I grew up a nature-lover, something I can thank my parents for instilling in me from a young age. Although I went to church school, I spent a lot of time outdoors after school, on weekends, and all summer.
Being outside was just a way of life, a way to relax and refresh, and a place where many childhood adventures were born.
It’s something I want my own children to cherish, not just because I love it, but because our Creator has given us such a gift to be able to know Him and hear His voice through His beautiful works of nature.
In my last post, I talked about ways to help our children become nature-lovers, but the best way by far is to lead them by example.
Be a nature-lover yourself!
It's like when you're on an airplane and the flight attendant tells you that in case of emergency, put on your own oxygen mask first. Then help your child get his or hers on.
We have to work on ourselves, learn how to connect to the "oxygen" of God's love through nature, and then we can better help our children. If you’re not into nature by default, or if you want to improve your connection to God through nature, here are a few ideas that can help.
Put on armor for the day
Begin each day with worship time and Bible study. Only if I’m connected with God can I have on my armor for spiritual warfare and be controlled by the Holy Spirit, so I can effectively lead the hearts of my children to Him. This is vital.
See this post (click) for specific suggestions and a Bible study plan how to have a deeply connected worship time with God.
Take time alone with God out in His nature
Each morning after Bible study time I head outside to the woods for a private nature walk with God.
During this time I pray, sing, actively seek answers to prayer requests from my Bible study time, and ask God to show me lessons from nature that I can share with my family and with others. I’ve not had a walk yet that I didn’t come back with a lesson when asking God to teach me, and then taking time to listen to His answer.
Take care of physical needs
If we are going to be able to discern God’s voice and see the lessons he has for us, we must take care of our bodies.
I begin my day with two glasses of water. It’s refreshing and cleanses me after a night’s rest.
Following the natural laws of health is extremely important in being able to clearly hear God’s voice in nature. The healthier our bodies are, the less encumbered the mind will be to discern God’s lessons in nature.
Ditch convenience in favor of creating a movement and outdoor activity (aka outdoor manual labor).
When our washing machine quit working, we did just that out of necessity, but guess what — we decided not to replace our washer right away because we learned we can handle the work, and I actually find it to be rewarding and enjoyable.
It takes my thoughts to Bible times and about what they might have done back then without our “necessities” of today. It’s a fun adventure to try doing new things by hand once in awhile even if you don’t get rid of your conveniences completely.
Learn about nature. Learn with the kids about the amazing creatures God has made. Study it, read stories, experience it. If you’re not a nature-lover, focus on the cute, cuddly, and beautiful, and skip the creepy and crawly for now.
Be amazed by the beauty God has made and how He did that just for us. I try to observe things in nature like this nasturtium (click), and look up more information so I can better understand the lesson God might be trying to teach us to share it with my children.
Nature really is a love letter to humankind. I love reading it over and over!
Keep it simple
We don’t have to plan a fancy craft or activity to learn from nature. Most of the time I just prepare by having a general theme for the week, and pray for God to give me wisdom to see what He is trying to teach us.
If you’re up for a craft, activity, treasure hunt, nature journaling, or other ideas, go for it!
But, if you’re not up for those things, don’t let it keep you from getting outside and enjoying Creation just for the simple joy of being in it.
Ask God to grow your love for nature
God desires us to enjoy His gift of nature and come close to Him through this powerful lesson book. If we don’t love it, are allergic to it, are uncomfortable in it, or there is any other hindrance, we can ask God to help us get over these things for His sake.
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us,” 1 John 5:14.
Another year is about to close, and here we are about to have a fresh new start for the year to come.
I pray for each of our homeschools that we have the courage and motivation to lead by example through following the example of our own eternal Leader. What a blessing to have not only His written Word, but the book of nature to inspire us!
May you be blessed with a renewal of mind and refreshing inspiration for a new year.