Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Why a Homeschool Yearbook is Good for my Soul


Sometimes I forget. I come to a rest stop on a long, arduous journey... and I simply cannot remember anything else but the challenges, the failures... the not doing enough or being enough. I forget all that I have learned... how I have grown... the joys and thrills... and I simply feel very small... ill-equipped to continue on this not-for-the-weary journey.

If I stay in this place... consumed by my frailness in the light of the enormous task in front of me... I will not move. 

It's a dangerous place. It's a place where for a moment my eyes have fallen off of Jesus and lingered too long on self.

'What did I accomplish this year? Did I do enough? How will I continue?'

It's a place where I forget to remember God's faithfulness.

But thankfully, God in His mercy throws me a line... and pulls me out of the pit. That line is our homeschool yearbook. Sitting down to cull photos and events for our homeschool yearbook is nothing short of spiritual refreshment.

While I come face to face with my own shortcomings, I am wondrously and mercifully reminded of God’s lavish provisions.

We all have them. Milestones along life’s journey... rest stops where we stop and take stock. Moments to pause and reflect... birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and other times of celebration, or more obscure moments like the end of your first year on the job, in a new place or role. Whatever our milestone may be, it is an opportunity for us to look backwards, look inwards and look forward.

God is so wise. He knows the importance of remembering. There are countless examples in His word where He called His people to a time of remembrance. He knew that remembering is good for our souls.

And so, as I paused at the end of this school year, I remembered.

I remembered that I am not fit for this task, but God is. Yes, I heard the voices... the should haves and could haves... the wish we had... but as I lingered over each photograph... each memory... I remembered behind my beginning. I remembered why I do what I do... remembered Whose ‘well done’ I’m working for and Who empowers me to keep going. And I saw clearly and thankfully the tangible effects of God’s blessings in our lives... the accomplishments... the joys... the thrills and yes even the blessings of the challenges. I remembered the peace that remains even when days get long and hard, the comfort of knowing that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him and the promise of His power to those of us who are weak.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and for me - one who shies away from pictures - it is worth a thousand reasons to say thanks. I look at the picture of my daughter sitting at the computer completely engrossed in the book she is writing, and I give thanks. I look at the pictures of my son working on a robot he’s building and then subsequently winning third place in a science fair he chose to enter, and I give thanks. I see my children happily working on a puzzle together, or look at the 'house of truth' we finished when we completed our Christian worldview series, and I give thanks. I find so many reasons to give thanks when I remember.

Yes, working on our homeschool yearbook humbles me, brings me face to face with my weaknesses, reminds me of God’s unwavering presence, protection and peace in our lives and fills my heart with gratitude.

So, I don’t stay in that place. That place where I fall painfully short of my expectations and stumble under the weight of my responsibilities.

I climb out of the pit, and I readjust my focus.

I look backward at all God has done, I look inward and remember His Spirit within me and I look forward in anticipation of what He will continue to do as He displays His glory in our lives.

So what about you? 

Maybe your rescue line is not a homeschool yearbook. Perhaps it’s creating a scrapbook of your journey thus far, whatever that journey may be, or it may be as simple as peering at some old photographs, or reading some old journal entries, what ever it may be, God wants you to stop and remember.

So go ahead my friend, take some time. Choose to purposefully remember all that God has done for you and His promise never to leave you. It will fill your heart with overflowing gratitude and hope and praise. Try it and you’ll see... it’s really good for the soul.

***********

This post also shared at Amy's blog: Busy Boy's Brigade, a wonderful site for all things homeschool. 

28 comments:

  1. Oh Carli, I love your insight. I had never thought about a yearbook being such a wonderful tool for encouragement. For me, it would be my prayer journal. In it I list prayer requests, but I also use it as a diary of sorts. I am able to look back through it and see where I have been and how faithful God has been to me. Thank you so much for linking up this beautiful, encouraging post at The Loft.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Leah. You're right, a prayer journal is the perfect way to see the hand of God moving in our lives. Thanks for sharing that. Blessings to you.

      Delete
  2. Where's the heart button!! Thanks for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So nice to have you visit, Keiyia! Thanks for the encouragement, my friend.

      Delete
  3. I love taking a moment to look through photos of our adventures or the way our children have grown. I forget. I forget so much, even as I remember even more. I enjoy making or creating something that takes me through time. I haven't ever actually created a scrapbook, but I have created a slideshow to share and sometimes even a blog post. It's healing and I always get a nice sense of love, sometimes relief, and happiness! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'A nice sense of love, relief and happiness' - I love that! That is so true! Thanks so much for visiting, Kendall and for sharing your ways to remember.

      Delete
  4. This is such a perfect sentiment for taking photos and doing something with them! I love looking back at pictures of my daughter and my family from the past. Like you, it truly reminds me of how blessed I am. Thanks so much for sharing this on #shinebloghop this week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Maria! It's always a pleasure to link up with #shinebloghop. I love that my kids will each have 'school years' mementos to remind them of God's blessings as well.

      Delete
  5. I just love this. My sister (who is one of the most beautiful mommies I know) is starting homeschooling this year for the first time, so anytime I see anything about it, I send it over to her via Pinterest, so yup this just got pinned. = ) I do worry about her with homeschooling 3 young children. I know its her hearts desires and always has been. Her high school senior paper was supposed to be on a career and her teacher gave her a D on it because she said Becoming a 'Domestic Goddess'was not a career, after an appointment with school district from my mother, that D turned to a B quickly which then only became a B because she was a day late on her paper originally and had two punctuation correction. To make a long story short, I think about her feeling tired, drained, discouraged, and all the above time to time (even though that's probably how I would feel and I put it on her) and I hope she encourages herself just the way you expressed with us. This is a awesome idea!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Carmen, you made me smile big. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment and for sharing the post. I so love your heart for your sister. Yes, there'll be days when she will feel tired, drained even discouraged, but she will also feel overwhelming gratitude and fulfillment. Sounds like she won't be happy anywhere else... she needs to be where her heart is calling her. I would have given her an A+ for that paper... for her courage to beat a path less taken. I'm glad she has you to support her as she embarks on this journey. Homeschooling is an amazing, challenging adventure, but we don't have to go it alone and having support from family and friends makes a world of difference. Your sister is off to a great start. Blessings to you both!

      Delete
  6. Have I ever told you that I want to be like you when I grow up? :-) Seriously, you truly inspire me with your words, actions, and all that God is doing in and through you. I am so proud of you -- homeschooling journey and all!
    Keep shining for Him!

    Marva | sunSPARKLEshine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Marv! Your support means a lot to me!

      Delete
  7. I love this...yes, to remember is so important and we need to be reminded of this often. God's faithfulness is all around us! Thanks for sharing! Scrapbooking is a joy for me. Blessings to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting, Tammy. It's such a pleasure to meet you!

      Delete
  8. I homeschooled my daughters for years but never thought of a homeschool yearbook. My daughters are 36 and 39 now, so I think we're going to be okay without a yearbook. But what a great idea! Now, I think my blog is where I personally remember and celebrate all that God has done for me. And that's a lot!

    Thank you for this uplifting post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting, Rosemary, and for your kind words. Wow! 36 and 39... you've been in this business a long time... You must have so many stories to tell and a wealth of experience.

      Delete
  9. I never would have thought of a homeschool yearbook and think it's such a WONDERFUL IDEA! The years pass by so quickly and it's such a wonderful thing to have physical memories!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lil; I'm so glad I started it. My kids now have four books that they can always keep filled with evidence of God's blessings to them. Thanks for visiting. Blessings to you!

      Delete
  10. "God is so wise. He knows the importance of remembering." I'm a big believer of reflecting, with thankfulness, before I move on. God has blessed me in the past and that gives me faith for the future.

    Wonderful post, Carlie. May your future be bright.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jerralea. In our non-stop world, reflecting seems to be a lost art, but it is so important, as I know you'll agree. Thanks so much for visiting and for the sweet blessing.

      Delete
  11. Lovely Carlie, I don't home school but do teach my daughter, though.

    My young cousin found my journal since 2000...she had been reading it b4 I returned to the country. She showed me her favourite poems and articles. ..so for me ...my journals are my gratitude memories. .
    Hugs and thanks for the beautiful encouragement here

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that, Ifeoma! What a legacy you are leaving behind through your journal. May your 'gratitude memories' continually be a source of encouragement for you and a magnet to our Lord for others.
      I really do appreciate your visits and sweet encouragement. Thanks so much!

      Delete
  12. Oh, Carlie, my story is not one of homeschooling, but I relate to this in probably every other facet of life! Often we cannot see the progress. The struggles seem to catch our attention too much. When I look back whether it is through photos, my blog, even quick texts from my children ... I can see the good. The progress. And be reminded that my time may not have accomplished all I had hoped - but God used it all for good and redeemed the moments I missed!!

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart and hope with us each week at #MomentsofHope! I am so thankful for you!

    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Lori! 'God... redeemed the moments I missed'- I love that! Reminds me that we are always under His watchful care. Blessings to you, my friend!

      Delete
  13. I need to do this, Carlie ... I get so busy that I don't take time to stop. And when I do stop--often it's all I can do to catch my breath. But I know God wants to show me things about myself ... about Himself. Thank you for this call to remember.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting, Dianne. Yes, every now and then we should just stop and remember, but so often we forget. I think God reminds us because He knows the blessings we get when we remember.

      Delete
  14. I find looking back through my blog that we covered so much more than I thought and that they've come so much further than I thought. It's hard to evaluate the day to day changes when you're right in the middle of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a blessing to be able to look back through your blog! It's always so reassuring to see how far you have come. Thanks for visiting today.

      Delete

If this post speaks to you, please feel free to leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you. You can log-in using one of the pull-down options or comment as anonymous.