S9 E7 | How to Have a Quiet Time as a Homeschool Mom (Jeannie Fulbright)

S9 E7 | How to Have a Quiet Time as a Homeschool Mom (Jeannie Fulbright)

Show Notes:

One thing we often neglect in our busy schedule is nurturing our walk with God. With everything we must complete, we feel that we just don't have the time to have a quiet time. However, Jesus tells us, "Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing." We all want more than anything to do a good job homeschooling, to bear much fruit in our children's lives. Yet, if we are not walking with the Lord, we cannot bear fruit, we can do nothing well. Colossians 1:29 says, "To this end I strenuously labor with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me." We need the energy Christ provides to succeed in any endeavor we undertake, especially homeschooling. In this podcast, Jeannie will share the simple format that Jesus taught us to strengthen our relationship with God. Even if you only have five minutes to spare each day, by employing the steps Jesus imparted, you will receive all the blessings and benefits of an intimate and dynamic relationship with God.

About Jeannie

Jeannie Fulbright, a 24-year veteran homeschooler, is the author of the #1 best-selling, multi award-winning Apologia Young Explorer science series: Exploring Creation with Astronomy, Chemistry and Physics, Botany, Zoology, and Anatomy & Physiology. She is also the author of the action-packed historical time travel book series Rumble Tumbles Through Time, as well as preschool science books and activity kits, the Charlotte Mason Heirloom Planner, and many high-quality Charlotte Mason based products. Jeannie and her husband Jeff became empty nesters in 2019. All four of their children all went to the University of Georgia on scholarship (homeschooling works!). For more than 20 years Jeannie has traveled around the country speaking to homeschoolers at conventions, covering a plethora of topics from Charlotte Mason to marriage and prayer.


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Show Transcript:

Jeannie Fulbright Welcome to the Charlotte Mason Show, a podcast that is all things Charlotte Mason and her tried and true philosophy of education designed to help you homeschool with more confidence, joy and success. It is our hope that you'll find golden nuggets that will transform the way you think and the way you homeschool. I'm your host, author of the bestselling Charlotte Mason science curriculum, Jeannie Fulbright, and I am so glad you joined me today.

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I think one of the hardest things that I grappled with in my first few years of homeschooling was how to nurture my own relationship with God while I was homeschooling my children. It was really challenging. Before I had started homeschooling, when my children were preschool age, I was going to the women's Bible study and doing things in the daytime where they had childcare. And then when I started homeschooling, I didn't have those things to lean on. And although I had had a regular quiet time, it seemed harder to do when I had this huge responsibility of educating my children that felt a little overwhelming. And I had so many things to do in one day that it was inevitable that my quiet times began to be discarded. And that really affects your life so much if you're not nurturing your walk with God. It is so easy to begin homeschooling in the flesh. And homeschooling in the flesh is not as effective, obviously. Jesus says, "Apart from me you can do nothing." That's a pretty powerful statement. Apart from him, we have to be connected to the vine because apart from him we can do nothing. We can do no good work. We do no good thing without him. And so I would say that ensuring that you are nurturing your walk with God is probably the most important thing you can do, because you cannot give to your children what you do not have. In Volume Six of Charlotte Mason's Original Home Schooling Series, she discusses the question of the purpose for a relationship with God. And she says, "The answer to this might be it is the only thing that makes life worth living at all." She also says that parents have need to nourish the spiritual life in themselves. She says, "...they have need to examine themselves as to with how firm a grasp they hold the mysteries of faith." How firm a grasp do we hold our faith? She says, "...they need to have their ideas as to the supreme relationship so clear that they can be translated into baby speech." Essentially, she's saying that our relationship with God must be so clear and so vivid in our mind that it's easy for us to translate these beautiful truths to our children. Charlotte Mason says, "...the duty of the educator is to put the first thing foremost and...only one thing is needful—that we have faith in God." She also says if we would help the children towards this higher life, let us deliver our thoughts from—translating here—hazy vagueness and our ways from a fickle lack of conviction to the Lord. And this is such an important element of providing our children with a beautiful, sound, purposeful education is developing our own walk with God.

Charlotte Mason says the first commandment is we are told thou shall love thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. And she says, ."How can we love him who we do not know? And how can we know him concerning whom we are not sure?" Today I want to share with you the things I have discovered to be most effective in having a quiet time, and what a quiet time looks like. I wrote a blog post about this many years ago, and it was one that I got a lot of comments about, and people were really encouraged by it. And so I felt like, maybe this is a time to share this with you. For those of you who aren't sure how to have a quiet time, or those of you who had an easier time of it before you were homeschooling, like I did. Now, one thing I want to say first of all is that if you can't have a morning quiet time, that is okay. You do not have to have a morning quiet time. And that was, I think, the first hurdle that I needed to overcome is this idea that I needed an hour every morning before the kids got up to spend with God, and if I didn't do my morning quiet time, then that was it, I didn't get a quiet time. And the Lord showed me, no, I'm not just there in the morning. I'm ready to fill you with peace, love, wisdom and all the good things I have for you at any time of the day. And so, because my children were early risers and I was not an early riser—I'm just going to be honest, I got up when I heard the children were up. I was not going to get up before them. I love my sleep. I still love my sleep. So I just was not about to get up early in the morning before my kids got up. I wanted every single minute of sleep that I could get. If you are an early riser, then good for you. I know a lot of women who are, and I think that's amazing and I wish I could be that way. I'm more of a late nighter. That's just the way I've always been since I was a child, so I could not do my morning quiet times because obviously it just couldn't get up. But I found that afternoon quiet times after school, after we’ve done school, and that time in the afternoon when children have their free time—we call that 'room time'. Each of my children would go to their room to do whatever projects or activities that they wanted to do for that free time. That was sacred for me, and they had to at least stay in their room for an hour while I had my quiet time. And so that was my afternoon room time. Baby was sleeping, toddler was in his room with a gate, the older kids were in their room with their books or their projects or their LEGOs, and I was down on the couch spending time with the Lord. And this was so vital to me. But I also want to encourage you that if you do not have an hour, you can still have a very beautiful quiet time. If you do not have 30 minutes, you can still- you can have a 15- you can have a five minute quiet time and God can maximize that time to fill your soul. He will give you what you need with the time that you have. And so if you are purposeful in taking that time each day, you will find that it is enough time for you, however much time it is that you have.

So I want to share with you the format for a really powerful quiet time. And I found that if I followed this format, which actually Jesus taught us, then I truly did have the most beautiful time with the Lord. The format for quiet time includes and is based upon Jesus's model for prayer, and also many New Testament scriptures that continue to build up on what Jesus taught us. So it obviously begins with the Lord's Prayer. And with the Lord's Prayer we can follow this example that Jesus gave us and build our quiet times into the way that Jesus taught us to spend time with the Lord. And you know what's so interesting is that I saw this video the other day about this former Satanist, witch, Satanist person, and she was talking about how she had been used by Satan to put curses on Christians. And she said that there were certain Christians that she could not touch, that it was like they had a dome, a shield around them that none of her curses would stick. They just didn't work. And she was so just- she's a Christian now, and she was just so at that time, so thunderstruck about the power that these people had and what it was. And she realized that these people were praying the Lord's Prayer over their lives regularly. And of course, these people weren't praying the Lord's Prayer in a way that's just rote memorization and meaningless words that aren't heartfelt, these people truly were putting the Lord's Prayer into action in their lives. And I believe that if we do follow the model in our quiet time, we will find that we too are protected from the enemy. So the Lord's Prayer start, "Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name." That is Jesus telling us that the first thing we do when we come to the Lord is we must praise him. Charlotte Mason says, "but the duty of praise is not for occasional or rare season; it waits at our doors every day." And she's so right. We should be praising the Lord every single day, praising him in our hearts. And what's really amazing about prayer is the Word of God tells us that God inhabits the praises of his people. He lives in our praises. And it's as if when we begin praising God, it is like we create an atmosphere around us that chases the enemy away and creates almost a holy ground type of atmosphere. The Lord inhabits the praises of his people. I think about the story in 2 Chronicles, where Jehoshaphat and his army went out to meet the enemies, and they had a really powerful enemy. It was just more than they could handle, but they were trusting in God. And so what they did is they sent out a worship team, a group of priests that went out in front of the army, and they began praising the Lord, yelling praises to God and praising and worshiping God in front of the Israelite army. And the Bible says that when they began to sing and praise the Lord, the enemy started fighting each other and they destroyed themselves. They just- the enemy destroyed themselves. The Israelites didn't have to do anything because the praises of the Lord confused the enemy. The other army was completely destroyed by praise. Praise is power. And it's such an important thing for us to begin doing in our lives is to regularly praise the Lord.

And I think sometimes maybe I've had moments like this where I just felt like things were hard and I couldn't feel praise to God, I couldn't think of what to praise God about. Maybe things were really rough in my marriage, or maybe a child was really suffering, or maybe I was having other problems or health problems and it was hard to praise the Lord. What was really helpful is to go to the Psalms and just start reading the Psalms aloud. The praises of David to God. That is the Word of God. And the Word of God is powerful. And if we are praising the Lord using His word, that is a powerful way to praise God. But another thing is, I think that we need to remember that God is doing incredible things for us every moment. Of course, we should be grateful for the house we live in and our children that God gave us and our marriage, but if we only knew how much he does to protect us, I think we would just be on our faces in worship and praise every moment of the day. If we saw the cancer cells that he removed from our body or our husband's body or a child's body, that the angels are encamped around our children when they are in danger, that there have been times when our children would have died if God had not been there to make that car run out of gas, or that somebody spilled milk so that we were late, or that street light, that we didn't make that turned red right when we got there and we were so frustrated, but really that was God's protection. We would praise him for everything that happens, because we have to know that that God says all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose. All things. That red light, that spilled milk. It's all part of this plan, and we should always praise the Lord for every single thing that's going on in our lives because he's constantly at work protecting us. He is always at work in our lives. The Bible says that he made us heirs to salvation, and he gives us blessings and protection and guidance and deliverance and continual, regular, daily, moment-by-moment salvation from the enemy. And not only do we have a future security in heaven, his angels encamp around us. It says the angels of the Lord encamps are all around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Hebrews 1:14 says, "Are they not all ministering spirits"—talking about the angels—"sent forth to minister to those who will inherit salvation?" God places angels around us constantly.

I love Psalm 91 where God tells us that he has given angels charge over us to protect us in all our ways. God has given so much to us, and we should begin our time with the Lord praising him, just choosing to praise him even in the hardships. You know, David always praised the Lord, even when he was being chased by the enemy, even when everybody hated him, even when everything was going wrong, he chose- he made a choice to praise the Lord. And that's what we need to do, is we need to praise God and realize this is how I experience the power of God. This is where God comes in and the enemy flees because I am praising the name of the Lord. He is my strong tower. The righteous run into it and are safe. So we should begin each moment that we sit down to have our quiet time, we should begin it with praise. And you can put on praise music too, if that's how you feel more connected to praise. I typically didn't, I just praise the Lord without music, but there were times in my homeschooling when I did- actually, there were times when the children were kind of too old to send to their room, and so I would just put on noise canceling earphones and go outside or go to a corner of the house and listen to really soft worship music so that I could have my quiet time, kind of pretend like I was alone. So that is absolutely wonderful. And just singing praises, the Lord he inhabits your praises. And so began your quiet time praising him and knowing that praise actually protects us. It is our protection. It is for us, not for God. It blesses- I mean, it is for God, but it is our protection, it is our shield. It's a shield about us. It's an incredible gift that God gave us, that when we praise him, powerful things happen in the spiritual realm.

And then after Jesus teaches us 'our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name', he says, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." What is so powerful about this? I call this the moment of submission. This is we praise the Lord and then we submit our will to him. And that is actually a really challenging thing, because we have a list of things we want God to do, and we have to get to a place where we're okay if God chooses not to do those things because you've got something better planned. Or we ask God to do something, but we are willing for him not to do it, and we must, in our minds and our heart, submit our will to God's will. But even more powerful than that is that Jesus is telling us to pray for God's will to be done in our lives. And Jesus is not telling us to waste our breath as if, okay, just pray this even though it's already happening. Jesus is telling us to pray for God's will to be done, because it's not going to be done unless we are in prayer. I remember reading a quote by D.L. Moody. He says, "Next to the wonder of seeing my Savior will be, I think, the wonder that I made so little use of the power of prayer." There is power in prayer, and things change when we pray. God has given us this incredible gift of prayer, but we also need to be submitted to God's will. When I went back in to a checkup, a scan after I had gotten radiation for cancer and I thought that it would be gone, and we found out that actually it had come back, I was at that point I realized, okay, God can heal me. If God wants to heal me, he can heal me. But I need to pray that God's will be done. And that is what I started praying. I prayed- I of course spoke scripture over my life, I took authority over anything that was not from God in my body and in my life, and just really walked in a lot of different areas of repentance and cleansing and just laying my life before the Lord, but one thing I prayed consistently is, Lord, I pray you will heal me if it is your will and that nothing happens to me that is not your perfect will. If it is your will for me to go and be with you in heaven, I know that that's the plan you have for—I only had three children at the time—I said that's the plan you have for my family. My children will be raised by just my husband or my husband and another woman. And it turned out that it was God's will to heal me. And it's not always- it's not always God's perfect will in situations like that, but I was completely submitted to God's will, and I had emptied my mind of my own will. And that's what we need to do in every scenario.

I remember way later, after I had written my astronomy book, I was self-publishing it at first and then my husband said, honey, we're losing money every time you sell a book, because I just- I didn't know anything about selling books at that time or how to run a business. And so I submitted the book to a publisher that I really wanted to publish it, and they kept putting me off, and I would call them, they said, we're thinking about it, we're talking about it. And then I was just- I was so set on this publisher. I wanted this publisher. I only wanted this publisher to publish the book because for some reason I just decided this was the publisher I wanted. And so I was praying for God- I prayed that God would make this publisher want the book and accept the book and publish the book, and I was praying and praying and praying. And then I got on the phone with a friend of mine who was a really powerful prayer warrior, I said, I just really want- will you pray for this, that, you know, this publisher will want the book. And I start praying on the phone and she prays for God's will- if it's God's will, that they would publish it. And I was so irritated with her. I got off the phone. I was just so mad. I was like, I don't want to pray for God's will. I want her to pray that they'll publish it. And I realized then like, oh my goodness, I am in the wrong here. My heart is in the wrong place. I have decided for myself what is the best thing for my life, and the best thing for my work that I created, and what's the best thing for everything. I just knew what the best thing was. I thought I did and I had to repent. I had to get- and I had a really hard time. I said, Lord, I don't even know how to get to the place where I release this to you. I just don't know how, I don't know how to not care to. It's kind of like not caring, it's just releasing your will, which is essentially saying, God, I trust you. I trust your will. And so that day I just got on my knees—maybe would have been a couple days later because I grappled with it for a little while. And then I got on my knees and I said, Lord, okay, I just release it to you. I want your will to be done and I release the need to control the situation. And we all as homeschool moms, we feel like there are so many situations we need to control and we want a certain outcome and we believe this certain outcomes the best for our child or for our family or for a husband or for our lives. We think we know. And if it's not happening, we're frustrated. And we think God's not answering our prayer according to what's best for us, and we just don't understand. And so I had to get to the place where I said, okay, Lord, I release the need to control this. I release the need- If nothing ever comes of this book, if it never gets published, if nobody publishes it, I accept that will. I accept that outcome. I accept that because I know that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose, and I know that you have good plans for my life. And I had really felt like the Lord was with me every single moment of writing this book.

So I was confused and I thought, I know he led me to write this book, I know he changed everything about my life so that I could complete this book, but maybe that was for a purpose I didn't understand. I mean, you know, Noah preached to all the people before he got on the boat, and that was to no avail. So I was just- I released it and it was- I had to- The Holy Spirit had to work in me. I had to be willing for him to work out this ability to release control of this situation to God and be okay if the answer was no. And I prayed that, that I would just, okay, Lord, whatever your answer is, I accept it. And then an hour later, that publishing company called me up and said, we're not going to publish this book. I would have been devastated if they had called me up the day before. It would have been- I don't know what I would have done. I would have been miserable. But I just said, okay, all right, all right. Thank you very much. And it was, you know, just a moment where I just realized, okay, I just give it to you, Lord, and I don't know, maybe, maybe nothing's going to happen with this book. And the next day, the owner of Apologia, who at that time was Jay Wile, called me up on the phone and he said, I have read this book that you published. One of my distributors had it, gave it to me, and I would like to publish this book for you. The very next day. And of course, the rest is history and God really blessed that, but I truly, I don't know what would have happened if I had not gotten to that place of submission. We must pray every day for his will to be done in our lives, and our children's lives. For his will to be done in our day, in our homeschool, in our week, and then trust that it is going to be done. Have total faith that his will is going to be done even if we never got to the math lesson. His will was done in our day. Pray for his will to be done and believe that it is done. Be submitted to his will for your life, which means that things are not going to go according to your plan. And that is being submitted to God. When things don't go the way you wanted them to go and you're okay with that, that means you're submitted to God's will. God's will doesn't look like our will most of the time, and we have these idealized versions of what our day, week, month, year should look like, and sometimes that doesn't line up with what God has for our family, for our children, for our life, for our year, for our homeschool.

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So let's move on. So we've got hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread. So here we come to the moment of asking for our needs to be done. This is supplication. Of course we've submitted our will, but we are allowed to ask what we want. And God has told us that here's where after we've praised, after we've submitted, then we can offer supplication. We can ask the Lord to meet our needs. And I think that a really great first to help us in this moment of supplication is to go to Philippians 4:6, where Paul tells us, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." So here we see that before we pray, we must be clothed with thanksgiving. And starting with praise and remembering that God is working on your behalf all the time, protecting you from all kinds of calamity all the time, keeping you alive and breathing every moment. That's helpful because that gives us puts us in a place of thanksgiving, but I think that a lot of times we aren't in a place of thanksgiving because we have these needs that we want, these things that are- things that are not happening, things we think need to be happening and we are we're not thankful. We're not thankful for what God has already done, what he's been doing. Charlotte Mason talks about where Jesus had healed the ten lepers and one came back to thank him. And Jesus says, Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Only one came to thank Jesus for cleansing him. And Charlotte Mason says, "Alas, how often are we among the nine, the poor, pitiful souls who received everything and gave nothing, not even a word of thanks." That's pretty powerful. So we must begin our requests to God with a heart of thanksgiving, thanking him for who he is in our lives, and just really thanking him that we even have the opportunity to come before the throne of God and ask what we will, that we are heirs to salvation and that he hears our prayers because Jesus clothed us in righteousness, and because of that we stand before him blameless.

I was in a prayer- I go to a prayer journaling class every week, and during that time you're journaling they lead you through Scripture and then you journal to the Lord, and then we all share what God has spoken to our spirits while we're journaling. And the last week was on the compassion of the Lord and how compassionate he is towards us. And I really felt like the Lord was telling me that he has compassion on me in my sinfulness, and how my walk with him is never just a straight line up. It's like up and down, up and down and then way down and then up, up, up and then way, way, way, way, way down. It's just- it's rocky. It's a rocky road for me. And he just showed me that he has compassion for me and how my walk with him progresses, even though sometimes it's not progressing upwards, but this is all part of his plan. And then I felt like he was saying to me, I see you as you are, pure and blameless, seated in the heavenlies. God is outside of time and so he sees us as for us, what we will be. But for him it's what we are. He already sees the end of the movie of our lives. And so I just felt like that was really just a really powerful thing, is to think about how God just he has so much compassion on us, we don't need to be anxious, and we just need to submit our prayers to him with thanksgiving that he has given us this incredible gift of salvation, and he's given us this gift of continual salvation.

Another thing Charlotte Mason said, which I thought was really profound, is she says, "Children should be brought up to perceive that a miracle is not less a miracle because it occurs so constantly and regularly that we call it a law; that sap rises in a tree, that a boy is born with his uncle's eyes, that an answer that we can perceive comes to our serious prayers; these things are not the less miraculous because they happen frequently or invariably, and because we have ceased to wonder about them. No doubt so did the people of Jerusalem, when our Lord performed many miracles in their streets." Our lives are a miracle. Everything is a miracle. And it's so commonplace that we don't have that awe and that thanksgiving towards the Lord. So that's where we need to begin. And then, of course, we ask the Lord what it is we need for each of our children, for our husbands. And, you know, I have to say that prayer is so powerful. I've seen miracles. Miracle after miracle through prayer. But one thing that was hard for me is to remember to just be in constant prayer for my children, and so if you have a hard time with that, put signs up around your house to remind you or scriptures for each child that the Lord gives you. Or whenever my child was struggling with something, I would find a scripture that spoke to that issue and I would pray that scripture over them. My daughter was experiencing a lot of misery and just being unhappy and joyless, I would just pray joy scriptures over her and God. When His word goes forth, it goes out and accomplishes what it was set forth to do. And God always answered prayers when I prayed His Word over my children. And so put up reminders, put up scriptures. I even had a reminder that would pop up on my phone for each child in different parts of the day to remember to pray for them, because we're just, you know, I'm human and I know prayer is important, but you just get so busy with your day that it's easy to really forget to be praying regularly for your children.

So we've got give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins. Now we know that 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." So we have that. And Hebrews 8:12 says, "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." God has chosen to wipe away the memory of our sins from his mind and his thoughts. If we knew the thoughts he has towards us, we would be so shocked at how much all his thoughts towards us are good and happy. Just think about the moments when you're the happiest with one of your children. Say you're looking at that child and it's right at that moment, and you're just feeling all of this absolute love for them, and you're just so in awe of what a precious, precious person this is that is existing. And you're just so in love with that child at that moment that- those moments when we have that, that is nothing compared to how God feels towards you every day, every moment of every day. Zephaniah 3:17. One of my favorite verses. "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." God is joying over us with singing. He is rejoicing over us with joy. He has given us complete and total forgiveness. And he longs to be close to you and in a relationship with you. That's what we were designed for. We were designed- our original human design was to be in relationship with God, to be close to him, to walk with him, to talk with him, to hear from him. Jesus says, my sheep know my voice, and he does. He speaks to us all the time in our spirits. A lot of times we have a hard time discerning between God's voice and our own running dialog in our head, but he is leading and guiding you. And if you quiet your mind, be still and know that He is God, you will find that he does lead and guide you with that still small voice.

But that sentence doesn't end there. Forgive us our sins as we forgive others their sins against us. Forgiveness is such a hard thing because it's something we have to do weekly, sometimes daily, depending on our situation. But we have to walk in a constant, continual mindset of forgiveness because forgiveness is required to experience the blessings that God has for us. Forgiving others is the way we return God's mercy for us, and we give that mercy to others. Jesus says, blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. And the word blessed that God uses in that verse is the Greek word that's pronounced makarios, I believe, and it describes a believer in the privileged position of receiving God's favor, of receiving his grace and his benefits, the opportunities that he gives us, the escape from trouble, the healing, the gifts, the joy, the peace, and all the advantages. That's the blessed. That's where we will be blessed. We will experience God's benefits as we choose to forgive. Forgiveness is not a feeling, I have to tell you that. Forgiveness is a choice. And if you make that choice, sometimes you have to make it again and again and again, God will eventually bring the release. You've all heard that phrase that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself and unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. And the word Jesus uses when he talks about mercy, being merciful is he talks about feeling compassion and sympathy. To be gracious to someone, to spare punishment, to console, to help one who is afflicted, to help one who's wretched and unworthy and unkind and oppositional and hurtful. It's an action we do. We choose to have mercy and forgiveness for others. We have been forgiven so much, and we forget that when people have wronged us because we want other people to treat us the way Jesus treats us. We want other people- We want our husbands to be Jesus. It's very frustrating when our husbands don't act like Jesus, I know. We all married a man that's not Jesus. It's a little bit irritating. But it is the nature of marriage. And the nature of marriage is continual, constant forgiveness and mercy towards our husbands, and the nature of being close to the Lord and having our prayers answered. And having the joy of the Lord and the peace of the Lord is choosing to walk in forgiveness towards those who have wronged us. And we've all been wronged. We've been wronged by so many people, so much and so regularly, and we're always extremely shocked when the person who hurts us or who's done wrong to us is someone that we expected better of, we expected more from. And that's gonna happen. That's happened to all of us. But we need to choose.

When we're confronted with the sins of others, our natural reaction is to be judgemental and harsh in our thoughts towards them. If they've sinned against us or against someone we love, we have to release them. It's very hard, but we have to release them from judgment. James 2 says, "Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, for judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful." Mercy triumphs over judgment. Now, when James says that, he's not speaking of eternal judgment, he's speaking of when we choose to walk in unforgiveness, we are not going to walk in the blessings of Christ. We are choosing to live outside of the protection of Jesus, live outside of the law of God and the protection of God. When we hold onto unforgiveness, we forfeit a lot of the blessings that God promises to believers. Peace and joy. So many benefits that he gives us and things working out and prayers answered. It is so required for us to choose forgiveness, and when someone has wronged you, you just have to go before the Lord- And actually, I went through this whole forgiveness episode, you know, I'd been a Christian for a long time, and I didn't realize that I was holding onto unforgiveness for so many people, including aunts and uncles and all kinds of, you know, people from my childhood. And what I did was I sat down and I said, okay, Lord- and this was when I had cancer, and I just wanted to be right with the Lord. I didn't want to go be with Jesus with all these things that I was not walking in obedience to the Lord with, and so I just asked him to give me the names and the situations for every single person that I was holding unforgiveness for. And the list was longer then I realized. I mean, it was like stuff in kindergarten. I mean, really, it was ridiculous how I still had hurt over things that happened in my childhood, bullies and things like that happened when I was a kid. And I sat down and I just wrote down every name, you know, just a little jot about notes about the situation, and I just wrote. And I had this long list and I went through that list and I just, Lord, I choose right now I make a choice to forgive that person for that harm that they did to me. And I went through every single name and just chose to forgive if I ever thought of it again, and it still gave me that pang in my heart, I knew that I needed to make that choice again. I needed to choose to forgive it. I needed to choose to forgive that person, to release them from my judgment. And when I did that, eventually I could look at that list and every single person on that list and I had no feelings at all about it. I was set free. So choose forgiveness. God requires us to choose forgiveness.

And again, at the end of this prayer, the Lord's Prayer, God reiterates this point because it is that important. In Matthew 6:14, he says—this is right after he teaches everybody to pray—he says, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you forgive not their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Now, of course, Jesus is talking to an unbelieving world before people could receive the gift of salvation, but he's explaining how things work in God's economy. And then he tells the story about the man who goes to I think it was a king and said, I have all this debt, please forgive me. And the king forgave his debt, but then he went and wanted his servant to pay him back, and he was beating him or whatever. And then the king said, I'm going to throw you into eternal punishment. Now, of course, being unforgiving doesn't keep us out of heaven because that was completed on the cross, but it does keep us from experiencing the joy because we are tormented. We are tormented like the man who didn't forgive a servant, we are tormented by those we haven't forgiven.

So forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who've sinned against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Essentially, we are asking God here to guide our steps that we don't walk in a way that takes us into a place where we are tempted to sin, to not live according to God's Word. And there are a lot of situations that God he prompts us, He will prompt us—I don't want you hanging around these people. They are gossiping all the time or I don't want you to… It prompts our spirits, and we've got to pay attention to the Holy Spirit's little convictions, the little leading of the Holy Spirit. He wants to lead us not into those places. He wants to lead us into the ways of protection and righteousness. But we have to pay attention to the Holy Spirit. That's the leading us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Ephesians 6 tells us that our battle is not against flesh and blood, that our battle against the powers and authorities and rulers and the spiritual forces of wickedness in this earth. And going back to forgiveness, if we can remember that, we can realize that a lot of our problems that we suffer with, that we're dealing with, are the enemy trying to get a foothold in our lives. He is trying to trip us up and he has no ultimate power over us, but he's always trying to get us to agree with him and to walk in his way so that we get out from the protection of the Lord. God has promised to protect us from the enemy. We need to listen to the Holy Spirit. We need to do battle against the enemy and not let him get a foothold. And I could do a whole talk on spiritual warfare, but I will- we're kind of getting to the hour mark here.

And so this is the way that we walk through our quiet time is through the Lord's Prayer. And then as we have done that, that is the time after we have walked through this, this true intimacy with God and walking in his will and putting that armor over us, that dome, that shield around us, then it's time to study the Word of God. The Lord gave me a scripture verse once. I think this was also when I was dealing with the cancer. And the Lord gave me this verse, Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on me, because he trusts in you." And I remember thinking, well, how do I keep my mind stayed on you, Lord? How do I keep my mind focused on Jesus? I've never seen Jesus. Like, how do I focus on someone I've never seen? And God gave me such a powerful confirmation that to keep my mind stayed on him was to keep my mind focused on the Word of God. John says, "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." He is- Jesus is the Word of God. And when we keep our mind stayed on the Word of God, we are keeping our mind stayed on Jesus. And Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of the soul in the spirit." And of course, that's talking about dividing things that are not of God from the things that are of God, and of joints and of marrow, and of discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And God speaks to us through His word. That's his primary way of speaking to us. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All Scripture is breathed out by God"—God breathed—"and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for the training in righteousness." And Psalm 119 says, "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

And so we want to, if we have time, after we've spent that precious time of prayer with the Lord, and time of praise and forgiveness and all the things, if we have time, we must devote ourselves to the study of God's Word. And you can do that through devotionals or a Bible study. I was always doing different things in my Word study time. It was either doing reading a book of the Bible, one time I was trying to read the Bible in a year, and there were times when I would simply have that Bible app and whatever scripture verse came up, that was the verse that I was praying, focusing on and trying to memorize. And sometimes in the Bible app, they also have devotionals. They have video devotionals that people do that are really powerful. And there's just so many, so many different ways that you can study God's Word. So there's lot that God's Word- there is a lot of different opportunities for studying God's Word. And he's going to lead you to do different things during different periods of your life. Sometimes it's going to be shorter, sometimes it's going to be longer. Sometimes you're going to have an opportunity to do a Bible study. Sometimes you are just going to do the Bible app and the daily reading. But there is always an opportunity to study God's Word in your life, and God will bless that time. He will bless you with the Scripture that he wants you to have for that time period in your life. So don't feel like I'm not studying God's Word enough. Ask the Lord to bring you whatever opportunity, in whatever way, for that time period in your life and how he wants you to get into His Word, and he will show you. You can trust him because he always answers prayers that are according to his will. 1 John 5:14 says, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us." He will answer, and he will give us exactly what we pray for if it is according to his will, and if our will is to know His Word, and to be immersed in His Word, in the way that God wants us to be, he will answer that prayer. Don't beat yourself up that you're not spending more time reading the Bible or whatever it is that you're beating yourself up about, don't do it. Because God is going to answer that prayer, and he's going to give you exactly what you need for this season. Spend your quiet time and the way that Jesus calls us to in the Lord's Prayer and that is where you will find power to live your life, to walk out this homeschooling adventure and to walk in the ways of the Lord. And I want to close with a word from Charlotte Mason. She says, "In a word, I want, am made for, and must have God." I love that. Thanks for listening. I hope you'll have a blessed rest of your week.

Hey, a couple more things: Do you wish you had a Charlotte Mason mentor? Someone to keep you focused on the things that matter--the Lord, His word, and prayer, and habit-training, and living books, nature study, and, of course, the most neglected thing of all, self-care? Well, I have the perfect mentor for you: the Charlotte Mason heirloom planner. It is much more than a planner. It's a guide and a mentor and a place to chronicle your treasured moments and memories. All the things you want to remember and keep sacred and special from this homeschool journey. Check it out on my website at JeannieFulbright.com, and learn about that and so many of the other Charlotte Mason curriculum and tools that I have created to make your homeschool journey the richest and most fulfilling experience of your life. Thanks again for listening to the Charlotte Mason Show.

If you haven't already, please subscribe to the podcast. And while you're there, leave us a review. Tell us what you love about the show. This will help other homeschooling parents like you get connected to our community. And finally, tag us on Instagram @HomeschoolingDotMom, and let us know what you thought of today's episode. And don't forget to check out my friends at Medi-Share because you deserve healthcare. You can trust to learn more about Medi-Share and why over 400,000 Christians have made the switch, go to GreatHomeschoolConvention.com/MediShare.

Have you joined us at one of the Great Homeschool Conventions? I would love for you to come. On my website I have a special coupon code that you can use when you register. The Great Homeschool Conventions are the homeschooling events of the year with amazing speakers, hundreds of workshops to help you homeschool well, and the largest curriculum exhibit halls in the United States. People travel from all over the United States to Missouri, South Carolina, Ohio, California, and Texas to find encouragement, friendship, and curriculum. Be sure to go to my website JeannieFulbright.com for your coupon code. And when you're at the convention, please come by my booth and say "hello" because I love meeting homeschoolers in real life. It's always fun to have new homeschool friends. So thank you so much for listening and I do hope to see you at the convention. Have a blessed rest of the week.

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