Marriage Matters – Building Strong Marriages and Families, with Rachael Carman

In her books How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? and How to Have a HEART for Your Kids, Rachael Carman challenges mothers to surrender their will and draw closer to their heavenly Father. She invites moms to join her in loving God passionately and worshiping him fully while sweeping up Cheerios, doing laundry, and planning dinner. You will be affirmed in your role as a mother as Rachael speaks of her struggles with perfectionism and impatience and shares her challenges, failures, and victories amid the ever-changing seasons of life. Her honesty will surprise you, and her humor will put you at ease.

Rachael is not only a respected author but is also a sought-after speaker. She has been a speaker in over thirty states and seven countries. She has been married to her husband, Davis, since 1986. They have seven kids with whom they love to laugh. Together, their life has been a roller-coaster ride, with God at the controls. Rachael enjoys playing in the dirt, eating dark chocolate, and walking on the beach. She and Davis are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries.

You can find Rachael online at www.RachaelCarman.com.

Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella, of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, recently sat down to talk with Rachael about why marriage matters, how to make it a priority, why it’s important to set a good example for your children, how to respond when things get hard (because that’s reality) and practical tips on how to have a successful and God honoring marriage. Backstage Pass members will get access to the extended portion of this episode with more tips on how to have a great marriage!

Enjoy their conversation.

Yvette Hampton:           Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton with my co-host, Aby Rinella, and we are back with another fantastic guest. Thank you so much for spending time with us today. It’s always such a blessing to know that you’re on the other end and that we get to spend a little part of your day with you. Many of you are familiar with our guest today, Rachael Carman. She’s a wise veteran, homeschool mom who both Aby and I highly respect and we’re thrilled to have her as a speaker for the upcoming Homegrown Generation Family Expo. Welcome, Rachael.

Rachael Carman:           Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m really honored to be with you in here.

Yvette Hampton:           Thank you, tell us briefly about you and your family.

Rachael Carman:           Okay. So I’ve been married to my man, it’ll be 33 years in December and we started out on this journey a long, long time ago together and we have seven children, which even now seems impossible. So we have two boys, two sons, and three daughters in the middle and then two sons at the end. I think it’s our 24th year of home education because next I have one more year and that will be 25 years. But we have five homeschool graduates, we have three college graduates and a fourth in this next May and one with his master’s degrees. So all to the glory of God no one is more surprised than I, and not because of my kids, just because of their mom. “O ye, of little faith.” That was me in the beginning of this whole journey.

Backstage Pass members can watch the video of our full interview with Rachael Carman, which includes over 20 minutes of bonus content. Bonus – Lifetime Backstage Pass members also get lifetime access to the 2020 Homegrown Generation Family Expo.

Yvette Hampton:           Well, it’s always an encouragement to hear from moms like yourself who have gone into this without the great confidence of I got this, I can do this and this is going to be amazing because very few moms feel that way. And so to hear you in this from the other end, just saying God works out all the details and in his fullness is so great. So…

Aby Rinella:                  Well, Rachael, I’m excited to have you here. I was able to hear you at the Homeschool Idaho Convention, last summer. My husband and I both heard you and it was powerful you bring a powerful story and just a great encouragement. And one of my favorite sessions of yours was the session that you did on marriage. And I think it’s so relevant today because marriage is under attack. The family is under attack and what God’s word has to say about marriage isn’t always a popular message that people want to hear. But it just was so encouraged. I just remember I walked out of that room and I could not believe the amount of women that were encouraged I mean just talking about. Wow. It was life-changing for a lot of marriages and it wasn’t just your opinion of marriage, but it was God’s word. And what does God say about marriage? And God’s word works, it’s designed to work. That’s why he gave it to us.

Aby Rinella:                  So, I’m so excited to take that message that I know just changed lives at my Homeschool Idaho Convention and just bring it to the masses through this podcast. So, you said 33 years you guys have been married?

Rachael Carman:           Yeah.

Aby Rinella:                  And every moment has been absolute wedded bliss, right? No difficulties?

Rachael Carman:           You’re funny. You need to take your show on the road. No, it hasn’t been that at all. And I don’t know if I shared this in Idaho so you might get some repeat stuff today, right? So I remember when some friends called to say that they were getting a divorce, which is heart-wrenching to receive that phone call. I’m sure both of you have received that phone call it’s not a phone call you want to ever receive and the person said they were getting a divorce and why. And he said to me, “But you know you wouldn’t understand because you just think each other are amazing and you all are just crazy about each other”. I can tell you this conversation happened 15 years ago. I can tell you where I was standing when I had this conversation. Because I said to this person on the phone. I said, “No, whoa, whoa, whoa. Look, we have been through our ups and downs.”

Rachael Carman:           So this would have been … We weren’t even married 20 years at this point. As we’ve been through our ups and downs and if it were not the fact that I made a covenant before the living God, I would have walked years ago and there was this… I was overcome and I said, “It was some force”, but I don’t think it’s right for any of us to look at anyone’s marriage. Anybody who’s been not married longer than 24 hours, should know it takes work. It’s work. And I think we insult each other when we just think anybody is as easy.

Rachael Carman:           I think it’s admirable those who have determined, especially in this disposable generation, to stay the course. Because that’s what it is, it’s not about we’ve had friends that got a divorce because they were no longer in love with each other. That’s not part of the equation according to the Bible, this was a promise I entered into a blood covenant with the holy God of the universe that said that I was committing my life to stay in this relationship, good or bad, up or down. I like it or not it wasn’t about my feelings. It was about a promise that I made. And that’s I really think you talk about circling back, we got to circle back. It’s not this marriage thing isn’t a feeling because that does not get you through the hard times. But a covenant does. And one of my big things about marriage is it’s really easy for us to think, it doesn’t matter if we don’t get who God is. Because when you get who God is there becomes a seriousness to the covenant made.

Rachael Carman:           Because of who you made the promise to when you make it to God, the almighty sovereign of the universe. You made a vow and so yeah, 33 years, ups and downs, lots of moves, good financial times, bad financial times, selling houses, houses that don’t sell, unemployment, sick children, death of parents and grandparents. It’s been like anybody else’s but we have determined to stay true to the vows that we made before God.

Aby Rinella:                  I love that. And not even the vows you made to each other, but the vows you made to God and I think that’s really where the difference comes in with a biblical marriage like you said, “Who did you make the promise to? And do you have a reverence for him?” And that is what carries through the hard times.

Rachael Carman:           It really does. Just like his word does not return void when we spend time with God and in his word, when we keep our word, which if you study God’s word is a pretty big deal. Keeping your word is a pretty big deal. We were just reading this morning in family devotions and the Sermon on the Mount. When Jesus told the masses, “Let your yes be yes, don’t go around having to swear”. And my son goes, ” Well, that didn’t make sense. You have to sign contracts.” I said, “No. But that’s not what it meant. It meant we need to be people of integrity such that when I say, ‘I’m going to do something’, people are like, ‘Oh, no. Rachael said she would do it. She will do it. You don’t need to get a signature. She will keep her word'”.

Rachael Carman:           That’s what we’re called to and that’s what marriage is. It’s about being men and women of integrity who stay true to the word that we gave. And we stand our ground and determine to… It’s about honoring God, right? We’ve all heard it and they say it. It takes hearing something 17 times before it soaks in. It takes more than that many times if you have teenagers, that was true, but it takes… In other words, it takes a multitude of times to hear something.

Rachael Carman:           And this generation has leaned into the idea that marriage is all about being happy.

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

Rachael Carman:           Then we have heard it, it’s really about that process of becoming Holy, Leviticus 19:2, “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy”. And so we’re supposed to… Sanctification is a very real part of this. I mean, marriage is a very real part of the sanctification process that God invites us to lean into, not a runaway from, right? Oh, what I mean when we all love to run away from sanctification, do it our own way, right? And our arrogance and our pride and our selfishness, but marriage is this beautiful context that God says, “Lean in and trust me, I’ve got something for you”.

Aby Rinella:                  Right.

Yvette Hampton:           I love that reminder of trusting him because it’s so hard and like you’re saying, the world is telling us, just do what makes you happy. You see it everywhere. You see it on tee shirts, you see it on signs, you see it on billboards, just do what makes you happy, do you, and that is not what the word of God says. And I was, as you were talking, I was actually thinking about the movie Fireproof with Kirk Cameron. And it’s such a fantastic movie because I think if we’re all realistic about our marriage, we all come to points in our marriage where we feel like we don’t love that person. We’re angry with them. And I mean that feeling may last for 10 minutes or it may last for 10 hours or 10 years. But I think we all feel that at times.

Yvette Hampton:           Like I just, I don’t like you. I don’t love you. I don’t want to be with you anymore. But if we rely on those feelings to make the decisions that are life-altering for us and our families, it’s not going to go well with us. And in that movie, Fireproof, he learns to fall in love with his wife all over again. And it’s such a fantastic and beautiful look at what God can do in a marriage. Because even though we don’t feel a certain way, it doesn’t mean that God can’t help us walk through that and heal our marriages. I mean, just like he can heal a wound that a cut on your leg, he can heal the wounds of marriage as well. And if we’re willing to be committed to what God has called us to do, then he can do that.

Yvette Hampton:           He is a powerful God. He’s the God of the universe and, he can do that. Why especially in our culture today, Rachael, why does marriage even matter? When you look at a lot of millennials, and I know there are a whole lot of them who just feel like, “Well, marriage doesn’t even matter. I don’t need a husband. I don’t need a wife. I’m doing just fine on my own. I’m pursuing my career. I don’t need a family”. Why does marriage even matter in light of God’s plan for our world?

Rachael Carman:           That’s such a great question that I think it’s a question that gets lost. And this me, me, me culture, right? There’s an assumption that it doesn’t matter that it is something that we should do away with. Let’s throw off the shackles of tradition. Let’s throw off the heavy weight of the way things have always been done instead of considering, well, why have they been done that way? Why don’t we dare to ask that question? And it’s a very important question. So, in the very beginning of the Bible, in the beginning, God created, we read through the Genesis account. There is the pronoun we used because we learn very early in scripture, the eternality of God that he established a beginning, right? He established time but he actually existed outside of time, established time with the rhythm of the seasons and all of that.

Rachael Carman:           But there’s a… We introduced early in scripture because we know that there’s this perfect unity within the Trinity between father, son and holy spirit. And it is that unity that is physically illustrated in our marriages, right? So, husband, wife and God, that’s the Trinitarian representation in a marriage are those three. And then the reason it matters, I believe is, God wants us to participate in fellowship with one another. He invites us. We were never made to do this by ourselves, which is in my opinion, simultaneously awesome and incredibly intimidating, right?

Rachael Carman:           Because it’s awesome because I don’t want to have to do this by myself. I think there are a few things worse than loneliness, which is really why I’m so committed to encouraging homeschool moms specifically because that loneliness can literally take you under when you feel like you’re all by yourself. And I want to just say here if you are a single homeschool mom and you’re longing to be in a marriage, I would just… I pray for you because it is a deep longing and I have friends that are single homeschool moms and that is a very difficult, and I’m so grateful that in scripture we’re told that God is the husband to those women who are doing it.

Rachael Carman:           And it’s not easy. It’s harder than doing it as a couple, but God is so good to be a faithful husband in those circumstances. So I wanted to make sure that it didn’t seem like I was unaware that is a very real part of the homeschooling demographic. But marriage matters because again, it’s a part of our sanctification and as we come together as husband and wife and we practice in that fellowship and we practice what we’re called to as followers of Christ, and that is death to self, right? We become more and more like in the likeness of God’s son. It’s a molding process. And when we start learning the beauty and the power of dying to ourselves, then we are better equipped and ready to really serve this others that God puts in our path.

Rachael Carman:           That’s what it means when it says so they were trying to trick Jesus and the lawyer I believe comes up and he says, “What’s the greatest commandment?” So it started out as 10, they expanded to 613 and now they’re trying to snag Jesus. Which one of the 613 is he going to say, because he can’t win this, right? Because in theory none of them are more important than the others. And so he goes 10, 613 and he goes to what two and he says, “Love the Lord your God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength”. And the second is like intuit, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Well, that scripture makes a pretty long list of scriptures that have been taken out of context to mean something that it didn’t mean. And so our culture wants that to mean that we need to love ourselves. This whole idea of self-love to the point that we’re neglecting others and we’re becoming selfish and we’re becoming thoughtless and inconsiderate is not at all.

Rachael Carman:           If you really want to love yourself, you will seek to become what God has planned for you to be, which means you’re dying to yourself. To love your neighbor means you’re dying to yourself. You love yourself enough to know that your plan for you is not anything on what God’s plan for you is. And so marriage gives us this opportunity to practice this fellowship, to practice dying to ourselves, practice this unity, forgiveness and grace and mercy, right? And it gives us an opportunity to practice intimacy. I mean you want to talk about… So marriage has been under fire for a while now. We’ve seen even among believers, I think it’s 50/50 now, tragically. But even now, I mean you’d have to be dead not to see the attack on sex, right? This beautiful intimate acts that God has given to one man and one woman in a monogamous relationship with each other in a covenant relationship as long as they both shall live is under fire.

Rachael Carman:           Because that intimacy represents the intimacy that is available to us, with the God of the universe. It’s a physical representation of the intimacy that God has in store for us and invites us into. So, of course, the enemy is attacking it. We ought not be shocked and surprised. He wants to attack that. He wants people to participate in relationships that are not God-honoring and to carry that shame and that embarrassment and he wants to destroy the beauty of God’s gift to us. So, it matters that we as believers stay true to the covenant that we’ve made, that we lean into the opportunities for sanctification, that God gives us in that context, that we learn what it means to forgive and to be kind and gracious and consider it. That we learn to die to ourselves and that we do indeed enjoy the intimacy that God has given us so that we can be allied to the nations.

Rachael Carman:           Because that is something that plays from the inside out, right? And it does, people know. We went out on a date because I’m a huge advocate for couples… Still dating. So we went out on a date and our waiter, he’s in his thirties and he’s like, “So what are you celebrating an anniversary?” And something my husband goes, “No, we’re actually celebrating that in a couple of months”. And he didn’t really care. He just wanted to know. He is so… “And what will it be? How many years have you been married?”. And Davis looked at him square in the eye and said, “On December the 20th, it will be 33 years”. I thought the guy was going to collapse. You know what that nowadays, a marriage that honors God is a huge witness and testament and, I double-dog dare everyone to live that out. Live a marriage that other people look at and go, “I want that”. I think we can… It’s a conversation starter.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah.

Aby Rinella:                  Right.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah. Such good reminders and I will say happy anniversary to my hubby because right around this… At the time this is going to air, we will actually be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.

Rachael Carman:           Oh, that is awesome!

Aby Rinella:                  That’s awesome.

Yvette Hampton:           Only by the grace of God.

Rachael Carman:           I understand.

Yvette Hampton:           Only by God’s grace have we been able to do that. And like you talked about earlier, it is only because we made that commitment to God in the beginning and we promised that we would never even say the word divorce. And, we’ve taken that covenant seriously and it at times has been really hard and just like you and just like everybody, we’ve been through hard times but, we go through them together and even in the midst of the trials and hardships that we have, God created us as a team and he brought us together as husband and wife and we’re committed to this no matter how hard it is.

Yvette Hampton:           And, so, yeah, by God’s grace, 25 years and happy anniversary to you guys. I mean, it’s just amazing to see that and we love that. We get to share that with others and not brag about it. Like we’re so great, but brag on God about that and say, “Look what God’s done”. Because truly it’s only by his grace that we have been able to stay married this long.

Yvette Hampton:           We are talking about why marriage matters. That was what we talked about in the first episode and just about our covenant that we make between not just us as husband and wife, but as us between our savior, the creator of the universe and how important that covenant is and how God will take all of these hardships and trials that we go through in marriage and use them for his glory. If we’re willing to commit to sticking with our marriages and trusting the Lord, he can and will heal any brokenness that we have because he is a God who loves us. He created marriage. He created it for his glory.

Yvette Hampton:           And so I want to continue on this conversation and I want to talk about how homeschool moms can make marriage a priority because that’s something that I know that I struggle with. We get so consumed with our kids and with homeschooling and in our responsibilities at home and laundry and dishes and doctor’s appointments and park dates and all of these things. And sometimes by the end of the day, it’s us and our husband, our kids are hopefully finally in bed. And then sometimes, I just… I’m so exhausted and I don’t even want to have a discussion because I’m just done, I’m spent.

Rachael Carman:           I love your honesty.

Yvette Hampton:           So how have you after 33 years of marriage… We talked about at the end of the last podcast that you and Davis have celebrated 33 years of marriage and Garritt and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage and you’ve got seven kids, Rachael. So you have had a whole lot more even than I have of little people pulling on you constantly. How have you found it possible to make your marriage a priority?

Rachael Carman:           Well, I think it really takes us… So I have a theory that I actually think is true and that is that it is very easy for us to just go through this journey at breakneck speed, trying to get it all done, throwing up a lot of dust, but really not accomplishing anything. And the reason why is because we don’t think that we can afford to take the time that we really at the end of the day, can’t afford not to take. And that is to establish a vision with objectives and goals for what we’re doing. It’s so easy to get caught up in just our lesson plan and I’m actually working on some stuff for my grandkids, right? So therefore and too, and I’ve been working on some stuff in concert with my son and daughter-in-law, putting some little activities together for little hands.

Rachael Carman:           It’s been lovely and I just been thinking back on when I had little hands here and like you’re saying how hard it was. But very early on, Davis and I were counseled by some really wise people to take a weekend and think what exactly were we trying to achieve? Was it really just reading, writing and arithmetic? That’s not a bad objective and goal. But was that all that we were trying to do? Are we just trying to get kids who would be accepted into Ivy League institutions where we just…What were we trying to do? And I think it’s easy for years to go by and we just keep thinking, “We’ll think about that later. We’ll think about that later”. And I gave the example of homeschooling because we’re homeschooled moms and I think a lot of us can relate to… You get 5, 6, 10, 12, 25 years in and you’re like, “Wait, what did we do?”

Rachael Carman:           But, it happens in our marriages too. And I think if we could step back and get a vision for the opportunity that we have. So, I would bet that most everyone wants their children to marry someone who is going to point them to God over and over. I think we would all want for our children, really good spouses who love the Lord, who are going to encourage our children that we have poured so much into, right? As homeschool moms, we pour an inordinate amount into our children and for all the glorious reasons and it’s wonderful and I love it. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done next to marriage, but I’m very grateful that we’ve done it, but if you step back long enough to get the opportunity that you have to have a massive influence on who your kids choose as their spouse… By the way, you interact with your spouse now, right?

Rachael Carman:           I can, when I’ve got little’s at my feet already begin to have a very loud voice. Not an obnoxious, not an obtuse, not an overbearing, not a manipulative, but a legitimate, authentic, gracious voice into my children as they began to look for a spouse as Davis and I interact on a daily basis. Because, we are either modeling for our kids something that they are going to long to have that they’re going to want or we’re modeling something that they’re like, “What was that? I don’t want that”. Right. And I mean everything in between, but I want to have the kind of relationship with him on a daily -basis that my kids, as they’re growing up and as they’re teenagers and graduating and getting out into the world, they’re thinking, “I want that”. And so I think it takes getting a vision because once you have a vision for the opportunity, right? Then it becomes a priority because then you’re like, “I want my kids to see an amazing marriage”. Not a perfect one. Our kids have seen us… I will confess, we are not yellers.

Rachael Carman:           So, I know that can be a hard thing for a lot of people. We’re just not, we neither one of us came from yelling families. So, our kids have not seen us have a knockdown drag-out, yell crashing. That’s not been part of our home life. But they have seen us upset with each other. They have seen us cold towards each other. They have seen us frustrated and they have seen us come together and they have seen us stick it out and they… Because it’s up close and personal in this journey is going right. So they’ve seen this marriage grow and ebb and flow and work itself out. But they’ve also seen it as a priority. We have had date nights when the kids were little and it was a big deal. I would get dressed up, right? Davis would get dressed up because back in the day, I mean good grief when we had at one point seven under 13. I think, yeah. I mean really it’s a fog.

Rachael Carman:           But even back then, I mean we prioritize going on a date and we would make a really big deal of it to the kids. This was our date night and sometimes Davis would go to the local grocery store and pick up a carnation and bring it to me. And it was a big deal. And the sitter came and… Everybody was a part of it and this, daddy is taking mommy on a date, and we would go out. I think your kids need to see that. If marriage is important to you and you want your children to have good marriages, then have one yourself. Prioritize it yourself. I’ve said for a long time, and this is not unique to me, but it is such a powerful truth that applies to a myriad of things. You cannot give what you do not have.

Rachael Carman:           So, if you don’t have a vision for your marriage, if your marriage is not a priority, then you can’t cast those two things on that I think you probably want for them, but you can’t pass it on. I mean, you’re setting them up to do what… I don’t know if this is true for the two of you, but it’s been hard to be a first-generation homeschooler. Our parents didn’t do this, right? So we were trying to figure this out. I don’t want my kids to like be a first-generation good marriage, right? I want them to go, “Oh, I remember when dad used to do this and I remember when they do this, I remember they would go on date night”. So, our oldest son is married and they have two grandkids. And so when we get to go see them in the great state of Idaho-

Aby Rinella:                  Thank you very much.

Rachael Carman:           Yeah. They live in Moscow.

Aby Rinella:                  Oh wow. They’re way North. That’s beautiful.

Rachael Carman:           Yeah. They’re way North. And he got his masters and so that’s why we were there. But when we would go and visit, we always made up for to watch the grandkids so they could go on a date. So we… That’s a gift, that’s a very cheap, inexpensive gift that we can give to them and we will continue to give to them. But if you want that for your kids, figure out a way to start doing it now and moving it out.

Aby Rinella:                  And honestly, I really think not that women need one more thing to fall on them, but I believe this falls on you moms because I don’t think there’s ever been a time where my husband hasn’t wanted alone time with me. There’s never been a time where he said, “No, I don’t have time. I have too much to do”. I usually see it as the homeschool moms who’s 170 lessons that they need to get done in one calendar year comes far before… That 170 lessons is at the expense of their marriages or their husbands. And so it’s usually us when the kids go to bed that say, “Well now I can do my color-coded lesson plans. Or now I can pre-read the book that I want my kids to read tomorrow”. And really I think moms need to know that this falls on you.

Aby Rinella:                  You need to be available to your husbands. And for years the minute, the kids went to bed, I sat down with my lesson plans and I started to realize, I am being unfaithful to my husband because I am married to these lesson plans. And when I surrendered that and honestly repented of that to the Lord and I said, “God, you know what, I’ve got one hour a day to get these lesson plans done. If I’m going to be spending the rest of the time with my husband, I need you to take this little fish, this one hour and make this work”. And when I put my husband before my lesson plans, when I put my husband before my meal plans, when I put my husband before my clean house, it’s amazing how God extended my day-to-day. It’s amazing how he took a little bit of time that I did have and extended that because I was seeking first the kingdom of God.

Aby Rinella:                  I was being obedient to God by putting my husband first. And I think we’re afraid to say, you know what when you are putting anything above God, it’s an idol. And when you are putting anything above your husband, even if it’s a worthy thing like lesson planning or… It’s not being faithful to your husband. And so ladies, we got to step it up in this area. We’ve got to be the wife of his youth that he fell in love with and know it’s not easy, but it’s worth it. It’s 110% worth it. And it’s amazing how everything else comes in to play, how God honors that when we make that choice in every other area of our life.

Aby Rinella:                  And I love how you said… I wrote down and I love how you said, “We need to make our marriages something that our kids want”. We beat them over the head with how important marriage is, we read the scriptures of how important marriage is. But if we’re battling each other every day, they’re going to walk away from it so fast. So I just love how you said, “We’re the living, breathing example of what God’s word says marriage is to be”.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah. That is-

Rachael Carman:           We have a whole generation of kids, and I’m talking across the United States, so not exclusively in Christian circles, but we have a whole generation of kids that have experienced the very real ramifications and reproductions, repercussions of coming from broken homes. And so it’s not even just to our kids, but to their friends. I remember a couple of Thanksgivings ago, I have some mantras that everyone should have things that this is a hill I’m going to die on. No one should not have a place to be on Thanksgiving day. Everybody is welcome. People should have, nobody should send it by themselves. Everyone is welcome. This is not my house, this is God’s house. I want people to feel welcome here. I remember a couple of Thanksgivings ago, my second son who went to art school.

Rachael Carman:           So yeah, it was as bad as you can imagine. Academically outstanding. He is a gifted artist but the liberalism and the promiscuity and every other blank you want to fill in was present. And this particular Thanksgiving, I remember he called and he said, “So mom, I have some friends I want to bring home”. I was like, “You know that’s fun. That’s great. Just let me know” and he goes, “I know, but I want to tell you”, all of them come from broken homes and we’re all… I’m always talking about, I just got off the phone with me or with dad or I’m looking forward to coming home. And they literally said, “Can we come and see? We’ve never seen it”. So I’m really telling you… And this is something that we also don’t understand the Genesis mandate renewed after the ark, renewed with Abraham to fill the world with the glory of God.

Rachael Carman:           That’s part of what we’re doing. It’s a huge part that we have grossly underestimated when we have growing, thriving, joyful marriages. We are participating in the mandate that God has given us to fill the earth with his glory because it’s only with his goodness and his grace abiding in and through us, that’s even possible. But there are other people, Aby, there are people watching you and your husband. There are people watching you and your husband… People you’ll never meet, right? When they see you on a date or they see you’re holding hands, those are all things that we get to say, “God’s way is a good way” and it’s good for us. You know this chasing after my selfish happiness only ends in emptiness.

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

Rachael Carman:           God’s way always brings more fullness and joy than any way we try to do it on our own.

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right. His plan is best. Rachael, we have just a few minutes left for this episode and then I would like to do an extended version of this one for backstage pass members, but in the last few minutes that we have for this one, can you speak to the hearts of those whose marriage is just under fire, they are not in a happy marriage for whatever reason. I mean there are a million reasons why marriages are unhappy. Sometimes it’s the husband, sometimes it’s the wife. Their marriage is falling apart all around us. How would you encourage those moms?

Rachael Carman:           Yeah. And that’s really a great question and it’s a question that I get often when I do this session. Stand by your man is what it’s generally called. First of all, don’t try to do this by yourself. I believe the first thing you do is you seek God and you spend time in prayer. I think the best way to get the spouse you want to have is to be the spouse that you want to have.

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

Rachael Carman:           So, I think the best thing you can do to improve your marriage is improve yourself and in terms of taking a self-inventory of where you are, how are you contributing? How are you dying to yourself? How are you serving? Are you available? I think Aby made a great point a minute ago when you said it’s not generally the man, but men don’t like to be turned down indefinitely. That’s one thing I learned from my husband that he has talked to our girls about when it comes to dating.

Rachael Carman:           He said, “Guys, don’t ask you out unless they think you’re going to say yes”. And so if you get asked out and it’s really a no, you need to be very kind and gracious and considerate because he probably didn’t ask. He would not have asked if he hadn’t thought you were actually going to say yes. So, my point in this is, I really do believe there comes a point where our guys aren’t asking us to snuggle on the sofa anymore and aren’t asking us to get away for the weekend anymore and aren’t… But that doesn’t mean nobody is. You know what I’m saying? I mean, if your husband is wanting to have time with you, we need to run with reckless abandon and do that. So the first thing, if your marriage is in trouble, take some time with God.

Rachael Carman:           Dare to pray the hard prayer. God, show me what I need to see in myself, in my own heart. Their prayers that God… I believe God answers all of our prayers. But I mean, boy, that’s one. You’re asking God to show you. He generally shows you. And it’s not usually pretty, but he’s very gracious, loving-kindness. Secondly, know when you need help. There’s no shame in seeking out good Christian counseling and talking to someone. We’ve known friends that in their marriage, some childhood issues come up and it looks like a marriage issue, but it’s really something from way back that was undealt with and unhandled. And we’ve seen marriages reconciled through counseling when they’re both struggling with not… Communication is such a huge thing in marriage. So know when to get help and get it and don’t wait too long.

Yvette Hampton:           And know who to get help from because it doesn’t mean go get help from your girlfriend next door who’s not a believer and who’s going to just let you gossip and break down your husband and your relationship, but know how to get godly help.

Rachael Carman:           Yeah. I’m so glad you said that. Yeah, and be wise and who you seek help from, and again in this generation, one of the tragedies is their help is so generally pure-based instead of seeking out mentorship from older, they seem to be more content just commiserating among themselves. That doesn’t generally lend itself to progress forward, nor does it offer accountability. Which I think is bad design, but that’s not good. So you’re right. Seek out good biblical Christian counseling and dig your heels in on your covenant. Determine to honor God. Scripture speaks to this. Scripture talks to the woman who finds herself in a bad marriage and adopt a quiet spirit. Live what you believe. Honor, serve, respect. I would commend to anyone that book, Love and Respect. I mean, it’s been an outstanding book. Respect your man, honor him, seek to serve him. Do not talk in any way negatively toward him, to your children or to anyone else that will do it in faster than anything I know. And dare to do the hard work and stick it out.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah. Such good advice. I wish we could go on and on. I wish we had all the time in the world to continue talking about this because I know that there are moms out there who even if they’re not in a struggling marriage, we just need to be reminded of God’s promises and of his faithfulness to keep our marriages going and to keep them strong, not just existing but to keep them strong and have that good example set for our children. But we are out of time.

Yvette Hampton:           So Rachael and Aby, if you guys can stay on, I would love to do an extended version and some bonus content for our backstage pass members. If you are not a backstage pass member, go to SchoolhouseRocked.com and you can see the Backstage Pass membership button right there and learn more about becoming a backstage pass member. There’s tons of great content on there, interviews from the movie, behind the scenes stuff from the movie and then tons of great podcasts, extended versions of the podcast that we’ve done. But thank you for your wisdom, Rachael. We are so thankful for you. Where can people learn more about you and your ministry?

Rachael Carman:           Okay. So I do have a website, RachaelCarman.com.

Yvette Hampton:           Okay.

Rachael Carman:           My name is a little tricky to spell. It’s R-A-C-H-A-E-L.

Yvette Hampton:           You’ve got that A in there.

Rachael Carman:           I know that A is in there and then my last name is C-A-R-M-A-N. So, RachaelCarman.com and there’s tons of content there. I’m on YouTube with some presentations and I’m also on Facebook, Rachael Carman. So I do Facebook lives periodically and all of that’s available there.

Yvette Hampton:           Okay, fantastic. We will link to all of those things and I’ll throw in really quickly, I know you’ve got a couple of books, How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?, and then another one called, How to Have a HEART for Your Kids and you also… Some will know… This many will, but you and your husband Davis are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries and so that’s a fantastic Christian worldview curriculum. You guys have a ton of great resources on there, so we’ll link back to Apologia as well. Rachael, thank you for your heart. You have such a heart for moms, for ministry, for homeschooling, and I am grateful for your wisdom and your willingness to share with us today.

Excellent books on marriage:

Excellent movies that will encourage you in your marriage:

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Turn Your Thoughts into Prayer

 

It’s August, one of my favorite parts of the homeschooling year. We will be starting school soon, and packages have been arriving on our doorstep. Each is filled with something new and delightful: boxes of perfectly sharpened pencils, curriculum and student sheets from my favorite publisher, fresh markers that still have all the lids on them, clean workbooks that are not yet wrinkled and dog-eared. Hope and excitement abound in our home as we look forward to an exciting time of learning together.

As I place all these wonderful supplies in our school room, I get carried away with my thoughts about the upcoming year. Really, if you could hear me thinking, you’d know how ridiculous I can be!  I’m just certain that this is going to be our best, most peaceful, more creative, well… I get even more carried away… could this be a perfect school year? My thoughts are snowballing now. We’re going to accomplish more from the teacher’s handbook. We’re going to do all the recommended art and music lessons. We’re really going to go for it in science and get those experiments done.   If I just try hard enough, this year is going to be terrific!

Screech... my Pollyanna thoughts come to an abrupt halt as reality sets in. I remember long division!  I remember perfectly planned group times that are met with children who are not interested in history or geography or anything and refuse to pay attention. I remember the tears and whining, not just from the kids. I know there have been unmet expectations in years past. I know from experience that when I try to manufacture a perfect year in my strength, I quickly get discouraged and tired.

A heaviness sets in, in both my heart and my mind. This is my tenth year of homeschooling, and while it is a tremendous gift from God full of so many blessings, teaching my kids at home can be overwhelming and scary. The pendulum in my mind has swung and now I start to doubt. Can I do this again this year? Can we get everything done? Are my kids going to learn enough?

I turn to God’s Word. Jesus tells us so many times, “Do not fear.” He says to take my thoughts captive. An older, wiser woman taught me that taking thoughts captive doesn’t mean trying to turn them into positive thoughts. Instead, she told me to take each fearful thought and turn it into a prayer. That’s the best, most effective way she’s found to “taking her thoughts captive.” I love that there is an action I can take.

So that’s what I do. As I go about my days and new fearful thoughts come, I turn each one into a prayer. “God, I’m afraid of math. Long division just about did us in last year.” I talk to him like He’s a friend, because truly that’s what He is, and He’s instructed me in Psalm 62 to pour out my thoughts to Him. He doesn’t care if I talk to Him about math or markers, attitudes or astronomy. He answers me with this verse, “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Ephesians 6:10. “Yes, Lord, give us yourstrength.  It’s unmeasurable.”


Later, another thought arises, and I pray, “God, can we really accomplish all that we need to in this school year?” I think of the promise in Proverbs 16:3, “Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” “Ok, Lord, I commit this year to You, and just like in all our years of homeschooling, please help it to be established in Your perfect will.”

Homeschooling mom, this practice of turning fearful thoughts into quick prayers may seem overly simple to you, but truly the assuredness of Psalm 94:19 is coming true in my heart. The Psalmist writes, “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” Friend, as we start a new school year, I encourage you to take your fearful, anxious thoughts and simply turn them into prayers. I’m not talking about down-on-your-knees prayer at 4:30 a.m. While that kind of prayer is wonderful, also let’s pray while going over the long division steps. Let’s talk to the God who cares while checking the spelling. Let’s shoot up an arrow of a prayer when our kids forget the short O sound again. Let’s pray for peace and focus with our kids as we begin group time.

Let’s ask God right now to take the load of this year and carry it for us. I’m convinced that we canhave our best, most peaceful, most creative year yet because of this delightful promise in I Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”

Article and Photos by Annie Boyd of The Gingham Apron.

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