Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Home Education Week Post #3: Now She's Homeschooling, Now She's Not!

The question for today's Home Education Week is in honor of April Fool's Day. It is:

We have likely all felt the fool in one way or another. Share your greatest challenge. Or one of those terrible, horrible no good, very bad days where the only thing there is to do seems to involve moving to Australia

I have to say that one of the "foolish" things I have done is be so darn wishy-washy in my approach to homeschooling. There. I said it.

This year I put all my children in school. This was after battling a severe case of burnout for about two years and finally just caving in to my need for a break from the pressures of being responsible for my children's education. The triggers in my life that set off this case of burnout were:

  • having a toddler

  • juggling writing, speaking, and homeschooling along with normal wife and mom duties

  • my husband accepting a job that involved travel and much more demanding work hours

I knew that something had to give. And so, I thought that I would just take care of things by getting something off my plate. I deduced that the easiest thing would be homeschooling. Voila! I was free! I could do what I wanted and have time to pursue things I wanted! This was the answer!

Unfortunately, I started to miss my kids. Who knew this was possible? I had not seen that coming and blamed the homeschool mindset that I have now been indoctrinated into for some fifteen years. I realized that, like it or not, some of us are just homeschoolers at heart. And God's plans for our family involve homeschooling-- even when it doesn't make sense.

The funny thing was, I had freed myself up to do "more." I was going to take on more at P31, write more, and speak more. This was MY plan. To be honest, I expected God to just fall right in line with my plans. I mean, it was a good plan after all. It made sense. And here's what God has to say about our perfectly good plans:

"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of this world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-- and the things that are not-- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him." (I Corinthians 1:26-30)

Right after my kids went to school and I assumed my position of waiting for God to drop all these opportunities into my lap, everything came to a grinding halt. I sat around for a few months wondering what in the world was going on, as just months before I was feeling overwhelmed with all the things that were happening. And now, nothing. And so, I went to God and told Him, in case He hadn't noticed, that I was F-R-E-E to do as He pleased now and could He please send some stuff my way? And I waited.

Months passed. No response from Him. I went back to Him, this time more desperate than before, and told Him again how F-R-E-E I was and why in the world wasn't He sending me more writing and speaking opportunities?? And this is a true story, so I am not embellishing this when I say that, in the silence that followed, I heard this: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness." He waited a few moments for this to sink in and then He said, "You made yourself strong. I can't work with that."


The other day I found this verse that really speaks to our plans to do things on our own, apart from Him:

"But now, all you who light fires and provide yourself with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment." (Isaiah 50:11)

And so, we are back to the foolishness again. And I am back to staring my sin in the face. Back to dealing with my own issues of control and manipulating outcomes to suit my own designs. Back to realizing that, apart from Him I can do no good thing. And that, as the verse above said, I am not supposed to have this all figured out. Sometimes He simply calls me to do something foolish-- like obey Him and do what seems overwhelming and downright impossible (like balance writing and speaking with homeschooling just as a for instance) and TRUST HIM WITH THE REST.

At that time, my son was really struggling in kindergarten. He did not have a nice, sweet grandmotherly type teacher. His teacher was more like a drill sergeant. He cried alot and I could see the love of learning and joy of childhood disappearing before my very eyes. I reasoned that we would homeschool him next year just to make myself feel better but not have to actually do anything about it. After God and I had that meaningful exchange though, I could feel Him turning the screws a bit on my little "next year" plan.

And so, even though it was not necessarily my plan or the way I thought things would go, I obeyed and took him out of school. I jumped into homeschooling with joy and passion-- the likes of which I have not had in a long time. God gave me the grace to see it anew. He gave me the energy and effort to pour into this child. He also got me to a place of absolute surrender where I didn't care anymore about making time for what I thought was important. I wanted only to do what He determined was important. I told Him that I would serve my family first, not getting it out of order like I had before-- not "taking care of" my kids in a slapdash way so I could get back to the business of ministry. Quite simply, this year has been a journey of falling in love with my role as wife and mom all over again. And not looking to add anything to that.

Well, of course, you know what happens next. Within a week (and this is a true story so again, I am not embellishing anything), I had some positive response on a proposal my agent had been circulating (more on that later) and a few requests for speaking. This was after over six months of nothing. So this was huge, and another confirmation that God was simply waiting on my obedience and waiting on me to go back to foolish mode. But this time, it fell into the place in my life it belonged. It was no longer the most important thing. Because I was already doing the most important thing. I was being obedient to God, being foolish because He asked me to. He proved His Word again by showing me that, because I sought Him first, then (and only then) He added "all these things." I am thankful for this lesson, and thankful that the God of the Universe has patience with me, even when I act foolish. Because, when you get down to it, He expects nothing less.

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Kelly said...

Great post! "You've made yourself strong, I can't work with that" really spoke volumes to me...sometimes I feel like I make my own plans too and am strong and can handle everything and don't ask God what His plans are for me, or what does He want me to do... I want to get to that place where everything I do is knowing it's what He wants me to do, where He wants me to be, etc. But that takes me letting go of the reins!
I am still praying for your foot to heal, I hope it's getting better daily!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I SO could have written this!

I remember being very disappointed when God told me this wasn't my season to write and speak as much as I'd hoped. So I obeyed and concentrated on home schooling and my family.

Out of the blue I got two calls asking me if I would speak. I'd NEVER advertised myself as a speaker in ANY manner. GOD took care of it in HIS way--the way that doesn't sap my strength, but mounts me up on eagles' wings.

Thanks for being honest and sharing your story. I am encouraged that there are more like me out there--more obeying despite the inner calling to move forward against His will.


Michele said...

It was so good to read this! :) Thank you!

I was in a very similar "place" last year, and we finally made the drastic changes to our life in Aug., so that I could be a SAHM.

By the way, I visit your blog often. It is such a blessings.

I hope your foot is healing well, and that God blesses your home with an extra measure of peace, as you have your feet up!

Michele :)

Cyndie said...

Wow!! I really relate to this! I have been going through the exact same thing lately and I've been watching in awe as God has shown me my sins in misprioritizing and in losing the joy of being Mommy and Wife. Praise God He loves us enough to wait for us to "get it"!

I've enjoyed your blog and thanks for posting such transparent truth.:)


Dana said...

Wonderful post and thank you so much for sharing it! I can so relate to this, because I do it continually:

I expected God to just fall right in line with my plans.

Jenny said...

Great post! You're right, we can lay out the best plans but God truly knows whats best for us. His way is always better!

mom said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. It was good encouragement for this mama who is feeling a bad case of burn-out and thinking maybe God has some other plans for my life and our family. All He needs to do is put his stamp of approval on them...HA!

Actually, I think that if this LONG winter would ever end, life would brighten considerably!

Tammy ~@~