HS #236 Family Worship Francie Winslow
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June 9 — (Episode #236) — Francie Winslow Family Worship
Maybe our time of “family worship” is less about a devotional and more about our first love devotion to God overflowing in devoted love to the people in our home. Today’s podcast takes us out of a traditional box of “family devotions” and inspires us to live lives of devotion to God!
Francie Winslow is the host of the “Heaven In Your Home” podcast where she talks regularly about the power of intimacy in marriage — Francie believes that intimacy has the power to shift the entire atmosphere of our homes as well as launch us into fruitfulness through the unity that God designed for us to enjoy. She also discusses the idea of hosting God’s presence in our homes as a family. Seeing and enjoying and encountering the living God in every room of our house!
Heaven in Your Home Podcast with Francie Winslow
Heaven in Your Home Facebook Group
- God wants to meet us in our home and it may look different than “devotions.”
- God is the headmaster of this homeschool. (Francie Winslow)
- The level of enjoyment that we have in the Lord, they learn to enjoy the Lord.
- Heart connection is priority! Heart connection is the currency of the Kingdom. (Francie Winslow)
- “When we host the presence of God in our home we have the privilege and the joy of introducing him to others we host in our home.” (Wendy Speake)
CONNECT WITH FRANCIE:
Heaven in Your Home Podcast
HS EP 236
Welcome to the Homeschool Solutions podcast, brought to you by Sonlight Curriculum and Homeschooling.mom. I'm your host, Wendy Speake. Here on the show, every week, you'll get to listen in on some great conversations with wonderful guests, all designed to equip us as homeschooling moms. And then once a month, we'll be opening up the Bible together, applying God's Word to our long, blessed, but often challenging days. It is my hope as we gather together in this space, we will encourage one another with some practical, Biblical solutions. I'm so glad you're here.
Before we start the show, I'd like to thank our sponsor, Sonlight Curriculum. Complete homeschool curriculum you're guaranteed to love. And now, enjoy the show.
Today's guest is someone I've never met or even had a one on one conversation with before. But we've been in a large prayer group together, with many women in women's ministry. We've met together in an app called Voxer. It's similar to WhatsApp, where you can leave each other typed or voice messages. It's simply a prayer group where women come together and intercede together for the needs of those we know, love, or hear of.
Anyway, it's been a great group of women that have been praying together for the last couple of years. Well, Francie Winslow is one of the women in that group, and whenever Francie would hop on and pray, this woman that I did not know, my spirit would respond so much that I started finding out a little bit more about her. You know how we can stalk each other on social media these days.
So I started following along, and then I started listening to her podcast. And I read a few things she shared on Facebook and I was hooked. And now I get to share her with you. And I think you're gonna be hooked too.
Francie Winslow is an authentic woman. I mean she is an authentic Jesus desiring homeschool mom. She just wants to infuse the love of God, the love of His Word, in everything that she does with her family. Whatever they're doing, if it's time for Bible curriculum or not, it's just part of the way that they live together. And she talks about that and so much more in her podcast. She's host of the podcast, Heaven in Your Home. And she talks regularly about the power and intimacy in marriage, and how it absolutely transforms the entire atmosphere in the home as a parent, in a marriage, just everything that comes as fruit from that family can start there. And it's been a delight for me to listen in.
She also discusses this idea of hosting God's presence in our homes as a family. Seeing and enjoying and encountering the Living God in every room of our house. And I'm so excited to talk about that with her today, and I think that it's just going to, not only bless us, because we want so much to do it right. But I think that sometimes we get stuck in this box of what doing it right is gonna look like. And I think that Winslow's gonna invite us out of that box. She's gonna invite us out of the family devotion box and talk about really being devoted to God and our families every day. Every minute in every room of the house.
So I don't wanna talk about her anymore. I wanna talk to her. And so I'm so glad that she's here. Thank you for joining us today, Francie.
Thank you so much for having me. It is an honor to talk with you and to be introduced to your friends and listeners here.
Thank you. I appreciate that. Would you introduce us to yourself? Because I kinda rambled just like, I guess you're just kind of, you're just kind of a meaty person. But instead of giving your list of accolades, like what you've written and what you've done. It's more just like, oh, and she says things like this, and she wants to talk about things like that. So, why don't you introduce yourself to us in a more formal way? And then maybe from there, go into talking about your family. Who's your family? And how in the world did you decide to homeschool?
So that's a lot. So go for it.
Well, I do have the joy of testifying that Jesus captivated my heart when I was a really little girl. And so He has shepherded me towards His Heart. Almost my whole life. And I love Him for that. So I've known His closeness throughout most stages of my life, and it just keeps getting better. It's really us knowing Him, is better than life itself, right? Knowing His love like Psalm 63 talks about.
And so I was able to do a lot of traveling in my high school summers, all over the globe, on teen mission trips. And that's when I really got lit on fire, just knowing the power of God is something designed to live in us and be expressed through us everywhere we go. And something about my venturing heart loved to see children in Romanian orphanages, and then in the bush of Africa, and in the streets of Dominican Republic. And in ??? and ???. Women in ???, Thailand, getting to do ministry in Mother Teresa's Home of the Dying. All of those things really shaped me. And I've loved that life of adventure in mission through college.
And met my husband at Wheaton, when I was at Wheaton College. He was a church planter. And continued to do my Master's at Wheaton in evangelism and in leadership. And all through that time I just realized, okay, my heart for meeting God and expressing God in the world now has shifted from this adventurous life of a missionary, to now I'm a mom and I have an education, but I'm at home with my little people. And so it's quite a shift. I got married pretty young and had children young, and so it's been this idea, really, of, what does it mean to walk with God, not only in the adventures of the mission field, but also in my home? Right here where I've been planted in the suburbs of Washington D. C.
So I live here with our six kids. My husband's name is Wyatt and we have six kids 12 and under. So it's a slight circus most days. Five of them are biological and one of them is adopted. And domestically. And so it's just a wonderful zoo. Really. I mean it's just, so much energy I can barely stand it some days. And I need to like, go sit on the porch and look at my newly blooming hydrangea bush. That's my current therapy, it's like, are they blooming yet, I can't wait for them to bloom.
But it really is a gift and God is teaching me this gift of the inside out work of the Kingdom that, what happens in our most secret places effects the most public places. And how important it is to do the work of knowing Him in our innermost places of our heart and in our innermost places in relationships in our home. So that we can be propelled into fruitful living in whatever it is we've put our hands to do.
So, that's a brief introduction to who I am and that does include, we do talk about sex in my podcast. And it's a new way of thinking...not a new way, it's a Biblical way of thinking about sex, that it's not about a man's need, but it's this idea that God wants to dwell in a marriage. He wants to make it that cord of three strands in his image-bearers, a man and a woman made in His Image, that we were designed from a place of unity and one flesh covenant to be propelled to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and take dominion. To be on mission with Him, just like He dreamed in the Garden for a husband and wife.
And so that really is the backbone of my ministry, my home, my belief, my daily living, which is my number one priority is to live it every day. Before I post it, I wanna live it, right? And so that's kind of what inspires even my homeschool philosophy, is heart connection inside the home, first with God, and with each other on all the levels of family. And then believing that God wants to fill that with fruitfulness in His supernatural way that only He can.
My goodness. You know what my thought as I listen to you is? This sounds like we need lots and lots of episodes to cover all of this. And that's why you have your own podcast. Because you do get to cover all of these things. I could just camp out on the fact that you've been trained, really as a missionary to go out into the world, as an evangelist. I mean, that's what you're major, your undergrad, and your graduate was about evangelism. And yet here you are, at home.
I remember once I was at church, and we were starting the book of Romans. It was a new series. And I remember the Pastor said, okay, open to Romans chapter one and we're just gonna get started. And I opened it, and for some reason, my eyes went to the last chapter of Acts. And I just kinda sat there and I remember, I don't remember anything about that Pastor's message that day. But there were a couple of lines in that last chapter of Acts that talked about Paul being confined to home. House arrest. And yet, the Gospel went out unhindered. ??? of being confined to home. I mean, I'm covered in goosebumps, and every time I think about it, because I think so many of us are like, oh yes, he captured my heart at a young age, or maybe not a young age. And I love Jesus and I thought He was calling me to this, and this, and then I started a family, and I'm confined to home.
And I just, I loved that promise for us. That still the Gospel can go out unhindered, in this season. Under house arrest, you know? In lieu of all of our children. And it goes out into the lives of our children. Absolutely. And it's gonna go out into the world through the lives of our children. And it goes out into the world at the grocery store. And it goes out into the world with our neighbors. And it goes out into the world, but when we're doing our Master's thesis on evangelism, that's not what we thought it was gonna look like, am I right?
Yeah, yeah, it's true. It was, we can't really be prepared, sometimes, for the things God calls you to walk in. And sometimes it's overwhelming, and sometimes it's a little underwhelming, like, wow. This isn't exactly what I pictured, but it's definitely so much bigger, I think than our expectations of what ministry should look like when we think about hosting His presence in our home. It shifts everything, so...
Okay, talk to us about that. Hosting His presence in our home.
Yeah, so we were at a church probably close to ten years ago and the church was just so filled with the presence of God. And the Pastor talked about hosting...being a church that's good at hosting God's presence. Meaning, you host someone, you really honor them and you give weight to the fact that they're with you, and you give them preference. And you really make space for them. You don't treat casually. You really make a space where they want to be. And that's what the church wanted to be, is a place where the presence of God was the number one priority. Not, you know, lighting and all of that, but like, being with Him.
And that really struck us, and we thought, you know, God is a geographically dwelling God. He wants to be everywhere. He's not in a temple made by hands. He's in our hearts and if our hearts are in our home, and we're hosting Him and really giving weight to the fact that He wants to not only be with us theoretically, but be in our midst, and impact the atmosphere of every room in our home, where that dynamics of the living room or the kitchen or the bedroom. He wants to be in it all, bringing heaven to earth as Jesus prayed, let Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. I like to say, in my home, as it is in heaven.
And I want to really know what it is that He loves. And so we just kinda went on this thing of pursuing the reality that God wants to be with us. So how do we welcome Him well? How do we honor Him, and grow our awareness of the fact that He's always with us, and wants to always increase our awareness of Him? And I think it's taken a lot of practical turns in terms of what, asking the question, like, what honors Him and what grieves Him? Because the Holy Spirit can be grieved. And we don't wanna do anything that grieves Him. The things that grieve Him would be like sharp tongue and rude words. And even for me, I think one thing that grieves the Holy Spirit in my life is me living a distracted life. And when I'm super distracted, my awareness of His presence goes way down. And by that, I mean mostly, technology, to be honest. You know, when I just feel fragmented and all over the place.
But when I really attune my heart to the fact that He is near, it shifts the way I interact with everybody in my home. And then before I know it, I realize that I am worshiping in the spirit over dishes while I'm washing dishes and I can sense His nearness. And my kids can feel that and then what happens is that becomes a bit of our norm, and our expectation and our value. And then when we get to have other people come visit or people come in, we get to introduce them to that culture of really hosting His presence, where we don't have to say a lot but they can sense His peace. I've had so many people say, when I walk into your house, I just feel the peace of God. Feel the presence of God, and I think that's a testimony to the fact that He wants to be with us in our home, showing up. Not just, like a box that we check that is our religious activity. He wants to permeate and invade every square inch of our home and bring us to an awareness that He's there, He's working, He is encouraging, He's speaking life over us, He's giving us wisdom for the moment. Literally homeschool decisions, moment by moment, heart by heart, navigating all the issues of all the people that are always, you know, changing. He's there, constantly coaching, constantly guiding, constantly nurturing me, and them. And being really aware that that truth and that reality is what we love when we talk about hosting His Presence.
I was thinking as you were saying that, that when we host the presence of God in our homes, we have the privilege and we have the joy of introducing Him to other people that` we host.
So, when you're talking about inviting people into your home, I know that you have a reputation as being very hospitable. People love to spend time in your home with your family. And they do have that experience of coming into your home and saying, wow, there's something special here. I feel the presence of God here.
So you become this sweet holy place of making an introduction. Like, let me introduce you to the presence of God. And that's beautiful but, when we think of it as families and moms, then we say, we get to introduce our kids to the presence of God. And now, I'm gonna just speak on behalf of the homeschool moms that say, give me a piece of curriculum, you know? Just, tell me which Bible, how to go through the Bible with my kids. You know, should I gear it as a daily devotional, should I do it, you know, starting in Genesis and reading through the book, the whole Bible as a family? Do we do it at the kitchen table? Do we do it at night? Do I do it at ??? You know, we... just tell me how to introduce them to the Word of God. Make sure they put their faith in God.
But there's something that's resonating about what you're saying that really, as moms, we have the privilege and the joy of introducing our guests, our children, to the presence of God. And man, isn't that the curriculum we're after?
Yeah. You know, as you were talking, I even, I get a picture in my mind's eye, sometimes, you know, I just...God speaks to me through different ways. Always His Word. But I just got this picture of opening the windows in the different rooms of our house, and just like, if, say there was like a flood of light coming in, you can't stop it. And when you open the window, and you welcome Him and you say, come, Lord. You are the headmaster of this homeschool. You are the leader of my heart and this home and that I give You room. I give You space. And just like you open a window and light rushes in, and you just feel the warmth. That's what it's like to, for me, at least, in my journey of homeschool, where I'm not trying to like, stuff us into curriculum.
And that's my temptation. It really is. Cause it'd be a lot easier to, you know, say, we just do this and we're done. But it's really this yielding of my heart to the presence of God as my number one aim, my number one desire, my number one love. And I think it comes back to me knowing, am I more in love with Jesus right now than I was a week ago? And it's not, do I sit down and have my quiet time. Cause also, we can do curriculum on ourselves. Like if I just sit down and do this, then I'll be right with God, or I'll have all that I need. But sometimes I just need to sit down with the Lord in my morning quiet time and just be and remind myself, He's here. He's with me. I don't have to earn my way to Him. And there're seasons where I do deep Bible study and like, I go way in chunks. And there are seasons where a new baby, and I can't... you know, I'm up all night, but I do sit there and I'm receiving the Truth that He says He'll never leave me. And I like to put my hand on my heart and tell myself, I'm not alone. I feel overwhelmed, but I'm not alone. I receive your kindness.
And I even do that in front of my kids, Wendy. Like, I process my relationship with God out loud in front of my kids all the time. And I think that has been a powerful thing of not saying, hey guys, we gotta do our Bible study now, and I know I just yelled, and blah blah blah. I do yell. And I repent in front of them. I say, oh guys, I'm carrying so much overwhelm in my heart right now, I'm really asking the Holy Spirit to carry it for me. And sometimes I just grab it back. And when I grab it back, that's when I start yelling. Will you forgive me? You can pray for me right now that I would trust the Lord with the things that I'm carrying. Or, I'm asking for more joy. And so, kind of outwardly processing my intimacy with God with them. Not asking them to have the same encounters that I'm having with God. But inviting them to witness mine.
And it's actually kind of like evangelism. Not shoving something down somebody's throat, but saying, this is my testimony of what God's doing in my life today. And I'm gonna worship Him. So, this morning, for instance, was a crazy morning. Wasn't our normal homeschool schedule, but I got my guitar out and I just started worshiping. And I said, you guys come in here, lay on the floor, just open your heart to God. Cause I really wanna worship Him. And just letting us doing that, and making space, and I didn't even do our normal Bible reading. You know. Cause I didn't have time. But I really wanted to be with Jesus and encounter Him.
And tomorrow we'll get back to our schedule. But I think it's this idea of, it is our relationship, it's our intimacy that trumps productivity. And when we have that intimacy, that heart-connection, that's what bears fruit. Because intimacy always leads to fruitfulness. God wrote that on our bodies, that's part of theology of our bodies, that intimacy brings fruit. And in a marriage, when a husband and wife are intimate, fruit comes. I would say, another podcast you can listen to talk about the... me talk about the multiplication power of sex, that multiplication fruit comes from a united intimate marriage. But also, obviously, children come from an intimate marriage.
And in our walks with God, intimacy bears fruit. It's not performance that bears fruit, on me meeting all the rules regulations of my expectations. It's intimacy. And I want my kids to get that. I struggled with a lot of performance mentality and kind of legalism for a good portion of my younger years. And I just wanna be free from that and not, you know, throw off... I love spiritual disciplines, and I practice them daily, but the meat of it is relationship and heart-connection.
And I think that's what really drives our idea of hosting God's presence, and also how I wanna lead my kids spiritually. And really, what sets the stage for family worship even.
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I really appreciate this conversation, and I... you know, what's so silly is I wanna hear you and at the same time, say, okay, and give us a formula.
Yes to everything you're saying, Francie, and give us a formula. Just go... would you do that? Like, would you speak into the "but how do we do it?" If I don't have the guitar and, I mean, this is all new for me, and all I know how to do is say, but we're supposed to have time together. So you talked about, and I think this is gonna be a good jumping-off place for us, you talked about you didn't do the reading you were going to do because you didn't have time to do it all. But God really, He led you to have this desire to just be in His presence. Open up His Word to know His presence and know His will, but sometimes, the Holy Spirit just works in such a way that we just wanna sit with Him. Just wanna sit with Him. And I don't think, and my kids are 12, 14, and 16, have I invited, either by modeling it or by verbally inviting my kids to sit in the presence of God. Or do I say, let's seek God's presence, and open up the Word, and there's nothing wrong with that, but I think we can flesh it out with just enjoying the presence of God?
You and I... I've heard you say, but to the degree that we enjoy God's presence, our kids learn to enjoy God's presence. So let's talk about having a plan and yet also, the plan is God's presence. So, that's always going to lead the charge. No matter what our curriculum choice is, no matter what our idea of what family worship is gonna look like. So would you walk us through kind of how God called you to this and then how it's taken shape?
Maybe there let's talk a little bit about dad's role. But let's just start with... and maybe those two things'll flow together here.
Okay. So, I think practically, we think about family worship or incorporating our faith into our homeschool, we do think, okay what is it that I need to do? Cause I have a lot to get done. And so, when I think about, I do wanna value it. And what we value, we need to put time into it and we need to be thoughtful. We need to actually do it on a regular basis. And so, one of the things that I like to do is to teach my kids what I'm learning. If I don't have... honestly, I don't do a lot of curriculum when it comes to Bible, because I don’t often stick with it. But what I do stick with is my relationship with Jesus. And so, if I'm reading a verse in Psalm one morning. Psalms. And it really speaks to me. I'll just open that up for the kids and, like, this is what we're gonna chew on this morning. And I'll just invite them into what God's teaching me. I think it's really simplified things for me. And I don't have to, like, get on somebody else's train and figure out where they're going and, I've gotta get all those supplies for that. I just keep it really simple.
And that's freed me a lot. And also, integrated our family. Because the Holy Spirit's doing something in me because He wants to do it in my kids. Like, anything that He's doing in me, It's kind of like breastfeeding. When you eat something, the child you're nursing gets nourished by what you've received. And that's the same thing in our homeschool is, my children are gonna be nourished by what I'm receiving from the Lord. Because until they're old enough to make that decision to follow Him... and some of my kids are... it doesn't matter what age they are, actually. I have some younger, some older, at different ages and stages who have been very receptive and discerning of the things of God. And I love that about all of them, how they process God differently. But I can definitely bring them into my journey. And then that helps me kind of see what God might want to do in our family culture as a whole.
Maybe He's really speaking to me about fear. And I share that with how He's really speaking to me about Scriptures that I don't have to be afraid. And then it becomes a family connection point as opposed to just like another bit of curriculum like a science page or a history page and a Bible page. It becomes something more of a place where we connect with God together as a family. Cause that's what He designed family to do. Was to connect with Him together. And I love even how Paul talks about if he believed, you and your household will be saved.
The very... I heard a speaker talk just this week... I can't... I think... I can't remember his name, but he was talking about the very DNA actually of a human's body, when they believe in Jesus, begins to shift, because their thinking begins to shift. And down to the molecular level of our body begins to change. And when that belief comes into our household, the DNA of the people in that household begins to change into something different. A new creation. And it's really powerful to think about the truth of God's Word being so real, but it changes us on our molecular level as we begin to be renewed in our minds. As we begin to live lives under the peace and the presence of God, not the strife and the fear of man.
And so, I just love that. An idea of nursing. Like, what I take in, my kids get to be nourished by. And it's not like everybody in their own little cubicle doing their own faith thing. It's our journey. And that kinda helps me decategorize it and integrate it into all day. And there is a portion of like, I want my kids to have the disciple of the Word of God as a, you know, a spiritual disciple that we practice. And so we do that. But it is, I think it's important to me to feel integrated into what God is speaking to me. I love to study theology of the body, so a lot of times I'll do a little study with them on things that I'm studying about and just trying to break it down.
So I think the takeaway to that is Mama, it doesn't have to be complicated. It doesn't have to be expensive. It just needs to come from that sincere place of You love relationship with God. And I think the other part of that that's wonderful is that it's not that we loved God so much. It's that He loved us so much. And we love Him because He's loved us. The love and the intimacy do not rest on us, it doesn't initiate... we are not the initiators. We are the pursued.
And so I just wanna release that word over any parent that's listening. It's not another thing that you have to carry and do. One of the beauties of being a woman is that we understand our bodies. But again, we're back to theology of the body. That our bodies are receptive. That we are life-givers, and we actually hold life in our bodies, if you think about the womb of a mother. And in a spiritual sense, we get to be receptive to God. We get to receive His pursuit of us. And we get to just open ourselves up and say, God, pour your love into me, cause I can't run you down. I can't chase you down. I am weak and weary, but You are coming after me every day. And so I'm gonna sit here and be open to you. And I'm gonna take that posture of receptivity and receive your love and receive your enjoyment.
And I think as the more we give ourselves that gift of not thinking, oh, now I have to study my Bible so I have something else to give, but more like, thank You, God, that You love me. I just receive that. And practicing that receptivity, I think, will really lighten the load a little bit, that it's about us being open to His pursuit of us, and curious about what He wants to speak to us in His Word. And then sharing that, open, curious, and sharing. Open, curious, and sharing. And I think that the more we do that, the more we are aware that not only do we have the calling to be moms and homeschool, but we are deeply enjoyed by a Father who loves us. By a God who sees us. By a God who's near us in the nitty-gritty. And He's in tune with how our hearts are doing. And He's in tune with each of the needs of our children. He's in tune with where our husbands are. He's in tune by, with, all the dynamics and challenges, and trials that we're facing. And He has wisdom for the moment. And slowing down and receiving that, and receiving the fact that He enjoys us. I think it's just a really simple way to start.
That wonderful. And I just mention that my children are 12, 14, and 16 now, and your oldest is 12. I would say that my youngest is the most articulate about his faith. Not necessarily to say that his faith is the most sincere, but it's just, some of it is personality. And he probably is also the most consistent to wake up and get in the Word and journal and pray. And I say that to transition into what I'm about to say. That idea of teaching our kids what we're learning as being the foundational piece of family worship time, where it comes to the word of God and applying it to our lives, and inviting our children into it, it's really cool when they come to place where you can say, how about you? What are you learning right now?
And that is definitely where we've been this last year, where when we meet together as a family. And I would say that this is, even if we're doing a devotional or if we're reading through, sometimes there's something that we're going through as a family and my husband'll say, you know what, I really think that we need to read through John 15, 16, and 17, over the next couple weeks. Let's just camp out there as a family in your own study time. Let's just read through those chapters and let's a few times through the week, just talk about what God's speaking to us. And during those times, you know, we'll all be on the same page, but sometimes we're not. We're on different literal pages in the Bible. On different life experiences.
My oldest came back from his first mission trip without last summer, and he interacted, he encountered a spiritual warfare for the first time. Like, dark presence, and weightiness, and he was so... his mind was just blown that it was real. And there was another event on that trip, and he wanted to talk about it, so she wrote out a list, like, front and back, two different pages, of Scriptures that he could look up to find out more about this spiritual realm and what's going on there. And he came home and it was probably a couple months that he camped out there. He'd wake up early and get his Bible and look up those verses. And so when we would meet at the table and I'd say, this is what I'm learning, or my husband would say, okay, I've been in this book and I've been learning this, or in my life, I've been learning that. And we would pose that simple question. What are you guys learning?
??? so much to share because he was learning a lot. But there have been other seasons since then where he's had nothing to contribute. He's like... and my tendency is to get all worked up about it, like, why aren't you in the Bible? And oh no. And what I'm taking away from our conversation, Francie is, well maybe this is a season where he's nursing again. Maybe this is the season where I'm the mommy bird, you know? And I'm regurgitating what had nourished me early that morning. Maybe I was the one that got up early bird, gets the worm, and he's slept in and didn't get up and spend time...this is the 16-year-old.
When we get together and I'm serving up scrambled eggs in the morning, talking about what I feasted on, it becomes a feast for the family. And so...
I totally agree. And I'm so glad you shared about your kids being older. Cause, we're a couple steps behind you in that developmental process, and I think it's beautiful to see, you know, as we let go of our kids a little bit, and let them out on their own adventures, that God... the seeds you planted are going to be harvested and they are gonna grow. And even as your talking about, I think about how Jesus even points us to nature. Consider the birds, consider the lilies, and think about who I am and how good I am and how much I provide for you. And I think about even the seasons of planting, like, we're not always in a season of harvest. And so it's okay if you don't have big words to share. There might be a season where He's planting things really deep. And just watering and nourishing and comforting. and so it doesn't always have to be like, oh, I had this massive revelation of all of these words of insight that just really enjoyed His presence. And I think one of the things I long to do is to make my kids salivate for God by the way that I am, not only talking about what I'm learning, but displaying it. And I think even in compassion towards them, and heart connection, and not requiring, I hope, you know, I'm on a journey of like, getting free myself, but requiring them to, you know just like, perform for me, but just be like, okay, I am gonna tap into God's heart and see how I can even minister to my kids so that they can just feel His tangible presence.
I did wanna say another practical thing about enjoying. One of the things my husband does so well. When we were... my son, my oldest son, was first born, you know, we're kind of new parents, freaking out, like, what are we gonna do? How do you do this? Nobody gave you a manual. And it was so sweet, the first kind of word God gave my husband was "your job as a dad is to lean over his crib and celebrate every morning." And delight in the fact that he's alive. And sing over him and his crib. And shout for joy when he rolls over, and be his biggest celebrator, and simply enjoy your son. And as we've grown in this progression, I mean, he's 12 now, we've noticed that that was so kind of God. Because ultimately God, as we parent our kids, he's parenting us. And He is showing us, oh, I am the God who actually sings over you, Zephaniah 3:17, and rejoices over you with singing and quiets with you with My love.
And one of the most profound, I think, connection points that we've found out is not so much dragging our kids to family worship and saying sit down, open your Bibles. But it's how we enjoy them outside of our family worship time that make all the difference for being able to connect with God together. Because I've seen it. When we are not real consistent with our quality time. Or even just the simple things of like, let's go to... let's go down the street to Seven Eleven and get a Slurpee and take a family walk. Those little moments of just delighting and enjoying them is humans set the stage for family worship. Because when those moments of delight are not there, and we've just kind of been transactional and rushing around. And then we're like, now, come on guys, we gotta worship!
And then nobody's hearts are there. And there's not heart connection. And so, another practical tip is like, if anything, don't focus on the family worship time as much in your preparation as focus... your preparation is heart connection before-hand. So, when you open your Bibles, and when you say, let's gather and open our hearts to the Lord, there is a built-up level of confidence that the kids know, I am enjoyed by my parents. Therefore, because they've experienced that in their parent's, that immediately gives them the neurons to believe in their brain and experience in their bodies, the reality that God would enjoy them too.
And I think that's what we want to produce in our family is worshippers of God who know they are loved and enjoyed by God. Because He loved us, we love Him. Not because it's a requirement of our family that we love God. But because He delights in us. Because He chose us. Because He wants to spend time with us. Because He goes out of His way to pursue us. We are able to reflect that back. And that's part of the joy of being a parent, and a challenge, honestly, is okay, Holy Spirit, what are creative ways this week that I can connect with their hearts. In our everyday moments. Get on their level. Sit on the floor. Play a game. Take a walk. And to be totally frank with you. I have six kids, it's crazy, I am a day by day person with heart connection. I don't have a good system because life is...has too many variables with all these little people.
Last week it looks like for me is, I noticed there was a window, because the weather's nicer, for me to take a walk every night. I put the two babies in the stroller and then I took one big kid with me. And so every night, last week, I just made that my goal. I'm gonna take a walk with one kid every night and just enjoy them. And one kid really had had a difficult attitude the last week. And was resisting everything including family worship. And I got to sit with him on a walk and say, what's going on in your heart? What are you processing? Has there been a way that you felt disappointed in our family? I want you to know that I care about you. And it was like, walls fell down. And the next when we had worship, his heart was there again.
But I think it's that gift of pursuing their hearts in relationship, not just for the religious activities we want them to do with us. But for the simple fact of connection. Because heart connection is the currency of the Kingdom. And that's what Jesus is after. And when that happens, the culture of our home is so much more connected. And our hearts are more attuned to each other and to God. And it really is easier to imagine that hosting God's presence together as a family, because we feel connected. And I think that's been a real take away for me is, okay, don't focus on the, okay gather time, right now, focus on the "am I connected outside of that time." And then, when I display my own hunger for God or invite them in, I've got their hearts. And we're on the same page.
Yeah. I remember when I started speaking at women's groups that I learned that, if you get them laughing, it's like toiling the soil before we plant the seeds.
And it was true. Like I could look out at that room full of women, and they were laughing, they were soft, and then I transitioned into the Gospel message that I'd come to give them. And their hearts were open as though laughing sometimes opens the chest up. It's like, oh, you know, rather than being like, ugh! Here comes another message from mom, you know? And so applying that right there in our home is that heart connection is like toiling the soil. Turning, conditioning the soil of their hearts before going in and purposefully placing those seeds that we wanna see yield a harvest. And I think that so often, we go in, it's like, yes, I know I've been nagging about all the other things, but we have not opened the Word as a family in forever. So, everybody, come on, get some... please, please, would you stop hitting your sister? Just grab your Bible and come to the table.
You know, but there's...
So familiar. Yes.
There's not been any soft connection to toil the soil and now here we're gonna go and we're gonna hammer in the seeds. And you know, I always go to the, what are we possibly doing wrong? Not to shame us, but to invite us to make a better plan. And that's what I'm hearing is, okay, I know how to do it in a room full of a hundred women. Can I do it in a home of three boys?
And, moms, if you haven't done this, you know, focused on the heart connection, invited your kids into what you've learned in the Word, and they're getting older and you feel like you've missed the boat, I was just trying to tell you that while I was raised in a home with a mom and a dad that loved God, I don't have one memory of that opening the Word with us. However, just as Francie said that God really captivated her heart at a very young age. That's what He did for me. And I have my Precious Memories Bible, my little white leather Precious Memories Bible. And the time I was about 12 years old, I mean, I was memorizing the Psalms, I was underlining, I was highlighting, I was putting the translation in Greek, you know, that I would hear a Pastor say and I thought that was interesting. And I was just interested in God's Word, and I'm in the Word now. I'm inviting my kids to do the same.
So, I just, I want you to feel that God has a plan for your kids. And God will reveal Himself. And one of the very special ways that He does that is through our families. Through parents. And He's inviting you to start doing it now. But if you haven't, my parents never did, and yet still He wooed me with His Word. Still, He wooed me with the presence of His Holy Spirit. And He is so good and you're not gonna thwart God's plan for your children's life. But He does invite you to be a part of that plan.
So, I feel like we should do another hour here. But, I...while, I have one more question that I'd love to wrap up with and then have you pray us out with. I wanna just say, to listeners, if you've enjoyed this, go follow Francie Winslow at, on Instagram at Francie Winslow. Or find her podcast, Heaven in Your Home podcast, and subscribe to it. Because they're all this rich. And FrancieWinslow.com. All of these links are on our landing page. But, I just wanted to throw that out right now, because she's got so much love to share. She does it there in her home, but she also does that online and through these various means. So follow along, and what a sweet, authentic, inspiring, wise voice to speak into our lives as we desire to speak into the lives of our children.
Okay, Francie, last little bit, and then maybe you could wrap us up with a prayer. How do we invite our husband, if they're not really taking ownership of this on their own? If we don't have like a spiritual leader in our house, and we're always feeling bitter or sad about it, and then we try to do it, but it's awkward because he feels this or... you know? There're so many different family dynamics at play. How can we invite our husbands? Or, yeah. How can we invite our husbands to lead if they're not or how do we step up in a way that's not disrespectful?
That is such a good question. There's several ways we could take that. I think one way is just saying, I love the fact that you are the dad of our home. My husband. If you want to be a part of this, I would love your insight and your input. Because I really value and so respect your voice and would love to, you know, have you a part of our discussions as we talk about what, you know, God's teaching us. I think just differing, inviting, but you know what? To be honest, Wendy, just like I talked about heart connection is more important than your family devotions. Honestly. It really is. Like, if you do the devotion without the heart connection, we don't need more of that. We need more heart connection that makes room for real genuine relationship with God. And I think when we apply that to our marriage it's inviting your husband into more connection there.
And I talk a lot about sex is not about sex, but it's about connection. And oneness. And when there is increased oneness in our marriage, there is an increased spiritual overflow that comes. And even if your husband is not super verbal, or not super outgoing when it comes to Biblical things and topics. His heart will be opened when he knows that you want to be close to him. And not just nag him about what he's not doing. And so I think even honoring the marriage covenant and the marriage oneness, that gift that oneness precedes fruitfulness. And not trying to grab the fruit without the unity. And making that unity the priority that will then ultimately shift the atmosphere of our homes. Because that's what God designed it. He wants to show family and to bless generation, and generation, and generation. And it begins with a husband and a wife who are one.
And that is a very Biblical Gospel centric image, that the enemy has always been trying to distort and confuse. But when we fight for oneness in our marriage bed, in our bedroom, and even doing the heart work and the hard word that comes with that, if that's hard, leaning into God and say You're the Healer. That's one of my big stories is all the inner healing that He did in my heart to help me re-see sex as this gift, this holy gift, that breathes intimacy, that leads to our multiplication that ripples out, not only through the rooms of our home but into our communities and our churches. And ultimately, if the believers in our nation, we're working on those secret places of their marriage, it would shift the culture of our entire country for good when families realign with that heart of unity and connection within the home. Within the marriage. And I think that's one of the biggest places of my heart is, before we think about what ministry can we do, or what things can we do as a family, is like, how are we in those places that are the most intimate spaces that God wants to come in and align and heal?
And then, from there, the whole atmosphere of our home will change. So, I do think, inviting, being welcoming in all areas, but also just leaning in and saying hey babe, I wanna reconnect. I love being connected to you. Wanna have a date tonight? Wink wink? And just starting slow. And if you want more of that, I have tons in my Season one is all about rethinking sex and how God healed my mind to think as, about sex, more Biblically. I'm still growing, but there's a whole theology to our bodies and it impacts the culture of our homes. So, I'll leave with that.
Thank you, that is so good. Well, and I'm thinking, just like, going for a walk tills the soil with your kids, you know, intimacy in the bedroom, sex with our husbands, really does soften and condition the soil of our hearts towards one another. And then, I have always, since having children, used the word invitation with my husband. Like, about, in my own thinking, about how I invite him into... hey, we're doing bedtime, you know, routines right now. He was never hands-on. He never did the bathtub time. He didn't really do the tuck-ins. But I learned to invite him. And I learned to invite him, like, I would make a plan for him to get one on one time with the kids. Or make a plan for him to get an outing with all the boys together, where it was just dad and sons going on a camping trip. I would make the plans and invite him like, okay, we got this all scheduled.
And then he would get to take all the glory from it. So I've always used that term like inviting my husband. And especially if we do this idea of just sharing what we're learning. What an easy way to allow him to take lead. Remember, honey, that we're gonna be sharing at the breakfast table, what we've been learning in the Lord. Do you wanna start us off? You know, before we get to the table. And giving him some time to think about that.
So, all of this is wonderful. And again, friends, I do hope that you'll follow along with Francie because what a Jesus loving woman she is. And she always points my heart to just enjoying the presence of God. And from there, inviting my family members into the presence of God, and it does, it changes the culture of our home and our homeschool.
Would you pray for us, Francie, as we wrap this up? That would bless us so much.
Yeah. Father thank You that You live in us. I'm reminded that Jesus said that we are in Him and He is in You, and You are in us. And so that, basically, the image of the full trinity is with us all the time. This access to the Father heart and this empowerment of the Holy Spirit, and this connection with Jesus that gives us all that we need. And so I just thank You that there's no lack in You. And I just bless every parent listening, that there is no lack in Jesus. And if you are in Christ, you have all that you need, and He is consistently going to lead you in the paths of righteousness for His Name Sake, and He's gonna restore your soul and your heart and your marriage and your homeschool. And I just bless you with the knowledge that He is near and He wants to be close to you. I just thank You, God, that we don't have to earn our way to You. That we get to be enjoyed by You. We get to delight in You because You delight in us. And I just pray that every family, every home listening to this would be shifted into an abundant reality of the presence of God dwelling in our midst. That You are Immanuel, God with us. And that from that place, you will begin to heal, restore, strengthen, empower, and glorify Your Name in our midst. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Amen. Thank you, Francie.
Awesome. Thanks for having me, Wendy.
What a privilege it is to have these conversations with you each week. You are so busy, and I don't take it lightly that you tune in with me here for a weekly shot of encouragement. As a reminder, you can subscribe to the Homeschool Solutions podcast through Apple or Google Play, and your positive reviews always help other homeschool families find us online.
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