Faith, Lifestyle

Failing forward

If there is one thing I really dislike, it is losing face in front of others. I am a firm believer in go big or go home; I like to dream big, bold dreams and put them ‘out there’ for all to see. This brings a certain level of accountability on my part, and also makes me stretch my faith. But it also means that if I don’t achieve the dream or see the miracle happen then the world and his wife have a front row seat.

There have been a few ‘failures’ over the past few years. I haven’t reached the goals I wanted to in my business, I didn’t get the job that I thought was ‘mine’, I didn’t continue homeschooling past 12 months and I didn’t move in to my new house by the time frame I expected. The galling thing for me is that with all of these things, I felt called by God into each and every one of them. And I told the world that.

Does that mean that God let me down? Does that mean that I didn’t hear from God in the first place? I don’t think it means any of these things. I think God has called me to each and every business venture, job application, educational experience and relocation for reason. Let me explain…

In 2017, a much wanted little girl came into our lives and my mental health came crashing down. As a family we were very much in the trenches, fighting for our faith, our marriage and our kids. We lost so much, but Jesus kept us together and kept us strong. It was during my illness that I discovered the power of aromatherapy and my business was born out of awe, wonder and my love of science as I shared what I learned. Essential oils played a huge part in my recovery and continue to support our health and wellness.

By Autumn 2018, my health was vastly improved and I was excited about a glittering future in my business, however it was at this point that God challenged me about home schooling my children. Believe me, this was never part of my plan… but God kept challenging me and as I prayed into it I felt that He truly wanted me to do this. We discussed it as a family and in March 2019 we pulled out children out of mainstream school.

The business took a backseat, but what a year we had! We basked in our new found freedom and found kindred spirits who will be life long friends, yet I felt stifled and at times overwhelmed being with my children 24/7. Yet another venture that wasn’t panning out as I thought it would… I began to consider whether homeschooling was for us, and whether both my children and I needed something ‘more’. We had committed to giving it a year and then reviewing the decision.

In December 2019, I felt compelled to apply for a part time role. This didn’t sit with my business/home school plans either! Surely I had enough on my plate with a wellness business, aromatherapy diploma underway and being a full time homeschooling mama to three? The job was a ministry role which I felt was perfect and would enable me to use my skills in pastoral care, networking and leadership to further God’s Kingdom. I felt that God was leading me to this role, yet despite being shortlisted to the last two, I was unsuccessful.

Fast forward to March 2020. We had made the decision to put the children back into school, only for them to come back home again after two short weeks (thanks coronavirus!) What in the world? I felt like everything was crashing down, my plans were going out of the window and I literally went to God saying what the heck? What was I meant to do now?

As we prayed during lockdown and felt that God was leading us to relocate to Wales – a dream we had had for years, but each time we pushed the door, God had always said “not now”. Now He was swinging the doors wide open.

Here is what God has shown me about the importance of every step in my journey:

After adopting our daughter, God led me to a wonderful Christian mama who became a mentor and a friend, supporting and educating me in how to support our family wellness. Without her, I would never have started this journey.

Homeschooling was never about bucking the system – it was about pressing reset as a family. It was about recovering the lost year and rediscovering each other, and who we are in Christ. It was about becoming stronger in out faith and as a family.

The slow steady growth of my business, rather than the massive growth I dreamed of kept my options open and my heart humble. It meant that my hands were ready to receive what God had in store rather than trusting in my own provision.

The job application was about obedience – saying yes to God, yes to His plans and purposes even when it seemed to be outside of our plans or time frame. It made me realise how far we had come and how I was now ready to step into the next phase of my life.

This step of obedience then prepared us for the next yes – relocating to Wales. If I had gotten the job, if I hadn’t been flexible due to home school, if I hadn’t been certain in my faith due to relying completely on God, if I hadn’t started my wellness journey and continued my personal development I wouldn’t be writing this from Wales right now.

These events were ‘failures’ to me because I didn’t set out to achieve what I wanted to achieve, but I can now see that I was failing forward into what God had planned for me. He set me up to be here, right now, and even though I continue to wait for the final hurdle allowing us to move into our new home, I can say with confidence that God has never let me down and I can trust Him with this too.

If you have something you need to trust God for, can I encourage you with this:

I wait patiently for the Lord. I expectantly wait, and in His Word do I hope – Psalms 130:5

Hold on friend, He’s got you.

R x

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Faith, Homeschool, Lifestyle, Parenting

Why we want to homeschool

When we become parents, education is quickly at the forefront of our minds. We want to buy the right sensory toys, read the right books, have regular tummy time, attend baby gym classes and so on. We go from teaching them to roll, crawl and walk, to talk, read and write. But what about their character?

I think that developing character takes time and influence, and we need to think about who has the greatest influence in our children’s lives on a day to day basis. Their Teacher? The Teaching Assistant? Their friends? My eldest was put into childcare just before his first birthday and has essentially been in some form of formal education ever since. For eight years my son has received excellent holistic care, ensuring his physical and emotional needs were met. But what about his spiritual needs?

It is for this reason that we chose a faith school for our boys when they reached school age. Both have achieved all the proper milestones and progressed through Early Years Foundation Stage in to KS1. We loved the fact that Jesus was discussed at every opportunity and the boys developed great friendships. In short, the school we had chosen felt like the very best option for our family.

But God had other ideas.

We have several friends who homeschool, some have been doing it for over a decade, others little over a year, and their journey’s have fascinated me. One dear friend has talked about homeschooling her children for years. I found myself facilitating a conversation with my curious friend and a homeschooler and I found myself listening intently and asking questions. I felt very much like my spirit had been stirred bu God, and started thinking about whether this was actually feasible for us.

I felt very much like my spirit had been stirred by God

I am often quick to ‘join the party’ so I wanted to make sure that my interest in homeschooling was from God, and not just my own whimsical musings, and sure enough He pressed homeschooling on my heart. Everywhere I went, I would meet homeschoolers, or homeschooling would come up in conversation, or I would read articles about why I should consider it. In fairness, I did consider it, but quickly dismissed the idea as there was no way my personality type could cope (or indeed wanted to cope) with my kiddos 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

But God. True to form, He softened my heart and revealed to me how beautiful this process could be. That homeschool is more than just teaching subjects, but nurturing tender hearts.

Homeschool is more than just teaching subjects, but nurturing tender hearts

To develop their young characters, my children need me, and they need Jesus a whole lot more. In order for me to best raise my children I need to get to know them better, and if they are spending upwards of 6 hours a day in the care of others then this is going to get difficult. In addition to that, I felt shortchanged by the education system that was taking my babies at 8.45am, sucking them dry then spitting them out tired and grumpy at the end of the day. By the end of term, the boys are almost on their knees, pale face and dark eyes. Then there is the excessive nail biting that occurs only when at school because my eldest finds it stressful to sit still for so long, and they are only in primary school!

Homeschool will give us freedom

I believe that God wants us to live differently and homeschool will give us freedom. Freedom to learn about Jesus, freedom to tie subjects together from a biblical perspective, freedom to take as much time as we need to over a topic and freedom to explore outdoor experiential learning. I want to spend time with my children. Now I realise for many working parents, this simply isn’t an option right now. For others still, they simply don’t want to, AND THAT IS OKAY. What is right for one isn’t right for everyone, and there is no judgement here against any mom or dad, guardian or carer who doesn’t want to pick up this mantel.

So that, in a nutshell, is why we are homeschooling our brood. In short, that is what God told us to do! I can’t wait to share the rest of our homeschool journey with you as we pull our boys out of school on Friday 12th April. Watch this space!

R x

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