Monday, December 13, 2010

Book Recommendation - Part 2

A single mom friend asked me to share some quotes and info. from the book I’m reading and have recommended. I’ve pulled lines I underlined, things I think we can all identify with. What I haven’t shared are Linda’s solutions in many cases, or the abundance of Scripture that she relied on during this time. I don’t want to steal all the joy of reading the book for yourself. I just want you to glean enough to make you desire to read it and find out the rest of her story. Now here are some of my favorites from God, I Need Help, by Linda Joyce Heaner:

Ch. 1 – God is My Provider
I hesitated outside the welfare office. College educated, in my thirties,…I never expected to end up here. But I was desperate.

Even close friends don’t know all these things about me!

People I knew looked down on those receiving public assistance. I’d heard them talk about it in the past.
“They’re lazy,” one commented
“They need to work instead of wasting our tax money.”
“They’re just looking for a handout,” a third concluded.
If people knew that I applied for AFDC, they would think that way about me. Suddenly I wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out. I didn’t want anyone to know what I had done. Somehow applying for AFDC meant I was a failure.

“This walfare assistance is part of My provision for you at this time. Receive it that way.”
Part of My provision…God will use the welfare system to provide for some of our needs!
Part of My provision…God will help me. I will not succumb to the “loser” mentality that can accompany welfare. Instead of feeling ashamed that I had applied for public assistance, I began thanking God for how He would provide for us through it.




Ch. 2 – God is Always With Me

Then the quiet voice spoke to my heart. I knew it was Jesus. “Linda, don’t look at your husband. Don’t look at people. Don’t look at circumstances. Look at Me. I am your Abiding Hope.”
Jesus is the only One I can completely depend on.

When we’re overcome by circumstances of life, we can cling to Him. He is our Abiding Hope.

I’m not willing to work full time to get off the system, because that would require long-term day care for my children;

My primary job is mothering my children. Nothing was more important to me.

Work needed to harmonize with nurturing my children, not preempt it.

Ch. 3 – God is For Me
Worry held me hostage.
Suddenly I realized how much time and energy I wasted by worrying.
I longed to provide a peaceful, nurturing atmosphere in my home, but daily life seemed chaotic.
With Jonathan in school, I felt pressured to get a full-time job. Others communicated, directly or indirectly, that I should be providing for my family and that I was irresponsible to turn down any job in my field.





Ch. 4 – God Restores My Hope
I traveled a different path than most of my peers: gladly staying home with my children. This route didn’t fit some people’s expectations. They applied subtle and not-so-subtle pressure, urging me to get a job and not waste my talents at home. I felt isolated and misunderstood.

Father, I deeply desire to help adults cling to You and Your Word. I long to bring hope and healing to those shattered by divorce. I want to encourage those who have no hope.

The responsibility of raising my three children alone crushed my hopes for homeschooling them.

I did not know any single parents who homeschooled.

I believed it was impossible for a single parent to homeschool.
He restored hopes and dreams He had planted in my heart years ago.


Ch. 5 – God Is Trustworthy
I don’t see how God could do it, but we can pray.
During the weekend of waiting my mind became a breeding ground for fear.
To fight my discouragement, I wrote a detailed record of how God had already cared for us in this situation.

Father, I’m going to meditate on impossible situations in Your Word and how You came through.
An hour earlier, I had been inconsolable, now peace permeated my heart.


Forgive me for being quick to complain. Forgive me for sinking in self-pity instead of giving thanks for all You’ve done for me. Rather than endure this season of my life, I want to overflow with gratefulness.

I shopped around and fretted for days about spending that money.

“Jesus had resource His disciples knew nothing about,” I told my children.

Father, forgive me for clinging to my savings account. You are my security, not that money. Forgive me for doubting. Your faithfulness when You demonstrate it repeatedly.

The book has 12 chapters, but I’m not finished yet. I’ll have to share my favorites from the second half of the book in another post.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Book Recommendation

Here is a book I would recommend to any and all single mothers. I read it back in 2005 and am rereading it presently.

God, I Need Help by Linda Joyce Heaner.

Friday, December 10, 2010

JOY

The last week has been one of those weeks where I'm away every night during the night for several hours. I guess I don't get quiet long enough during the day for the Lord to speak to me, so it is necessary for me to be woken up during the night to meet with Him.

Last night, after a difficult afternoon at our house -- which was total spiritual attack, because the morning had been good and I'd been seriously working on some areas of spiritual growth -- the Lord showed me that things are out of kilter. JOY is Jesus Others Yourself, the order in which we should approach things. Lately I've had much YOJ, and even some OYJ and maybe even some JYO but I keep missing the mark, I can't quite seem to get it right and it's obvious.

So, today, as we're in the Advent and we're preparing to celebrate the birth of the Messiah it seems a little ridiculous that JOY should be lacking or hard to find.

My effort today is to stop each step of the way and think, What would Jesus do or say? Am I reflecting Him or am I reflecting me? Am I submitting to him or indulging me? I can't promise it will be a success, but I will try my best.

We are so blessed, because of Him, that I have no room for complaint or whining, and yet that seems to be in abundance in our house these days. So I'm also stopping to smell the roses, count the blessings and most importantly to get back to quilting. When I quilt, for whatever reason, I'm so much more able to focus on the Lord and it's been a LONG and DRY spell where quilts and artistic expression have been concerned. So fabric is soaking in the sink (no washer until Dec. 27) and once they are dry and pressed I'll pick a pattern or design and start working. We'll see if that helps to recover some JOY.

What about you? How is your JOY this season? If you've lost it, what can you do to find it again?

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Season of Giving

It's that time of year again. I am flooded with the "give" requests. Funny, I really have nothing to give, at least not to most of them. They want money and that is something I don't have.

So, this season, may the Lord help me look at those around me and see if I might have something I can give, a word of encouragement, and extra sweater, a meal. May I minister, as Christ did, among the people I meet in my daily walk.

What about you? Where will you be giving of yourself this season? Will it be something easy and without any real sacrifice? Or will you step beyond easy?

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Monday, December 6, 2010

Follow Up to Preparing for the Rains

I've been away from the computer, physical limitations, moving, settling in...it's all been so very different this time. The Lord is stretching me, in very uncomfortable ways.

My last post was about preparing to receive the rain. I've spent a lot of time praying about the how of that. This morning I went to a friend that is a professional farmer and asked...how do you prepare in a draught to receive the rain.

I came away with three interesting points that I think will be helpful, when the rain comes, the crops will flourish...am I prepared to deal with God's blessings when my prayer is answered?

Watch out for weeds and insects during the crisis that can compromise the vulnerable plant...watch for the enemy, distractions, anything that will take my eyes off the Lord and the goal.

So, as a single mom, this means, to me anyway, simplify and cut back anything that is not essential. I'm not sure of the practical application of it, yet but as I figure it all out I'll share.

As I sit in my new home, which is actually a very old home, in the middle of 100 acres, which is far from secluded, and yet is surrounded by woods I realize that this is probably just the beginning of what the Lord has for me. As I've pursued doors, to make a living from home, each door has closed until after the first of the year...I'm not sure why, but I'm waiting, and I'm trying to do it patiently, knowing that the Lord is working.

What about you? Have you prayed for, prepared for and accepted rain from the Lord? Would you be willing to share by leaving a comment?

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lord What Do You Want Me To Do?

Okay, those of you who have been around a year or two, who followed me back in my Homeschool Blogger days, all know that I have struggled with some things, and what the "desires of my heart" are before the Lord for me and my family.

Recently, deciding that all of this just simple is not to be, I began to pray, "Okay, Lord, than what do you want me to do for you with my life?" After all, society does not understand my just sitting around here, and homeschooling and etc. There must be something He wants me to Do.

I've struggled. I've wrestled. Frankly, I've been quite miserable. So this week, I "stumbled" across an devotional from Nancy Campbell at Above Rubies entitled My Mission Field. The reminder that the Lord has called me first to my home and family. So here we are back at that, again Lord! Oi!

Last night as I was praying, the thought came to my heart, "You haven't prepared for the rain!" So that's it Lord! That's what you want me to do! No the thought is not original. If you've seen Facing the Giants, you know that Mr. Bridges challenged the coach to not only ask for the rain but to prepare his fields to receive it. Earlier this week, I read a blog post by a single mom friend about how she had prepared for rain and the Lord had blessed 100x beyond her asking.

So, as we start this new chapter in our lives, moving this weekend into our apartment in the middle of 100 acres, in one of the most desirable towns in our state, an impossibility that only the Lord could make possible, as I consider the impossibility of the chance of my hearts desires being granted at this very moment, I remember that I serve the God who makes the impossible possible. And what He wants me to do is to stop asking, begging, pleading, demanding...and to start preparing.

Now I have to tell you, I have no idea what that really means in a practical sense, but I'm sure that will be part of the adventure along the way. And as the Lord leads, and allows, I'll keep you updated as to how He is having me prepare to receive the rain.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Victory In Jesus

After a long, difficult 24 hours, where I was bombarded with not one but several difficult situations, after four months of struggling to figure out what God wants me to do....last night I literally crumpled to my knees by bed, broken..."I can't do this anymore Lord." "I give up." "I have tried and it's not working, Lord." "I QUIT!" And there, at the end of myself, He began to show me some amazing things.

I am doing what He wants me to do. I am at home. I am homeschooling. I am serving homeschoolers. I am encouraging others (or trying to) in their daily walk. And the vision that He has given me, He is bringing to fruition in His time and His way (not mine.)

He also showed me that while the words I had meant to help, had hurt someone very dear, that He could use those words for His glory. He showed me that sometimes we have to hurt before we start to heal, that we have to know that someone cares enough to speak the truth in love, even if we don't see it that way. He showed me when others words had hurt me and how He had used it to grow me. He gave me hope that all is not lost.

He reminded me where I was nine years ago and where He has brought me from and what He had brought me through.

He showed me that sometimes it's not our family or our church that He uses but other Christians, from unlikely places. He reminded me how the couple who has been the most supportive and encouraging to me in this time is Catholic, unlikely for someone from a die-hard Baptist background.

Though much of what brought me to my knees last night remains unresolved, today I have a ray of hope that has escaped me for months. I feel I can wait a little more patiently for His way and His timing, whatever they may be.

I'm so grateful this morning, amidst the chaos. If He has taken such good care of me in the past, surely He will continue to through this day.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Good Reminder

The last two Sunday's the kids and I have listened to messages from a pastor in Wiscasset, ME...Bob Cull from Mid-Coast Community Chapel. The series we're listening to is from Mark 5. These were the reminders that struck me this week worth sharing for application in our Christian walk.

1. Jesus went through the storm, with the disciples. He wasn't worried, they were.

2. He went through the storm with the sole purpose of ministering to one person...he knew the demon possessed man needed Him. And He wouldn't allow this man to follow Him. He had him stay behind, as a "missionary" to those in his own country. They had, after all, asked Jesus to leave.

3. He had followers that while they walked with Him, daily, in the flesh and witnessed His miracles, first hand, still feared and were doubtful.

4. Jesus was never in a hurry.

5. His ministry often came as interuptions in His travels. He left the crowds to sail across the lake to minister to the demon possessed man. He returned to the crowd only to have Jairus seek His help, only to be interupted from that by the woman with the issue of blood. He didn't necessarily minister to people on a first come, first serve basis. Sometimes He made people wait. (Ouch!)

Most of all, I came away with the thought that the Lord was gentle, and caring. Why do I have such a hard time embracing that concept when it is so clear in Scripture after Scripture. It is rare to see the Lord stirred to wrath...not saying it's not there, just saying it's rare.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's Good to Remember

Recently in one of my "sure we're going to be stuck here forever moments" my daughter reminded me about the last house we lived in. When we lived up in the mountains, we started out our first year in a trailer park...ugh! I hated it. I was happy to have our own place, but....then our landlord bought a house around the corner (read, a totally different world) and offered it to us. We moved, eventually. However, it literally took months from the first time we walked the property in September, until we were able to move in, in February. How many times was a I sure we'd be stuck forever in the trailer park.

Having seen God's provision, and His timing, knowing that His timing is not mine and His ways are not mine, why should I be surprised if our upcoming move were any different. We really haven't been waiting that long. We first saw the apartment (or the remains once it was gutted) in July...this is only October...and it's so close to being ready for us.

We were there yesterday, and it's rather amazing, one of my gripes has been I "knew" by the time we moved in, I'd miss the view of all the brilliant fall colors. God gave me a glimpse of it yesterday and against the grayness of the day, the splashes of color were phenomenal. God is so good. And I'm so ungrateful and forgetful.

The waiting isn't one bit easier today than it was the day before yesterday, but somehow my attitude seems a little bit better. I know it's coming, God has always been faithful and it is the enemy that wants me to be discouraged, to give up, to act when God has clearly said Wait, to be rash and impulsive and do something to "help" the situation along.

This morning, I read this, ""There is immense power in stillness." "All things come to him who knows how to trust and be silent." "It is your business to be peaceful and safe in God in every situation."

I'm praying that each day I will continue to grow a little more in these areas, how about you.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Christian?

I've been thinking about this for awhile. America calls itself a nation of Christians...but I think we're really a nation of Deists. That is, I think that most people believe in God. I'm not as convinced that the nation as a whole believes in Jesus Christ and His teachings.

James 2:19 comes to mind, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe, and tremble.

When you witness, post, comment, design your website, do you talk about God so not to offend? Or do you talk about Jesus and what He's done for you?

I listened to a sermon from Mid-Coast Country Chapel this morning, from the book of Mark. Pastor Cull spoke of the demon possessed man, and how he had no training, he simply went about and told people what Jesus had done for him. Why do we make it so difficult? It was pretty convicting for me. I'm a great one to say God, but less likely to use the Savior's name...my reason, I grew up hearing the Lord's name taken in vain, regularly. I even thought the Savior had a middle initial. It's always been hard for me but you know, the Lord can help me overcome that, for His glory, too.

I'm growing in conviction, that if I say I'm a Christian, not only should I be living the things Christ taught more faithfully, caring less about the world around me, or even some of our modern American churches and focus on what the Savior taught...so when someone looks at me, and they see something different (which I pray they will) and they ask, I can say, I am this way, because Jesus loves me, and He loves you too.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gratitude

I was laying on the couch this afternoon and realized that I have much to be grateful for and lately instead of giving God glory, I've been grumbling...a ton.

So, here I am to share some praises of things God has done lately in our lives:

*my son decided he wants to do spelling...he is but he doesn't know it, because it doesn't look like a separate subject. God provided, through a friend, a traditional spelling workbook. We're going to give it a go and see if this helps with his reading.

*He has delayed our move by about a month. I still don't understand it, but I have to believe He has a purpose in it.

*I have felt lousy lately, lots of muscle tension and discomfort...yesterday it wasn't so bad, which allowed me to go to a homeschool get together and enjoy myself...oh, and if we'd just moved or were in the process of moving, we probably wouldn't have been able to go.

*This one is a praise in advance. A friend recently shared something she'd gone through, similar to symptoms I'm currently experiencing...her doctors diagnosis was different from mine...however, with her diagnosis in the back of my mind, I'm trying a different home remedy that would never have occurred to me...my praise in advance is this is going to be the solution I've been praying for over the last 6 to 8 weeks.

*the house we're moving to, I've already shared, has to be God's provision, because there is no human explaination or way that it could possibly happen.

*we didn't get snow yesterday or the day before when other parts of the state and neighboring state did.

*we have plenty of good food to eat

*we have heat in our home

*we've witnessed God working a miracle in a close friends family over the last year

*my daughter wants to stay home and continue to learn to be a keeper-at-home, in preparation for someday becoming a wife and mother

We have so very much to be thankful for, and so many days all I do is grumble about what we don't have or what isn't happening, or what I can't do....I'm so grateful the Lord is long-suffering in His patience with me.

What about you, have you stopped to count your blessings?

MaggieRaye

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Into The Woods

I remember when I came home...that is when I dropped out of the world and my professional career and came home to be mom, full time. It was a HUGE leap of faith. I had a nine year old and an infant. Things were rough and I never knew where or how provision would be made for us, but it always was.

For the last ten years, there have been easier times and harder ones. The last year seems to be the hardest I can remember. In May, I took two trips away from our current home to find a new place to live, and new chapter in life to start. Both times I came home thinking about the Maine woods, nature studies and living a simpler life. I was praying for direction and vision and felt as if it were falling on deaf ears...after all the idea of hiking the Appalachian trail hardly seems reasonable or even feasible at this point in my life all things considered. But then, ten years ago, quitting my job and staying home with my infant son hardly seemed reasonable.

All spring and summer I've been reading books about the great outdoors. Some of them first person accounts, some informational guides. I can't get enough. And each time I'm just about done, someone will ask if I've read....and of course I haven't, so the fire is continually fueled.

I have just come through a really dry spell, where I felt as if my prayers were falling on deaf ears again. Lord, I need to know what you want me to do, now that we think we know where we're going. Though, you keep delaying our move, which I just don't understand.

This morning during my devotions, the woods, family camp, simpler living it all kept flooding my mind. As I tried to empty it and redirect my thoughts to my home and my son and my daughter.

Then, it was as if a switch had been turned on...sometimes I'm a little slow to see...and I read this:

"God does give us impressions, but not that we should act on them as impressions. If the impression be from God, He will Himself give sufficient evidence to establish it beyond the possibility of doubt."

and

"Where God's finger points, there God's hand will make the way."

and

"Do not say in thine heart what thou wilt or wilt not do, but wait upon God until He makes known His way. So long as that way is hidden it is clear that there is no need for action and that He accounts Himself responsible for all the results of keeping thee where thou art."

and

"For God through ways we have not known, Will lead His own."

All of these from todays Streams in the Desert reading.

Last night a friend emailed me some photos, and many were scenic views of the Maine woods. I felt so peaceful looking through them. We're moving into the middle of 100 acres very soon.

I still don't know exactly what the Lord is doing, but what I know this morning is that my prayers have not fallen on deaf ears...I just wasn't listening to the answer...and if I was, I was doubting what I was hearing...a weak, out of shape, middle aged Momma, who is a girly-girl at heart....in the Maine woods. It's almost as unthinkable as the career driven, type-A personality me, giving it up to come home and be a stay at home Momma.

All I can say is that wherever He leads, I want to follow so that He will be glorified. Can you share a comment about somewhere unexpected the Lord has led and you've followed.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Friday, October 15, 2010

Profile Pix

I have to post about my profile picture.

You know every picture tells a story and it's worth 1,000 words, at least, so I can't help but share a little bit about this one.

I love family. I love my family. I love the history that I've been given. It is so full of amazing stories. I hope that someday, my story will be amazing to those who come after me...though there are times when I wonder.

This picture is of one of the most influential single mothers in my life. She was not a widow, she was a single mother, in the days when it simply wasn't done. It is my great-grandmother. The little boy on the hay stack is my grandfather.

This is one of those pictures that I wish I could figure out how to enlarge so it would take up a whole livingroom wall. I've tried, it looses the clarity.

Have you read the book That Camden Summer? I can't recommend it, because I know some of you are very selective in your reading choices. I can tell you it's one of my favorite novels because the heroine, Roberta comes home to Camden, divorced in the early 1900's...her life runs parallel in many ways to my great-grandmother, who would have been her real life counterpart.

What Is God Doing?

Several months ago, I became aware that somewhere along the way, during our last three moves, I'd lost my joy. I figured it probably went the way of the free time I thought I'd have once we started homeschooling. I started looking for it, asking people if they had any ideas...

Before I go any further, I know that some of my readers are going to be offended...I'm sorry, there is just no avoiding it. The first thing that comes to mind is the Scripture that says that those who love the law, nothing shall offend them, but we are all humans. I get offended. It is not my intent to offend, know that.

What I discovered is that some of the people who've been the most helpful in helping me, are not Christians. One dear friend, who is not a Christian, has strongly encouraged me to hold fast to what I believe. She never seems to be offended when I give God the glory for what is going on in my life. I am so grateful. Another friend, who is well versed in many faiths and religions, always points me back to Scripture verses, that are divinely appropriate when we talk through struggles. At the same time, it has been brothers and sisters in Christ who've been my harshest judges during some of this. Ironically, my grandmother use to say what goes around comes around, and given that I too have harshly judged, I'm probably just getting some of my own back. It makes me want to be much more cautious in the future about making snap judgments.

This morning, I realized that I've had a small victory in a personal area recently. So, I'm not a total failure. There is hope. And if I can have one small victory, in that area, then others may follow.

I realized that truly, I have everything in life I've ever really wanted. Well, almost everything. Sometimes, especially when it doesn't look just the way I wanted it to or thought it would, I can't see the blessings. They are there.

This morning I read the following Scripture and thought it was worthy of sharing, because truly, I think, I'm on the brink of finding my joy again. I can almost feel it.

"God uses most for His glory those people and things which are most perfectly broken (the devotional went on to list broken people and items that the Lord used)the sacrifices He accepts are broken and contrite hearts."

I certainly feel broken and contrite lately. Maybe in that, I will find my joy once again.

Then in another reading I read the following Scriptures and decided to claim them through this season of searching.

Psalm 109:22, 24-27
"For I am poor and needy and my heart is wounded within me....My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness. I've become also a reproach unto them, when they look upon me, they shake their heads. Help me, O LORD, my God; O save me according to thy mercy. That they may know that this is thy hand that thou LORD has done it."

Psalm 126:2-3
"...then said they among the heathen, the LORD hat done great things for them. The LORD hat done great things for us; wherewith we are glad."

You know, maybe the Lord is allowing this time of being broken, and the coming joy to be observed closely by unbelieving friends and loved ones, so that when things do turn around, they will see that truly it was Him and not me that made it all happen.

Think about it, I have nothing to speak of in a worldly sense...no money, no real resources, and yet, we're about to move into a home (a newly renovated space) in the middle of 100 acres, an impossible dream about to come to fruition...if God can do that, what else might He be preparing to do in the days ahead. Waiting to see is so hard. May I remember with each thing to be grateful and to give all the glory back to Him.

Yes, I think I'm on the verge of finding my joy, again.

Share a comment about what impossible things God is making possible in your life.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Quote to Share

Recently we borrowed the movie Despereaux from the Library. I so enjoyed it that I watched it twice. Then, I decided we needed to read the book. I read it, and now my daughter is reading it allowed to my son. I love the book!

I love this quote from the book,
"Reader, you must know that an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform."

When was the last time you refused to conform? Was your fate interesting?

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Setting Standards

I've long struggled with validation from outside myself...I didn't realize that until a long time friend pointed it out to me recently, quite bluntly. It was good really.

I've begun to look at things people say to me and my reactions to them differently in light of this revelation. Ultimately it's between me and God.

Here's a for instance. Anyone who knew me three years ago and hasn't seen me in that time is usually stunned. One lady said, "Where's the other half of you?" because I've lost about 90 pounds. One friend saw me recently and said, "Wow! You look amazing. You seem so young!" Another dear person said, "You're too thin, you need to increase your carbs...thin is not becoming at your age, it makes you look older." Well, needless to say, when I'm seeking outside myself...my feelings about me could do a 180 in 30 seconds or less...and they have. So the question is how important are my looks and these other people's opinions. I like to look as good as I can at any given point, it's vanity. But the thing is, what's really important is I'm healthy. I was not healthy. I've worked hard to be healthier and I'm not done yet.

So, it shouldn't be a surprise, that when a more conservative friend was recently surprised by a movie I own, I began to question...how do I set a movie standard for my family? I can't defer to my husband...that has long been my excuse for many areas where I lack standards...I don't have a husband to defer to...it was a great excuse, but it's just not working for me anymore.

So what is my standard? I'm formulating. I talked, not to a lot of people, because we already know where that would get me, but to just one or two trusted friends. Friends, who when I look at their children, their lives, I see fruit. Their concern is training up Godly children of character. Their concern is, Does it please God? But there is also, some allowance for both humanity and personal difference, strengths and weaknesses of character. My standards aren't going to work for you and you may find you even disagree with them, for better or worse.

I've been through a long growing and pruning season...maybe it was pruning and then growing...I'm not sure. But through it there has been loss, but there has also been gain. Today I found myself counting the blessing of friends, some Christians, some not. As I seek to set standards, I'm thinking about how my life will reflect Christ to them. It hasn't always been that great a reflection, sadly. My standards in some areas are much weaker and in others much stronger. I'm continually being refined.

I found myself looking at standards a little differently than I always have, thinking less about what a church or a person will say or think and more about how it impacts my personal walk with the Lord...and yes, for those of you who know me and are curious...the standard "chickflick" fare is probably going to have to go, because all those movies do is breed discontentment in my heart. It looks like I'll be watching a lot of documentaries in the days to come...of course, in our new place, with so much room to roam outside, maybe we'll even find a new standard that eliminates the tv from our daily routine altogether.

Single mom's, if you're having trouble establishing standards for your family, if you have standards that others don't understand (good or bad), take heart and hang in there. Do the best that you can for yourself and your children...remember that through Christ you can do all things, including setting standards (I'm preaching to a mirror here, because I need this lesson myself) and those standards are between you and the Lord, for your good and His glory, you won't always succeed, but neither will you always fail. There was a time when I was sure based on other peoples opinions that my children would turn out much differently than they have thus far. They aren't perfect, and they aren't finished, but they aren't as bad as I was sure they'd be either. I find that most days I actually like the individual's I see them growing into.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Prayer Request

I use to ask for prayer requests often on my old blog. I thought on this one, I would do more posting for encouragement. Then I realized that if you're a single mom, reading this, knowing some of my struggles might encourage you to know you're not alone.

So here are some things we're struggling with that could use your prayres:
1) What should my daughter (almost 19) do, during this season of waiting
2) That I would find contentment within the calling God has given me and the ministry He has provided - I've very restless this time of year and feel the drive to be "doing" something that those in the world around me will deem "important".
3) Our upcoming move. We're about two weeks away from our 4th (and hopefully final) move in the last two years. Pray for plenty of help, and safety for all those who have any part in the process.

The enemy wants to see us fail, the onslaught of attacks in the last six months have been intense at times. There have been days I've been ready to give it all up and go the way of the world. In my heart, I know that is not what is the best for me or for my children. So I continue to try to follow where the Lord has been leading.

What about you? Can you share a prayer request? Do you have some wisdom in one of these areas? Please feel free to leave a comment and share!

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Blessing of Friends

My daughter recently quoted, "Friends are the family you choose for yourself." I've thought about it, a lot. I think God has blessed my life with an amazing extended family of friends. Some of them know me better than my own family, in many ways. Others are still new. I started blogging back in 2005. I made some friends along the way. I know we need to exercise caution in the cyberworld. God has been gracious and merciful and protective. He's surrounded me, and blessed me with a number of ladies, some single mothers others married mothers who are supportive of single mothers.

Today, I received a small package, and a big blessing in the mail. It was from one of my homeschooling friends that I met through blogging. She saw a piece of fabric, thought of me, and couldn't not buy it and send it to me. The thing is, God had His hand in it because that piece of fabric was so perfectly and typically "me". And she's never met me.

And God knew that I needed that blessing today. I've been struggling lately, swimming upstream...mostly because I haven't the courage to get out of the water, find my feet, stand up and walk along the shore. I need to and I need to do it with all the grace and dignity I can find, and I need to not care what others think.

Look around you today and see where God is working in your life, because He's there. Sometimes it's not that He's moved away from us, but that we've moved away from Him. I think when I start walking again, I'm going to see even more beautiful blessings in my life.

Do you have a blessing to share? Leave a comment.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Streams in the Desert - October 3

I read this today, and I know God's timing is perfect, but I so wish I had been inspired with this a week or so ago.

"Learn also to wait on God for the unfolding of His will. Let God form your plans about everything in your mind and heart and then let Him execute them. Do not possess any wisdom of your own. For many times His execution will seem so contradictory to the plan He gave. He will seem to work against Himself. Simply listen, obey and trust God, even when it seems highest folly so to do. He will to the end make "all things work together" but so many times in the first appearances of the outworking of His plans, 'In His own world, He is content to play a losing game,' So if you would know His voice, never consider results or possible effects. Obey even when He asks you to move in the dark, He Himself will be glorious light in you. And there will spring up rapidly in your heart an acquaintanceship and a fellowship with God which will be overpowering in itself to hold you and Him together eve in the severest testings and under most terrible pressure."

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Learning

The Lord has me in an interesting place in life, where I'm doing more learning than teaching.

This summer I spent a great deal of time learning beside my son and the neighborhood children about the insects and flowers in our neighborhood. The Lord has been teaching me (for years it seems) to "Be still" and to "Wait". And recently I learned it is true, when a woman says she'll call she does, in what seems like a reasonable amount of time (at least to me) but when a man says he'll call (and he does) it doesn't mean it's going to be within my time frame.

I'm learning that when God give's a vision and a direction, just because you think you know where you're going, it doesn't mean you know the roads that He is going to take to get you there. Trusting is so hard, and yet I have no reason not to trust. The Lord has always been faithful, even when I have not.

Is there something you are still learning? Leave a comment and share!

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Word to Live (and School) By

I recently have struggled with "the will". It's hard to learn at 42 what you should have learned at 2. I was brought back to some words of wisdom that I was introduced to five or six years ago...the Charlotte Mason School Motto. Here it is:

I am, I can, I ought, I will.


I am. I am a child of God. A unique being with a special purpose.
Ephesians 2:8-10
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

I can. I can do all things through Christ.
Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ which strengthenth me.

I ought. I ought to do my duty to obey God and those in authority over me.
Mark 12:30-31
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all they soul, and with all thy mind, and with all they strength; this is the first commandment.
And the second is like; namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than this.

I will. I will do what is right, even if it is not what I want.
Psalm 119:30
I have chosen the way of truth; thy judgements have I laid before me.

May this be a blessing to you as you train up your children in the Lord, during your homeschooling journey.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Who Is Leading?

I may have mentioned a friend recently challenged me to stop telling God what I wanted and to just see where He would lead. If you've followed me long or know me well, you know that while my faith remains fairly consistent with Scripture as my guide, my religious experiences run the gauntlet.

Tonight, I met with a pastor and his wife, of what I believe will be our new home church. See it just doesn't make sense to my logical mind that I might go there. God has so orchestrated the pieces in amazingly unbelievable ways. The connections, the sense of peace and of love. The Christlikeness and servants heart I've encountered is amazing.

They've even offered to help, unconditionally, with our upcoming move. I can't tell you how encouraging that is.

As a single mom, I know many of you have struggled with finding a church that fits and gets it. Our situation is a challenge and most people just don't know what to do with us. My wisdom for tonight is to keep seeking the Lord's leading, and even if it doesn't make sense, be open to checking it out. As you follow our adventure, I'm sure some of you will be surprised to see where the Lord is leading us and how He is going to use us.

I'm so excited that I can't wait to move. And I've not been excited like this in several years.

May you be encouraged tonight to remember that God is good even when things in life don't seem so good.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

What Next Lord?

A friend called yesterday to say that when we'd talked, she'd heard me say that I'd told the Lord, "I want...." and that maybe, just maybe, I should try just being content with what He wants for me. Now there's a thought. I sort of dropped out of the homeschooling forefront about two years ago...but seriously, last fall, I curled up into a cocoon and have just been wrestling with my faith.

It's fall in New England, and recently, I've been thinking, "I'm holding on too tight Lord, I need to let go but I'm scared." For anyone who's followed me long that must seem inconceivable...Me, scared? Terrified might be a better word. Terrified of what the Lord might do with my life if I would just stop trying to be "in control" because after all, we all know that being "out of control" is a bad thing.

So the connection? Maybe the Lord really does want me to let go and let Him have control once again. As the matter of fact, I know that is exactly what He wants me to do.

We're beginning a new adventure...in a few weeks, we'll be moving, did I mention this is the fourth one in two years, to a new home. Oh, and by the way, I do mean new. It's been totally gutted and remodeled. It will be all new. We'll be living near a lake and the ocean (less than 5 miles from it actually). We'll have plenty of space (see the previous post about how God answers prayers) for my son to just roam and be a boy.

So what next? Well, honestly, I think I'm entering a season where the Lord wants me to focus on a couple of things. One thing is to just "be still" and to listen for His still small voice to guide me. Another thing is to refocus on my home and family, not just in word, but in deed. And finally, as always to encourage you, and to come along side anyone who is just starting the difficult journey of homeschooling, whether married or single. This is my tenth year, and by God's grace and for His glory, it can be done. Some years are better than others and I'm praying this will be the best one yet.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Sunday, September 26, 2010

When God Answers Prayers

This morning I received an email from a lady who use to follow my blog posts. She said she missed them. It's good to be missed. Coincidently, the Lord provided fodder for a new blog post, it's been a long time. I haven't felt much like writing, haven't felt like I had much to share.

I'm often amused at how the Lord answers my prayers, and sometimes it makes me cautious in praying. I've always said that I longed to have a house in the middle of 100 acres where I could escape. It's been several years that I've been saying this, and I believe in many ways our words are the reflection of the prayers of our heart.

This morning my son looked at me and said, very seriously, "Momma, you've always said you wanted to live in the middle of 100 acres...."

The reason, we're getting ready to move AGAIN. This will be the 4th time in 2 years. I'm growing weary of it. The Lord knows. It's becoming physically difficult as well. I'm still physically recovering from our last move.

The thing is that the apartment we're renting, is part of an old farm house and it is, literally in the middle of 100 acres...there are 50 acres of property that belong to the landlord on each side of a major road way....well, I got my 100 acres, but so much for escaping....

The Lord knows.....

Blessings, Maggieraye

Monday, June 21, 2010

Homeschooling One

This is a new stage of the journey our home is entering. Homeschooling one is something I haven't done in years. I am surrounded by folks who are homeschooling two or more, in some cases many more.

I sometimes marvel at the number of families that I know that have children from toddlers to adults. I often find myself asking the Lord, "Why?" Why am I surrounded by these big families?

So, here's where I'm at. I need to figure out how to do this, without the boy and I driving each other crazy. We're together all day, we're together all night. We don't live where we can get outside and work -- nice complex, with all the ammenities. I don't drive so I can't take us anywhere. Dad doesn't come home at the end of the day to change our routine.

Any other single homeschooling momma's out there that are just doing it with one? How do you balance it? Do you have help? I'm interested in some feedback.

Blessings, Maggieraye

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Who Are You Trusting?

Several years ago, I got a hold of the tape, Defending the Fatherless by Doug Philips at Vision Forum. I was like a dog with a bone. I gave it to everyone and anyone who would listen. I stood on my soap box. Why weren't churches doing more to help single mothers remain at home and train up their children? If you've followed me long, you know!

The last two years have been very isolated for us. We haven't had a church family, because I didn't know what I believed or who would help or basically which end was up. Some very good things are coming of this very difficult season.

The first thing is that I've learned I have to rely on God, not the church or fellow believers. I've learned that the people I thought could or would help are the least likely to do it spontaneously.

I've learned not to follow the teachings of man even when they are based on Scripture, especially if they seem to be trendy.

I've learned that I can't do it, that I have to ask God and sometimes I even have to ask other.

Here is what I mean. You all know about the family intergrated movement going on. Homeschoolers especially are reclaiming their children from Sunday School and youth group programs and parents are taking the responsibility of discipling their own children. The leaders are encouraging men to take back their roles as leaders of the home. This is all wonderful. However, when they are approached, at least in my personal experience and asked what they would recommend for a daughter of a single mother who wanted to remain at home but had no father to give her a vision to follow -- there was no answer. When asked what they recommended for a single mother with no resources who wanted to start a family business to leave a legacy for her son -- there was no answer.

I've fought anger, frustration and even bitterness. It was my own fault. I was looking to men, when I should have looked to the Lord. I've since learned that really, father's have no business Scripturally to be training their daughters to fill the role of wife and mother. Daughters need to honor and obey their fathers, as long as they remain under their roof and care, but the training of young women falls to the older women and thus their mothers. Read Titus 2:3-5. I've also learned that single mothers raising sons in the Lord have hope in Scripture as well. King Lemuel's lessons in Proverbs 31 came from his mother -- read the first couple of verses. And Timothy was trained up in faith by his mother and grandmother.

I sigh a huge sigh of relief. I may be unconventional. I may not fit in this new trendy movement, although I do agree with some of their ideas. I sigh, because rebuked, I realize that God is faithful.

Our income recently dropped. We had to move to a smaller home because of it, but that also caused our rent to drop. The amount we were initially short is actually cut now by 2/3 because the amount of our rent decrease. That amount 1/3 of what we originally anticipated seems easy to make up and far less overwhelming. But the thing is no man, no church helped us. It was totally the Lord's doing.

I have such a hard time trusting the Lord and remember Jeremiah 29:11 that He really only wants His best for me.

May this encourage you to stop trusting in men and to lean on the Lord for your provision as you strive to train up your children in Christ and to glorify the Lord in your journey.

Blessings, MaggieRaye

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Welcome

For those of you who've followed me, I blogged for most of the last five years at Homeschool Blogger. However recently it seemed time for a change. So here I am. For the rest, my old blog is still up at Homeschool Blogger if you're curious you can check it out (www.homeschoolblogger.com/maggieraye).

I'm here to share, inspire and encourage single momma's who are homeschooling. That's what I do. I do other things to and you will get to see a patch of this and a piece of that along the way.

Blessings, MaggieRaye