My 13 Most Influential Decisions in the Last 13 Years

What decisions are before you this Fall?

Are they wooing you into grand adventures or toward stability and security?

Big decisions, like when to start a family, how/where to educate your children, and financial and career decisions all take serious time and consideration. Long talks, pro/con lists and/or seeking wise counsel all come into play as you face the issue of choice.

The other night my husband and I were chatting on the porch and realized that over the past 13 years we've made literally thousands upon thousands of choices as a couple. And then we started counting up all those that have lasted and affected life for the long haul.

We recounted many of the most significant ones and realized something. We had so much to be thankful for! Ordinary people shared their wisdom with us at the perfect time.

So, in honor of those to shared with us, I decided to reflect on those crossroad decisions. Each comes with a story, but for now, I offer you...

My Thirteen Most Influential Decisions in 13 years of Marriage (in no particular order):

1. Education We chose to homeschool our kids, even though I always swore I never would. Never say never!

2. Birth Control Methods

Natural Family Planning has been our most preferred method and I found out about it 1 month before I got married! Just in time...or was it?

3. Finances

Someone paid our way to Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and we slowly worked out way through all 7 steps. I figured I'd be 80 before that happened, and it was all thanks to a little coconut cream popsicle, and my husband's parents.

4. Health Care Samaritan Ministries continues to bless our family as an alternative to traditional health care options. We've had several babies for free and other conditions that would have bankrupted us if we used insurance. Because of SM, our bills were shared by other loving people across the country.

5. Child Discipline/Training There are too many good child discipline books out there. I decided early on to skip reading them all, or ever 1!! It can get confusing! But when my first baby was 6 months old, we read the material in John Mahon's Family Discipleship Seminar workbooks. It laid the foundation for our family, taking us little by little into a healthy and calm parenting style that doesn't lower God's standard of obedience. We are trusting in God, not a system, and that's what his resources are all about. Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp has also positively affected our family, but I want to honor John Mahon, especially, because he's tracked with us and the application of his teachings from the Bible are so practical and Christ-centered.

6. Good Habits Charlotte Mason has greatly impacted how we develop good habits in our children.

7. Scripture Memory The Navigators have a scripture memory method called the Topical Memory System that we imperfectly and enthusiastically implement.

8. Family Values & Goals We met with a man named Jim Friedemann, Founder and President of Focal Point Consulting, and he revolutionized how we make family decisions. He was right; our family values haven't changed! I also threw in the mix a woman named Ashely who runs a family coaching business. She's fantastic. If you don't have a friend like Jim, as we did, she would be a perfect choice to get the conversations started in your home around values and relationship dynamics.

9. Simple Living A book titled Revolution in World Missions changed our outlook on a "need" versus a "want" in life. Here's an article about poverty and the experiment that helped us understand this difference first hand.

10. Eating A health coaching friend of ours challenged our thinking about the cost of healthy foods and gave us confidence to eat within a budget in a healthy way. She brought fun into our kitchen.

11. Child-Centered Home vs. Adult-Centered Home This is too big to write a one-liner, but, in short, we have an adult-centered home where children are loved and welcome.

12. No Television/Limited Technology This came from my husband, who had no TV when we got married, and asked me to get rid of mine. What do we do now that I can't watch Netflix to my heart's content?! 13. Women in the Workplace

I chose to stay at home, regardless of my husband's paycheck. This is obviously tied very closely to #9 and #3. This was a heart-level decision on my part before the Lord and challenges me even today, as I probably almost applied for another job I don't really want.

What are some of your crossroad decisions in life? Share yours below!


Lana Leigh Wilkens is an author and speaker who challenges moms to question and examine the culture within the context of a Biblical worldview so they can parent the next generation with conviction and live intentionally.

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