The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10

This past year’s school theme was “hungering and thirsting for righteousness.” I had absolutely no idea when we penned those words at the start of the year just how deeply God was going to dig in my heart. This year has seen a new hunger birthed in me such as has never existed in this belly before. In an effort to put off the things of the flesh, I have found myself surprisingly successful in finding many areas that I had previously not even considered turning over to Christ’s lordship, and it appears daily as if He wants to press even further! I asked the Lord for a new appetite to replace old ones, and He gave it to me in more ways than I could have imagined. I asked Him to fill me with a hunger for His Word. I purposed to find myself at the end of 2014 with a greater desire for the things of God and less of a love for the things of the world. With the painful humility that comes from deep trial and unexpected searching, I can say with full assurance that I have met my goal. I know this is but a beginning, the tiniest scratch of an endless surface.

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This year will be our sixth year homeschooling. On one hand, it doesn’t seem that long to me and at the same time it feels like we’ve been at this “home learning” thing for an eternity already. I remember the very first box of books I received from Sonlight when Jaelah was 3. I carefully arranged each colorful tome on a tiny shelf in our living room. All of our homeschool materials put together took up less than 18 inches of space on my bookshelf. How things change! And how much the newness can seem to fade as well. As the years fly by, I’m finding that faithfulness is the hardest attitude to maintain because it requires the heart to be riding high above the sloshing waves of emotion, disappointment, or being affected by the more mundane parts of school days. My eyes must be on the goal of not only seeing my children through this season of learning, but ultimately on how my life is pleasing to the Lord. My personal verse for this year is Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” It’s easy to be beset by distractions and feel as if my life is not reaching as far as I want it to be, especially when all the hard work involved with preparing lesson plans and teaching appears to be unappreciated by my little ones. But when I remember how seriously God takes child-training, my purpose is renewed. I need to constantly recall the need to have my eyes on the One above. He sees every tiny detail from an eternal vantage point.

We are seeking the abundant life promised by Jesus for our family this year. It springboards off hungering and thirsting for righteousness. When we truly know that only He satisfies, we are experiencing abundant life. Before this year, I would often find myself rolling my eyes when anyone would say that Jesus is all you need to be truly content. It really does sound ridiculous in a culture that pursues hedonistic pleasure above all else – and these trends reach far into the church as well. But I think sometimes we have to jump in and dare ourselves to see if we can take Jesus at His word. Pete and I have been setting aside more and more of the things that we once thought would feed our spirits and finding that the Lord more than makes up for the “sacrifice.” Now that we’ve gotten rid of so many time-wasters, we have discovered that the desire for distraction and “vegging” is not nearly as strong as it used to be. That’s abundant life! How much He has to share with us, and how much of His presence do we have yet to experience!

A tradition that is quickly becoming beloved around here is the end-of-year-start-of-year family celebration dinner where Daddy hands out diplomas and achievement certificates. Those proud smiles simply can’t be faked.

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