Relationships, real meaningful relationships.
I teach my children that the only thing we can take with us into eternity is relationships. Nothing else really matters. Of course, the most important relationship we can have is with our Lord, Saviour, Master, Creator, and King. The relationship we have with Yehovah through His Son Yeshua is the reason we were created. It should be our first and most important priority every moment of every day.
That being said, what a wonderful creator He is. He not only created us to be in a relationship with Him but also with others. He designed us to need each other, desire each other, and care for each other.
But building healthy and meaningful relationships is not always easy. Sometimes we are blessed to have a family that is close and intertwined in a loving way, like me. But so many do not have that. So many have the exact opposite and have no example in their personal lives of how to live, love, and truly endure with one another.
I get asked often how I found a fellowship of like-minded believers.
Let me tell you the story of how Yehovah God brought our family together with the Elliott family, and what grew out of this relationship.
Sometime around the year 2009, God began speaking to my heart about changing the way I was teaching my children. Over and over He would say I want the Bible to be your only textbook. This idea was frightening to me. Honestly, I did not know my Bible well enough to even consider this. I had been homeschooling for about 10 years and every year my children seemed to be smarter than me. I could barely keep ahead of them (often I didn’t). So, how would I possibly be able to if I was going to have to study out the Bible and create lessons for every subject before I could even teach these little smarty pants? They would surely realize mom has no idea what she is doing.
But God continued to speak to me, make the Bible your textbook.
So, one day I googled, “making the Bible the foundation of homeschooling.” The very first thing that came up was a website called, “Foundations Press.” It was a very simple website with just a few homeschooling materials for sale. I liked it because it was so simple to read and understand the materials. There was a small sample lesson. I ordered the first Bible book and decided to use it to make lesson plans for using the Bible as our only textbook. As I began to write my lesson plans from this curriculum, I sent an email to the author, Anne Elliott. I told her that I love the simple and clear method of her lessons, and I think I even told her that I was using it to write my children’s lessons. Soon, she told me she was also writing more subjects and would I consider testing her materials. I said of course. I mean I was getting free Bible solid lesson plans, of course, I would be a test family. It was a no-brainer.
As time went on, Anne and I began emailing often discussing our schooling, our lives, our diets, our understanding of scripture. It turned out that we were at a very similar place in our walk with Yehovah God. People were influencing our understanding of scripture, our understanding of God, and we were being called to really dig deep into the Word to fully understand how God wanted us to relate to Him, to others, how God wanted us to truly live.
As our relationship with one another grew, I began to hear Yehovah say, I am binding you to Anne Elliott. Your families, I will bind together. As I prayed for Anne Elliott daily, He would continue to speak this word over and over. “I will bind you together.”
What do you mean, Lord? How? I wondered will one of our children marry? (As of yet this has not happened, nor do any of our children appear to be planning to marry. Not that this momma would cry over such a thing. oops, did I type that out loud?) Back to the topic at hand. I wondered when and how this binding would come to be.
Anne and I continued to grow closer through email and shared intimate details of our lives with each other. Anne’s husband, Kraig resigned from his position as a pastor and they would need to move. I prayed and I wondered would this be the time of binding, would they move near us. But no that was not where Yehovah lead them to move. Then my husband took a new position in 2011 and we were moving to Pennsylvania. I could not help but wonder would God move the Elliott’s to Pennsylvania too? But no, in fact, after only a year, we moved back to Michigan.
When we arrived back in Michigan we knew that we needed like minded fellowship, but we had not been able to find anyone else that we connected with and felt at home with. So, we began skyping with the Elliott’s weekly for encouragement and support. Then one day Jeremy said, hey let’s go visit the Elliott’s. So we invited ourselves to their house, and in a blizzard in the winter of 2014, we showed up to their home in the middle of the night. We spent a wonderful two days with them, and it was as if we had been friends for a life time.
God did an amazing thing in the Elliott’s life and they became the writers and sellers of Homeschooling Torah. This was and is huge. It changed their lives, our lives, and many other families lives. As of today, there is no other homeschool curriculum like it. It is written with the Torah Observant Christian in mind and it allows a student to learn all academic subjects with the Bible as their textbook. There is nothing else on the market like it.
This change in the Elliott’s lives, changed their family focus. People began reaching out to them from all over the country, all over the world. They felt called to minister to these people. They decided to travel and reach out to these families. So, in the summer of 2014, the Elliott’s traveled to Michigan to start their cross-country tour. Their first stop was our home. They came not just to see us, but they had many contacts here in the greater Lansing area. They stayed in our home for several weeks and encouraged us and others in hours and hours of pouring over the scriptures together. When they left weeks later and headed to Pennsylvania is was as if part of our family left.
I cried and prayed and asked Yehovah what is the binding? You spoke of binding us together. My heart is bound up in theirs now. What is it you are doing in all this? As I prayed, one day Anne called me. This was unusual Anne never calls. Text, email, messages, but no calls. So, for her to be calling was a big deal. After a minute or so, she asks, “how would you feel if we come back to Michigan and together start a congregation?”
HOW WOULD I FEEL? ARE YOU KIDDING? IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?
Yes, yes, yes, please come back. I could not believe it. I actually hung up the phone and laughed out loud. Yehovah you are so funny.
The Elliott family returned to Michigan and our families along with others began meeting together on Sabbath. It isn’t always perfect. We have had many hard lessons to learn together. We don’t always all agree, but Yehovah has bound us together.
He has brought others to join with us in like-minded faith. We have joys, we have sorrows, but we are blessed to be together on this journey. Traveling side by side.
Yehovah brought us together. Even when there have been times of disagreement among us, He has continued to bind us together in love.
It is a blessed thing to have eternal relationships. It is my hope and prayer that all who seek Him in Spirit and Truth will know His fellowship.