A Plain Black Bag

When I look at this bag I could just cry. Although it looks like a plain black bag filled with books, it is an answer to prayer! Sometimes when we are praying for one big thing like… ahem a visa, we can forget the ways that God is faithful along the journey.

So I started homeschooling Ellison again at the end of October under the assumption that we would be doing it for a month or two…max. It was kinda like “OK God I can do this for a little while” type of attitude. You probably remember that my initial go with homeschooling this year was not so great. Well, now that we’ve 3 months, I started to  get concerned about Ellison’s academic development and was wondering if I was hitting the marks with her in terms of her needs.

Our host family is a homeschooling family and my sweet friend Kirsten, the mama of this nest, has been a HUGE help along the way. She has provided me with tons of support, materials and suggestions and I’ve learned so much just by watching her educate her girls.  It’s truly inspiring. She along with some other friends have been praying with us about this specific area.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve really started praying about our school time.

I’ve been reading “The Power of a Praying Parent” and the first chapter encourages parents to cast all of their cares about their children on the Lord and this was one big care for me. Preparing Ellison in education is a big priority for me and we are doing the best we can to make sure she does not fall behind since she will inevitably be behind her peers in language when we arrive. I feel like it is so important for me not to take this lightly because falling behind in 1st grade would be huge to her future growth in Austria.

She was having a hard time focusing during reading and was getting really really frustrated. She and I were both back at dreading our school time and honestly I knew that those emotions were robbing me of valuable time with my daughter. I prayed more 🙂 and began to seek some wisdom.

I first reached out to an elementary school teacher on our support team and she graciously spent over and hour and a half after her school day sitting with us and trying to gauge where Ellison is in the areas of math and reading. After our time together she suggested some things I could be doing to improve her math skills and offered to meet again to look further at her reading! I was overjoyed and so thankful and the bonus is that we will have the opportunity to meet up with her again until we leave.

When we went to Knoxville, we got to see one of Ian’s aunts who has been an elementary school teacher for over 20 years. Shortly after we all got together I asked her what grade she was teaching now and she told me that she has been teaching 1st grade for the past 9 years!!! Can I tell you how excited I was to have someone with all of that wisdom right there for the asking! She was offering to share everything she could with me in our limited amount of time together.  Almost immediately I began asking her questions and before I knew it, we were headed to the School Box to get some supplementary materials for Ellison’s phonics work. The next day, she offered to meet me at her classroom and showered me with extra copies of things that she has collected over the years. I told her over and over what an answer to prayer she had been. When I left that afternoon, I had all the tools I needed to complete a phonics and reading program for the rest of 1st grade.

Here is the best part! Since coming home and implementing some of our new tools, she cannot stop reading! She is so excited about books on her level and the other day I caught her reading a book to Jude during “non school” hours and they were both laughing at some humor in the book.

I am so excited to be reminded that I am involved in such a personal relationship with the creator of the universe. This was such a tangible picture of 2 Corinthians 9:8- God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.

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