So It Begins . . .

Hello and welcome back!

If you are new, I just took the summer off of blogging, but I’m glad to be starting up again. I really missed this place.

As I’ve been preparing to enter a new year of homeschooling, I’ve spent some time reflecting on truths that I know I need to carry in with me. You know, before I’m in the thick of it.

Whether we are beginning a completely new season of life, bracing for reentry into a challenging one, or floundering somewhere in the middle, it’s always a good idea to arm ourselves with truth.

Here are three thoughts to keep close-by:

1. God is With Us, And He Is Good

You are not alone, and you are not going to be. Here, in this very moment, God is with you. How easy it is to forget. To get caught up in the overwhelming tasks around us. But He is with us, ready to bring wisdom and comfort to our tumultuous hearts.

Right now, I’m at the beginning of a new school year—a place I know well. You’d think that after nine years of homeschooling it wouldn’t feel so daunting. But it does, every single year.

Maybe it’s the gravity of the job I’ve taken on. Maybe it’s being painfully self-aware of my shortcomings in the face of wanting to do well at something really important to me. It is an easy place for me to become overwhelmed.

Realizing God is with me is a crucial first step to finding my way to higher ground.

We can trust Him. He is with us for comfort and direction. If you are stuck in a spiral, remember God is with you, ask Him what simple thing you should do next, and then listen to what comes to your heart.

Not only is God with us now, but He is also going to be with us in the future. Those tough days that you fear will come? God is already there, waiting for you. He has everything you need. He will be with you.

And He is good.

As I look back over my walk with the Lord, at all the plot twists, seemingly dead-ends, and confusing times of waiting, I am always struck by the unrelenting faithfulness of God. The hard moments—seeing an unnaturally still ultrasound where there should have been movement, holding my husband’s hand in the hospital waiting for results for what turned out to be an ulcer, walking through valleys of financial uncertainty—even in those times, as the song says, never once did I ever walk alone. There were always points of inexplicable mercy, people in my life who were the literal grace of God to me, and God’s goodness weaving in and through it all.

It doesn’t mean I don’t wrestle with questions, or that there are easy answers. But I know that there is a God, that He is with us, and that He is good.

“O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.”

Isaiah 25:1

2. It’s Not Going To Be Perfect

Even as I write this second thought to remember, I can feel myself cringe. It’s one of those things I know in my head to be true, but I’ve got to accept it deep down.

This year is going to be filled with real life, like all the rest. And that’s okay.

It might be beautiful, it might be just what God planned, but it’s probably not going to match the picture that we have in our heads. Only God knows the reasons and the whys. He works all things together for good. But it’s not going to be perfect—at least not the way we measure perfection.

Instead of perfect, let’s aim for steady. For trying again after bad days. And for offering humble thanksgiving after the good ones.

We give our best efforts to the Lord. Our Father will handle the rest. And yes, this will even include our imperfect attempts to battle perfectionism. I’m sure we’ll talk on this topic again . . .

3. Don’t Forget to Enjoy the View

I’m a little bit dramatic when it comes to new seasons. You might have picked up on that already. So much gravity. So much mental preparation. I brace myself for the unexpected and take oh so many deep breaths.

But do you know what doesn’t set a good tone in my home environment? Me, constantly bracing myself and taking everything extremely seriously.

This, along with my perfectionist problem, is not an area of mastery in my life. You are getting real-time confessions here.

I’ve heard a wild and ludicrous idea that I’m not actually propping up the world by gritting my teeth in sober dedication. Maybe you’ve heard this rumor as well.

It is, in fact, possible to be dedicated and peaceful at the same time.

Again, I cringe. Could this really be true? Well, let’s look to nature.

We live near the Delaware River, where there are lots of migratory birds doing migratory things. And none of them look anxious. They are sitting on rocks, preening in the sunshine. They are swirling in windy updrafts, around and around in the open air. And then they journey on.

The other day a monarch butterfly flew through our yard. Another journeyer. It’s whimsical fluttering might give the impression of aimlessness and inefficiency. But it’ll be arriving in Mexico by this fall, surviving the winter, and returning here by spring.

Dedication doesn’t have to mean misery. Steady doesn’t have to mean monotonous. It’s okay to slow down and be present in the moment with the people we love. We will still get to where we are going.

Knowing (and remembering) that God has our world in His hands empowers us to move restfully forward, learning to enjoy the view along the way.

And so, we set forth.

God will be with us. It’s not going to be perfect. And it’s okay to enjoy the view. I don’t know about you, but I am going to need these truths for the road ahead.

Thanks so much for joining me. I look forward to journeying together!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

8 thoughts on “So It Begins . . .

  1. Oh Debra, I love this post! When our school year ended last June I said, “well that will be the end of that” 😉 ….. and yet here I am “bracing” myself for another year of homeschooling. God is not quite done with this journey. Your word steady just jumped off the page for me. It reminded me of one of my favorite verses. Isaiah 26:3
    You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you. Thank you for putting that pearl in front of me!


  2. Hi to the Halls,
    You guys have been such a blessing to me over many years. On rest, a few key things from scripture come to mind. If you have not looked at these, then maybe they would be good material to share on the blog. First, Hebrews 3, and the obvious pointers back to Israel in Egypt and the wilderness with Moses. God was working to give his people rest that they surely needed. But it takes faith even to do something as “simple” as rest. Second, Isaiah 30:15 – “In returning and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and trust shall be your strength, and you would not . . .” Again, it takes faith to rest with God. Blessings, Jeff Killen


  3. Deborah, I love your writing. It is full of honesty, hope and reality. I am challenged by what you wrote to embrace this year with joy, knowing that God is with me through the good days and the hard days. You captured it so well. Blessings, Heather


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