January has a bad reputation in homeschool circles. The days are cold, dark, short. The fun activities of Christmas are over. The renewal of spring is still far away. Everyone stuck inside invites the unlovely side of togetherness. Most homeschoolers do not anticipate this month.
Yet, January has become one of my favorite seasons of the year. Even through the merriment of December, I anticipate my upcoming season of prayer and fasting. Yes, even the fasting part. The anticipation invites me to welcome this otherwise dreary month.
And board games. Board games are a sanity-saver for my homeschool in the gloom.
But I digress. Back to the prayer and fasting…
My faith has been fueled by seeing God respond to my prayers. My expectations grow each year as I trust He will be faithful and act on my behalf. Every single year, He has done something big in my life, and I anticipate He will again this year.
A few personal highlights: (but nowhere near a comprehensive list!)
2009 – God guided me to begin homeschooling. My husband was already convinced and waiting for me to receive confirmation of my true calling.
2010 – God gave me wisdom for healing. Through part of my fast, He revealed foods that were triggering some major health problems.
2011 – God’s response to my prayers came later in the year. In the fall, both my husband and I went through a season of significant spiritual renewal.
2012 – I was praying for friends for my son. A few weeks into February, God called me to start a homeschool community where He blessed us with friends for my son and far beyond.
2013 – I wasn’t so faithful in my resolve to pursue Jesus daily. But He is always faithful. I look back and see how He poured out his blessing on me in what was to be the beginning of several difficult years with further health problems.
2014 – Rest. My prayer list was long as I asked for help to accomplish all I thought needed to be done. Instead, God graced me with the gift of a season of rest.
2015 – Being out of homeschool leadership, I wrestled an internal battle of not feeling needed. God overwhelmed me with His love, then He asked me to share His message with His other daughters through a writing ministry.
2016 – Opportunities for speaking and writing began to abound right in the middle of my 21 days of prayer.
2017 – The Holy Spirit, my Comforter, walked closely with me through the journey of care-giving for my mom and holding her hand as she stepped into eternity.
Wisdom. Direction. Calling. Provision. Vision. Healing. Restoration. It is always something big.
I anticipate this year will be the same. My expectations are high. I have a list of personal needs I am talking with God about every day. But there are a few areas where I really expect God to do something big.
So today’s word: Anticipate. Expect. Look ahead. Look forward to with pleasure.
Do you look toward January with pleasure?
Every January, I am reminded of the time Jesus asked the blind man sitting by the road, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (Luke 18:41a, NASB)
I think He is asking you the same question:
What do you want Me to do for you?
What is that one area of your life that can only be rescued by Jesus Himself? That area that is dead, dark, despairing.
What in your homeschool feels dead?
Perhaps it is a relationship. Financial woes. Struggling learner. Physical sickness. Emotional sickness. Lesson plans. Uncertainty of the future.
There are some areas of life that resolutions and goal-setting just can’t fix.
But Jesus can.
Don’t be afraid to ask. And don’t be afraid to be specific. God knows everything about your life, but He wants to hear you ask specifically. He wants you to trust Him.
God wants you to watch for Him to work on your behalf.
“In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.”
There is power in giving God the first. Morning is the beginning of the day. January is the beginning of the year. There is just something special about the beginning.
At the beginning of the day, you can voice your prayer, knowing He hears you.
At the beginning of this year, you can eagerly watch, knowing He will act.
Don’t be afraid to ask for something big.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…to Him be the glory.”
Ephesians 3:20-21a (NASB)
So let’s go for it. Let’s ask, think, imagine, dream. And let’s make it big.
God can still do more. Far more abundantly beyond.
Today’s Heart Challenge:
Write down your top prayer needs.
Think of 3 specific areas of your life you anticipate God working in this year.
- What do you want Jesus to do for you?
- What do you want Jesus to do for your homeschool?
Write them down. Spend a few minutes talking to Jesus about them.
Today’s Homeschool Prayer:
Mom, God loves you. Your heart is an integral part of your homeschool. But more than that, your heart is important. God cares for you passionately in the midst of whatever is overwhelming you.
What do you want Jesus to do for you? Not for your spouse, your children, your neighbors, or anyone else. Yes, please pray for them too. But right now, dream big for what you want God to do in your life during this season.
Seek Jesus first. He can give rest to your heart in the midst.
Write out your prayer as you evaluate, surrender and receive rest in your heart.
- Ask yourself if this area of your homeschool life is currently restful.
- Ask God to reveal any cues of unrest in your heart.
- Surrender your efforts to fix the problem.
- Surrender your expectation of the outcome.
- Ask God to give you grace and rest in the midst of your current struggle.
- Ask Him to give you guidance for ONE THING you can do to cultivate rest in this area.
Keep seeking Him first!