How many children do you have? I’m a mom of six children.
How old is your child? My children range in age from thirty-two to sixteen.
Are you a mom of boys, girls, or both? I have four boys and two girls. I feel exceedingly grateful for the privilege to be a mother.
How have I (and how do I) continue to equip my children to demonstrate boldness and bravery in the face of trials, uncertainty, and spiritual warfare?
What inspired your decision to homeschool, and what was that like?
As a young person, I imagined myself as a working mother of two. I was at that point in 1996.
I’d grown up as a timid person, but after being saved at age eleven, I started learning to grow spiritually.
I married my husband after we dated during high school and college. By 1990 I was an elementary school teacher with two young sons. I had been praying, though, about being in God’s will with my family planning, and the Lord dealt with me about homeschooling.
The only person we knew that was involved with homeschooling was my husband’s aunt and we rarely saw her. It felt like a big change of plans for us, but we knew it was the right choice. My oldest son was in first grade and had been in a classroom where one child (who was labeled as having a phobia of school) interrupted the learning of the whole classroom that year. My son also had to deal with a classmate that kept bullying him until the teacher told him to just fight back since my son was actually stronger than the aggressive boy.
So, with the Lord’s leading we began homeschooling in his second grade school year. My younger son began kindergarten. My heart was blessed and our decision confirmed when oldest came to me during that first year, which was a big adjustment for us, and thanked me for teaching him.
I immediately joined the state homeschool organization which put me in contact with a local group of homeschool families. In the early years I was very active in that group. We had moms-night-out meetings, group park days, 4-H clubs, and participated in many other group activities such as chorus, Spanish class, and organized group field trips and yearly standardized testing. It helped me to have those choices. I did not always do every activity and even had to reign myself in when I overextended myself and the children with extra-curricular events.
Then, one day after we had gotten settled into our homeschool routine, I felt the Lord touching my heart about being open to having more children. My husband came home from work not long after that and said he needed to discuss something. The Lord had been dealing with him also about having more children. Thankfully, we were obedient and the Lord blessed us with four more children. The last was born in Brazil after we were called to the mission field as church planters. So, he after he became a born again Christian, he has three places to call home: America, Brazil, and Heaven!
When we were living in Brazil, we were not around any other homeschool families and did not have access to libraries and group events. Our old friends often sent us packages in the mail, but we were pretty much on our own since homeschooling in Brazil was illegal for the residents. It was another change that we learned from and were able find ways to enjoy. We had many ups and downs and many challenges but never looked back. I believe those early days gave us the freedom to learn and grow in ways that prepared us to move to the mission field later on. God does have a special way of preparing us, as mothers, and our families for what lies ahead.
What is 1 nugget of advice you’d give to other moms?
My advice to other mothers is in the truth of what I understood on the day in 2000 when my husband, who had been called to preach when he was twenty-seven, came in after work one afternoon to explain that he felt we were supposed to be foreign missionaries in Brazil. God has always protected our family and supplied for our needs. No matter what you are facing or what you need to do, God will sustain you and be the recall along the way. You can trust Him and do not need to live in fear or doubt.
He didn’t even remember where it was located, so I got our globe out and showed him. I said that wherever we were as long as we were in God’s will then we would be ok. That day the five children played outside without coming in for a Band-Aid for several hours! Now, that is almost a miracle in our house. My advice to other mothers is in the truth of what I understood on that day. God has always protected our family and supplied for our needs. No matter what you are facing or what you need to do, God will sustain you and be the recall along the way. You can trust Him and do not need to live in fear or doubt.
Share a miracle!
In 2006 I did experience a real miracle.
Three different dermatologists inspected a suspicious mole on my left cheek and told me that I should just keep a watch on it. My husband insisted on a biopsy. The dermatologist apologized two days later when he called to inform me that I had melanoma.
I was sent to have a sentinel node biopsy and incision to remove the affected tissue. Before going to the hospital at a revival meeting that my husband was officiating, a dear pastor friend prayed over me with others in his church.
After the operation, the oncologist could not believe that the stage four melanoma was completely gone. I know that the Lord answered prayers for my healing. I had prayed to live long enough for my one year old to remember me. He is sixteen years old now.
I am so grateful for each day and now I have enjoyed the blessing of being a grandmother to two precious grandchildren.
What is a life hack that all moms should know?
Let God have control. Don’t worry about what you cannot control, but pray about it. If you truly need something, trust that God will make a way. Pray boldly and step out in faith when answers arrive.
All along, I have felt that in their education and in their spiritual walk, that I wanted my children to learn to trust God and be obedient to His will.
I experimented with learning styles and found that each child has their own special personalities with different challenges and talents. I met with a group of other homeschool moms for support in our early years, and the biggest thing I took from that, was that when I was not able to teach certain things or meet needs that seemed too difficult for me, God would provide a way (or person) to meet those needs.
My life hack was taught to me by the dear friend who led the mom’s night out at our homeschool meetings in those early years. She taught me that when I felt insufficient or unworthy to teach something to my children that the Lord would provide in other ways. It works in education, in providing things that I cannot buy, in emotional support, and in so many ways.
He has put many special people in the paths of my children to meet needs such as providing musical instruments and instruction, letting them do internships, and demonstrating all kinds of specialized instruction that specifically built the skills that each of my children needed.
One child who struggled with a learning challenge in reading even has excelled in art enough to win awards and now reads well enough to participate in college level classes. She was at the point of giving up as a teenager, but kept praying and focused on daily Bible reading. God blessed and answered her prayers.
Several of my children won scholarships in college, and now three have graduated college and are working. Two are currently in college and the youngest is in high school. It was all God that met our needs. I give Him all the praise and glory. Sometimes when they were all young and full of energy, I wondered how I would get through the next day, but even when we moved to a country where we did not speak the language, I have always been able to lay my head on my pillow at night and rest in knowing that I have a friend that leads and directs our paths. Fully trusting in God as your helper and personal Savior is what I feel is the best way to teach your child to be brave and bold.
My oldest is a Computer Engineer. The second son is a Bi-vocational Pastor. The oldest daughter is in graduate school and has spent her first year as a teacher for exceptional children during a Pandemic. The youngest daughter is an art student. My third son is studying Civil Engineering, and the last is in high school. He plans in attending Bible college.
We faced many extreme conditions in Brazil as those children helped in the ministry, yet they were able to thrive and be a blessing to others in their own special ways which blesses my heart beyond measure! When your own children can pray for themselves there is joy in a mother’s heart. That gives a reason to rejoice boldly! The Lord is worthy of our praise because when we are weak or feel insufficient, He is our strength and song!
That has been our motto in mission work too, like George Mueller. “We should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried. The more I am in a position to be tried in faith, the more I will have the opportunity of seeing God’s help and deliverance. Every fresh instance in which He helps and delivers me will increase my faith. The believer should not shrink from situations, positions, or circumstances in which his faith may be tried, but he should cheerfully embrace them as opportunities to see the hand of God stretched out in help and deliverance. Thus his faith will be strengthened.”
Speak life to the mom who is weary and burned out.
If you are feeling tired or overwhelmed, do not feel guilty about taking care of your health. Make time to rest. Let your children be helpers. We assigned special chores to each child which they learned to take responsibility for.
Over the years there have been times when I had health problems and even had to be on bed rest after surgeries. The best thing to do is to use that time to stay closer to the Lord and allow your family to work together as a team. We memorized scriptures during their younger years that I believe helped them to grow strong in the Lord and to be brave and bold in challenging times.
No matter what we face in life as mothers, there is great comfort and joy in knowing the reality of Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. I am indebted, too, to the many kind, generous, and God-fearing women who have been role models to me. If you do not have such role models, then I suggest you pray for the Lord to send someone into your life to fill that role, and be willing to share your experiences with other young mothers. We live and learn together by sharing and caring about those around us. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Be bold. Be brave. Be willing to learn and teach. Everyone has something to contribute if you walk with the Lord and let Him direct your steps. Don’t feel like you have to do it all on your own. If you have to reschedule, change your approach, try new methods or just rest and re-evaluate things, allow yourself permission to adjust as much as necessary. During certain phases of life like when I moved to Brazil and discovered needed medication for a hypothyroid disorder and when I had cancer, I had to rest in order to recover. Looking back, God used that time to teach my family to be brave and bold in ways were unusual, but we had to give all the control and all the glory to Him. He will do the same for you.
If you are struggling, find time to read the scriptures, pray, talk to a Christian friend or family member who understands you. Take time to do things that are calming or relaxing to you, and allow for time to enjoy the simple pleasures in your days such as a walk outdoors or whatever brings you joy. Then, you will be better able to pass it on to others.
Most importantly, don’t fall into the comparison trap. God gave your children to you because they need you. Have bold and brave confidence that you are special and uniquely created! May the Lord richly bless your life as a mother and as a family.
Jeana Rayfield – Writer, Missionary & Teacher
I am all the more grateful for the women (like Jeana) who have chosen to join me on this journey of transparency and support – ESPECIALLY in addition to the life adjustments and loads we all experienced in the midst of the last year! I can’t thank you enough.
Connection and support are vital to our growth and survival as humans and as Women. I have met many Mothers (myself included at one point) who are going through the trenches and carrying loads solo. This has often led to depression, loneliness, isolation, and such guilt and shame in “not measuring up”.
My prayer is that the women who lay eyes on “Bold & Brave”, will be encouraged, emboldened, and all the more hopeful.
For the Moms,
This series is for the Moms! In honor of Mothers, this May will be chock-full of real stories of Motherhood from Moms of all ages, in all stages. Join me as I feature different Moms (on a weekly basis) who will so graciously be sharing their life in words.
If you missed the previous feature, catch it here! Stay tuned for more stories of triumph, valleys, and faith.