Season of Re-education
& Renewing of the Mind
Is This the Same "Season"
as What Marilyn Howshall
and Others Suggest?
In many of the books I suggest (written by other authors), you will find references to a "wilderness season." In Marilyn Howshall's books, Wisdom's Way of Learning and Secrets of Solitude, and her other writings, she speaks of becoming a "homeschooled Mom"; of going through a "season of solitude" and of "upgrading your education through a self-Spirit-guided Bible study" and "in-depth Bible Study." I refer to (and outline) a "season of re-education and renewing of the mind." I have been asked: Are these all one and the same? Completely different? Overlapping?
The above-mentioned seasons are not all necessarily the same, but they will most likely be overlapping and/or intertwining, with one leading to another, or enhancing another. Any of them can be either very defined or very vague, and will differ from person to person, so it's impossible to get very specific about just how they differ, mirror, or compare.
What I suggest in the "season of re-education and renewing of the mind" is not necessarily a "wilderness season" or "season of solitude." In my way of seeing it, there is a "season" – whatever the name – that the Holy Spirit leads. In such a season (let's refrain from labeling it for now), God does the leading, and we do the following – as in surrendering, seeking God's heart and will, obeying whatever we hear from Him, learning to hear and discern His voice, dying to whatever "self" He unearths in us in the process, which He leads.
It might be called a "spiritual boot camp" expressly designed and tailor-made just for you. You can't speed it up, you can't get out of it, and you can't plan it. You just "let" the Holy Spirit lead it. You can certainly sidetrack yourself and slow down the process by disobeying or allowing distractions to detour you. But even in these, God knows how to make you uncomfortable enough to want to allow Him to continue the process. In fact, we may not even be aware that we are in such a season, but that doesn't matter; all that matters is that God is doing a work and is having His way in us, whether we are aware of what He is doing or know what to call it. Sooner or later it will unfold and become clear.
The "identifying mark" of this season is that the person feels drawn away from the world and toward the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, in His wisdom and grace, makes certain that all other voices which, until now, have been dominant in the person's life now become quiet. This will be made to happen in a variety of ways – the Holy Spirit is very creative – but without this, nothing else will happen.
You can go through a wonderful in-depth Bible study, you can read every book and listen to every tape on my list and fill out your DFF's beautifully and in great detail and earnestness, but if, in this process, you are not drawing close to God Himself, surrendering your whole heart and every area He reveals, it's all in vain – or at least will not yield the fruit that either you or He desire. But if, at any point, you have ever given your life over to Him, you can be sure that He will continue the process of getting your full attention and eventually your heart! This is because of how faithful He is, not how commendable your commitment was!
The in-depth Bible study Marilyn suggests in Wisdom's Way of Learning can very well be part of a "wilderness season" and/or a "season of solitude" and/or a "season of re-education and renewing of the mind." The bottom line is that we start with a heart that is totally yielded to God and His leading. As Marilyn said in her March 1998 Newsletter (starting at the bottom of page 4),
"So where does our self education begin? It begins first at the feet of Jesus, surrendering all to Him; recognizing our weakness and how much we need Him to give us His wisdom, grace, mercy and love."
You can start yourself on any self education process with all the "right materials" and the right in-depth word study model, but the only thing that will take you where the Holy Spirit wants to take you in it is doing exactly what was just laid out in that last sentence by Marilyn. It's so tremendously vital, I'm going to repeat it:
"It begins first at the feet of Jesus,
surrendering all to Him; recognizing our
weakness and how much we need Him to give
us His wisdom, grace, mercy and love."
As far as Marilyn's and my suggestions for such a season: we each have our own God-breathed styles and focuses. Marilyn's message is broader and deeper than mine, and that's why I have included so many of her books in "my" suggestion for this season. In many ways and cases, I only point the way to her message. And her message, in turn, points the way to Jesus and complete freedom in Him in all areas, including, but not limited to, education.
Marilyn is in the process of coming up with her own recommendations for such a season, and I'm sure it will look different from what I recommend here as we each have our own bents and priorities and experiences that affect what we see as being important. We have both worked with and ministered to homeschoolers for many years, and God has brought both of us along our own unique paths of homeschooling our (unique) children and ourselves.
I have presented the particular plan that, after seeking God on it for several months, seems "right and good" to me. I do not claim that it is the best plan for such a season, and it is certainly not the only plan. My thinking and understanding have been greatly affected by Marilyn's input into my life over the last several years. That's why what I have come up with is not even something I can take credit for. God has lead me along a path that was needful for me, and has shown me some things and patterns that are needful for anyone.
Once Marilyn comes out with her own recommendations, there may be differences in how we each (would) approach such a season, just as our approaches to education differ – according to the different children, experiences, and understanding we each have. Some of our "focuses" may (and probably will) even be different, but the heart to seek God and surrender to Him is the same. I tend to defer to Marilyn's wisdom (you'll understand why after reading her material), yet I also know God has a specific place for my message and approach, and in that I rest.
Marilyn and I are not in competition with each other in any way. Portions of our messages dovetail, and we are both in love and walking with the same Holy Spirit. Our differences in "style" and/or "approach" only further demonstrates how diversified and creative the one Holy Spirit is! We can all be very different from each other, yet He has a place and a very specific work for each one in His Kingdom.