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What did 2018 hold for you?

Heart of Dakota Teaching Tip Year 2018
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Teaching Tip:

What did 2018 hold for you?

As we turn our eyes toward the new year, it is also the time when we reflect back on the year that has passed. What did 2018 hold for you? Was it a year of joy, a year of struggle, a year of change, or a year of adjustment? Did you accomplish what you desired, or did you feel like you were falling short most days?

God was not taken by surprise by what your year held.

Whatever your year held, remember that God was not taken by surprise by anything that occurred. He knew what your year would hold before you ever ventured into 2018. He knows what 2019 will hold for you too! That means that whatever is ahead, you will not walk alone. For our family, this has been incredibly important to remember this past year.

Our year held joy and struggle, change and adjustment.

Our son Greyson was diagnosed with colitis in March. After difficult months culminating in a month-long stay in the hospital, he was taken to Mayo Clinic by ambulance and had his entire colon and appendix removed. More surgeries have followed and are still to come. After his most recent hospital stay, we were blessed to bring Grey home the day before Christmas Eve. He is being treated for an abscess that was a complication from the second surgery. Yet, through this all we have watched Grey grow in his faith and so have we!

The Lord has a plan for your good!

We take heart that the Lord has a plan, and His plan is for our good. My Dad’s favorite verse is one that I have had to cling to often this past year: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. So, even when we can’t see the good in what is happening, we can rest in knowing that God is working behind the scenes for our good. Remember the story of Joseph in the Bible? That is our glimpse into how God works in times of great trial in ways we can’t imagine for His good and for ours.

Did we accomplish everything we desired this year?

We did not accomplish a lot of what we wanted to do this year. Yet, we have moved forward with life and with school as best we could. Our older boys have had to pitch in and be the teacher for our younger one. They delayed starting their college classes this fall, so they could be here and keep things running. Family watched over our boys when we couldn’t be here. Friends, and family, and churches, and people we’ve never met prayed without ceasing over Grey and continue to do so. Looking back on 2018, we can say our lives are richer for the united, loving body of Christ.

Faith is strengthened is times of struggle.

As we look back on 2018, we realize that the greatest gift we can give our boys is faith in the Lord. The academics are important too, but a deep and abiding faith is what matters for eternity. In times of struggle, we are teaching our boys to pull together as a family. They have learned to set aside their own wants to serve others. As a family, we have been driven to our knees to call upon our heavenly Father. Blessedly, He opens His arms and draws us to Him.

In 2019, reach for your Father in heaven.

So, as you look toward 2019, reach for your Father in heaven who loves you. Know that He will walk with you no matter what is ahead. Join with us in fervently praying that your children will come to know Him more deeply. If that is what you seek to accomplish this coming year, you will be doing what matters for eternity!



This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Amber Castlebery

    This was a beautiful testimony of God’s faithfulness. When my son was diagnosed with Celiac disease and dyslexia in the same year, it felt like nothing was going to go “right.” It’s true that some serious adjustments and changes had to be made in quite a few areas of our lives as a family, but God was with us all the way. He has surely held your family close in 2018. What an encouragement you have given us to remember that nothing takes God by surprise! Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Amber! We have had to rest on God’s promises to always be faithful and to have a good plan – always, even when it seems as you said, like nothing is going ‘right.’ We pray for you and your family in the adjustments you have made due to your son’s Celiac disease and dyslexia, and we thank you so much for your encouragement here!

  2. Bethany

    This is just what I needed to hear today. Thank you for the reminder that nothing takes God but surprise! And for sharing your family’s testimony of His faithfulness in your own lives. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the day to day details and feel like nothing is going the way we planned. It is good to back up and see all the ways God is working to make us more like Him. This was both a hard and good year for us. We took a fair bit of time off of school in the spring because my dear mother-in-law was passing away from cancer. She is now with Jesus and we are learning to carry on here. I had to learn to let go of the traditional school year and be ok with finishing our guides later than I had planned. We will be taking another long break this spring when baby number 6 arrives! I have learned what a blessing HOD really is. We can pick it up right where we left off and keep on keeping on. I thank God for HOD every day. What a blessing to have a curriculum that focuses on pointing our children’s hearts to Christ every day. Thank you for all the work you and your families put into this ministry! We will be praying for you and your son as you walk through this health journey together.

    Happy New Year!

    In Christ Alone,
    Bethany 🙂

    1. Our heart goes out to you and your family in this time of grief, as you continue to adjust to your mother-in-law’s passing away. We had a similar kind of homeschool year when our father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and we too were thankful we could pick school back up when we were able. We too had to let go of a traditional school year, and though it has been nearly 5 years since he passed away, we still miss him so much. We pray the Lord eases your pain and can be your strong tower to run to in this time of grief. What would we ever do with our faith in the Lord?!? Thank you for your encouragement and kind words here, and our family truly appreciates your prayers for Grey right now!!!

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