HS Special Edition #270 Hindsight’s 20/20 - A Look Back at an Unprecedented Year with Wendy Speake
Links and Resources:
Wendy Speake is an author and speaker… but also the homeschooling mom of three teenage sons. She is co-author of the popular parenting book, Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses, as well the host of the annual 40 Day Sugar Fast and 40 Day Social Media Fast, and a recurring guest on Focus on the Family.
“The solution isn’t us in a new year but Christ in us.” (Wendy Speake)
Behold, I am about to do something new;
even now it is coming. Do you not see it?
Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
Resources: The 40 Day Sugar Fast, which begins on January 4th, 2021. Sign up now at 40daysugarfast.com
Related Bible Verses:
- Joshua 5:13-15
- Acts 16:11-40
- Isaiah 43:19
HS EP 270
Hello and welcome back to another installment of the Homeschool Solutions Show. My name is Wendy Speake, and I am one of the many hosts we have here on the podcast. Each week you'll hear from one of us inviting one of our friends to join for a conversation about this busy blessed season as we educate our children at home.
Now the title of the show is Homeschool Solutions. While we don't have the answer to every question, we know that all the solutions to every stress and every struggle can be found in the Person and presence of Jesus Christ and His living and active and applicable Word. We're so glad that you're here to join us for today's conversation.
But before we start the show, I'd like to thank our sponsors. Medi-Share. An affordable and Biblical healthcare alternative. Find out more at mychristiancare.org for their ongoing support of homeschooling families just like yours.
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And now on today's show.
Happy New year almost. It's New Year's Eve and I'm remembering that it was a year ago, I think even today, where I took over as host of the Homeschool Solutions Show. And I was so excited about it, and yet I feel like it's a year later. A very hard year later, and I might be even more excited about this episode. This is Wendy Speake, and I'm so excited to be your host today.
After a few months of doing it on my own, I decided that it would be really cool to bring in other hosts. A host of hosts. And divvy up the work because it would bring so many other perspectives. But one of the things I wanted to continue to do is, well, sometimes have guests myself, but when I'm on here, I like to just open up the Word. And what I said that very first show a year ago, again, I think it was today. I said the Homeschool Solutions Show. I love that title and we're not going to change it because we want to give some practical help, but we know that we don't have the solution to every homeschool struggle. Every homeschool problem. The solution to every struggle, every problem, can be found, however, in the Word of God, in the presence of God, through the power, the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, and the abiding nearness of a very, very generous and with us God.
Isn't that what we just celebrated at Christmas? That He has come. Emmanuel, which means a with us God. And I'm celebrating that today because that is where the solution for every struggle is going to be found.
And I'm looking back at a year, as many of us are today, and I'm saying, oh my word, we did not know what we did not know. And that makes me laugh because do you remember last year? Around January, we were all looking ahead into the year and we were saying, oh God, we were praying, give us 2020 Vision. And we loved that, that play on words. And then, and then it's hard not to laugh about it, painfully, laugh about it. Everything that came, oh my goodness, none of us saw it coming. From, of course, this pandemic and the loss of jobs and the loss of loved ones and the loss of our ever-loving minds. And then this political strife, and racial, and do we defund the police, or do we reform the police? I mean, it's been one thing after another. I remember at one point we even had murder hornets in the United States.
No, we did not have 2020 vision. Unless your vision was, Lord, my eyes are on You. Come what may, my eyes are on You. And really, that's the only 2020 clear vision we can have at any season, any year, 2020 or otherwise. However, as we come to the end of this unprecedented year, I do think that there is the opportunity to have 2020 vision, finally. Because we know that hindsight's 2020, especially when we're looking back on something through the goodness of God, and the lens of his Word. We can say, oh my goodness, Lord, I can see now that You were up to something or some things, and because my eyes were fixed on You, rather than trying to fix all the circumstances in 2020, oh my goodness, I have such clarity. And I can apply this wisdom to my life moving forward.
So I just want to challenge us today, at the end of this hard year, to look back on the lessons we learned. And well, I really have missed going to church. I live in Southern California and our churches have been closed. And the ones that opened outdoors, most of them are closed again at this time of year because of this next wave. But my family has really enjoyed this year, sitting on the couch and tuning in to, not only our pastor of the Church that we've been going to leading up to COVID-19 but so many wonderful teachers. And I feel like the Lord is just really inspired so many wonderful Bible scholars to bring the Word to us right here in our homes. And so, I'm looking back on 2020. Now, remember, hindsight's 2020. And so much of the wisdom that the Lord has given, has been through these wonderful Bible teachers that we have.
And I think near the very beginning of the quarantine back in March, I think that was when I heard this first message that really set the stage for, really, this past nine months for me. With so much conflict. Conflict in our nation about do we wear masks? Do we not wear masks? Should we shut down schools? Should we not shut down schools? Do we gather for worship? Do we not? Biden or Trump? Defund the police or reform the police? There's just been so many things that we have taken an us versus them stance on. And I heard a message from Pastor Miles McPherson at the Rock Church in San Diego, CA, and he taught us from, I'm gonna open up my Bible here. Cause this is really what I hope that we do here on the Homeschool Solution Show, at least once a month, is open up the Word and find the solution to our homeschool problems and just life problems, right here in the Word of God.
So he opened up the Word for us and I would like to open it up for you guys. This is when Joshua is ready to take God's people, Israel, into the Promised Land. But there is a foe between them and the Promised Land. And that is the town of Jericho. The stronghold of Jericho, holding them back from where they're going. And Joshua sees in the distance, this is in Joshua chapter five, starting in verse thirteen, when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua approached him and asked, are you for us or for our enemies? And it's one question.
Hasn't that really been on our lips and our hearts? God, are you for us or are you for the other side of the political machine? Which side of the party line are you standing on? Are you for us or? Are you against us, or are you for our enemies? No, the man replied. Neither, he replied. And I've never, I've never stopped just to take that first word in. Joshua said, to this man holding a drawn sword, he said, are you for us or against us? And the man responded no. I'm not. He went on to say that he was the commander of the Lord's Army. And Miles McPherson, he encouraged us, and I'm so glad he did, way back in March, to not ask, God, are you on our side or on their side?
God was saying I'm not on your side. I'm on My side. I'm on My side in all things. But then, he goes on to say, but you can get on God's side. He says, as a matter of fact, the commander of the Lord's army said, slip off your shoes, cause you are standing now on Holy ground. And that is God's side. And so I'm so glad that I received this message early on in 2020, because no matter what has gone on, do we hurry up and get a...get somebody new. In the...a new Judge on the Supreme Court? Or do we wait for the next, once the president has been elected? I mean, it's been one thing after another, where we are so adamant, that we know what is right, and then we ask God to be on our side. And again and again, I've heard God say no. You get on my side.
Now, I think most of us feel that our position has been because we have sought the Lord, sought to understand God. What is your side? Where are you standing on this issue? That issue? Followed quickly by another issue. Goodness, there have been so many issues. But this message, this passage, really prepared me to say, God, I want to be on Your side. Regardless of if we're talking about, about the election or racial inequality, or do we, do we open up churches or not? I want to be on Your side, God. Bring Your Word to life and then I will join You there in humility. Because, and I added that, in humility, because one of the things that I've seen, during 2020, was that most people that have conflicting views on things, they're all coming to it, not all. Many, many, many are coming to it with an adamant belief that they are on God's side. And so let's keep that our focus. Not God, would You be on my side, but give me wisdom, give me understanding, and of course, this translates into our homeschooling and into our family days. God let me know. Are You for the choices I'm making for my kids? Are You for the choices we're making as a family? Or are you against us? And He said no, get on My side.
And one of the things I've been trying to do this year is, instead of making plans and asking God to bless my plans, and this is about, what books am I going to write? And do I host this podcast? And this has been beyond my homeschooling as well. Just all of my plans for the year. Instead of asking God to bless my plans, I've been asking Him, God, what are Your plans? And I will join You there. And I just think that's going to be one of the lessons that I leave 2020 with, is I'm not going to ask You, Lord, to get on my side. I'm going to get on Your side. And of course, I'm reminded of the Psalm that says, If the Lord had not been on our side, our enemies would have consumed us, the waters would have overtaken us. And so, yes, God is on our side, or not on our side. But it is only when we are on God's side, or not on His side. It's not Him coming to our side.
And so, I want to encourage you as we step into 2021, to slip off your shoes. For this is Holy ground, especially, only, when we're stepping onto the ground that is God's side. And we're going to, I'm going to give you the three lessons that I learned. And this is the first one. And that's the importance of being on God's side. And the second lesson is going to be on our civil liberties. Maybe our civil Liberty to homeschool, and how that might be challenged in the future. And we're going to look at Acts 16. And then we're going to wrap this up with Isaiah 43. But when we talk about Isaiah 43, I know I'm jumping out of order a little bit. I'm going to say this to you. But I'm not going to wait until then, cause I want to say it now.
God does make all things new. And the solution to our hardest problems isn't us in a new set of circumstances. And it isn't us in a new year. The answer, the solution, is always Christ in us. Not us in the new year. If this has been a hard year. That's not what we need. We need Christ in us. We need us in Christ. We need us on Christ's side. You see? That's why I jumped out of order here. It's all going to come back to this. God, where are You at work? What are You doing? I want to be on Your side. This has been hard. I keep coming up with ideas about how to help my children with their schooling, what we should do when we're voting, how do we deal with conflict? What do we do in our family relationships when there's strife there? And there's been so much strife and families, politically, and for so many reasons.
Do we gather during the Holidays? Do we not gather? I mean, there's been a lot of hurt feelings. In all of it, we wanna say, God, are You on my side or on their side? And the lesson just keeps on resonating. No, I want to be on God's side. So what if your family didn't want to gather in their traditional way this Christmas? And you have hurt feelings and you were alone, with a small, with your small crew. And you're still carrying hurt feelings from it. What does that mean when we're on God's side? It's not, gather or not gather. God's side in this might simply be forgiveness.
So always coming back to this idea, in 2020, and as we enter into 2021, God's side isn't going to be a new year, and so it'll all be easy. No, we're going to step over, with bare feet, believing that we're stepping into Holy ground when we are wanting what God wants.
OK, let's move on into another lesson I received from another wonderful pastor, Chris Brown from North Coast Church also here in San Diego. We did listen to other pastors beyond our community, but these two messages, man, did they ever resonate? The pastors, there are three of them at North Coast Church, and they take turns and they've been, oh, I think for something like, goodness, thirty weeks now, they've been going through the book of Acts and teaching us, and it's just been loving it. But a few, oh goodness, it might have been a couple months ago, in Chapter sixteen, Chris Brown was telling the story of when Paul went into Philippi, and he went looking for people to gather with at the synagogue or where people were gathering for prayer. And he couldn't find any of the men gathered together. But he found a woman named Lydia. And he shared Christ with Lydia, and she believed. And then her whole family believed. And they invited Paul and his companions to stay with them in their home.
So there they were in Philippi. Well, actually I'm just going to read the story from Acts chapter sixteen, starting in, let's see, I'll start in verse sixteen. So 16:16.
Once as we were on our way to prayer, a slave girl met us who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She made a large profit for her owners by fortunetelling. As she followed Paul, and thus she cried out, these men who are proclaiming to you the way of Salvation are the servants of the Most High God. She did this for many days. Paul was greatly annoyed. Turning to the spirit, he said, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her, and it came out right away.
When her owners realized that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. Bringing them before the chief magistrates, they said, these men are seriously disturbing our city. They are Jews and are promoting customs that are not legal for us as Romans to adopt or practice. The crowd joined in and attacked them. And the chief magistrate stripped off their clothes and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After they had severely flogged them, they threw them into jail, ordering the jailer to guard them carefully. Receiving such an order, he put them into the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks.
Okay, the next, what follows next is very popular Sunday school story. You've probably heard it before. And they were singing songs of praise in the prison at nighttime, and at midnight, an earthquake comes, and the jail, prison doors open up. And the shackles from their body open up and fall off. And all of the prisoners are at liberty to leave.
But they don't. They stay. And the prison guard comes in, sure that everyone has left, and he's ready to draw his own sword and kill himself, because his life will be forfeited if he has lost all these prisoners. So he's ready to kill himself. And Paul says, don't you dare harm yourself, we're all here. We haven't left, though we were at liberty to leave. We all left. I mean, we're all here.
And this prison guard, who I'm just assuming has heard these men singing and testifying to Christ, so moved by the testimony of their staying, that God moved in his heart to bring Paul and Silas into his home. To tell, them he and his household, of who Christ is, what He had done. They put their faith in Him, and then they bring him back to the prison. And I'll go on with the story here. I just, I love this story. I didn't want to leave any of the tidbits out of it before we dive into the application.
When daylight came, the chief Magistrate sent the police to say, release those men. The Jailer reported these words to Paul. The magistrates have sent orders that you are to be released. So come out now and go in peace. But Paul said to them, they beat us in public without a trial. Although we are Roman citizens, and then they threw us in jail. And now they're going to send us away secretly? Certainly not. On the contrary, let them come themselves and escort us out.
The police reported these things to the magistrates, who were afraid when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. So they came to appease them, and escorted them from prison. They urged them to leave town. After leaving the jail, they came to Lydia's house, where they saw and encouraged the brothers and sisters and departed.
Okay, Wendy, what in the world? How is this? How is this one of your 2020 Hindsights? 2020 most important messages of the year? You guys, we have been fighting over what our civil liberties are. If we have the liberty to wear a mask, not wear a mask. Gather as a church, not gather as a church. Leave a state with an agenda, a political agenda, that is so different from your own. Are you at liberty to do that? And I think that there's a message here, about our civil liberties.
When Paul was speaking in the town, and he rebuked this spirit in this girl that was following them around, she couldn't be a moneymaker for her employers anymore. Because they used that demon in her to tell the future. So they were very upset and they had him beaten, then thrown in jail.
And when the earthquake came, this is the first part. When the earthquake came, and everything opened up, they had the liberty to leave, and they chose not to. Why did they choose not to?
Well, hindsight's 2020. The jail, the jailer came in, and he saw that they were there, and he brought them into his family home, and he and his family put their faith in Christ. Sometimes, we can forgo what we are at liberty to do. Can we leave? Yes. But what would happen if we stay? Would more people come to know Christ if we stay, in our hard circumstances, even though we're at liberty to leave them? Should we stay?
I think the answer is sometimes yes. But again, we need to be constantly on God's side to have wisdom from moment to moment, to know where we are to be and what we are to do. And then, when the magistrate sends word to the jailer, okay, I didn't know that they were Roman citizens. We should never have beaten them. We should never have imprisoned them without a trial. Just have them leave quietly. Paul said no. You can't send me away quietly. Because I'm a Roman citizen, you broke the law by flogging me and sending me to jail.
And Pastor Chris Brown, he said in his message, what in the world? They had a get out of jail free card that they didn't throw down as soon as someone tried to rip off their clothes and start whipping 'em? Why didn't they do that? Again, they were at liberty. They had the freedom to say, you may not do this to me, and yet they didn't. Because somehow, God had an appointment for them in jail at midnight to see more people come to Christ. Remember, as they entered Philippi, Lydia came to Christ and her family did. But that's all we know so far. There needed to be more people. Guess who those people were?
They were a jailer in this family. Not Jews. Romans. Maybe other people right there with them in the prison, because nobody else escaped when the jail prison doors opened up. God had a plan for people to come to Him, for His Kingdom on Earth to grow, and had Paul and Silas taken advantage of their liberty. That might not have happened in such a miraculous way that we recount today.
And so, looking back on 2020, and so much fighting over. But they're taking our civil liberties away. I'm not saying that we should not be involved in that very important conversation. As we look to our liberties outlined in the Constitution, as we do our voting, we should absolutely care about our civil liberties here in the United States. But I don't want to be so focused on them that I miss the opportunities to be in hard circumstances now, and look for opportunities to see Christ's Kingdom grow.
Do we want to have our churches open up? Yes. Is it possible, however, that during this time, God wants us to be the church in ways...we've been too distracted to be the church in years past. Looking back on 2020, is it possible that we have had opportunities to be the church even though we haven't had the liberty to go to church? And of course, this can be applied in so many other ways.
So, the third lesson, as I look back on 2020, the Scriptures that will stay with me, this last one I love so much, is Isaiah 43, verse 19. It begins, Behold, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness, and streams in the wasteland. And this is actually the last verse that I share in the book that I co-authored with Amber Lia, Triggers: Exchanging Parent's Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. So often parents can feel trapped, after, not only years of responding to their kids in negative ways, with anger, explosive exhausted, reactions, but maybe this is something that's been going on for generations.
And yet this verse brings such hope. Not only does God say, my mercies are new every morning, but He tells us in Isaiah 43 I'm doing a new thing. It's happening now. Do you not perceive it? It's like a spring of water in the middle of a wasteland. It's a spring of living water in the wasteland of our lives, at the end of a very hard year. I'm ready to do something new.
I happen to be a Bible teacher who loves to read God's word in context. But I have no problem believing that God's Word is still living and active and applicable, out of context, into the context of our lives today. And here at the end of 2020, does Isaiah 43 verse 19 resonate with you?
Remember the Homeschool Solutions Show is to give ya ideas, some possible solutions to some struggles that you're facing in your home school. But we know that clever homeschooling moms who are walking beside you, or who have gone before you, might have some great ideas that might be a solution you're looking for. But God's word, Christ, is the solution to every struggle, and we've had our fair share here in 2020. But this is His promise to us. I'm doing a new thing.
And it's not because it's a new year that He's doing a new thing. Christ is always available to us, through His Word, through the indwelling Holy Spirit. So close that He's inside of you. You don't have to wait until 2021. You don't have to wait. You know, if tomorrow you struggle, you don't have to wait until 2022 to start over. If our world continues to be upside down, we don't need to wait until a whole ‘nother year to put our hope in Christ.
Who is our hope? We don't need to wait another year for peace when He is our peace. We don't need to wait to start things over when He says, I do new things, in you, and through you, and in your home, and in the world. You see out of context, but so in context.
And so my friends, if you have been struggling...now, we're just going, we're gonna get down to a, to homeschooling here. If this homeschool year has been your hardest yet, or maybe your first-ever, because distance learning was not learning, and you said if they're going to be home, I'm going to teach 'em. If it hasn't been going well these past months and you're not sure what to do, I want to invite you to take Isaiah 43 verse 19 to heart. And this promise, I can do a new thing. Do you not perceive it?
Yes, Wendy, but what does that mean? Well, I think that there are some spiritual applications. And there are some very practical application solutions. Spiritually, keep your eyes on Him. Fix your eyes on Him and He will fix your circumstances. It doesn't mean that your child with learning disabilities won't struggle anymore. But it might mean that you don't struggle when they struggle. It might not mean that all of the resources and all of the co-ops open up this year. But it might mean that your children open up to Christ, as you stay calm and kind and consistent and Christlike in your home. As you model Christlikeness and say, I know these things we were looking forward to, these athletic opportunities for you, and the musical theater opportunity for you that haven't opened up that we were hoping for. Maybe?
Maybe it'll be something else. Maybe it'll be something new that we didn't perceive. Let's get creative. Maybe we'll do, instead of the musical theater program we were hoping for, maybe we're going to host something in our backyard where all of our musical friends are invited to work over the next couple of months, and we're going to put on a show right here in our front yard or our backyard. And families can come and we'll just do a show here.
I don't know what God's going to do that's new, that fills in for the hard that we've missed out on this year. And I don't know what He's going to do that's new, that's gonna turn around some of the behaviors in your home, your children's behavior, and maybe your behavior too. But I do know this. God does new things. He does new things. And the ticket isn't, the solution isn't, us in a new year. The solution is Christ in us. Always. The solution isn't God, are you on my side? The solution is, are we on God's side? And if we are, then we can bet that He is willing and able and ready for whatever 2021 is going to bring our nation, bring our world, and bring our home and bring our family.
How am I going to wrap this up? This wasn't one message about one specific thing. Really, more than anything else, I want to invite you today, not to look forward with a new resolution how you're going to muscle through and do things better. But really inviting God to do a revolution. Not a resolution, but a revolution. A new thing in you. Not more resolved that you're going to be calmer and kinder when you teach math, but God revolting against your sin nature saying, I'm going to do My thing in you in this new year. Maybe that's what this is about for you.
Or maybe it's that you've been struggling so much because of the lack of civil liberties, and maybe the focus as you enter into this new year is, God, even if, even if I'm stripped of some of the liberties I feel like I should have, I'm going to be on the lookout to how Your Kingdom might grow right here. I might not be in a, in prison, but if my liberties are stripped away, and I have a get out of jail free card that's not working, I want to be where You have me, slipping my shoes off. Standing on holy ground as we wrap up 2020 and enter 2021.
You guys, do you hear me say that the Word of God is living and active and applicable? No, our circumstances don't change necessarily just because the year changes. But God is ready to change us, if we would open up His word and dive in. I don't know what your struggles are. How you've been dealing with this last year, or how it's affected your family. But I know that God knows. I know he's near and abiding. And I know His Word is living and active. And I just want to bless you. i wanna wrap it up with this. I bless you in the name of Jesus, with the nearness of His Holy Spirit, the guiding presence of His goodness.
Open up His Word as you enter into this new year. All things can be made new. All the hard things. However, the answer is not. The solution isn't you in a new year or you in a new set of circumstances. The solution is always Christ in you. And that will change how you homeschool and that'll change the peace that you enter this new year with, the hope that you enter it with.
It is a privilege to meet with you here on the Homeschool Solutions Show. This is Wendy Speake, and before I sign off, I want to invite you. I'm about to start our Annual 40-day sugar fast. It is a time where we set down something that is temporary and ordinary and, oh so sweet in order to devote ourselves to something that is eternal and extraordinary, and still, oh so sweet. You don't need to be a sugar addict. Goodness, there's sugar and everything. It's hard not to be these days. But you don't need to be a binge eater to fast from sugar for 40 days, in order to feast on the sweetness of God's Word and His Presence with me and a host of other people.
If you wanna head on over to 40daysugarfast.com. That's the number 40. 40daysugarfast.com. The fast is going to start on January 4th this year, so that's only in a couple of days. But if you're listening to this later, and you want to jump on board, there's a book as the resource, and with daily readings that will whet our appetite for more of God's sweet Word.
I hope that you'll consider joining me. There's a quick link to sign up in the show notes today, along with all the Scriptures that I went through. I'd love to spend more time with you during these fasting days as we start this new year. What better way to start the new year than fasting and feasting on the presence of God? Not ingesting all of these fillers, all this sweet fluff. But ingesting more of Him, His word, His presence, because it is living and active, and oh so applicable, as we start this new year.
Alright, my dear friends. Happy New year, and may the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you and your beloved's as we enter into 2021.
Thank you for joining us this week on the Homeschool Solutions Show. As always, you can find show notes and links to all the resources mentioned at homeschooling.mom. I hope you'll take a moment to subscribe to the podcast, and if it was especially meaningful to you, share it with your friends via email or social media. This is just another way we can all encourage and love and support one another.
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