Stories of Faith
STORIES OF FAITH: A LIFE OF FOLLOWING GOD’S DIRECTION
For Cheyenne Alexander, homeschooling is not just an education, it is God’s calling
Special to FBC Jenks
July 6th, 2023
Craig and Cheyenne Alexander were young parents in 2007.
Their eldest daughter, Avery, was roughly 18 months old when Craig’s brother, who was a youth pastor at Cheyenne’s hometown church, suggested a book to read that was written by Voddie Baucham called “Family-Driven Faith”, which focused on raising your children the right way.
Baucham is a minister, public speaker and author, who is scripture-based in his teachings. One of the topics he focuses on is bringing your children up in a God-centered home.
Along with reading the book, Craig and Cheyenne attended a conference in Houston where Baucham was speaking.
God used that book and conference to change their trajectory and spoke directly to Cheyenne and Craig about how God wanted them to raise their children.
Having such a young child, Craig and Cheyenne hadn’t given much thought to school yet, but after they read “Family-Driven Faith”, they were certain God wanted Cheyenne to homeschool their children.
“That is not what the book is about, but God laid it strongly on both of our hearts that this is what He wanted us to do,” Cheyenne said. “I didn’t know anyone who homeschooled, and we weren’t sure at first, but it was very apparent that if we did not do this, we would be directly disobeying the Lord.”
A few short years after Avery was born, Craig and Cheyenne welcomed their second daughter to the family, Bailey, and after another couple of years had passed, the couple welcomed their son, Colt. All three of their children are homeschooled.
“I don’t know all the reasons why God called us to do this, but one reason I am sure of is that it gives us more time to develop them in the way of the Lord,” Cheyenne said.
“We take time to instill scripture in them with their schoolwork. We were able to choose Christian curriculums and add Bible time into our daily school routine. Now here we are, Avery is going to be a senior this coming year. It has been the hardest and best thing I have ever done.”
Cheyenne grew up in east Texas in a Christian home. Her family attended church from the time she was born, so she heard about Jesus Christ at an early age.
At the young age of 7, she felt the tug from the Lord that it was time to accept Christ as her Lord and Savior. At the advice of their pastor, her mother kept putting her off for a while to ensure her feelings were true about committing her life to the Lord.
“I wouldn’t leave her (mother) alone about it,” Cheyenne said. “I have a vivid memory of our pastor sitting on my back porch swing with me. He had this sketch he did that was called the salvation sketch that helped you understand how Jesus died for your sins and what it truly meant to accept Him as your Lord and Savior.”
Cheyenne prayed and accepted Christ. The following Easter Sunday, she went down front with her parents to tell the church that she had accepted Christ.
“It was a little bit daunting,” Cheyenne said. “I remember being nervous. It took me several months to work up the courage to get baptized. I was a pretty shy kid. I remember the pastor asking me if I had accepted Christ and all I had to say was, ‘yes’, but it came out like a whisper because of how nervous I was.”
Cheyenne’s pastor was a tremendous influence on her life and allowed her to grow in her faith as she served the church.
As a seventh-grader, Cheyenne was allowed to lead the three-year-old class in Vacation Bible School for her church.
“He was a very Godly man,” Cheyenne said. “Looking back now, he was just unique. Our church was small, so I had the opportunity to get into ministry at a young age.”
“It was an incredible responsibility,” Cheyenne said. “I remember feeling the weight of it, but I loved working with small kids. I babysat a lot when I was younger. We had a program in our church called, Kids For Christ. It was an after-school program on Thursdays for fourth, fifth, and sixth-graders. I attended when I was that age and then started teaching when I was a freshman in high school.”
At Kids For Christ, Cheyenne and her pastor taught the sixth-grade boys, which brought some challenges.
“It was scary,” Cheyenne said. “I think I was more nervous when it was my turn to teach the lesson because I had to teach in front of my pastor. He was so encouraging. He just mentored me and let me teach.”
Shortly after her freshman year in high school, a new youth pastor was hired for the church. Cheyenne immediately connected with the new youth pastor and his wife. They were a younger couple who didn’t have children yet, so they were heavily involved with the youth and allowed Cheyenne to continue serving in her role.
The new youth pastor had grown up in Tulsa and his family still lived in the Tulsa-area. During her senior year in high school, Cheyenne traveled to Tulsa with her youth pastor and his wife to visit his family and go to an Oklahoma State football game. It was on that trip, she met her youth pastor’s younger brother, Craig, who was also a senior in high school. He would eventually become her husband.
“We got to know each other and started emailing and instant messaging back-and-forth,” Cheyenne said. “That same year, our youth group went on a ski trip and he came with us and we started (officially) dating at the end of 1998.”
While Craig went to Oklahoma State University for college, Cheyenne attended a small private Christian college in Texas after high school. After their first year in college, the young couple knew for sure they were going to get married. Cheyenne decided to move back home and finish her basics at a local community college and then moved to Tulsa.
She lived with Craig’s parents for a year while he was at OSU, and she started going to Northeastern State University in Broken Arrow, where she eventually graduated with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.
Craig and Cheyenne had been ready to get married, but both their parents said one of them needed to have a job before they got hitched, so Craig fast-tracked his college timeline and was able to graduate in three years from OSU and get a job, so they didn’t have to wait any longer to get married.
“We got married in May of 2002,” Cheyenne said. “He got a job in Tulsa and I finished out my last year at NSU. At the time, we were attending a different church, but after a couple of years, we felt God calling us to move away from that church, and we said we were going to try a lot of churches before we decided on our new church home. We had some friends who had just started attending First Baptist Jenks, so we tried it out first and we never tried anywhere else! We officially joined September of 2005.”
At the time, there weren’t many young couples at the church, but Craig and Cheyenne became close with the ones that were there.
“It was a small group, but we just hit it off,” Cheyenne said.
“I have a vivid memory of (Pastor) Rick (Frie) coming to our house and sitting on the tailgate on Craig’s truck and was just struck that he would take the time to do that. It meant a lot to us. The church just felt like home. It felt like family right away. They welcomed us and treated us like we had always been there.”
All three of Craig and Cheyenne’s children have been dedicated, saved and baptized in the church and are now all serving in the church in a variety of ways.
“The kids are very involved in the church,” Cheyenne said. “They all serve in the preschool area with me. Avery is on the youth worship team playing the keyboard, and she has been since she was a freshman. She loves it. Bailey and her friends started a Bible study that meets on Wednesday nights before youth group starts. Colt did the tech booth in the Kid Zone for a year, but loves to work in the preschool area. I love seeing them share their gifts.”
Even though Craig and Cheyenne know they are following God’s direction when it comes to homeschooling their children, that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges that arise.
“There have been plenty of days of tears from me and tears from them,” Cheyenne said. “There have been many days that I have doubted where I am doing the right thing. But God has continued to give me the endurance and patience to push forward. My husband is 1000% supportive. Any time I have had struggles, he is there to listen. We know this is what God has for us and we are just going to keep trusting Him.”
Avery is preparing to enter her senior year, so the preparation for college has begun for Cheyenne and the family.
“I can’t say enough how proud I am of her,” Cheyenne said. “She is still deciding where she wants to go to college. She wants to study engineering. I am so sad that my oldest is a senior and we are close to the end. It will make it harder on me when she goes to college because I’m so used to having her at home. I’m going to be crushed when she leaves, but I have no doubt that Avery is going to be able to go to college and be completely successful and be able to manage her time.”
The past month has been a challenging time for Cheyenne and her family, as Colt spent 12 days in the hospital in early June.
Six years ago, he became ill and lost vision in one eye and was in the hospital for nearly a week. He was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder that attacks the myelin in the brain and optic nerve. The disease had not attacked him since until early June while the family was on vacation in Arkansas, so he had to go to a hospital in Little Rock.
Craig had to get back home with the girls, so Cheyenne stayed with Colt for 12 days in Little Rock.
“That was extremely hard, because we are so used to being together all the time,” Cheyenne said. “Overall, just having the peace from God knowing His plan is perfect, helped us get through it. We just trusted the Lord. We had peace the whole time.”
The next school year for them will begin the first week of July.
“We don’t follow the public school calendar,” Cheyenne said. “We do school more year round and take our breaks where we want. For the most part it is good because it allows us to take our vacations when we want, but sometimes it is hard because we are in school at times when others are not. We like this schedule because it allows us to be more flexible throughout the year.”
When those tough times come up, Cheyenne always refers back to her favorite verse in the Bible, which is Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
“I cling to that verse,” Cheyenne said. “I’m not going to give up. He is going to carry us through. I’ve already seen glimpses of harvest with their character. One day, I hope it is an even bigger harvest. It has been the hardest time, but the best time as well just to watch them grow up. Being there with them as they learn has been truly amazing.”