HS Episode #204 — Kate Battistelli — Raising Creative Kids
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Episode #204 — Kate Battistelli — Raising creative kids
On today’s show we talk with Kate Batistelli about raising our children to do amazing things for the glory of God. During the conversation, however, we turn our attention back to the moms… and challenge ourselves to live life with a “Here I am, send me” availability to whatever God calls us to as well.
Kate Batistelli has played some exciting roles in this life! As a young woman, Kate played Mrs. Anna in the Broadway tour of The King and I, opposite Yul Brynner. During that thrilling adventure, she met her husband Mike and soon took on the role of “mom” to Grammy-winning recording artist Francesca Battistelli.
Kate is the author of the bestselling book, The God Dare, and the parenting book, Growing Great Kids.
Growing Great Kids by Kate Batistelli
The God Dare by Kate Batistelli
Life Creative by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart
- When God calls you, He equips you. (Kate Batistelli)
- What you model, they will follow. (Kate Batistelli)
- Our ceiling becomes our children’s floor. (Kate Batistelli)
- Dig deep with the Lord. Ask Him, “what is my child on this planet for? You’ve got to show me.” (Kate Batistelli)
- Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8, NIV)
- Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
(Proverbs 22:6, NIV)
CONNECT WITH KATE:
HS EP 204
WENDY – 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
Hello friends. I am not going to be chatting here at the start of today’s interview, because there is so much that I want to talk about with today’s guest. Because I want her to share great gobs from her own story with us. I’m not even gonna do a long introduction. I’m simply gonna tell you this. Kate Battistelli is gonna bless our socks off today. Not only is Kate the mom of Francesca Battistelli, the Grammy award winning recording artist. But Kate has lived a pretty thrilling life herself. And I believe that her story is going to encourage us as we raise our children to be just sold out in whatever gifts God has given them. We want them to live to the best of their ability with the work that they’re doing, but also to do their work as unto the Lord. She’s had the experience to raise a kid who is now doing what she does so beautifully for the glory of God. But I’m also hoping that we’re gonna hear from Kate about how we can live sold out lives for Christ, serving Christ with our gifts as well. Not just preparing our kids to do it, but that we will do it as well. And doesn’t that sound like an incredible conversation to listen in on today. I hope that you will stay with us to the end ‘cause I think it’s gonna be packed full of so much wonderful inspiration and application.
The first time I met Kate was at a writer’s conference four years ago. Our friend Brook McLaughlin introduced us over lunch. And Brook knew that I had worked as an actress in Hollywood and so she said to me, Wendy, I want you to meet Kate. Kate you’ve gotta tell Wendy your story. You’re gonna love it, Wendy. And I did love it and that’s why I invited her here today, to share her life experiences and her hard earned wisdom with us today, and now without further ado let me welcome Kate Battistelli to the Homeschool Solutions podcast, Hi Kate.
KATE – Hi Wendy, it is so good to talk to you and just to connect again. It’s been too long
WENDY – it has. But you do remember our first conversation over lunch, don’t you?
K – Oh yeah, it was kinda… were we in… I forget what conference it was. Oh my gosh, okay.
W – During the lunches, we would have speakers and so the speaker came up after we had started… we were just getting into the good part of the story. So, I was like, Ah, Shoot! And then afterwards, I walked you to the whatever breakout session you were going to and then… because I wanted to hear the conclusion of your story an then I ran over to where I was going next.
K – Oh my goodness.
W – We’ve got a whole 30, 40 minutes here. And so, I was hoping that you would share your story with the listeners today about your career and specifically, the highlight of that career for you. And then we’ll talk about how that sort of set you up for the next role of your life. So, would you just let us get to know you?
K – Sure, sure, sure, I would love to. I am now living in Franklin TN just a little south of Nashville, but I was raised in New Jersey and lived in New York for a number of years. Like you, all I really wanted in life was to be famous, to be an actress on Broadway, to win a Tony, that was my heart’s goal. And I pursued it because I lived in New Jersey, it was easy to get into New York.
And I ended up at the age of 26, now we’re way back in the 1980s. This is 1981 so, long time ago. But at the age of 26, I was set up to audition for the role of the understudy to the leading lady in a big national tour production of The King and I, starring Yule Brynner. Now your younger listeners will go, “Who?” But anyway. Those probably 40 and up will know who I’m talking about. He was a huge star in those days. If you’ve ever seen the movie, The Ten Commandments, he played Pharaoh. He was the original king in The King and I, the original movie. And did it on Broadway and just you know, big iconic star.
And for a 26-year-old young actress, he was pretty intimidating. But, so I went out for the part of the understudy to the leading lady. I got passed, which was amazing cause I thought, wow, I’ll finally start earning some money, I’ll have something great to put on my resume. But you know as an understudy, you’re basically just an insurance policy for the producers. You don’t really expect that you’re ever gonna go on. Well, in my case, about 2 months into the run of the show, we’d been touring all around the country, I come into the theater one night at 7:15, and remember this is 1981, so there’s no cell phones, there’s no computers. No one can get ahold of you during the day.
I get in at 7:15 for an eight o’clock show to have the stage manager literally run up to me, grab me and say, “She’s sick, you’re on!” And I mean, you know what…you probably know what that feels like. It’s terrifying and thrilling and exciting. I knew I had 45 minutes to get ready to go out and whistle a happy tune for probably about two thousand people, ‘cause we only played in big theatres ‘cause he was such a big star, so. I learned very quickly in that moment that sometimes you just have to do it afraid. And I did, it was crazy, I ended up performing the role for about two weeks, for the leading lady, ‘cause she was out sick with pneumonia. And she came back to the show, so I went back to the chorus, because that’s just what you do. But about two months later the producers came to me to inform me that they had let her go. They had bought out her two-year contract ‘cause apparently, she and Yule Brynner just did not get along well. They didn’t see eye to eye. They weren’t happy with each other, so they bought out her contract and they were offering me the role of a lifetime. I mean, it made no sense. I was a nobody, you know. He could have had his choice of any actress in New York. Pretty much anybody in the world. Usually they would keep the same understudy, if they’re pleased with them, and then they would replace the leading lady. It’s not like you push her in the pit and then you get the leading spot.
W - You want someone’s that’s gonna have a name and bring some notoriety. So, you must have liked the work you did when you were…
K – I guess. And I think because I was young, I brought a youthful freshness to the show. Typically, that role’s played by a middle-aged woman, but I was 26 which actually historically is more correct. That was much closer to the age of the real Missus Ana who went to Siam and did what she did. It’s all history, so it’s a true story.
But it was exciting. I got to do the show for nearly 3 years, about a thousand performances with Yule Brynner. It was just an amazing time. I met my husband on the show because he joined… I guess about six months in, he joined as the associate conductor. And he actually got fired by Yule Brynner, which he loves to tell people, because he was just too much of a distraction for me. He was, you know, just, you know how it is when you… the producers want you fully focused. And I was, but I was just a little bit distracted with him around. So, he got fired by Yule Brynner.
W – I don’t remember that part of the story, that’s great!
K – Yeah, I don’t… well I forget to tell that a lot. But, and then he ended up going off to do Showboat with Donald O’Connor and it actually worked out really well for him cause he was able to do a bunch of other things that helped to build his resume. But the interesting part… we met, we fell in love across the footlights, this all started in 1981. By 1983, I was leaving the show. We got married that summer, but it wasn’t until the following March that we met the Lord. Cause I had gone to church, you know I was raised going to the Episcopal Church, but I never had a personal relationship with Jesus. I’d never invited Him into my heart. Neither had my husband. And we had a friend who interestingly was a born-again Jew, who was in business with us. And she just kept inviting us to church and we kept saying no, we were very polite, but eventually, you know, you get to the point that it’s just kind of rude. And you figure, alright, we’ll go once, we’ll get this over with. We’ll make her happy and then we never have to go again.
Well little did we know, she was inviting us to just this incredible church with, I mean, the Holy Spirit was very powerful. It was actually a Holiness church. Which I didn’t even know what that was. And you know, raised Episcopalian, what is a Holiness church? Well, I’m not fully sure to this day, but very Charismatic, very on fire for the Lord. It was an all-black church. We were the only white faces. And it was a big church. Probably a few thousand people at this church. And she invited us to come on a Friday night ‘cause she said that you’ll love the music, you gotta come hear this Gospel choir.
Well, the choir was amazing, and she sat us in the front row. And I mean I think she and the Pastor kinda had a little agreement that those white people on the front row, they need to get saved. And of course, we did, you know, as soon as he gave the invitation, our hands shot up in the air and we really never have looked back. It just, it was a powerful experience. When you experience the Holy Spirit for the first time, it’s either gonna change you or, I don’t… I honestly don’t know how it can’t change someone when you really come face to face with the Holy Spirit and the power and the reality of that. And it impacted Mike and I so much that we just, we ended up about, gosh, I guess a couple years later, after we had our daughter… gosh, I’m trying to think. She was born in 1985, so in 1986, we just felt the Lord calling us out of the world that we had determined to build a life in. I mean, Mike wanted to be a conductor on Broadway, I wanted to be a Broadway star. And God said, you know, I have a different plan for you and I’m asking you to lay that down. Which is what I call a God-dare, because we felt like He was daring us to walk away from everything we knew, everything we’d lived our lives pursuing. I mean, my husband has a Doctorate in music. You know, it just, it made no sense for us to lay it down, but we were obedient. We got good counsel, got good prayer, and felt like, alright, this is what we’re suppose to do even though it makes no sense. People thought we were crazy, ‘cause we were doing well. You don’t typically walk away from a career that you’re growing in and doing well, and people are beginning to know your name.
But God said lay it down and we didn’t realize at the time that He wanted to take it into the next generation. We thought it was all about us. And I think we forget, as Christians, that God is thinking down the generations. You know, we think it’s all about us, but He’s looking at our great grandkids and thinking okay, what you’re doing today is gonna affect them. So, we need to get it right now. So that we don’t mess things up.
W – All throughout Deuteronomy, I mean it’s just constantly. It’s not just the one quote about, you know, when they wake and when they get up and when they walk along the way that we’re, you know, discipling our kids, like, it’s over and over. You remember me. You remember me. You remember me. So that you can tell them. So that you can tell them. And so, there’s a real good foundation to, let’s make sure you know who you are in Me. For the benefit of the next generations, that they might live long in the blessed life that I have for you as a family. This inheritance. So that really resonates, with me, so this role on Broadway turned into role as wife, turned into role as mother. And then the Lord dared you to, Hey, all those dreams you have; I’ve got a dream that you don’t even know about. I dare you to follow Me, is what it sounds like. Right?
K – Yeah. Yeah, and it typically will never make sense when God… often when He speaks to us, it just, you know, you look at Him and you just think, what? Are you… you’re talking to me, Lord? Do you remember who I am? And of course, He knows, but you know, we don’t… At least I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself and what I was capable of, but, as God calls you to do something, He’ll equip you. So, that’s one thing, just to not be afraid when He calls you outside your comfort zone. But we ended up moving back to New Jersey for a while, then ended up in Florida, where Franny was raised for the most part, in Orlando, or a little North of Orlando, we lived for 20 years down there. And, you know, it was just amazing to see the Lord begin to pour into our daughter and start to say, wait a minute, there’s some gifts and talents there that we’ve got some experience in that we can help to guide her if that’s where the Lord’s taking her. And I think one thing that, as parents, that it’s really critical for us to do is dig deep with the Lord, figure out what is my child on this planet for because I know it’s for a reason. None of us are here randomly, even though we might think God has forgotten us or doesn’t care. Any of that, that’s what the enemy wants us to believe.
But I’m convinced every person is on this planet for a specific purpose. But as parents, we’ve gotta dig down deep with the Lord and go, Okay Lord, You need to show me what is the path you have for this child so I can do whatever I can to get them on that path that you’ve already designed. You’ve already written it in Your Book, I need to figure that out. And I need Your help to do it. And then He will show us.
W – Oh, thrilling. And I hope that everyone that’s listening is nodding their heads right now. I remember that after I met you at that conference, I came home. I sent you an email. Again, this was about four years ago. I was writing a book at the time called Life Creative. And it was all about trying to fit our creative passions, our pleasures, you know, your acting, my writing, my acting, into our lives. What does it look like? It’s gotta change. It doesn’t fit naturally. And But there was a chapter I wanted to write about not just focusing on, ‘hey God, You’ve made me this way. I love to write, I love to sing in the church choir, I love to do these things, I love to paint. And it doesn’t fit into my life these days. How might it?’ It’s not just that but, God is it possible that in the course of raising my children, I can cast vision in what You’ve called them to. And I can spend my joy and my energy helping to stoke a fire for the things that He’s given me a passion for. Music, and art, and theater, and writing. So that I can see those gifts in whatever the kids are into, take root and establish themselves in their lives.
And so, I called to talk to you about what was your story with raising Francesca and you said something to me then that has stayed with me. And I know you’ve written about it as well. You have a book… your first book was called Raising Great Kids, right?
K – Growing Great Kids, yeah.
W – Growing Great Kids. I’ll link that in the show notes. And I really enjoy that, cause I got that book when I came home from that conference, I ordered it. And you said that looking back at your career in musical theater, that your ceiling was the floor for Francesca. Is it something like that? I would love it if you would talk about that for just a short moment.
K – Oh sure. I think if we’re doing it right, our ceiling does become our children’s floor, and I see now, one thing that is good about getting older is the years do give you perspective. What didn’t make any sense back in 1986 makes total sense now. I mean, I completely understand why the Lord called us out. Because, you know, once we knew who the Lord was and began following Him, He needed to teach us, hey, it’s not all about you. You know, there’s a bigger plan that I have here as much as you might have wanted to be famous, you wanted it for yourself. With your daughter, I’m doing something different because she wants it to make My Name famous.
And it makes sense now to see that okay, I see why You had us step away. Yet we still had the experience and the knowledge of that world. Not necessarily the Christian, contemporary Christian, music world, but we understood the performing world. The on-stage world. The public life, what that looks like. So, we were able to help her navigate those years where she was, you know, before she signed her record deal and all of that. My husband managed her for a number of years. Because we had the experience, we had the understanding, to help her walk through that and we could see then how our ceiling became the floor for her. The experience and the knowledge that we had, we were able to impart to her and she could then take that and move forward to everywhere that the Lord has taken her since then. And she’ll also do the same thing with her kids, I’m certain. And we’re not sure yet, they’re still little, so I’m not sure exactly what their craft’s gonna be. But I’m sure some of them are gonna go the creative performing path. I mean I just, I have a sense about that, and I know she’ll do the same thing for them that we did for her.
But I think for every parent, whatever it is your child’s involved in, and even if it’s not necessarily something that’s your passion, you can still help them walk into whatever it is that God is calling them, with prayer, with good counsel, God’s gonna show you, you know, exactly what you need to do as a parent to help them realize the dreams that God has for them. And that’s what we need to really figure out. That’s what growing great kids is all about. It’s, how do you figure out how to, you know, just how to dig deep, how to listen to the Lord, how to hear Him and know when it’s His Voice that’s speaking to you and telling you, hey, this is what I … how I designed your child, and this is what your job is to raise them to be the person that I’ve, you know, that I’ve already called them to be. Because I believe before the foundation of the world, our plans… it’s all been written out. It’s just, it’s our job just to step into that and figure out what that is for ourselves and also for our kids.
W – Right, and I’m hearing you. I mean, you sound like you’re about to quote Train Up A Child in the way they should go, when they are old, they won’t depart from it. And so often we use that, you know, make sure their faith life is deeply rooted and established in Christ. And so, the way they should go is of course, as a Christ follower. But then practically speaking, we know from Ephesians 2.10 that we’ve been created for specific good works, and so from the foundations of this world, beforehand, before one of their days, God knew what He was creating them for. But He was also creating good works for them to walk in. And so it sounds like you’ve got some practical steps you could help us with to train up our children both spiritually, they need training, and whether its artistic or whatever their gifts are, there are some things that you guys made a priority. I think I remember you telling me, or maybe I had read it in the book, that you got a job specifically to get her a very good guitar. And she still … stage with that same guitar, is that right? It that still true?
K – That is true. At the time, we were going through some financial challenges. It was a four-year period of kind of a desert time where I don’t even… there were times when I’d say, I don’t know how we’re paying out bills. Somehow, God is just putting money in the bank account, ‘cause you know, you’d think there’s not enough to pay for what we need to pay for, but yet, it would always be there. So, but yes, I started… I worked for a perfume company in the mall and I was one of those girls that would come in and hand you my little card with my perfume sprayed on it for you to test and smell and I mean, today I can’t even barely walk through that department because I got so allergic to all the smells.
But you know, it paid really well, and I was able to save up so for her eighteenth birthday I got her a really great guitar that she still uses. It’s not the only one she uses, but she does still use it. And you know I figured hey, if this is what God’s calling her to do, I’m gonna do whatever I can to equip her with the best equipment that she’s gonna need to succeed. And I think that’s important as parents, that even though we couldn’t just go out and buy it, I had to work for awhile and save up, it was totally worth it to do that. And you know, not everybody has tons of money to be able to do whatever, you know, help their kids do whatever they want, but sometimes you have to work and you’ll figure out if it’s worth it to you if what your kids desire is, is important enough to you to kinda go that extra mile.
And I…we could see the gift in her pretty early on and go, all right, there’s something here. We’ve gotta do whatever we can to help her achieve whatever it is that God has designed for her from the very beginning. So, so that wasn’t a hard thing. I mean it was not fun to be on my feet all those days, but, you know, it was fully worth it to begin to equip her with what she needed.
W – Yes, yes. Every year, and I think I’ve reached out to you the last couple of years and we haven’t been able to make it work. I’ve been sending my oldest kid, who just turned 16, to Nashville, right where you are. Very close. And for a camp with Toby Mac, called Camp Electric, every summer. And he’s just loving it. But if you’ve seen Toby Mac in concert, then you’ve seen that all his musicians, at one of their… one or two of their big numbers… they all pull out horns. There’s lots of horn play. So, he’s been saying for years, I really want to learn the trumpet. So, he just had his birthday and I did not get an extra job. I was not able to buy him a trumpet. But I did go to the local music store and I said, do you have any old trumpets that I could just rent, to see if this is really what he wants. He obviously has a gift for music, and he wants to add this to his growing collection of instruments he can play. And so, they said, oh yeah! So, for 20 dollars a month right now, he just opened it up. He’s really excited. And here on New Year he’s starting lessons. So, we’re really excited about that. As a matter of fact, … I haven’t said this before, but the musical introduction at the very beginning of the podcast… I had Caleb do that. And so, it’s a really fun to find ways to give him opportunities to grow artistically.
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But another thing that you talk about in Growing Great Kids, and that we got to talk about, in our phone conversation after we came back from that conference, was not just giving them opportunities to grow in their gifts, but to grow spiritually. And one of the things that you said that has stuck with me is, our children don’t need a children sized Holy Spirit. When they get the Holy Spirit, they get the whole thing. There’s not a little partially, parceling out, like, okay now you’re 16 so you get a little bit more. No. From the time that they accept Christ, man, they get the whole thing.
And so, we want to put the whole effort into growing these little spiritual people up into the people that God has them to grow into with the help of His big Holy Spirit. And so, you’ve put a lot of effort there, you gave her opportunities to do musical theater with you, I remember that. And then when she started writing songs, you encouraged that. But the whole time you were also pouring into her on spiritually. So talk a little bit about disciplining our children spiritually because that is what allows them, whatever the gifts are, without the spirituality component, it’s just our own, it’s just our own thing that we’re after, right?
K – Oh exactly, it’s just the way the world does it, but yeah, there’s no junior Holy Spirit. You know, the Holy Spirit’s the Holy Spirit. Now He’ll be more gentle with a child than He might be with you or I, ‘cause, you know, He can kinda, He’s smacked me in the head more times than I can count. Just because sometimes He just need to get me back in line. Or get my attention or whatever. But with a child, He’s gonna be a little more gentle. But yes, I mean, I think we just need to … one thing I say in Growing Great Kids is, what you model they will follow. Kids are gonna do what they see.
So, if they’re seeing us living an authentic life, if they’re seeing us live with integrity, with humility, with honestly, with all those things, that’s what they’re gonna model. If they hear you gossiping on the phone about your neighbor or if they see that you’re cheating a little bit on your taxes, you know if they see that stuff, they’re gonna think that that’s okay, cause kids, when they’re young, especially mom and dad are everything. And what we do, mom is always right, or dad is always right, and they’re gonna see that and they’re gonna model their lives after that.
So, it’s our job as parents to truly be living out the Christian life. And I think one thing with Franny, not to say that we were perfect, but we always tried to be very open and honest with her and talk about things and say, you know, this we’re dealing with a hard thing. Or if she saw us go through… when we went through that difficult financial season, it was because someone had really harmed us financially. There was nothing we could do about it, but they had hurt us in a way that we could have gotten back at them. We could have declared bankruptcy; we could have handled it many different ways. But we chose to just walk it out and let the Lord take care of it. And she saw that, and I think it really made an impression on her that, you know, my parents didn’t declare bankruptcy, they didn’t do the thing that lacked integrity. They maintained their integrity, they maintained their humility and you know, they did it the right way. And when we can do that and model those things to our kids…actually model what we’ve learned from following Jesus, actually being a Christian, you know? It’s one thing to say you are, it’s one thing to go to church, it’s another thing to die to self. You know? It’s another thing to walk in humility, to walk in forgiveness, to not take on an offense when somebody does that’s offensive and that’s wrong, and that you have every right to be offended. You might have every right to judge them, but that’s not what the Word teaches us to do, so it’s when they can see you responding currently to things that happen. Cause stuff comes in everybody’s life. You know, difficult times come, bad things happen, hard things happen, but how we handle it, that’s what our kids are gonna see.
W – I love that the way that you answered this question is almost what we always hear except it’s entirely different. I love your quote, you know, what you model, they will follow. I love a good rhyme because it sticks with me, you know it’s just sticky and I’m gonna remember that. However, so often we think model being… and I’ve talked about this here before, modeling being up and in the Word in the mornings. And modeling a cheerful heart and giving and modeling this and modeling that.
But you’re talking about life, you’re talking about just whatever comes our way, with the help of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of God’s Word, how are we living out our lives. And you invited your child into the reality of just life with you as a Christ follower. And so, I think that’s a real great encouragement for us.
K – Yeah, and just trying to live Biblically, actually do what the Bible says. I mean if more Christians would actually live according to the Bible it would make a huge difference. And one thing our daughter did see us, every morning I was early sitting in the living room reading my Bible. And when she was old enough, by the time she was 10, 11, 12, she had her Bible and she would sit, and she would journal. And she still does the same thing today. So that was a habit that I didn’t ever say, hey, you need to come do this and sit down for 30 minutes with the Lord every day. She just saw me doing it and said, well if mom’s doing it, let me go see what mom’s doing, and we liked to hang out together.
So… and then it became a thing and then we would be able to talk about stuff and underline things in the Word and listen to the Bible on tape or, you know, whatever, all those different things. Plus, we would always drag her… ‘cause I was always on worship teams back in the day. And you know, you often had to be there at 7 in the morning on Sunday to rehearse, so she was always coming with us to that. But she... we had her in that environment all the time, at church. She was always at things and also being an only child, it might have been a little different because when you’re an only child you typically are around adults a lot more. So that actually, I think, helped to mature her to a great extent. You know, to make her a little bit more… she was always able to talk to adults. She was never nervous or embarrassed or you know how kids get when they’re teens. She always would just hang out with us. Cause she knew us all. She was with us all the time, so I think when you can expose your children and get them in that atmosphere of church of worship, of being in the presence of the Holy Spirit, that’s gonna make a huge impact on them and, you know, more and more I think that’s critical that we do as this world just gets darker and weirder and social media and all the icky stuff that’s out there after our children. We have got to sort of hold down the fort, you know, and do everything we can to expose them to the things of the Sprit so that when the worldly things comes in, when the enemy tries to come in, they’re gonna have what they need to fight back.
W – Such a good encouragement for us, thank you Kate. I had alluded at the very start of this that, it was my hope that you would speak into raising kids to use their gifts for the glory of God. And that’s what I’ve heard. I have absolutely heard that. You wanna give them every opportunity to grow their gifts, right? If God gave them that, an ability, then let’s put our, let’s go the extra mile on our feet, selling perfume if we need to. To give them what they need to grow in that giftedness. And then let’s also invest our lives into their spiritual development so that whether it’s math or science or trumpet or songwriting, or painting, whatever it is they end up doing, they are doing it unto the glory of God. Because those two things go hand in hand, right? As we disciple them spiritually and give them every opportunity to grow in their unique God-design, right? We’re all created to so uniquely.
Okay, but I want to ask you now, your latest book, and then we’ll wrap it up with this one. Your latest book is called The God Dare. And you share some of these stories and so many more, things that God has given you opportunities, called you out of your comfort zone, it’s like, I dare you to do this thing that I have planned for you. I dare you to walk in this good work. You didn’t see it coming. You’re not going to understand why, but I dare you to follow me into it.
And so I’d love to have you just tell us a little bit about this idea of living a God-dare, but specifically, I think a lot of us have said yes, feeling that God has dared us to do homeschooling so that right there is just a big one, right?
K – Oh that’s a huge one, definitely.
W – And we are … I don’t feel equipped, but what other God-dares are there in women’s lives today? Cause so often our response is, I just… like with homeschooling… I’m not equipped, or I’m too old, or I’m too young, or I’m not ready, or I don’t look like other people doing this thing, or whatever. So, tell us about the God-dare and tell us how God doesn’t just call our kids to exciting things. He calls us too.
K – Oh absolutely. And you know, let me just tell you, in terms of being equipped to homeschool, I don’t have a college degree so I should not... they should not have allowed me to do it. Except, I did go to four colleges in two years, I didn’t graduate, from any of them, but I did get on the Dean’s list, so I guess… and my husband has a Doctorate, so. You know.
But I studied and I learned, and I figured out what you had to do, and back when I started homeschooling, that was before there were computers. There was nothing. I mean, it was way back, we’re talkin’… well, Franny’s gonna be… she 34, so we’re talking 30 years ago, before it was as big a thing as it is today. It was doing pretty well down in Orlando, so that’s why I was able to tap into some, you know, good groups down there, but I did not feel equipped to homeschool. I mean, I could do the basic, you know, I could do the basic arithmetic and all that stuff. When we got into the heavier math and all that, thank goodness that there were some little satellite groups that I could plug her into where she could learn the hard stuff. Cause that was the stuff I didn’t know.
But, one thing… you know, you don’t have to necessarily be equipped and it’s oftentimes God will ask you to do something you’re not equipped to do. Like for me, just writing my first book was a God-dare. Cause I was not a writer. Didn’t have a college degree. I had no platform. No one would publish it. Like, nothing about me writing a book made any sense, except that God asked me to, or told me to. He’s… the way it happened, it was interesting. We were… we’d been with this homeschooling organization for a number of years. By this time, Franny had graduated. She’d signed her record deal. Already had hits on the radio, so she was starting to be known.
So this group called us up to say, hey we’re having our 20th anniversary, will you and your husband come tell us, you know, what did you do to raise your daughter to find her purpose and to follow the Lord and I said, sure, we’d love to come and I got off the phone and I looked at Mike and I said, what the heck did we do? You know, ‘cause you know, you’re not following a manual, you’re just… you’re doing your best to just raise your child to follow the Lord. So, he and I together, we actually came up with 15 very intentional things we’d done to raise her.
So, we wrote them down, we gave our talk, and it went over great. The next day I was praying and worshiping and thanking the Lord and as I thanked him for those 15 things, I clearly heard him speak in my spirit, and He said, those are book chapters. And I said, Lord, do you remember that I didn’t graduate college? I don’t have an English degree. I’m not a writer. I mean, nothing about it made sense, but I kept hearing Him say that. And I thought, all right, there’s something going on with this. I found a friend who happened to be a writing coach, and I showed her my idea, and said, tell me this is not a book. And she said, oh no, this is a book, and I’ll help you and we’re gonna get it published and you know, just do what I tell you to do. And she was a great help and I was able to get it written and get it published.
And I mean, still, even having a second book out just kind of boggles my mind to think, ten years ago if you’d told me, you’re gonna have two books out. You’re gonna be part of a podcast, you know, you’re gonna be speaking and doing this, I’d have said, you are crazy. But one thing to encourage, especially the moms, if you’ve got young kids and you’re homeschooling and you’re, you know, in the midst of it. They’re gonna get older, they’re gonna grow up. They’re gonna move into their own lives, and the good thing is, that mom is not your only name. God has other things for you.
And they may be outside your comfort zone, like for me, this was way outside, but it was after she was grown and gone, and God said, hey there’s this whole other realm I want you to begin to speak into. I want you to start doing, you know… back when mom blogging was a thing, I was doing a lot of that and you know, just, speaking and doing all those things. And it really opened up a whole new world to me because I realized that, you know, she was gone. I only had one child. I wasn’t a mom of eight or ten or five or however many, to have ones coming up. There were no backup siblings. She was it and when she was gone, I remember just looking at the Lord and going, well now what the heck do I do? You know, what is this all about?
And I just started out honestly, just food blogging ‘cause she wanted my recipes. But then I thought, well I wanna write about the Lord, ‘cause I always journaled and things like that. But I just never thought of myself…I didn’t see myself the way God saw me. You know, He sees me as a writer and an author. And He sees all of us. He has special things He thinks about us and words He uses to describe us. Like, I love when Gabriel comes to Mary, and I talk about her in The God-Dare, she’s one of my chapters. How he says, oh, you know, woman blessed and highly favored. She didn’t know that that’s how God saw her. You know? We don’t know the words, the adjectives, God’s using to describe us. The things in our future that He is already put there, and it’s just up to us to choose to be chosen. You know? We have to choose to be chosen to change the world, to follow the Lord, to walk into those things that He’s already laid out. We just have to decide we’re willing to do it to get past the scary point, you know, cause it’s gonna be scary. It’s going to probably feel awkward and a little odd at first. But then… but now, one of the coolest things, when you take a God-dare, you can call yourself by another name. Because now I can say, yeah, I’m an author. I’m a writer. I’m a podcaster. I’m a speaker. Things I would never have described myself. Some of them even five years ago, I’d have said you’re crazy. But, you know, God doesn’t really care what we think. He just wants us to obey Him. Do what He’s saying, look I’ve got all this stuff for you. Why won’t you walk into it? But we reject it because we’re afraid. It was interesting, you know, Reinhardt Bonnke, the great evangelist who was like, the Billy Graham of Africa, he recently died. And I was talking with a friend and she reminded me that, you know, Reinhardt Bonnke said that he was the third person that God had asked to take on this role. He was not God’s first choice. God let him know that, which I think probably kept him humble through the years, but I’m thinking, how many people have missed something wonderful that God wanted to do through them because they were afraid? They wouldn’t say yes. So, I’m a big believer in saying yes to what God has.
But if you’re not sure, get some confirmation. Get some people to pray for you and pray with you. Don’t just step out and do something crazy, because you know, Jesus has a plan for your life, but so does Satan, and we forget that. That he has a plan too. So sometimes you wanna be careful, you… if it’s something big, like hey move across the country, or across the world and go do this thing. Get some counsel, ask God for confirmation, He’ll give it to you. But if it is Him, I just encourage you to step out, no matter how crazy it sounds, because when you step out, you have that possibility of changing the world.
W – Incredible, incredible. And I’m reminded of the passage in Isaiah chapter 6, here let me read it, it’s verse 8. “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, here am I, send me.” I oftentimes… I’ll say to a couple of my girlfriends that pray for me and I pray for them, we say, we are “here I am send me” girls. And if you just get your heart into that position of, waiting on the Lord to hear from the Lord, we don’t even have to say yes when he calls us because we’ve already said our yes. So, I guess that’s my challenge to parents who are wanting to train up a child in the way that they should go. To say yes to the Lord and let’s pour in so much effort, love, prayers, finances when we need to, to prepare them with all their gifts and with all their hearts, to say here I am, Lord, send me. Whatever you call me, I’m ready with my skills. I’m ready with my heart. But let’s also get there ourselves, moms. Let’s me “here I am send me” women. And then when God calls us to do something, and I know you already said yes to homeschooling, but whatever else he has for us, whether it’s opening your door to a home group from your Sunday school class. Or maybe it’s one day writing a piece of curriculum that you’ve created for your homeschool that’ll become a piece of curriculum that other people can use. Or blogging. Or whatever it is. Or a new job, a job beyond after homeschooling. But you’ve already given God your yes, so now it’s just a matter of hearing what the next assignment is. And I know you use that term, you know, that “next assignment”. Because there are, it’s just assignment after assignment and don’t we wanna be in a position that hears from God.
So, I was wondering, Kate, first of all, thank you for coming. Thank you for sharing your life with us, your experiences, and these challenges. Would you bless us, would you just bless us, to be women that are on the lookout for what God is doing in our children’s lives? But also, in our lives too. And that we would “here we are send us” women.
K – Amen. I love that Scripture, and yes, Lord, I just thank You, I thank You for those words, and I thank You for Isaiah’s heart that said here am I Lord, send me. I mean, I can just see him throwing his hand up and waving it around like, I’m right here, Lord! Use me! And He used him in a magnificent way and God, I just pray that we would be women with hearts like that with hearts that are eager to serve You, eager to follow You no matter where Your path takes us, Lord. To some of us it will be glory and greatness. To others it will be obscurity and humility and that’s okay if we’re truly following You, Lord, then it’s Your will that we desire above all things. Above fame, above fortune, above any of that, Lord, we simply want to hear at the end of our lives, well done good and faithful servant. Whatever that requires in our lives, Lord, I just pray that You would give each woman who’s listening courage to step out when You speak to her, if You do dare her, or You call her into something, whatever that is that You would give her that courage, and God that You would remind, especially the younger women, that what they’re dealing with now, with children, with homeschooling, with all that… this isn’t the end of the story. This is a season of life and a part of life and a wonderful part, because You’re getting the divine privilege of pouring into these children that God has given you for a specific purpose that He has for them.
And I just pray that you won’t grow weary in well doing and that you remember that there is more to the story that when your children are grown and gone, there’s gonna be more that God has for you. So, I just ask that You give the women that are listening, Lord, the courage to say yes and the courage to stick in it for the long haul. To just do what You’re calling them to do, and that You would bless them Lord. I just pray Your blessing over these women, these “here am I” women, Lord. And put me in that bunch, cause I always wanna be one of those women that will hear Your Voice and follow You and do the scary thing and I just pray that as we step out that You will equip us, Lord, and that You’ll give us wisdom and understanding of what you’re perfect will is for our lives and for our kids’ lives. And God we just ask all these things in the precious Name of Your Son Jesus. Amen
W – Amen. What a great conversation and I’m gonna keep coming back to this quote. What you model, they will follow. So, let’s model for our kids, “here am I, send me” and when we hear from the Lord, let’s respond. Let’s respond with every bit of our abilities. But let’s also respond even more so with our availability. Trusting that God will fill in the blanks. So, let’s help our kids find their abilities, hone their abilities, let’s model for them an availability that there’s no piece of curriculum that can teach that. It’s a mother’s life lived out passionately, as a Christ follower. That just inspires the kids to say, yeah, that’s how I’m gonna live my life too.
So, thank you for being our example on this, Kate. Thank you for coming today and we just pray God’s richest blessings on you and Mike and Francesca and the next generation coming up behind her.
K – Amen. Thank you, Wendy, this is a delight.
W – 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 on Apple or Google Play. And your positive reviews always help other families find us online. Before we say goodbye, I’d like to thank Sonlight Curriculum one more time. Not only do they support homeschool families, they are also big supporters of the Homeschool Solutions podcast.
Another supporter is the Great Homeschool Conventions. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to one, but I heartily endorse that you find one near you. Every year they host multiple conventions in various regions throughout the US. Find a location at greathomeschoolconventions.com. With dozens of incredible speakers, hundreds of curriculum exhibits, you will leave blessed, refreshed, helped and encouraged. I will be in Texas, South Carolina, Ohio, and of course, my home state, California this year. I hope to see some of you there.
Until net week, visiting homeschooling.mom for blog posts to encourage and support you along the way. And remember, Galatians 6 verse 9, let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.
That’s a promise that I take to the bank every day and I hope you do too. This is Wendy Speake, and I look forward to chatting with you again next week.
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