word of God the subject of all of your conversations (e.g. sharing, toys, food, math, science, history etc.). It is OUR hope and prayer as parents for our children to love the Lord with all their heart and we (Neal and I) can't expect someone else to take that burden for us, therefore I believe we must teach them diligently, all day and in every circumstance. So if your child does not learn well from you I don't think that would be an excuse to not home-school, but I would challenge you to find out what the root issue is to that.

4. "I don't really have the desire to home-school my kids"

Well I think I already covered that earlier but to recap... I try not to lean on my desires a lot of the times because I know I am thinking of number one- me. Gal. 5:17 says "For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the spirit and the spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, SO that you do not do what YOU want". Slowly as I see the benefits and blessings to homeschooling I start to feel a change in my hearts desire. I think of all the many sweet conversations, the great questions that have come during a lesson and opportunities I have already had that I may have missed if they were off at school. I feel privileged that it was me that got to experience those moments. Ohhh but I will tell you that all it takes is one bad day and I am back to desiring just the opposite of what Christ has already called me to do. So my advice is to not lean on your own desires.

5. "What about socialization ?"

Seriously do I have to answer this!!!!????? If it is important to you to socialize your kids then you will do it! You will make it happen. But for those who still question this then let me give you a few examples. Church, play groups, have people over for dinner often or go to their house, serve in your community with your kids, serve your neighbors, literally. My kids and I for the new year are going get to know the neighbors we don't already know and see how we may serve them. When you go to the mall or store to buy something have your kids deal with the clerk as you coach them. Trust me, your kids will learn social skills much better from you than being in a classroom that is filled with just their age group who are not as skilled.

6&7. "I don't know if I could be around my kid/kids that much" & "I would miss the break that I would have while they are at school"

 OK, so lets start with "I would miss the break that I would have while they are at school". A lot of the stuff we value the most are the things we don't receive often. That is how I view breaks. I believe we all need them and I know the Lord knows we need them. "He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters. He restore my soul... Psalm 23:2-3
I rest in the fact that God knows my needs. He knows when I truly need a break and when He does bless me with that much needed break it has so much value and I have so much gratitude.

8. "It is a bit intimidating being responsible for their education"

I feel it is more intimidating just trying to keep them alive especially when you have toddlers who can't swim and like to jump in pools or climb things, high things. I truly believe where God leads, He provides. Also there are sooooooo many great resources out there and others who have gone before you that are a huge help!

9. "Don't you need some kind of training to home-school ?"

Nope! Prayer and all those great resources will do.

10. "I am not that organized"

Well if you ever wanted to be organized this is a sure way to learn. And again HAVE YOU MET ME??? This is one of the many things I am lacking in and it drives my hubby NUTS! It's a good thing my husband has the gift of organization. But again, not an excuse to not home-school.  Just like the patience issue, I believe it would be Gods desire that we would become more organized. It is being a good steward of your time and things.

So do we have some ruffled feathers out there yet?? I pray you all receive this in love and seriously give some thought to what I feel God has impressed upon my heart. I do realize the list of reasons could go on and on why home education may not be a good fit for your family. Those are things to pray over and seek counsel on. These questions, like I said, are just some of the questions or statements that I have come across or have personally wrestled with. As I mentioned earlier in my post, homeschooling was not an easy decision for me and it did not start with a desire. I do realize this road will be very challenging for me but if it means what is best for my family then I welcome the challenge.


  1. I love you Jeni, great post, great thought provoking information. Sassy pants!

  2. You never cease to amaze me, don't sell yourself short, I always knew you as very imaginative.
    (The Lady down around the block)

  3. I'm so excited that you have a blog and I love your initial post! You have an amazing heart for sharing the love of Christ and you've inspired me this morning. Thanks for letting the Lord work in you to minister to us :)

  4. Hey Jeni...welcome to the wonderful world of blogging! I look forward to reading your thoughts as you share your heart. I've added you to my blog "friends list" so I can check in on you and your lovely family regularly. Looking forward to seeing you in April and hearing more about what sort of resources there are on-line as the resources overseas are very limited. xoox

  5. Dear Jeni,

    I am honored to call you "sister and friend."

    WOW! The way in which the Lord is obviously growing your discernment blows my mind! Honestly, I sit amazed when I see your humble desire to obey Him in all the areas He is revealing to your heart....your prior ignorance or disobedience.

    We serve an awesome Lord!

    Stay close to Him...which I know is your #1 desire. Fear the Lord...not man...and keep obeying His instruction. Without all humility and confidence....keep blogging.

  6. rf-

    thanks for keeping up with the blog. i appreciate the comments and the encouragement. as far as me writing a book, every good future author needs a godly supportive wife to dedicate it to. if your husband or you know any available young women who could see themselves marrying a southern baptist seminarian and native Texan, just send them my way. :) but seriously...haha.