Wednesday

christian-ish

Internet, have I mentioned how blessed I am to be on the leadership team for our youth group?

No, but seriously.  I love talking about ministry with these people.  We all have different views and opinions and I love discussing them during our time together.

We had a meeting last weekend and I have been so blessed by the discussion.  Earlier last week Rob emailed the leadership team asking us to listen to a Podcast of Al Mohler talking with Kenda Creasy Dean, author of "Almost Christian".

It is about 45-50 minutes long but totally worth it!  Here is my summary and the things that stuck out the most to me:

It sounds like the book 'Almost Christian' is talking a lot about the disease of living the 'christian-ish' life.  Especially my generation - we have been plagued with the temptation to assume that living a moral life {being sweet to people} is what it means to live the christian life.

Internet, there is so much more to living the christian life than being nice and keeping the peace among the people around you.  Living 'christian-ish' is not living the abiding life discussed in the bible.

Let me just throw out a few reminders here:

-Being intentionally sweet to others is a good thing.  It is NOT the spreading of the gospel, though.  We must stop assuming our sweetness is spreading the good news of Christ. {of which I'm certainly the biggest culprit}

-Living a life with good morals is a good thing.  However, it is NOT the spreading of the gospel.

OK - so where was I, oh yes- summarizing the podcast.... {stepping down from soap box}

There are so many good pieces to share... so here they are in kind of word vomit order:

-Live intentionally instead if Christian-ish

-"Discipleship is less about sharing all we know about Christ and more about sharing how to live a life of love for Christ."  I love the truth of this statement.  It is so easy to be intimidated or prideful about 'sharing all we know'... and we need to focus on sharing how to live a life of love for Christ. 

-"Kids learn best the things they love the most" 

-"Kids are more likely to recognize Christianity as being significant if we don't treat it as an an extra curricular activity... Not something that comes at the end of our week but something you organize your life around."

This one can sting a bit.  But it is so true! If students see us organizing our lives around the work of the gospel - they are more apt to see the importance of doing that themselves.  There is something else implied here.... how can one know how someone else is organizing their life if they aren't intentionally invested in one another's lives?  

So.... how do you let someone in... close enough to let them see how you organize your life? Be. intentional.

-"Parents have a much bigger impact on their kid's than they realize. Your faithfulness is much more powerful than you realize."

-"What you are [as a parent] is what you get [in a child]"

-Research used in the book 'Almost Christian' has shown students who continue to have faith from HS to young adulthood is hugely impacted by the religious devotion of their parents during their teenage years.  

-"Instead of focusing on having 1 leader per X number of students - focus on surrounding each student with 5 adults who love The Lord"  Bringing them into the church community... Showing them what it is like to live a life sold out for Christ.

-Moralistic therapeutic deism is the fancy term for this living a 'christian-ish' life that seems to come so naturally to our generation considering the culture we live in. {no excuse, though}  We are so concerned to offend those around us that we hang on to moralistic living and forget the urgency of the gospel.


This has been so good for my heart to stew on as I write this out.  I pray this will truly impact the way I live my life and the way I invest in our GSM students for the gospel. 

Tuesday

Sassy notes













What are some of your sassy moments from this week?

Friday

Insta-Friday!

Here is an insta- update from the last few weeks!

                                        life rearranged

A friend of mine at work pointed out how a lot of my pictures are very similar to one another.... what is funny is - they totally are!  I mean I knew this.. but to me - it is more about documenting the memories from these moments... than what I'm actually capturing in the picture.  But it is funny especially with the photos below! #sorryaboutit

Laina and I were both sick but we couldn't miss this wedding to support such a beautiful couple getting married!  


Jen and I had a girls-only night... it was a much needed girls night!


I got to have coffee with the bestie a couple of weeks ago - so good for my soul.  God knew what He was doing, bringing her into my life.  




Apparently I really like coffee dates with my good friends..... #sorrynotsorry


Jen's birthday was last week and we're celebrating next weekend - stoked to spend an evening celebrating this girl!  This is one of my favorite pics of us from last winter.


We went to the Westport Flea Market for dinner and then Comedy City for some entertainment with the youth group last weekend.  We had a blast... definitely had some cry-laughs that night!


Craft night with these ladies.  Crafting brings us together.... but these evenings are way more than crafting.  I love getting to spend some intentional time building relationships with these ladies.


This is me preparing for the craft night.... food and supplies... truly all ya need!


I had my follow up CT scan and then had my appointment with my doctor to read the scan... so mom treated me to my superhero.... the Z-Man sandwich at Oklahoma Joe's BBQ! 



What are some of  your favorite things from this week?

Wednesday

a dose of real ray wednesday...

I'm really in awe of how well satan is at stirring pots.  He loves to put people against one another.  He loves to cause division.  He loves for rumors to flourish and spread like wildfire.  He loves for people to take those rumors and believe them.  He loves for rumors to tear apart the body of Christ.

Yet as well as satan is at stirring pots and causing conflict and division...... he is NO where near the goodness of God.

Yet, the conflict, rumors, division seem to be what stays in the front of our minds.

Interesting how that works, isn't it?

It pulls at my heart strings to watch it all go down... seemingly right in front of me.  I've felt the effects of this before... similar smell... my heart and mind are tempted to assume the end result will be the same.  

I'm so thankful for individuals I trust dearly who center their lives on the gospel.  Thankful for leaders who are as serious about the Bible as a heart attack.  Thankful for those older than me being willing to walk me through a concept or idea... or for their willingness to help challenge/grow me in too many ways to list here.

Yet - sometimes I miss being a youth student - able to learn more and more about Christ and what it means to walk with Him and have fun while I'm at it.  All the while being somewhat disconnected to the church as a whole.

As I type those words I shake my head.  I don't really mean that.  But sometimes my heart remembers that season and how 'innocent' it was.  Of course I have such a better understanding of walking with Christ now than I ever did in youth -- so I would never actually wish to go back there.  But when satan stirs these pots... the desire to go back to that season is tempting.

My favorite thing about all of this.... God is bigger.  He is using this 'allowing-satan-to-stir-the-pot' thing to mold and grow me.  I feel Him maturing me.  I feel Him challenging my heart and my motives and I'm thankful.

Note to self:  5-years-ago-Raylene would not be responding the way you're responding now.  God is in the midst of that growth.

It doesn't get much more real {on this real ray wednesday} than that, folks.

I do want to leave you with some things I'm overwhelmingly thankful for today...

-growing relationships
-craft nights with the crafts gone while crew
-the fact that craft nights are SO much more than craft nights... it is good for my soul
-good conversations with people in my church community
-the interesting things God uses to grow me
-my church body
-the way God challenges my heart

How about you be real with me... how are you {really} today?

Monday

Season of thanks...


I love this time of year.  Fall = all things I love.  

The other day I walked out to my car after work and as soon as I hit that fresh air - I couldn't help but smile.  It was the first day that it hasn't been pretty warm when I left work. I. Love. Fall.

So I've always loved Shane and Shane's music - but I am in a season where they are seriously all I want to listen to.  I'm so thankful for their music... full of deeply rooted truth found in the gospel.  So thankful for them and their ministry today.

I'm so thankful for Growth Group.  Every other Sunday we gather in small groups at one another's homes to discuss the sermon from that morning.  We host one of these groups in our home and we couldn't be more blessed by the people and the conversations.  Seriously- there is something so special... So sweet... So intentional about talking with one another about how we can apply the truth heard that morning into our everyday lives. It's so beautiful it brings a year to my eye when I sit and think about it. 

I am thankful for Tacos.  I could eat Mexican food every day of every week.  We had a taco bar, rice and rotel for growth groups tonight and I couldn't be happier! AND to top it off we had an AMAZING sopapilla cheesecake dessert.... There are no words for how yummy! 

I'm thankful for discipleship.  I'm having dinner with Rachel soon and couldn't be more excited to start an intentional journey centered on the gospel with her. So thankful for her.... And how God is going to use her to challenge and encourage my heart.

I'm thankful for Zumba.  I loved taking classes when I was a member at the gym and now I've started Zumba-ing it up in my living room! Let's just say... Those muscles haven't been used in a while.  I am sore-- but so thankful for Zumba making working out fun.

I"m thankful for PicMonkey - seriously the funnest tool I've been introduced to!  I've been playing with a new blog header -- let me know what you think?  Any ideas on how to make it even cuter?!


What are you thankful for today?




Wednesday

a little more on marriage...

Internet, I told you I'd have more to say about marriage and relationships....

{PS:  I can't write an entire post about marriage without posting some pictures of my and the hubs.... #sorrynotsorry}


As I've said before-- marriage isn't easy BUT it is totally worth every ounce of effort!

Do any of you have siblings? Can any of you honestly say that you've never disliked them or how they've treated you at one time or another? But do you still love them? Why?... Because we are family and are stuck together? Ok- valid point... But do you see the one I'm making?


Why is it we don't apply THIS type of love to our marriage relationship?  Why don't we see the love within a marriage as 'not-an-option-to-not-love' like we do with a sibling or other family member? Is it because we have let our culture convince us that it IS optional? Or is it that we believe the culture when it tells us that we can fall out of love and therefore we have a free ride to break our covenant with the Lord and our spouse?  Is it because of our fairy tale dreams growing up and marriage just doesn't seem to be like the 2 hour movie?

What do you think?

In my few years of marriage here are some additional things I've learned {and continue to learn} are important for our marriage:

Hold hands. Seems silly and so simple - but never get too old to hold hands.  Please don't get out of control and become 'those people' that can't keep their hands off of each other.  But it is important to hold hands.  You might beg to differ... maybe for you it is important to spend time cuddling on a couch.  Whatever it is for you... it is important to keep doing it.  Keep cuddling - you're never too old and you have never been married for too long to cuddle or hold hands.


Consideration for others is KEY.  Put yourself in the other person's shoes.... try to think how they will percieve the comment/situation... and adjust as necessary.  However - I am not saying you should enable those that are irrationally dramatic and step on egg shells.  I'm suggesting it is appropriate to consider someone else other than yourself.  Even put your spouse's feelings in the forefront of your mind as you say or do things that impact them.  Considering one another first is a sure way to extend grace to one another.


Recognize you're on the same team!  Competitive natures are an ok thing - but they can be dangerous in a marriage.  Scott and I are both very competitive people.  It can be so easy to forget that you're NOT competing with one another.  Go ahead and play games and compete with one another.... BUT realize that in life... you're not competing for who is the best at X.  Realize that you each bring the perfect blend to the marriage - you strengthen one another in areas where you are each weak.


Balance is necessary.  This is very broad but it is true in each sense of the word.  Balance one another - you should rub off on them and they should rub off on you.  Also your time should be balanced.  Be sure to spend time together - JUST THE TWO OF YOU.  This is especially easy for Scott and I right now because we don't have kids yet.  But I know it is essential to a healthy marriage no matter what stage of life you're in together.  But also spend time separate - it is OK and greatly encouraged to spend time with your girlfriends and for your spouse to spend time with his guy friends.  You need this time in community with others outside the relationship setting.  BUT - a warning here - you should never talk about about your spouse behind their back.  Getting together with girlfriends is not a time to bad mouth your spouse for the latest irritation he has caused.

Fun is a requirement.  I know this seems silly... but it is so easy for some to lose sight of the importance of having fun with one another.  Go on dates - have tickle fights - flirt.  Continue to flirt after you're married.  I can't tell you how important it is to be able to have fun with one another AFTER the honeymoon stage of a marriage is over.  The tickle monster, and the singing what a normal human would speak to one another are things that WILL surely stick around our marriage.  If you've spent any length of time around Scott and I - you have probably experienced any combination of these.... and sorry about it but they are here to stay.  I love being goofy with my husband.  It seems silly and simple - but it something I truly treasure.


Document life together.  Enjoy the simple moments - take pictures.  Ok... so this one isn't for everyone... but it IS important to me!  I am a scrapbooker, a memory keeper, a smashbooker, a lover of pictures.  Why, you ask? I don't have the best memory and honestly I love getting to smile when I come across a picture from a fun memory and relive that moment in my head.  I am not convinced I would relive those simple moments that bring me so much joy if I didn't have something like a picture to trigger my memory.  Scott may roll his eyes and give me a hard time about taking pictures when we go out on dates, but I want to relive these moments later in life.


When you say you forgive... actually forgive. When your husband {or wife} says something or does something that really irritates you enough that it keeps bothering you and you realize it is time for a critical conversation.  At the conclusion of that conversation when forgiveness is sought and given freely... be sure to understand what it means to truly forgive.  Don't just say that you forgive him and then continue to bring up that very instance every additional time you get irritated at him.  Don't let the instance continue to bother you - that isn't forgiveness.... that, my friend is a grudge.  This is directly related to the comment I made in my original blog post on marriage - the part about how a marriage is an illustration of Christ's relationship with the church.  We certainly wouldn't want Christ to store up every instance of sin against Him that we commit on a daily basis, would we?  No - we are so thankful for the grace that He continues to show us.  THAT is the way we should treat our spouse.  We should offer that same grace {as best we can being sinful and human}.  This is an image of Christ's love for us {His church}.  He forgave us without question.... yet when we are the one 'sinned' against we suddenly feel entitled to some sort of payment to earn our favor again.  Yeah.... we REALLY need to get a gospel perspective on forgiving one another within a marriage.


I could go on for days... but I'll stop here... for now.

I'd LOVE to hear about some of the most important things you've learned through your marriage or watching your parents' marriage.  What are some of your tricks of the trade?  What are some of the pieces of advice you would give a newly engaged or newly wed couple?


Monday

Fall Women's Conference 2013 - Summer Challenge



Good evening Internet!  I first have to say that I have been so blessed by so many of you {yes you - my readers}.  I so appreciate your encouraging comments - THANK YOU.  

So This summer 4 women at my church and I were asked to take a summer challenge.  The challenge was to daily spend time meditating, praying, journaling about the Glory of God.  At the end of this challenge awaited a Women's Conference where we would each be entrusted with 10 minutes to share about our experiences.  So here is the blog post I prepared as my 'script' for the session.  {Yes, internet - I prepared for the event by writing out a blog post.... #sorrynotsorry}

__________________

As I began to read and think through my experiences this summer, I can’t help but smile.  God has been so good to me through this challenge.  He has challenged my motives, my self-centeredness, my intentions, and my lack of trust in his promises. What an amazing blessing it is to go back and evaluate the past few months and what God has done in my heart.  I hope to do this type of evaluation often as I continue to grow and mature in Christ - it truly is amazing to intentionally look back at just how good He is to me in each season of life.

So a little bit about the challenge:  Kandy gave us a set of questions to consider as we start our journey this summer.  A few of the questions she gave us to dwell on have really been the questions I’ve used the most this summer to spur my thoughts and meditations.  She asked us to consider: ‘How does my appreciation of God’s character increase my love for Him?’ also she asked: ‘How does the Glory of God emanating from His character influence my life? Motivate my maturity?’.  There were several other wonderful questions but these two where the ones I kept dwelling on throughout this summer.

Just to give you a little insight to the resources I’ve been exposed to this summer: first - during Tuesday Girls (GSM girls summer study) we went through the book ‘Follow Me’ by David Platt {DPlatt as the girls and I started calling him}.  This book shared some amazing truth regarding what it means to truly be a follower of Christ.  Secondly, during Launch this summer we went through the book ‘Future Grace’ by John Piper {Johnny P as I typically call him – apparently I have a thing for nick names… I must get that from Scott.}  Both of these authors do not beat around the bush and you surely wont find a writing by them that is aimed at making the reader feel warm and fuzzy in their current state of life.  I have to say that I absolutely love that about these authors.  If I wanted to read something to make me feel good, then I’d read my old birthday cards. 

So all of that to say – I read some really gut-checking kind of books this summer.  I will say that Future Grace is by far the most challenging book I’ve ever read.   Not just because it took a few times of reading several of the paragraphs to get the concept… but I will also say that this is by far the book that has impacted me and my spiritual walk the most to this point.  So a lot about my journey this summer – God used this book as a catalyst for me so I figure it is appropriate to let you in on that.

I realized throughout this summer that I didn’t- and often still don’t, have an appropriate view therefore an appropriate appreciation for God’s character regarding His promises.  This is the biggest area the Lord has been challenging me through my journey this summer. 

John Piper wrote an entire chapter on the promise found in Romans 8:28 “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”  It is amazing to me that I’ve grown up in the church and I’ve grown up reading right over this passage and thinking ‘oh yeah, sure – all things work together for good…. Except me…. Except for this situation.’

Until reading through and dwelling on the promise of Romans 8:28 this summer – I never believed it was really true of some of the seemingly horrible situations I’ve experienced through my life: major back surgery at 20 years old or Scott losing his job a few months after purchasing our home.  Yet now I can so clearly see God’s handprint is found in every step of the way. 

Why is it that it is so much easier to see Him at work when we look back on a situation instead of while we’re in it?  I think for me, it has been true because I tend to believe I will be an exception to that promise that time. 

I just pray that I would be as confident in the promise of Romans 8:28 in the midst of a trial as I am when I’m able to look back on that season.  You know?  It is so much easier to look back and see His good – but oh how I long to be able to be confident in the midst of these trying seasons!  I could get on another soap box about community here – but I wont.  But I will say that part of our responsibility to one another is to help each other see the workings of God in each other’s lives.  It is much easier to see God at work in a seemingly horrible situation when it is not my own situation.  

John Piper says it so well– talking about this promise found in Romans 8:28: “The freest life of love is the life saturated with the confidence that nothing comes to me but what is good for me.” (pg 125 chapter 9)

The ‘ah-ha’ moment for me was when I was faced with this truth that God’s best for me and my idea of what is best for me isn’t always the same.  Trust me- I had a few sassy moments with God about this one… like ‘really – you know how much of a planner I am?!’   But thinking through this promise I’ve realized that my plan ‘A’ won’t always happen… but His plan ‘A’ will ALWAYS happen and will ALWAYS be what is truly best for me.  He only does what is best for His children. But we better remember ‘what is best’ according to His definition and His purpose and His plan – not according to ours.  ‘what is best’ does not mean ‘happy’; ‘success’; ‘wealth’.  

So thankful for this promise.  I can rest.  Any moment I am uncertain or tempted to be anxious – He has placed me in that moment and it is the best place I could possible be in that moment.  There is a lot of freedom that I find in that.  My heart can rest.  Does it 100% of the time?  No… but I am intentionally seeking and praying that those moments of rest and freedom increase as I grow more and more confident in His promises.  Because his promises are true and are always true.. not based on the situation.

Another area that the Lord has been working on me this summer is actually because of our Sunday evening series last year as well as our ‘Follow Me’ study this summer.  We went through 2 Timothy and I remember one of the first sermons Pastor Bret gave was about the relationship that Paul and Timothy had.  The way they lived life together – good/bad/and the ugly.  The love they had for one another- truly beautiful.

I’ve really been challenged regarding the whole ‘Paul/Timothy’ thing this summer.  It is easy to think that we only need a Paul in our life during HS/College years…. After that you get to become a Paul yourself, right?!  While that is true… as you grow and mature in Christ we are called to intentionally invest in those younger (not necessarily just age but young in spiritually).   I had a mentor through HS and part of college … but until this summer I wasn’t super convinced that I needed someone to be investing in me now – in more of a 1 on 1 setting.  I’ve convinced myself that I’m getting good influences through the leadership of Launch and through the other GSM leaders… but that isn’t the type of influence we’re talking about when we look at Paul and Timothy.  And it is funny that thinking through Paul and Timothy’s relationship… these are not HS or college aged guys.  These are grown men investing into one another’s lives. 

Needless to say I have thought to myself on several occasions, ‘Oh I can totally invest like that into someone…’  Not giving much thought about the HUGE need I have to be invested in by someone like that.  I have realized that it is much easier to get caught up with being intentional in my role as a Paul in someone’s life and neglect the fact that I need to also be a Timothy to someone else.

So I spent a lot of time intentionally thinking and praying about that this summer.  Asking the Lord to drop someone in my lap – make it obvious to me who my Paul should be and oh by the way go ahead and don’t make me do the uncomfortable thing that is ASKING someone to invest in me. Spending some time praying about it – but still expecting a neon sign by God… given to my 'Paul' so that I wouldn’t have to go outside my comfort zone.  Satan had a hay day with that… feeding me excuses not to act - like ‘if they wanted to invest in you – they would be already’ or ‘what if they say ‘no’? how embarrassing!’ which until this summer really made the ‘search for my Paul’ a last priority and I was labeling this season as one that I’m ‘praying about it’ and this summer has really challenged me to move that to the ‘I’m pursuing this’ category.  And I’m so glad that God is bigger than my comfort zone. 

A phrase that I feel really sums up my journey this summer is ‘be intentional’.  I hope you’ll join me.  Let’s be intentional.  Intentional to invest in others.  Intentional to trust in what God is doing through His plan A for our lives.  Intentional to rely on His promises.  Intentional to seek our Paul or timothy.  Intentional to point out the working of God in one another’s lives.  
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Wow - you made it :)  What has God been doing in your heart this summer?!

Friday

Insta-Friday!


life rearranged


I was honored to be a part of a summer long challenge and got to tell the women of my church all about it last weekend! {more on that to come} 


Jadyn turned 5..... How is this even possible?! 


Mom, dad and I worked on one of my craft dreams.  So thankful for their help! {again- more on that to come}


I was sick this week--- but Molly knew exactly what she could do to help me out.


Also Scott gets a hubby award for bringing me Dr. Pepper and chocolate on my sickest day. #ihearthim


This was a few weeks ago--- but a date at OK Joes!


Worlds of Fun with these goons!!! It was like watching kids at a candy store... Sort of. 


Awe- he is cute.


People... This is my favorite snack. YES: tortilla chips and chocolate chips.


Went to a royals game a while ago with this girl {and a few other special folks}


Mini-Masters happened again this year.... And the girls dominated-- as usual. #GSMlove 


It IS fall!!!


Loved me some cuddles with sweet Livi a couple of weeks ago!! 

Happy Friday!! 

Thursday

lions, tigers and school decisions - oh my.

Making decisions about how to educate your children is very difficult and very personal to everyone I know.    However, whatever you decide: public school, private school, or homeschool is your decision.



Let me just say a few things up front:

1. I don't have kids YET
2. I do plan to have children at some point in the future {I can hear my parents breathing a sigh of relief}
3. I don't intend to offend anyone through the contents of this post-only to encourage and challenge myself and any others that feel so inclined to read along as I process via the blogsphere


No kids... ok, so why the post, Ray?

This post is not a response to any one thing that I have heard, read or observed... it is simply to express some concern about what the topic is doing to the church and to encourage those who will make, have made, are getting ready to make these big decisions regarding how to educate their children.  This post is for myself - one day I will feel the pressure that so many others are feeling to choose one method or another and I know I'll need to look back on this to challenge myself.  

I'm concerned, friends.

I'm concerned that we have let this decision about the way each family does school dictate the way we view one another.
I'm concerned that we've taken this schooling thing and let satan divide the church into 'segments' or 'cliques' {dare I say...} that are for or against one school decision or another.
I'm concerned that we have made it our personal conviction that everyone else must agree with and decide that the same schooling method is right for their family.
I'm concerned that to some, the method of schooling chosen for your family will somehow impact you eternity.
I'm concerned we've lost sight of the gospel in light of the area of schooling.
I'm concerned we've let satan convince us that one decision is more sinful or less sinful than another.
I'm concerned that we have forgotten that God is still in ultimate control and is bigger than any governmental regulation/trend....

Internet, those seem like really harsh statements... I truly hope that none of them are true.

You know whats funny about all of this?   I know several families that do homeschool, families that do private school, and families that do public school and they all do it well.  They respect other families for the decisions they make regarding school and they know that their decision is the best one for their family.  I have so much respect for these families... and I hope that when we have kids and make our school choice that we'll be just as respectful of what's best for everyone else's family.  So I want to give a shout out to those families that do it well.  I appreciate your understanding and your respect for each of the other school options out there.

Ok... some of you are dying for me to share so here is some background on me:

- I went to public school from K-10th grade and from 10th-12th grade I went to a small christian school in Kansas City. 


Some things I hope Scott and I will consider when making the schooling decision for our future children:

-I am not an educator.  I have a BS in Psychology and an MBA with an HR concentration.  I will be very helpful to my kids when they take psychology and business classes.  I will be able to talk with them about a SWAT analysis and how to communicate with different types of personalities.  However I did not spend my college/masters years learning how to teach others well.

-Assuming we will be living in the same area that we live in currently - we live in one of the top school districts in the tri-state area.  They are doing something right in regards to educating local students.

-I want what is best for my children.  I want them to learn how to deal with others well- people they like, those they don't.  I want them to be challenged to think critically, problem solve without giving up.  I'm afraid that I would be a softy - I think I'd let them give up too quickly or help make excuses for them.  

-I pray even now that the gospel will be central in our household.  I pray that Scott and I will be able to reflect the focus and importance of the gospel to our children.  Regardless of what school method we choose - the home is the place they will have the opportunity to see this lived out the most.  I pray that the living out of the gospel will be central in our household.

-I will ask myself.... what is my motive behind the choice I've made regarding my kid's education?  Am I motivated by an anxiety about my student being influenced by those in the world around them at school - so I make a certain decision to avoid my child interacting with those in the world at all {and oh-by the way helping my own anxiety while we're at it}.  Sheltering for the sake of my anxiety or fear for my child is in no way God-honoring.   Or am I motivated solely by my schooling experience and make a rash decision that isn't the best for our family.  Praying now that the Lord will guide my motivation, that the spreading of the gospel will be my motivation, that the 'making much of' God will be my motivation.

-We are called to be salt and light in the world.  I can't think of a better way to begin preparing my children for what it is like in the world than to send them to school where they are surrounded by it most days for 9 months out of the year while they still live with me.  Or if that isn't the best decision for our family, how will I be intentional to put my kids in settings where they are surrounded by the world to be the salt and light?  I can certainly decide to 'protect' my children from the world's influences by making their school decision for them.  However, once they leave my roof - head to college... get a job in the real world... they are now in the world and are no longer under my influence.  How will I intentionally prepare my children for being in the world even after high school?  I can't help but be thankful for all of the glimpses and influences of the world I experienced while I lived with my parents... I was able to go home and talk about and ask questions about those things.  My mom and dad did a great job preparing me to discern well once I left my childhood home.  I'm so thankful for them.

I hope this will be helpful for me later in life... When we are actually faced with making a decision.  While I'm fairly certain what that decision will be-- I pray now that God would align my desires with His will for our family.