Posts by BARBIE POLING

Have Your Academic Expectations Broken Trust with Your Children?

Empowering the Transfer of Moral Values and FaithJulie had broken trust with her daughter concerning academic expectations, but as Julie learned how to love her with Christlike love, her daughter came to embrace and enjoy the writing disciplines that she had resisted for years. Educating her daughter became easier and very efficient because of love.

Julie’s Story of academic breakthroughs because of love

“It has been an amazing and wonderful transformation as we have implemented the Lord’s ways and sought to foster an individualized, whole person education for our children. I am still dumbfounded that my now 17-yr-old daughter writes prolifically and speaks of getting published. This is so shocking because I could not get her to produce so much as a paragraph without a process like pulling teeth as late as 13-14 years old!

My poor little girl! Because I was not relating rightly with her and because of her perfectionism, writing soon evolved into a great struggle. Even when I was really trying to be encouraging and correct lovingly, she saw any editing on my part or suggestion toward making it better as criticism and she rose up against me mightily. She resisted any writing assignment at all with angry outbursts and excuses to delay it until I gave up. It was so emotional and difficult I began to avoid writing instruction with her, and I felt very guilty about that!

It was around the time she was 13-14 that I was looking into Lifestyle of Learning™, I was drawn to it because of it’s messages about restoring relationships. I was very concerned about my relationship with my daughter while a friend of mine was having her family relationships transformed through the Lifestyle of Learning™ ministry. At the time I was only interested in ‘fixing’ my relationships, so I thought I could kind of add Lifestyle of Learning™ educational principles to the side of my already established idea of what makes a good education.

As I began to learn how to obey the Lord in my relationship with my daughter, He directed me to let go of formal academics for a time while I concentrated on transforming our relationship through learning how to truly love her. I encouraged productive activity by requiring her to pursue her interests during the hours in which we were no longer doing schoolwork.

During this spare time she began writing at the computer. She kept her writing strictly private at first, because she didn’t trust me. She was afraid, because of her past experience with me, that I would take it over. I was positive and encouraging as I peeked in on what she was doing. I did not press for more information than she wished to give about content.

One day, I found a page by the printer when I was sorting papers, and believing it to be a favorite passage from a book she had typed out, I asked what book it was from. To my surprise, she told me it was one of hers! I was impressed with the story and told her so. She looked so happy and from that point on she began to open up and share with me.

When I began loving her and allowing her delights to emerge, and I stopped squelching them by trying to take them over and make them schoolish, she exploded with inner drive to improve and educate herself! Hee hee!—I still laugh for joy over this! I have been shown by this example, as well as MANY others, that the Lifestyle of Learning™ Approach to home education is FAR superior to any curriculum I have ever seen and tried or even could have wished for my children!” ~ Julie M

Have Your Academic Expectations Broken Trust with Your Children?

I have witnessed so many moms experience broken trust with their children. Kids don’t want to do their irrelevant assignments, or they hide out in their own thoughts and activities not wanting mom to see for fear she will swoop in and mess with it. Moms think it’s because there’s something wrong with their kids, but in actuality, learning processes are supposed to be relational, and the way moms go about causing their children’s education often removes the relational dimension from the process. Kids don’t feel understood, and they don’t feel known and loved. They want and need this daily ministry to their souls more than anything, but it begins with mom.

LovesActionsAudio1As Julie learned how to love, by first engaging with her daughter right where she was at in her abilities and interests, and allowing her to experiment with her own writing process, God gave her wisdom for placing appropriate expectations on her academic performance. He wants to give you wisdom too.

I love how her story turned out, and I want you to enter a similar process of allowing God to gently lead you in how to engage your children in their academic activities so you can enjoy “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” with your children.That’s why we’ve created the Love’s Actions Seminars, given by Barbie Poling.

These 13 1-hour seminars are a great practical accompaniment to my book, Empowering the Transfer of Moral Values and Faith and it’s companion, Love’s Actions. Hurry while you still have time to get these seminars at really good prices!

If you haven’t gotten our complimentary audios discussing the content of the Love’s Actions Seminars, you can access them by signing up below.

Click here to continue reading this discussion about loving with Christlike love.

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Do You Know the Real Goal?

Screen shot 2014-06-22 at 11.08.45 AMI was with a few Christian people recently, and I came away with the strong impression that they believe that going to church and evangelizing is the goal and the focus of the Christian life. They talked about these two activities a lot, and implied repeatedly through their conversation that a person is a successful Christian if they continue to be church attendees and aggressively evangelize.

I was with another group of people a few weeks ago who left me with the very strong and aggressive statement that the goal of the Christian life is to read, study, and memorize the Bible, and to live by their interpretation of it. They made strong statements against people who did not live their lives the way they did, and they implied that their children will not be successful if they do not memorize large portions of Scripture, and spend significant time reading and studying the Bible.

As I visited with these groups of people, I certainly didn’t experience love coming from them, nor did I see evidence of the sweet and close relationships between their family members that come from self-sacrificial love. The way they spoke about their family relationships, and what I observed in their family relationships showed quite the opposite. I witnessed and heard about lots of sadness, emotional distance, insecurity and even irritation and anger between the family members. I could see that these Christians were mistaken about the goal of the Christian life, and what defines a successful Christian life.

Do you really know what is the goal for the Christian life? The Apostle Paul, who spent his life leading people to the Lord and forming church communities said this in 1 Timothy 1:5, “The object and purpose of our instruction and charge is love, which springs from a pure heart and a good (clear) conscience and sincere (unfeigned) faith.” The goal of the Christian life according to the Apostle Paul is to love, and to instruct people in how to love. Love is the key, love is the goal, love is the focus of the Christian life.

So what does self-sacrificial love look like? This is the question we examine in Love’s Actions Seminar messages.

Each audio is around an hour long, and includes a transcript. Each Love’s Actions Seminar, has a thorough explanation and discussion of one of love’s actions taken from Scripture, such as patience, faithfulness, kindness, and so on. I provide an expanded definition taken from the dictionary, and use many clear illustrations of what a particular love’s action would look like worked out in your family relationships. Each seminar concludes with how God expresses that particular love’s action toward us.

It’s my hope to bring conviction to your heart and inspiration for taking positive love actions toward your family. I want you to hear from a couple of moms who’ve been through the seminars.

Their Families Notice the Change! 

“The Love’s Actions seminars have been transformational for me. My husband and children have been telling me what a difference they see in me. Thank you Barbie for making them available. I cannot wait to hear the next one as well as read and highlight the transcript!” ~ Sharyn K

LovesActionsAudio1“The first thing that comes to mind about all the Love’s Actions audios is the detailed definition of the words you talk about. Many of those words I haven’t specifically looked up in the dictionary myself, and the meanings are always surprising to me in some way. The most recent example is the connection between Grace and Gratitude. It made so much sense that both are gifts from God, but I hadn’t thought of it that way before.” ~ Yolanda H

“Barbie, I’m listening to the Love’s Actions seminars, starting with the few that I’m familiar with and making my way through them all. I wanted to say thank you for all of them! I started with “patience” and it was just what I needed to hear that day. They have been such a blessing to me, helping me to know what to stop doing and what to start doing to actually practice that particular love’s action. It helps me to train my children in love, helping them identify what isn’t loving as well as the particular actions needed to be kind, patient, etc. in that particular situation. I don’t want to say “be kind” without ever walking in kindness myself, or without knowing how to help them! I’m so grateful to the Lord for helping me see myself more clearly and helping me to help the children. I’m grateful for His faithful help and sure way.” ~ Angie E

Are You Ready to Make Love Your Goal?

Are you ready to make love your goal so your family notices change in you and will respond to your influence? Love’s Actions Seminars can help you get started in learning HOW to love with Christlike love.

You can listen to a free audio talking about how the Love’s Actions Seminars creation came about, along with an example of the sorts of things you will hear in the seminars. Sign up for the audio below.

Click here to continue reading more testimonies and more discussion about our need to love like Jesus.

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Are You Focusing on What Really Matters?

SONY DSCI’m so grateful to Marilyn Howshall who came to my house and showed me very specifically how to love my alzheimer’s inflicted mom with Christlike love! (read the blog post about it here)

She pointed me toward listening to the Holy Spirit speaking through my conscience, and as I obeyed, I became changed; I became transformed! (read the blog post about it here)

Over time, I began to see how my children and husband needed to truly love and serve each other with Christlike sacrifice. Because I was changing, I could more clearly see how they needed to change as well. The entire culture and atmosphere of our home and family life changed as we began to focus our daily efforts toward what really matters.

It’s so common for homeschooling parents to get sidetracked into behaving as though what really matters most is getting the school work done. That’s what I used to do too. Yes, some of us have added some sort of devotions or Bible curriculum to our school day, but for the most part, the focus of the day for mom is getting school assignments finished. What really matters in your home? Can you tell by your focus and time spent?

As I was working on the Love’s Actions Seminar audios, my hope has been for you to receive specific and practical instruction toward a changed life, so that you can move your family toward becoming overflowing with Christlike love. I want you to become a family who focuses on what really matters!

In each Love’s Actions Seminar, I bring to you a thorough explanation and discussion of one of love’s actions taken from Scripture, such as patience, faithfulness, kindness, and so on. I provide an expanded definition taken from the dictionary, and use many clear illustrations of what a particular love’s action would look like worked out in your family relationships—with your spouse, with your children, and in relationship between siblings. Each seminar concludes with how God expresses that particular love’s action toward us.

It’s my hope to bring conviction to your heart and inspiration for taking positive love actions toward your family. I want you to hear from a couple of moms who’ve been through the seminars.

Love’s Actions Seminars Are Life Changing! 

CoachingBlogMichelleH“I am learning from the Love’s Actions audios how much more there is to loving my family than I ever have known before. I am so blessed by Barbie’s messages that are so real and specific, not theory. They are so life changing. This is real education in the things that really matter. Each time I listen to one, I see how far away from loving I have been, and it grieves me so much. Yet, I am filled with so much joy and hope because Barbie tells not only what we are to stop doing, but what we should start doing instead. They are so specific and practical. There is life and hope here. Don’t miss it! Thank you so much, Barbie!” ~ Michelle H

coachingLisa“After completing the Making Heart-Level Connections Coaching Programs, I found that I had gained understanding about how to cooperate with the Lord in loving my family, but I didn’t know what true love really looked like in every day life. Love’s Actions Seminars were the perfect follow-up. Barbie explained with many examples what love looks like in relationships between spouses, between siblings and between parents and their children. She also uses many Scriptures and definitions to teach what the specific Love’s Action is all about. I have been able to cooperate more fully with what the Lord is doing in my life, because I have been able to stop unloving behaviors, and start relating with my family in truly loving ways that are flowing from the Lord. I have been able to put to death my selfish ways and respond to meet the true needs of my family. I am truly grateful for this ministry and teaching.” ~ Lisa C

Are You Ready to Turn toward What Really Matters?

Is your family environment overflowing with love? Do your children love to serve and give to one another, and just enjoy being together? If you could use some help to turn your focus toward the activity that really matters, Love’s Actions Seminars can help you.

You can listen to a free audio talking about how the Love’s Actions Seminars creation came about, along with an example of the sorts of things you will hear in the seminars. Sign up for the audio below.

Click here to continue reading more discussion about our need to love like Jesus.

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I Needed Help to Know How to Change

P1000494When Marilyn began to show me specific and practical ways to love my family, as I mentioned in my last blog post, I became transformed.

I wasn’t just receiving information about love, but specific and practical instruction and correction that allowed me to know HOW to change. As I began to obey the Holy Spirit’s conviction through my conscience, my attitudes, intentions and motivations began to change, which in turn changed my actions toward my family.

My family experienced me being different than I was before. As I began to be transformed, I was able to help my children in the same way. Instead of gaining some interesting information, we were changed. We were transformed.

As I prepared and worked on the Lifestyle of Learning™ Love’s Actions Seminars, my goal was to point you toward cooperating with the Holy Spirit’s work in you toward learning HOW to love much and love well so your life can change too.

The instruction and correction within the audios can clearly show you the way forward. You become aware of what you need to stop doing in your relationships, and what you need to start doing in order to begin have Jesus’ kind of love’s actions as your habitual way of relating. When your relational habits are being changed, you will become transformed into Christlikeness, and your family will notice and be changed.

It’s my hope to bring conviction to your heart and inspiration for taking positive love actions toward your family. As God makes you into the loving parent He wants you to be, Lifestyle of Learning™ will work for you just as it does for me and many other moms who’ve been making these same changes. I want you to hear from a couple of moms who’ve been through the seminars.

Love’s Actions Seminars Bring Transformational Change! 

“Last night I listened to the Love’s Actions audio on “patience”. It was exactly what I needed. You described, ‘Pressing in to the relationship while calmly and lovingly telling the truth’. That’s exactly what I was trying to understand when trying to see my disconnect between correcting my children and rightly relating with them at the same time. I just couldn’t connect the two. All of the examples were soooo helpful. I have already been much more liberated this morning and now I am so excited for what the Lord will do. Thank you Barbie!” ~ Becky P

LovesActionsAudio1“Barbie, the practical definition of patience and the actions to start and stop really hit home for me. Then your description of what it looks like in each relationship helps pull it all together. You are teaching these Scriptures as I have never heard before. It is so clear. I love the way you teach, Barbie. It’s like the truth slips into my heart and the Lord works it into my life personally. You speak tenderly yet boldly, lovingly yet causing conviction. I was taking notes, but had to stop so I could listen more intently. I’m looking forward to hearing this message again and again. Thank you.” ~ Carlise S

Are You Ready for Change?

Do you need some more understanding of what Christlike love looks like so you can change the way you treat your family and then help them to change too? Love’s Actions Seminars can help you.

You can listen to a free audio talking about how the Love’s Actions Seminars creation came about, along with an example of the sorts of things you will hear in the seminars. Sign up for the audio below.

Click here to continue reading more of my story and more discussion about our need to love like Jesus.

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Does Being Specific Help You?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI remember thinking of myself as a generally loving person for most of my life. After all, I was nice to people in my neighborhood and at church. I made sure to try to avoid conflict, and our family generally minded our own business. I couldn’t really think of any way I was being unloving, and so I assumed I was loving.

I remember when Marilyn Howshall, Lifestyle of Learning’s™ author, came over to my house to help me with my mom who had advanced Alzheimer’s disease. As Marilyn spent time with my mom and me, she started to gently show me particular ways I was not loving my mom. She came in and started talking and praying with my mom, looking in her eyes, smiling at her, holding her hand, and sweetly having the round and round conversation that is typical when someone has only a 15-second memory.

Marilyn showed me specific things to stop doing. I needed to stop emotionally ignoring my mom, and stop leaving her in her isolated turned-in state. She also showed me things I should start doing to love my mom—hold her hand, look in her eyes, smile at her, and talk and pray with her. This very specific instruction about love’s actions really helped me to begin to see other ways I was failing to love my mom, my children and my husband. I had not thought of my previous behavior toward my mom as being unloving. It was just the way things were between us. As I obeyed the Lord’s instruction, changes began to happen. My story became a powerful testimony of God’s intervention in my family’s life and relationships, including numerous miracles surrounding my mom’s condition. My story is recorded in the book, Empowering the Transfer of Moral Values and Faith, and the Remembering Ellen audios.

In the Lifestyle of Learning™ Love’s Actions Seminars, I seek to give the same sort of specific instruction about what love looks like, so that you can be launched into action in your own relationships. You can take action to stop some behaviors, and take action toward picking up new loving relational habits.

Each of the Love’s Actions Seminar audios is around an hour long, and includes a transcript for those who prefer to read, or read along. In each Love’s Actions Seminar, I bring to you a thorough explanation and discussion of one of love’s actions taken from Scripture, such as patience, faithfulness, kindness, and so on. I provide an expanded definition taken from the dictionary, and use many clear illustrations of what a particular love’s action would look like worked out in your family relationships—with your spouse, with your children, and in relationship between siblings.

Each seminar concludes with how God expresses that particular love’s action toward us. It’s my hope to bring conviction to your heart and inspiration for taking positive love actions toward your family. I want you to hear from a couple of the moms who’ve been through the seminars.

Love’s Actions Seminars Are Very Specific! 

MHLCwholeSet“The Love’s Actions audios have been such a help in showing me what love looks like. In the past I had not given thought to the particulars of how to love and what the particulars of my sin were. I had always thought of sin and of love in general terms until coming into contact with the Lifestyle of Learning™ Ministry. I enjoy the Love’s Actions so much that I have listened to the audios, I have read the transcripts and I have listened to the audios while reading the transcripts at the same time, and each time I glean something new. It is so helpful to learn the definition of a particular Love’s Action word and then go further in examining the specifics of what to stop doing and the specifics of what to start doing in my relationships. I like that each audio covers the marriage relationship, the parent-child relationships and the sibling relationships. Each audio gives much help for the whole family. I have found that the Love’s Actions is a wonderful compliment to Lifestyle of Learning’s™ “Making Heart-Level Connections” coaching programs.” ~ Nancy B

“I’m excited! I have found the Love’s Actions audios so helpful! It’s like I’m a little child, needing to have the essential truths spelled out for me, and when they are, I can take them and run with it! When people ask me where I’ve been because they haven’t seen me in a while, I tell them I’m too busy re-educating myself on what it means to love. And what a glorious answer it is! Our family is so changed!”  ~ Ellen B

Do You Need Specific Actions Spelled Out?

If you’re like Ellen and Nancy, you could use some specific actions spelled that will carry you beyond what you already know and practice about love in general terms. AND if you’ve been stopping some of your unloving behaviors in response to the Holy Spirit’s conviction to your conscience, but you don’t yet know the specifics of what to do instead, you can get started right away toward saturating your mind and soul with these powerful and practical words of truth in HOW to love.

You can listen to a free audio talking about how the Love’s Actions Seminars creation came about, along with an example of the sorts of things you will hear in the seminars. Sign up for the audio below.

Click here to continue reading more about me and my mom and more discussion about our need to love like Jesus.

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Do You Know What Love Looks Like? I Didn’t!

KidsAs I was sitting in a church service while visiting some friends out of town, I heard it being said that the primary actions of love are to have a smile for most everyone, and to be a generally encouraging person.

I remember thinking that it would be very easy to think of myself as being loving if this was my only idea of what a loving person does. Through my growing up, I was impressed with a similar idea that the primary actions of love are to be nice, avoid conflict, mind your own business, quietly and temporarily tolerate annoying people, and perhaps occasionally do a random act of kindness for a stranger. This definition of the actions of love would leave almost all of us believing in error that we are loving.

I have found that many believers have been taught the same idea of what love’s actions look like. I’d like to show you why we need to move beyond this common anemic idea, AND I’d like to help you move into experiencing God’s definition of love in your family.

So many times I hear parents saying they aren’t actually sure what love looks like in their everyday life with their families. They’re pretty sure that some of what they experienced growing up wasn’t loving, and they want to be loving parents, but they don’t really know what it’s supposed to look like. Do you know what loving actions actually look like?

We know from Scripture that love is the key, love is the focus, and love is the goal of the Christian life. In 1 John we read that He who does not love does not know God, for God IS love. God is loving all the time and in every way, and He calls us to be loving just like He is.

Learning to love much and well

In reality, your actions of love or of unlove are displayed in how you relate with those that are closest to you. In order for you to BE loving, love’s actions need to be evident in your thoughts, motivations, intentions, and your relational habits.

The goal of the Christian life is to become Christlike, where your relational actions are self-sacrificially loving like Jesus. Jesus’ kind of love is beyond simple familial love, or general niceness, or being a helpful encouraging person.

Moms who are just coming to the Lifestyle of Learning™ message are faced with the idea that they need to learn how to love much and love well, but they find themselves not knowing what self-sacrificial love looks like. This is the question we examine in the Love’s Actions Seminar messages.

In each Love’s Actions Seminar, I bring to you a thorough explanation and discussion of one of love’s actions taken from Scripture, such as patience, faithfulness, kindness, and so on. I provide an expanded definition taken from the dictionary, and use many clear illustrations of what a particular love’s action would look like worked out in your family relationships—with your spouse, with your children, and in relationship between siblings.

Each seminar concludes with how God expresses that particular love’s action toward us. It’s my hope to bring conviction to your heart and inspiration for taking positive love actions toward your family. As God corrects and instructs you toward becoming the loving parent He wants you to be, Lifestyle of Learning™ will work for you just as it does for me and many other moms who’ve been making these same changes. I want you to hear from a couple of moms who’ve listened to the seminars.

Love’s Actions Seminars Show You What Love Looks Like! 

“Listening to even one of the Love’s Actions audios will enrich your walk with the Lord and open up your eyes to see the ways of Jesus walked out in everyday situations down to the finest detail with your children and spouse, and also between you and the Lord. Barbie brings a copious amount of practicality filled with examples in a very clear and precise manner to illustrate every point made in her presentation. Once you have listened to one audio, you will not want to miss out on hearing all the rest of them. These audios are not something you want to pass up!” ~ Carolyn J

“I have really loved listening, and re-listening to the Love’s Actions audios. Everything I have ever read or listened to from Lifestyle of Learning™ has been so encouraging, inspiring, challenging and life-changing. I particularly like the Love’s Actions audios as they are practically teaching me what love looks like, and how to love. In the “Your Conscience” mini coaching program I learned how the Holy Spirit speaks through my conscience to correct and instruct me. I believe God is using the teachings from Love’s Actions to show me what love looks like in the real moments of my day. I still have a ways to go to be able to love much and love well, but I cannot believe how much God has already done in my life through this ministry. Thank you Barbie for the work you have put into preparing these seminars. They are so detailed and practical. They are very, very helpful.” ~ Deb B

LovesActionsAudio1Do You Need to See What Love Looks Like?

If you’re like Deb, you could use some clear, practical examples that show you what love looks like in the real moments of your day while interacting with your children that go beyond what you already know and practice as general niceness or helpfulness. You can get started right away toward saturating your mind and soul with these powerful and practical words of truth in how to love.

You can listen to a free audio talking about how the Love’s Actions Seminars creation came about, along with an example of the sorts of things you will hear in the seminars. Sign up for the audio below.

Click here to continue reading more discussion about our need to love like Jesus.

Leave a comment

What is Necessary?

Hello Dear Members!

s and j with kidsIt’s a really beautiful day here! We can see Mt. Rainier so clearly, and the sun is shining so nicely! My tulips and irises are blooming, and the birds are coming to the bird feeder outside my window by my desk. Marilyn’s cute little grandsons are outside playing with my kiddos in the dirt pile. I wish time would stand still for a while today, so that I can enjoy it for longer!

I hope you’re enjoying your days with your precious ones, and hopefully enjoying some nice weather!

I’ve been reading the New Testament with Lizzy and Josiah lately, and yesterday we came across these verses that made me think of you.

Gal 5:24-26 “Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified. Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.”

This phrase really stuck out to me, “mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities” I was remembering how my life was before I learned how to be led by the Spirit. It really was mindless. It wasn’t that I didn’t have any thoughts. It’s that I didn’t spend much time thinking about the way we were living our lives. The schedule of our church activities along with the schedule of our school-at-home activities made it so that I didn’t have to think much about what we were going to do in a day. It was mindless. I used to say, “my life ran itself.”

It was mindless because I whole-heartedly embraced what I saw everyone else doing – I was following along with what “others called ‘necessities’.” I thought it was necessary to be involved in everything happening at our church. I thought it was necessary to follow grade-level, subject-divided curriculum in order to educate my children. I thought it was necessary to provide my children with peers for friends. I mindlessly followed these things that seemed to me to be necessary simply because everyone else thought they were necessary.

You, sweet LOLACHE members, are taking the time to escape “mindlessly responding to what others call necessities.” I love how this verse goes on to describe what it is like to put off this sort of mindlessness. It says we will have far more interesting things to do than compare ourselves to one another! It says we will become originals.

The passage implies that this sort of mindlessness leads to the kind of fear that moms experience when believing that their children must be at the same level in everything as all the rest of the children their age. It leads to the fear of not doing enough school. It leads to the pressure put on children to complete assignments because of mom’s fear and comparisons to “what others call necessities”.

I’m so thankful you ladies are allowing the Lord to set you free from this mindlessness so that you can be led by His Holy Spirit toward becoming the unique expression of His character that he’s made you to be, and your children along with you! I’m so thankful that you are responding to the opportunity to ask, “What is truly necessary for us today according to Your Holy Spirit?”

Blessings,
~ Barbie Poling

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Fellowshipping in the Flesh

“Oh, I’m so glad to know that I’m not alone in these struggles with sin I’m having!” 

This is a common sentiment in Christian circles.  Have you heard it before?  Have you said something like it before?

As I’ve been reading the many homeschooling group posts that cross my computer screen, I’ve read expressions like this many times. Someone vents about the bad day they’re having and how upset they are with their children, and the responses grow long with others comments of the same thing happening at their house.

“Oh, I know what you mean! I’m so glad I’m not alone!”

I’ve been thinking about why someone would want to say that.

Here’s another way to express the same sentiment, “I’m so glad you’re struggling with your sin and bad fruit, because your struggles make me feel better about my struggles.”

Here’s another way to put it, “I’m so glad you’re struggling with your sin and bad fruit, because I can use your struggles to make me feel better about my struggles with my sin and bad fruit and to make me feel better about ME.”

When I fully consider what is being said, I can’t help but see how selfish and unloving it is! I’ve often heard people even fishing for such a response, actually manipulating others to come and fellowship in the flesh, “Am I alone?  Is anyone else struggling like this?”

This can be translated, “Is anyone else sinning and suffering the effects of their bad fruit like I am?  Because I don’t want to be alone. Will anyone comfort me about my sin by telling me they’re sinning too?”

Then it becomes even more strange that Christians often offer themselves up to this selfish and unloving relational behavior by saying, “I have those struggles with sin too, you’re not alone,” followed by some expression of affection together in their sin like hugs, or “I’m praying for you.” The overall affect of this fellowship of sin is to minimize our need for repentance because we have a place to belong together. We have fellowship together in our sin and bad relational fruit. When we think this way, we end up using each other to comfort ourselves in our sin.

I realize that we all have a genuine need to be understood and to have a place to belong. God created us to have deep relationships where we are deeply known and understood by others.  Compassion and understanding are a part of grace and a loving behavior, but fellowshipping in each other’s flesh and sin is neither helpful nor compassionate and loving.

Compassion is ALWAYS full of love. Jesus’ compassion never led him to excuse or make light of sin and broken relationships.  It led Him to sacrifice His own life to rescue us from it all.

2 Peter 1:4 says that we’re supposed to flee corrupt relating and partake of the Divine nature — take on His loving nature.

“By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) …., and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature.”

We’re supposed to be fellowshipping with Jesus and His walk to the cross of death to self-life. Matt 16:24 says that we’re to deny ourselves take up our cross and follow Him.

“If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].”

Our identification and fellowship and place of belonging is supposed to be WITH HIM.

To seek to bless and comfort ourselves in our fleshly sin and the resulting bad fruit in our lives (broken relationships, bad attitudes, resistance and ill will) so that we can have fellowship for ourselves and comfort through excuses is both unloving to those we are doing it with and a rejection of what Jesus is calling us to do. It has nothing to do with compassion, grace and love.

How much better to say, as many who are embracing the Lifestyle of Learning™ message say, “I can relate to you because I was a sinner too. I repented, and I’ve cooperated with the Lord and He has changed my life! Won’t you come to Jesus and repent too?”

It is the fleshly desire to fellowship in sin that leads people to embrace the doctrinal error that you can never really stop sinning, you’re just supposed to keep trying, while using Romans 7 to support their ideas.  Paul in Romans 7 was explaining what his life was like when he was walking in his flesh. He goes on to say in Romans 8 how God rescued Him from that life of flesh by making available a walk of love and a clean conscience by obeying the Holy Spirit in freedom from the grip of sin to live the overcoming life—a life that is free from the condemnation that automatically follows a life of self-serving and unloving relational behaviors.

The Lord is calling us to a life that is free from the need to comfort ourselves with fellowship in the flesh by using other people’s sin as an excuse for our own, while rejecting the fellowship of the cross-life that Jesus paid so dearly to offer us.

True loving compassion is developed in us when we have become obedient and loving enough (unselfish enough) to see others trapped in their sin, and we’re willing to risk (sacrifice) anything we would want to gain from them (their approval, their high opinion of us, their connection with us) in order to lovingly tell them the truth about our own deliverance from sin and help them see their way to that same repentance and freedom.

I encourage you to read Marilyn Howshall’s ebook Empowering the Transfer of Moral Values and Faith to learn more about the overcoming life the Lord is calling you to. Lifestyle of Learning’s™ Making Heart-Level Connections mini coaching programs will give you specific guidance how to cooperate with the Lord toward the overcoming life.

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Against the Current

I’ve been seeing some of the news coverage lately about the flooding in Colorado. I’m saddened to see the loss and destruction and the loss of life. They’ve been showing video of the rushing currents and people and vehicles trying to cross them. The current causes the normal activity of moving forward to be full of difficulty and struggle. Each step has to be intentional and the fear of falling down or getting swept away where they don’t want to go is greatly increased.

I was thinking about how those muddy rushing currents are similar to the pressure that many of you are feeling especially at this time of year toward the sort of schooling you’re observing around you in the homeschool community. Some of you are feeling pressured to get involved in co-ops or other peer group activities in order to join your friends in what they’re doing with their children. Some of you are feeling pressured to run back to curriculum and teacher-driven assignments because that’s what everyone else is doing and recommending. Some of you are feeling pressured to give up the idea of homeschooling all together. This is your first year, and it seemed like a really good idea from the Lord over the summer, but now some around you are pressuring you that it’s not really a good idea after all.

All this pressure is like the rushing current, making it difficult to take steps forward and increasing your fear of getting swept away or going in the wrong direction. Just like with a rushing water current, there are a couple of things you can do to make the going better and easier.

The best thing you can do is stay out of the current! As you’re becoming familiar with the Lifestyle of Learning™ Approach to whole-life education, it is wise for you to be careful and conscious of how you allow yourself to be influenced. Consider where the current is and equally consider avoiding it. Is it within a group of people you’re in regular association with? Where and when do they associate? Do you really need to be there? Is it a social media connection you have? Do you really need to keep reading it and observing the influence that is like a strong current to you, making you feel shaky and unsure?

The next best thing is to know exactly where you’re going. If you must cross a current, keeping your eyes on where you are going helps to make your steps stronger and more sturdy. When you look down at the current, you actually feel like you’re going the wrong way and you get disoriented. Making sure to renew your mind toward natural learning and loving family relationships will help you to be more sure of where you are headed and why you began to head that way. Then the disorientation and confusion of the current’s direction will be less.

The “Bringing It Home” series ebooks and audios are great for giving you very practical help for strategically moving forward so that you know where you’re going and have positive actions to focus on. Especially helpful from these books is Develop Vision for Your Family, and Come Home from Homeschool. We have a free article for you about strategically preparing your family, home, and environment for maximum learning. You can register for the article here.

You might want to consider getting into a current that is going the direction you’re wanting to go. I’m thinking of the way my kids used to jump into the river and ride the current down. They always got there faster and with less effort than those of us who walked down the trail beside the river. The current boosted them along so they moved even faster with less effort. Lifestyle of Learning™ Association of Christian Home Educators (LOLACHE) membership will put you right in the current toward Holy-Spirit-led whole-life education. The many resources available to you as a member will encourage you, and the company of so many moms headed that same direction will be a boost to you instead of struggle you may be experiencing from working against the current of just-like-school methods and the peer focused culture.

I pray for you that you will be able to resist the pull of the just-like-school systems, and press on toward combining growth with learning for whole-life education!

Blessings,

~ Barbie Poling

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More Than You Can Imagine

Welcome to our new LOLACHE members! We’re so glad to have you join us and look forward to ‘seeing’ you in the forums.

Marilyn and I have been talking about the wonderful growth and testimonies we’ve been reading and hearing about. We’re so glad that so many are finding freedom and hope in their home education and in the beginnings of reconciliation in their families!

We thought you would like to see some of the encouraging testimony crossing our desks lately.

“I am so grateful to be able to raise my younger children with Lifestyle of Learning™ principles! God has done much to restore my relationship with my older daughters who have moved out, even though there is still much to do. But with my younger ones still at home, I am listening to my conscience to connect with each one of them. During the course of this last year, they all testify to how different I am and how happy they feel, knowing I no longer get angry with them and put false expectations on them. I’m showing them each the specific and lavish expressions of love that they need. I am affirming their own individual learning processes so they all love learning. I teach them how to relate to each other with kindness and forgiveness as I’m learning from the Love’s Actions Seminars. Now they play, work and spend time together beautifully!” E.B.

“Today I have been reading Seasons, Gods Time-Design. It is such a gift to my spirit and such a freeing realization to read: 

‘Within a new framework of four seasons, rather than 12 grades, there is freedom to operate and simplicity by shedding a load of superfluous subject matter. It is absolutely essential to acquire a seasonal mindset that will free us to de-school our lives while at the same time give us the needed framework of reference in which to work.’

Thank you, Lord, and thank you, Marilyn Howshall, for this realization and the removal of my burden! Removing the grade levels and allowing the healing of the brokenness caused by years in the system while allowing true discipleship is so freeing! Focusing on our relationships and allowing the time needed to learn how to relate rightly with one another while in the midst of natural learning is truly exciting! I feel so blessed to have found Lifestyle of Learning™!!” R. S.

“I am really enjoying the mini-coaching programs.  Thank you for the time you  put into them, Marilyn and Barbie.”  E.G.

“I surely have enjoyed all the LOLACHE materials!  As many ladies say, I just cant get enough of them. We have so much to learn and un-learn!” L.G.

“I loved these free Action Steps for Beginners audios! They’ve answered so many questions I had rolling inside of me! I am released from a lot of confusion and guilt over what not to do and what to do. The discomfort of creating a void by letting go of schoolish activity is gone, because of the description of how to more naturally fill it. I’m encouraged to know I started down the right road in many specific ways and have more I can do! Thanks!” S. M.

I want to encourage you moms that change can happen rapidly in your family too, if you make the time to renew your mind and work on your lifestyle. Keep cooperating with the Lord in making changes and improving your relationships!

The Lord has so much in mind for you and your family! Press into Him and you will see the miraculous works of His hands unfold in your life. That makes me think of this passage and our prayer for you:

“My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!  ~ Ephesians 3:14-20 The Message

Blessings!
~ Barbie Poling

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