Sunday 22 November 2015

Behind Your Beginning

Loss. Personally experiencing loss. Something about it changes the way you think, changes how you see the world… changes you. I lost my dad earlier this year, and in the days following his death, I had this nagging fear that I might forget… might forget certain nuances about him… forget the blessings experienced through his life and yes, even through his dying. And so I prayed, "Dear Lord, help me never to forget!" And I wrote. I wrote what I never wanted to forget. And in the writing, the healing began.

In the months following, I started seeing things differently. As I would go through my day, remembering all that I do, I sensed the danger of forgetting… forgetting the answers to the ‘big’ questions, the ones that really matter.

Within minutes of opening my eyes in the mornings, I would remember all that I do. I would have my quiet time, fix breakfast, iron clothes, get ready for work and school, aim to start my day on time. And as each day unfolded and I fluttered between the needs of my children and other responsibilities of my day, I would start checking off my lists. Grammar - check. Math - "Oh no! Two lessons behind." Chemistry - "What lesson are we even on?" The pressure would mount!  I would start strategizing how to get it all done. And then, I would see! By some miraculous touch of God, I would recognize that I had slipped into automatic pilot.

Oh, I'm sure you're the same.  Your day might not look like mine, but at some time, we all have fallen prey to living automatically, living without any clear intention or purpose.

But God, with his personal, gentle persistence, reminds me that if I fail to remember what I never want to forget, then doing what I do would be meaningless. So, I felt God nudging me to pause and remember. Remember the reasons behind my beginning.  

In this particular instance, remember what I wanted when we first started homeschooling. At the end of the first quarter of our fourth year, I paused and I searched for my ‘what’. I had to find it! I knew it was written down somewhere in the house. I just had to remember, at the start of this adventure what did I really want. 

But as I was searching, I felt God nudging me again, I had to go back further, further back than knowing what I wanted, further back behind my beginning. You see there were two other questions I needed to remember the answers to first. Two questions that were the foundation for everything else that I do. So here they are – the ‘big’ questions – the three W’s – the answers to which I don’t ever, no never want to forget.

Who am I? 

Why did I start on this journey? 

And what did I want?

Who am I? 
Remembering who I am reminds me that it is my journey... it may not look like anyone else's. Nor should it. It is mine. 

It also reminds me of who I really am - a follower of Christ – saved by grace - empowered by God. That's right, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) This knowledge reminds me that the task before me is not insurmountable; it is totally doable. You see with God's power working within me, God can do much, much more than anything I can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20

Yes, my friends, remembering 'who I am' is the first thing I want never to forget. Because you see knowing who I am, affects everything else, it affects why I do what I do, and what I really want.

Why did I start out on this journey? 
For me, it was simple. Well, not really, but looking back now it seems so. Following a series of events in our lives, we felt convicted that schooling our children at home was right for our family. We felt certain this was what God was calling us to do. Knowing why I started on this journey gives me courage to keep climbing the hills, trudging through the valleys, keep standing when I feel like falling - to simply keep moving forward.

And finally, what did I want? 
Four years ago, when we crossed the threshold into this new life of homeschooling, I had written it down. I had written out what I really wanted for my children to learn. So, I searched the house and I didn’t stop until… I found it! And I devoured it. Oh, the sweet, convicting power of the written word. 

What followed was a cornucopia of emotions. I was deeply humbled and grateful as I read what I had written, humbled because I saw my vast inability to accomplish any of these 'wants', grateful because I could see the hand of God blessing our lives. I felt fearful and excited, fearful because I wonder how will I achieve this, excited because I can't wait to see what the Lord will do. 

So I prayed, "God, help me to remember never to forget!" And as I prayed, I felt motivated. Motivated to give God thanks, to trust him and to keep my eyes on the target.

Remembering never to forget helps me to trust, be thankful and be targeted everyday. I can trust that the God who calls me is faithful and will complete the work he has started. (Philippians 1:6) I can trust that this planting of the LORD will indeed display his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3b) And I can be thankful. 

Yes, I can lift up my hands in jubilant praise as I give thanks for the blessings. And they are many. I see them ever so clearly when I remember never to forget. And finally I can target my efforts. Remembering what I really want gives incredible focus to my day. I can thresh out the grain and leave the chaff behind. I can focus on what really matters to me.

What about you? 
What journey have you embarked on? A new goal? A New Year resolution? Educating your children at home?  A marriage even? What did you start out with fervor? But somewhere along the way you have forgotten, you have slipped into automatic pilot and forgotten the answers to the ‘big’ questions behind your beginning. 

Today, as you go about remembering all that you do, I pray that you remember never to forget... never to forget the answers to the 'big' questions - the ‘who’, ‘why’, and ‘what’ behind your beginning. And may the remembering help you to trust, give thanks and stay targeted on what really matters to you.


  1. Carlie, it's so encouraging to read about your journey as its unfolds. I rejoice with you with all that God is doing in and through you. I'm so glad you've had the courage to share this so openly and I pray that I too will never forget. Thanks for linking up to my New Year post as well. You're a sweetheart! I will be sharing this. :-)

  2. Thanks, Marva! I thought your November New Year was great and the two just seem to go well together. Thanks for your continued support.

  3. This was such a lovely reminder. I admit that I've had times when I've lost my direction and focus.

    Thank you for sharing your journey (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! Praying that we'll both always remember and never forget the answers to the big questions. Blessings!


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