Monday, 25 February 2013

Shaky Hands

A guest post by Rose H.

I stood up in front of the class and signed Born For This. I made some mistakes, due in large part to the fact that I was really nervous. Normally I'm more confident in front of people. That day my hands were shaking through signs. By the end of my song, I knew I hadn't done a great job.

365.28 by Dyanna Hyde
365.28, a photo by Dyanna Hyde on Flickr.
That day I went home depressed. Was this really going to work? Come on, I've been taking ASL for four months and I still get nervous when I sign. It doesn't matter whether I'm talking to my teacher or an actual deaf person, I tense up and my hands shake. I get scared I'm going to sign something wrong or that they won't understand.

I tried to sort out my conflicting emotions. I wanted to do well, but at the same time I felt like I was failing. It was then that I felt God's gentle whisper (some through my parents and friends), He spoke to my heart. He asked me the why I had taken the class. My mind wondered back to the reasons. I wanted to communicate with the deaf and learn what I thought was one of the most beautiful languages in the world. It hit me that I was doing that. I had been able to communicate with some deaf people. I was learning ASL.

Then I came to another conclusion. God can use shaky hands. For God it doesn't matter that I have poor self-confidence or that I shake while I sign. He just cares that about my heart to reach out to others.
When you think about it, God has never chosen the best qualified. He has always chosen the people who were weak, forgotten by men, the broken-hearted, those with shaky hands.  When we are weak we show God's strength.

In the months since this realization, God has done some amazing things in my life. Not only have I learned a ton of new ASL, but I'm also meeting more deaf people. I'm getting to know them as friends. And sometimes I still shake. Yet the more I let God work with these shaky hands the more people are blessed.

What about you? Are you weak? Broken-hearted? Struggling to make it through the day? 
No matter what you struggle with, God is there with you, ready to take your weakness and turn it into strength. Just trust Him and keep using what you have been given for Him. You'll be amazed at the results. 

My name is Rose H. I live with my amazing family tucked away the country in Texas where I enjoy a myriad of activities. I love singing praise to God, cross-stitching, crocheting, and card making, spending time with family and friends, listening to audio books and reading spiritual books, being out in nature, enjoying a long walk out in the woods behind our house, teaching at a local home school co-op, filmmaking, blogging and sharing my thoughts with others. 

God is at the center of all that I do. I could not live without Him. You can find out more about me from my blog or

Thursday, 21 February 2013

but i'm all by myself

I'm sure we've all experienced it at one time or another. I know I have--many times. All at once, for no apparent reason, it feels like this huge ocean has opened up around me and I'm all by myself. No matter how trivial the happening that prompted the feeling--it could be something as simple as a word misplaced, or a sudden reminder of the fact that I don't know what it's like to be in a classroom...and just that quick, I feel so horribly, desperately alone.

It might not even arise from the fact that I'm homeschooled or that I have a big family. It could just be that I'm a Christian and, just once, one of the people I know makes a comment that I know is wrong, or that is disparaging towards my faith...and boom, I'm outside the "circle" again. Feeling lonely is never quite comfortable. No matter who it's around, or if feeling left out isn't particularly a bad thing, it's not a nice feeling. It's a human thing, I suppose: we want to belong somewhere, to know that people like us. And when we feel as if they don't, as if we have no place in the world around us, it gets quite uncomfortable very quick.

There's a verse I teach to kids in the after-school programs I teach. Hebrews 13:5 is a promise from God to those who have believed in Him. "He has said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Though the world is crazy, though the people around us may not be welcoming, though we may feel lonely, we have a friend who is greater than any of them, who sticks closer than a family member, who will never leave us, whose arms are always open to receive us. You are never alone, you are never forgotten. He is always with you.

Monday, 18 February 2013


Valentine's Day is one of the most lonely times of the year for me. As an extremely romantic person, I crave the excitement of receiving cute little cards or a pretty bouquet of roses. But, as a single girl with such high hopes, Valentine's Day becomes rather depressing. Have you been there? I know I'm not the only one who checks their inbox 7,000 times on Valentine's. :)
Last week, I was feeling lonely, boyfriend-less, and just in one of those moods where the only thing to soothe my soul was a good, hearty chat with my best buds. Bible study was exactly what I needed, and Jesus knew it too. Little did I know, he had prepared my friends' heart to share exactly what I needed to hear that night. A story that made this past Valentine's Day more exciting. This is the story that she shared. And I'll never forget it...

"When I was in college, I swore off boys because Jesus asked me to. In the back of my mind I still wanted to have that special person, but I knew He liked it just me and Him for a while. One evening, It was just me and Jesus, alone in my dorm. I was soaking in his presence and His joy filled my heart. I closed my eyes as He was talking to me - we talked about everything. As I sat there, an image jumped to my mind. It was a picture the most handsome, gorgeous man you've ever seen. Thinking it was my own imagination getting the better of me, I tried to shake it off and refocus, but my Jesus told me to wait and look closer. The man stood tall and handsome in a crisp, black tux. He stood ecstatic on my front porch, holding a dozen of the most beautiful roses you've ever seen. He looked right into my eyes, his beaming with overflowing love. At this point, I was thrilled, thinking that this was my future husband or something of the sort. I asked Him 'Who is this man?' And I'll never forget His reply 'That man is me. I wait for you every morning, holding the roses, waiting eagerly to see you. I stand at your door, eager to get just a glimpse of you, but longing so much to spend time with you. That man is me, and I LOVE YOU.'"

What a powerful story, right? When I heard it I couldn't stop squealing with girly giddy excitement (I even did a little happy dance). This was an exciting discovery, and I knew that Jesus wanted that for me too. So, who cares if that one boy likes us? We have the most dreamy perfect Man in the world, waiting to spend time with us every day. When we leave Valentine's Day feeling hurt or lonely, how much more hurt do you think our Savior is when we neglect Him? He is madly in love with us no matter what we do.

So, don't pass up the opportunity to take those dozen roses, every chance that you have, and let Jesus fill that longing we have for love. When He knows we are ready, the right man will come along, but no matter what, He will ALWAYS love us. He never gives up on us, He never fails us, and He'll never leave us #foreveralone.

We love because he first loved us. 
1 John 4:19 

...the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. 
Deuteronomy 31:6 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Winged Contentment

Yes, I am alone on Valentine's Night.

Literally, alone. I've got the place to myself. Just me, my laptop, and a steaming mug of chai spice tea.

February 14 is an excuse for a lot of things: giddy laughter, chocolate, hand-holding, candlelight, chocolate, self-pity, sad poetry, chocolate, and nasty little sugar hearts printed with trite phrases. I'd be prepared to see less of some things (except the chocolate), but one thing that I think we need to see more of (among singles and couples) is contentment.

This is something that I struggle with sometimes--who doesn't? Even the happily dating, betrothed, or wedded can have their share of pity parties.

What image does the word "contentment" bring up on the screen of your mind?

Maybe you see quiet diligence, working hard and successfully ignoring all the beautiful, but deceptive, luxuries of the world.

Maybe you see a spiritualist wacko doing a yoga pose and blissfully deluding himself into thinking the world is peachy keen.

Does that sound like a life with wings
Does that sound like the kind of life God means you to live?

What if "contentment" instead meant somebody who laughs into the face of loneliness, fear of rejection, unworthiness and grace-less-ness and sings boldly,

"God I trust you. I trust you with every ounce of blood and passion of my being that you will do abundantly more for me than I could ever imagine, and I seize with my hands and heart the magnificent blessings that you have prepared for me in this very second."

That's an attitude I could get behind. That's a brand of contentment that I could be a fan of.

Questions for comments: What is your idea of "contentment"? Is it positive or negative? Can you honestly say along with Paul, "I have learned the secret of being content"?

Monday, 11 February 2013

The Best of 2012

Wow, Altogether Separate has been going strong for over a year now! We owe it all to this amazing community of girls. We just love inspiring and encouraging you, and hope to do it for a long time to come.

I thought it would be fun to have a look at the ten most popular blog posts from 2012. They cover a wide range of subjects, from gratitude, to life purpose, to family, to waiting for marriage. Check some out and see if one of them speaks to you:

32 by Fidenaut
32, a photo by Fidenaut on Flickr.
10. Be the Sister (Abigail): This is a personal story, something that I have learned—am learning—and hope can be of some help to those of you with siblings.

9. Femininity - Duchess, Cowgirl, or something else? (Devin): Femininity.... This is a word that I find conjures up many images in a girl's head when she hears it.

8. A Random Taste of What Is To Come.... (Devin): Our topic for the next two weeks will be on friendship! This should be an awesome two weeks as the topic is an important part of our lives and has taught so many of us so many lessons.

7. November 2012 Featured Girl: Micaela Wood: Micaela is 18 and lives in Downeast Maine. She's a PK (pastor's kid), the oldest of four children, and a homeschool high school graduate.

6. December 2012 Featured Girl: Julia Erickson: Julia is an artist, writer, dreamer, dancer, and a girl who enjoys finding sparkle in every day.

5. Waiting For Marriage...or Not. (Abigail): I don't think that God is calling you to wait for marriage.

4. The Shocking Truth About Family (Abigail): What's one of the worst things about homeschooling? You have to spend all day with your family. What's one of the best things about homeschooling? You have to spend all day with your family.

Image credit GabrielaP93 on Flickr.
3. Meet Our New Bloggirl!:  Heyyo! I'm Mary Kate, and I cannot begin express how excited I am to start blogging on Altogether Separate! God has truly blessed me with this awesome opportunity.

2. Wherever the Cross Takes Me... (Olivia): As children, my friends' future careers changed on almost a weekly basis. Most of them still have no idea what they're ultimately going to do with their lives, and they rub their temples as they choose a major and pray for God's guidance on the road ahead.

1. One Thousand Gifts Giveaway: One Thousand Gifts is a New York Times Bestselling book written by Ann Voskamp. Its purpose? Daring you to live fully right where you are by giving thanks in all things. We answer some controversy about this book in another post.

Thank you for sticking with us through one amazing year!

Please leave topic suggestions in the comment section of this post. We need to hear from you!

Friday, 8 February 2013

A Daughter with some Vision

The point of this post is to light a fire in your belly.
Bored by ZapTheDingbat
Bored, a photo by ZapTheDingbat on Flickr.

Disclaimer: This isn't against stay-at-home daughters. In fact, I'm a stay-at-home daughter and mean to keep it that way.

I'm guessing you're a girl who's probably either in high school or not long graduated. Your life lies before you, full of opportunities and plenty of anxious questions--now what am I supposed to do? 

This definitely isn't unique to Christian homeschool girls. I've never met anyone who knew from birth exactly what they wanted to do with their lives. However, we have a unique worldview that will very possibly shunt us in the direction of stay-at-home daughterhood. As Titus 2 says, young women are "to be sensible, pure, workers at home...." So it makes sense that we would hang out at Mom and Dad's house until our knight in shining armor rides by, right? (More on that in my post, Waiting for Marriage...or Not.)

What does that look like for you? Learning to cook, sew, or write? Training for some career? Investing time in a ministry? These are good and worthy things, but there is one thing that we must aim at above all others:
"An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband." - 1 Corinthians 7:34
Now I know that you skimmed over that verse because you've read it approximately 539 times. Go back and read it again. Good. If you're an unmarried woman, you must be
  • concerned about the Lord's affairs,
  • devoted to the Lord in body,
  • and devoted to the Lord in spirit.
I know from personal experience and from observing friends that it is so easy to lapse into visionlessness while living at home. It's easy to live under your parents' roof, clean the house, make dinner, babysit, take sporadic French lessons, and forget that this is a time of preparation, searching, and pursuit.

Clear Vision. by kelsey_lovefusionphoto
Clear Vision., a photo by kelsey_lovefusionphoto on Flickr.
Imagine that you are getting married/moving out/starting a career/etc. in 6 months. 
Does that thought kick you into high gear? 

Kick it in now. Pursue God's vision for your life now. Get concerned about His affairs now. Get down on your knees and seek His face now.

Don't you dare settle for anything less than passionate devotion to the One who holds the thread of your life in His hands and loves you with a furious love. Don't you dare waste this valuable time of daughterhood by ignoring the hand He has laid on you.

How can you overcome inertia and pursue extreme devotion to Jesus Christ while living as a daughter at home? How will you begin today?

Monday, 4 February 2013

The Proverbs 31 Daughter

We are not yet wives. We are not yet mothers. We may not have homes of our own yet. But in this moment our Lord has called us to be daughters. Not just any daughters, but those who honor Him with their whole being.

Sometimes, it's hard being a daughter. We want to be free to rule our own lives; submission can seem like a cage. Sometimes, we may want to yell or talk back. Sometimes, it seems easier to leave your room a mess than to obey. Sometimes, we just want our own way. But that is not what God calls us to be.

Before we can become praiseworthy earthly daughters, we must learn to honor and obey our Heavenly Father. When we are good daughters in God's sight, we will become good daughters towards our parents as well.

Psalm 144:12 says "May...our daughters [become] like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace..." The corner pillars are what holds the walls together - in this case our families. God says that being a daughter is an extremely important role; the family would fall apart without its Godly daughters. We need to understand how important we are to our families. If we aren't Godly, we negatively influence others as well.

In Proverbs 31:30, the Lord says: "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." The first step in becoming Godly daughters is to lay aside our earthly desires (our obsessions) and get into God's Word daily. Spending time with our Heavenly Father is the best way to learn who He wants us to become.

As we go about our day, let's listen to the still small voice and rest in the arms of our Heavenly Father. When we honor Him, we are the daughters He called us to be.

"The King's daughter is all glorious within..." Psalm 45:13

Sunday, 3 February 2013


to a family whom He blessed
one young daughter

so they mold her
teach her true
she will be a one for You

her life is challenging
'tis true
but she loves and that love is true, too

without complaint
without regret
she serves with no thought for what she might get

holding up
not tearing down
ever guiding others to the Throne

a friendly greeting
a quiet prayer
helping hands joined together

a home she loves
a family dear
a God whose love is never 'mere'

God is her one
her only true friend
He is her king

through Him
she can be.

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