Saturday, March 12, 2011

Joy in the Journey by Lori Hatcher

Reviewed by Janey Goude

Lori Hatcher knows where homeschooling parents live. 

After reading devotions in her book, Joy in the Journey, I’m convinced she’s spent a week in my home. The raw realities she shares indicate she came during one of my worst weeks: 
  • the week I wished the yellow bus would pull up to my driveway and whisk away my frustrations, 
  • the week I didn’t crack open my Bible, 
  • the week before we were supposed to start school and I still hadn’t picked out any of our curriculum because I was too overwhelmed and exhausted. 

How I wished I’d had Lori’s book then, to come alongside and encourage me. But Lori hadn’t published her book yet, because she was too busy living those weeks herself.

Lori’s a veteran homeschooler of two daughters. She’s faced the same homeschooling challenges and frustrations as her readers, and she knows that yellow bus won’t do us any good. 

The transparency in her writing tells me she knows what it feels like to be desperate for that escape, and she understands the guilt that accompanies that desire. She’s been there and found a way out. 

Now, she’s come to find us in our lowest places and guide us to the place of joy we all long for, that place where laughter and love effervesce from every corner of our homes.

Creatively, Lori shares insights that point her readers back to the heart of homeschooling. She knows that simply reading a good story isn’t enough, so she provides thought-provoking application questions to take us deeper. 

Then, being true to her homeschooling roots, she gives her readers an assignment: a practical action step that allows us to put feet to our faith. 

Just in case her readers are in one of those life seasons where there isn’t even time to shower (she’s been there, too!) and that devotion is the only piece of quiet time they can manage, she ends with a prayer.

With each devotion Lori’s readers feel a little weight lift. Day by day, she reminds us that we aren’t traveling this journey alone. God is the One writing the stories of our children’s lives, and He has given us the sheer privilege of discipling them. 

That privilege feels like a burden when we try to accomplish it in our own strength. As one who has walked in those cumbersome shoes, Lori gently refocuses her readers’ attention on Jesus, our Refuge and our Strength.

Joy in the Journey will refresh your spirit and breathe new life into your homeschooling expedition.

Janey Goude has homeschooled her four children for 11 years. She lives in Lexington, SC

Lori Hatcher is a 17-year homeschooling veteran and mother of two young adult daughters. For ten years she led the 120-family Forest Acres Christian Educators support group in Columbia, South Carolina, retiring last year after the graduation of her youngest daughter. In 2005, the delight-directed atmosphere of their homeschool inspired her husband David to return to school to complete his college degree, and Lori jokes about homeschooling a middle-school, high-school, and a college student all at the same time. She has a passion to encourage women to “be not weary in doing good, for you will reap a harvest if you do not faint” (Gal. 6:9). For more encouragement, visit her blog, Be Not Weary.

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