Tuesday, September 4, 2012

homeschooling, obedience, and the need for bulk-sized gratitude...

first day of homeschooling went well.  we've had the summer off but easily picked up where we had left off.  the kids cooperated. everyone was pleasant.  we finished as smoothly as we started.  so why do i find myself fighting back tears as i cut fresh strawberries over the kitchen sink and prepare lunch for my three little ones who are straightening up the living room and patiently waiting for their very late meal? and why do i find a stray tear or two surrender to the fight, splash down onto my plate of radish and hummus where they clearly don't belong.  not on my plate.  not on this day.  almost a shallow sadness covers me. not deep or penetrating, but enough to push me off center. enough to feel loss. or aloneness. or something.

i want to be able to say "i LOVE homeschooling! i can't imagine it another way!"  but the truth is...i have imagined it another way.  i've imagined it several other ways.  this lifestyle was kinda forced or thrown upon us.  i've always LOVED the IDEA of homeschooling, but i'm certain without this "force" or "push" i would never have had the courage to actually do it.  correct me if i'm wrong, but i think the majority of homeschooling parents homeschool because they truly want to.  the desire burns bright and it brings real joy.  feeling convicted to do something doesn't necessarily mean that utter joy and desire will be paired with it (initially).  my recent prayer is that God gives me just this. desire and joy to keep company this conviction. to be the neighbor at the doorstep of my heart offering apple pie and a name.  where one doesn't feel so alone, but rather feels comfort and home. right where i'm supposed to be.

obedience to God's calling isn't always easy, but it certainly brings peace.  i feel this peace.  it does encircle me.  but i am craving more.  perhaps it's because we took summer off and i still really am a "newby" at this homeschooling gig.  i need to give it a chance.  get a rhythm before making judgement.   give it time to bloom as it shall.  perhaps it's because i feel my littlest has been ignored all day as i've been schooling the older two trying to carve out a new schedule.  that she's had too many snacks and too much tv and is still in her pj's.  and guilt and inadequacy are sticking their tongue out at me, trying to get a rise.  perhaps it's because i haven't had a break from kids since before we went on vacation.  as in. not alone. without kids. at all. for almost a month.  so my patience has already been pushed to the threshold and my need to feel refreshed and revived in my motherhood role is at an all time high. or perhaps i'll blame it on the hormones.  whatever the cause, it left me fragile today.

fragile in spirit because sometimes God's calling is just plain hard.  you can feel the sweat coming before you even start the work.  the tug.  the pull.  the loss.  the cost.  the dying to self.  to selfish ambition.  to my will.  to my plan for my life.  taking up my cross daily and walking in long obedience.  and right now that obedience is in response to the call of homeschooling He's put on my life.  that even beyond health concerns, there's something eternal at stake here. this enormous responsibility drags and pulls at my heart.  it's impossible for me to look at it fullscale without feeling completely overwhelmed.  sinking. i must stay in the moment of today or i am doomed.  this muscle isn't strong enough or experienced enough to look beyond today. and sometimes, all that's in today alone threatens to drag me under.  breathe.

i see all of these moms on fb shipping their kids off to their first day of school.  just as i did the past 4 years in a row.  and part of me feels trapped. smothered. buried in the responsibilities of home with no end in sight, little break, and little earthly reward.  envy. envy for a piece of freedom i no longer have.  envy for time. something i feel i have so little of to myself.  envy for a break. to run errands, visit a friend, go to the gym or just plain do what I want to do without three kids in tow.  a little relief for a few hours a day.  a clean room in the house for more than 30 minutes.

this is not a pity party.  but rather a pouring out of imperfect heart.  and so i pour in cyber space and i pour in my prayer journal and i pour to a friend who shows up at my front door.  and with the pouring i ask to be refilled.  a refilling of gratitude and joy.  i want the jumbo size you find in the bulk food aisle. a new lens.  a fresh outlook.  His eyes to outshine mine, and His will to eclipse my own.  blot it out.  make new.

today i'll focus on this attitude of gratitude.  i believe it starts here.  not with a lesson on interjections or proper nouns or the Indus Valley or the first river-road...but with a heart of thanks.  with the belief that in time the eternal rewards of this calling will cry out from the hearts of these 3 treasures i've been gifted.  that i'll remember that the things in life that are worthwhile, that mean something, are usually the things we have to invest in, fight for, and pour into.  even when it's hard and we just don't feel like it, and reward is nowhere in sight.  these things that often mean the most are the things that don't come easily. but through sweat and tears.

in sowing sparingly,  i will reap sparingly. but in sowing bountifully, i will reap bountifully.  in this careful daily sowing and pouring out of oneself onto the training up of my children, for the sake of obedience and eternal gain, i seek the bountiful harvest.  i want to sow bountifully and with bountiful thanksgiving.

and i'll spend my time searching for ways to grow and bring Him glory (even in my moments of gloom), rather than focus on all the ways of life that are lost or changed.  i'm starting now.  gratitude and glory giving will win out in my heart struggles.   and this too will be counted as joy.  i feel it. it's a coming.

and i'm already feeling not so fragile...


  1. I am so right there with you sweetie. I too love the idea of homeschool, have seen first hand the benefits that it brings to my children and our family, but right now it is a struggle. My heart is not in it 100%. What's wrong with me? I just had an amazing job offer, and would love to be able to jump in with both feet. However, I have made a commitment, and that must come first. Obedience has it's rewards, although not always immediate, they will be there. Hang in there and know that you are not alone. I will be praying for you and wish I could give you a big hug right now!

    1. Thanks Jill. Your words have much truth and weight as I consider you one of those homeschooling and motherhood pros! I know the rewards will come and I find encouragement in being reminded so. I also know that homeschooling moms can sometimes feel like they are journeying alone...add on the fact that our situation wasn't birthed so much out of desire but of need, it can feel even more isolating. And frightening. And overwhelming. But I know that in His divine power God has given me everything I need for life and godliness and for accomplishing the task at hand. One day at a time, right? Thank you for your comment...it's so greatly appreciated. Happy homeschooling to you friend. You inspire me!