I'm trying to remember where I used to be this time of year. I know there were times I considered putting the kids back into school. I know there were but I can't remember them. It feels a bit like recalling labor for me. I know it hurt, but I am not really connected to the pain only the joy and the miracle.
This is another time of year I know homeschooling moms start to cope with struggles. Kids are tired of being cooped up in the house, cold gray skies are depressing. You open the science book and the kids are still technically on week 4. You start looking for the finish line and think it has to be May something. Go ahead and scedule your nervous breakdown for this afternoon and get it out of the way.
Lots of moms, maybe some like me, start thinking "I am doing something wrong!" If I did something better, different, used a different method, started a new system, made a new chart, rearranged the classroom, then maybe they would be doing better. You contemplate throwing out the old curriculum trying something new, or throwing out the kids and making them catch that lovely yellow bus that drives by too fast twice a day, has brakes that squeak and belches black smoke.
I am over that hump I pray but it took forever to get here! I haven't considered putting the kids in school for a long time. Now I just threaten to never graduate them. We are in the spring of our 10th year of homeschooling. I love it today as much as I did that first year. Buying supplies, and posters and browsing curriculums. Asking everyone what they use, and buying everything. It was exciting and inspiring. We still have our days, I still find myself overwhelmed, feeling inadequate, frustrated, unappreciated, exhausted, and wondering what am I thinking? Thankfully those days are really few and far between. They also seem to spring up when the schedule is too hectic, no one is getting enough sleep, when I'm not praying enough, or my husband is out of town. So I take captive those thoughts and question them like Jack Bauer. The falseness of the thinking usually crumbles.
But this time of year is so ripe for reflection that we are all usually drawn into considering our lives. Like anything the reality of homeschooling is sometimes not as easy to live as we dreamed it to be. After a few years, and then especially at this time, a few weeks into a new year the enthusiasm wanes. The end of the year seems far off. It is in this times where our commitment, our trust in the Lord's calling to this life will carry us if we allow it.
When the doubts and the struggles come, before pressing your way through the day find as quiet a place and time as possible and just be still and pray:
You called me here, didn't you, to this life? Or did I imagine it? I want to be part of creating the people you are calling my children to be, and to become the daughter you intend. But I am weary. In my heart, in my mind, in my body Lord, I am tired. I feel confused, and so often like a failure. It seems nothing I do works. I try to have a new attititude, I try but it doesn't work.
As I sit in this quiet space and I breath deeply, Lord, I can feel your calm surround me. I see Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying desperately that there might be another way to fulfill His work. I feel like Him sometimes, though my suffering could never compare. His suffering was a gift, a gift freely, lovingly given. My "sufferings" while minor, are intended to be gifts of service, in service to the souls of my husband and children and for your good works.
Am I a failure because I feel this way? No?
I am pleasing to you? You see all my little efforts, all my successes no matter how small. When my child learned to make a letter the correct way, learned to read, to drive, to pray, to count, to love? I thought no one noticed.
Father, stay with me? Please be with me and remind me that you see every effort, every smile offered when I want to yell. Every hug offered when I want to run to my bedroom and lock the door. Every meal prepared when I am not hungry, every time I try when I think I can do no more. You see me Lord, and you alone know my heart. My heart exists for you and for the love of the family you gave me. That is the easy part.
Day by day, the enemy tries to wear my resolve away to make me lose heart in the work I am called to do. Thank you for always being right inside my heart to renew my strength and tell me you love me. I know you are proud of your daughter, and I can work a little longer for you now. I might be back tomorrow feeling the same way. Actually I might be back before lunch feeling this way. You'll be here? Okay. I can do this.
Thank You Father,
I love you so much, Your Daughter, Robin