Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Homeschooling Not So Confidential Volume 9865

The best part about homeschooling is that you are with your kids all of the time.  The worst part about homeschooling is that you are with your kids all of the time.

I had a lot of time to think about this truth this past weekend.  This past weekend I ended up having to take an unexpected trip to the west side to deal with the rental house.  It was unfortunate, the reasoning for my travel.  However, I didn't realize how much I needed the freedom to think without anyone else alongside of me.  Homeschooling does not lend much time for this and I walk around feeling quite imbalanced most the time. My psyche needs time to marinate on its own....I have learned this from our homeschooling experience.  

Homeschooling was never anything I ever saw myself doing.  My mother-in-law told me once that was interesting statement because I would always be willing to do what is best for my littles no matter what it is, and in this thought I suppose she is very wise.  I will always do what is best for my littles!  And what is best for them is homeschooling right now.

Before we moved I had one friend who homeschooled her children.  I taught at the homeschool cooperative in our area but if anything that experience alone furthered my original thought outside our home was what was best.  Well now most all my friends are homeschooling moms, our church is full of them.  I find myself finding them to be full of sage advice, I find them to have a similar heart to my own, I find that most of what they say or believe resonates within my own soul for mothering my littles too.  This is earth shattering to me.  I find myself saying, "I am not sure how this happened?"  The truth is I know exactly how this happened.  I tool a moment to ask God what he really wanted and then I listened and then with a terrified spirit and an anxious heart I moved forward.  

I am no more or less terrified than I was the day that I started. It is a humbling job, teaching.  It is a frustrating and taxing job.  I have had to become quite selfless and sometimes this causes me to be crazy about the things I think that I can not possibly let go of.  I am used to focusing on myself a bit, finding the nuggets that God has intended for me to find.  It is frustrating sometimes because I feel that right now there are no nuggets for me, but if I take time to spend with God every morning I find that there are more nuggets in every day just for me than I could possibly carry on my own.  That's what I have learned the most I can not carry any of this on my own.  

I have also learned more and more that my children's place is within my reach right now.  That if my heart is right than my arms are just an extension of God's for them.  Right now my arms are long enough to reach them still, in fact now at this point I can still wrap my arms around them whenever I feel the need.  But my main purpose now is to prepare them for when I can't reach them anymore. I don't feel at this point that this is anyone's else's job.  In fact I am not sure that it is a job at all.  It is love, it is care, it is a connection that comes from within. It is an understanding and a love for what GOD is creating them to be.  No one can understand them or this better than me. No one wants this more for them than I do. And so the best thing for them is to be with me. 

And so now you now know that after much deliberation we are homeschooling both kids again next year. 

Brian asked me how I felt about it all the other day.  I thought for moment and replied that it really isn't about me and what I can do on my own.  My sanity may fail from time to time but I am learning more and more that that is more of a testament of how much time I spending within the arms that reach for me.  

Please know this is my own journey not a reflection of what I think is right for everyone.  I also know how incredibly blessed I am to be able to take this time to devote to them without interruption.   

"He will perform the cause I hold in my hand." That makes it very real to me today.  The very thing "I hold in my hand" - my work today is the concern that is beyond my control, this task in which I have greatly overestimated my own abilities - this is what I may "cry out " for HIM to do "for me," with the calm assurance He will perform it. "The wise and what they do are in God's hands" (Eccl. 9:1) Frances Ridley Havergal...Taken from Streams in The Desert

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mommin it Up.

I know I have been absent but y'all know I can't pass up my Mother's day post this year.

This year has been my hardest year as a Mom to date.  All bets are off and the game has definitely changed. This past year God has used every facet of my life to prove to me that comfort does not lie with the things we can tangibly hold here on the earth, and that includes my children, my ability to fill my role as Mom.
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I could sit here and whine and cry about all of the things I have endured with my little cherubs but that wouldn't be an honest representation of how I really feel about it all.
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I was thinking the other night (instead of sleeping...what's new) about the very first moment my eyes met my children's after their immediate exit from my womb.  I was thinking about the emotions that transpire for most of us Mom's in that moment.  I believe a thousand lifetimes pass through our minds in that single blessed second.  There are feelings of hope, excitement for what's to come, milestones that are sought after and a drowning amount of bliss and thankfulness when you hold that naked pink baby in your arms for the first time.  I myself felt incredibly blessed both times.  I remember not wanting to take my eyes off of them in case it was all just a dream or a mirage with the fear that it would disappear as soon as I blinked.  It was that good people.  I didn't expect a healthy full term delivery with either of my babies.  Half of my pregnancy with each of them was spent in bed pumped full of meds to hopefully keep those babes nestled inside for as long as possible.  Warnings and classes of what it meant to have a premie and what would take place. Endless trips to the hospital to be rehydrated, or to have the contractions stopped. Vomiting constantly...oh the vomit.  Warnings of my own health and what could happen to me if the inevitable would happen, but you know what the inevitable didn't happen, I carried Elliot to two days before his due date and Grace to a month within it and I felt like I myself had been redelivered in those two moments....God blessed my socks off with two perfectly healthy tiny newborns to love and kiss and dream for.  And more than pride I was just grateful to hold them in my arms.
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The moments that don't flash before you in that time are the sleepless nights, teething, bumps and bruises, sassy mouths, potty talk, time outs or broken hearts.  When you have your second there is no flash of sibling rivalry or fighting.  There is no one that tells you that once you become a mother that their joys will be yours too and that there greatest sorrows and struggles will rock you to your very core.   
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And this is what I was thinking about as I should have been closing my eyes to sleep.  Why doesn't God give you those visions?  I think there are probably a countless amount of reasons.  I think first and foremost He knows that your love for your child will be enough to get you through all of those hard times.  That your love alone that is rooted in Christ for your children will simply be enough.  And, oh how it has been in the last year.  I think also that we already have all the tools that we need when they are born to us.  I don't think anything in our lives happens by accident.  Each experience good or worth praying for is used....nothing goes to waste in God's hands.  Some of those so called tools may be hard to reach or temporarily misplaced but they will be found sometimes in the most unlikely places.  Patience is needed while searching for them though:)
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I have felt discouraged, bewildered and lost in the last year an uncountable number of times.  But I have also been blessed by the experiences and discussions that have come with those hard times.   I have been blessed by my desire to ask God because there is no one else that I can confess some of these things to.  
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My children have held me accountable for my decisions this year.  Brian and I made this move with the well being of our family in mind.  With the future of our children in our sites.  There wasn't any selfish intent for us there.  We prayed for months over that decision and made it with the Lord's blessing and prompting.  This move has been one of the factors of my struggle to mother this year.  Children do not understand that their parents constantly have their best interest heart especially when the decisions involve so much change and pain.  And so I have stopped trying to explain all of this in that way to them anymore.  Rather I have had repeated discussions simply about God's plan for us, and my need to obey and follow His lead.  This has been the ticket.  As I said before I had the tools for these discussions but it took me a while to find them.  We have also had the opportunity to discuss confusion in the plans He has for us at times, that the confusion requires faith to be cleared up.  I am not sure I would have had the chance to have these conversations so soon with my kids had we not moved and for that I am grateful!  Being questioned by our children is not always comfortable in fact I think it is one of the quicker ways to put us on the defensive.  I have found with a bit of further thought though that sometimes they are our best reminders of what we need.  
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We have had days that I would rather forget in the last year but I have learned lessons that I would not trade those days for.  I have learned that bad days are really non-existent.  Sure some our more exciting and happy than others, but they are all a blessing in their own ways.  I have stopped praying for better days and started praying for each day on its on rather than a reflection of the one at hand.  God has so many nuggets of goodness that we unfortunately hide with our own expectations. We have expectations that revolve around just about everything in our lives, health, safety, finances, safety, inconveniences, stability. And isn't it true that we have expectations for motherhood as well.  Those expectations hold us back folks it keeps us from being able to experience what God really has for us.
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My expectations for motherhood were all seen in that first moment that I saw each of them.  I wanted them to be happy.  In fact their happiness is the main topic of my conversations with Brian about them. But being happy isn't always number one, in fact much more comes from our disappointments sometimes.  And even still happiness seems so much easier to mother than disappointment.    Happiness is something that only requires hugs, kisses, pats on the back and sometimes a lasso.  Disappointment though....boy howdy, disappointment can me simply the can never be sure which avenue it will take to melt itself down.  I can honestly say my kids had dealt with a very small amount of disappointment in their lives before the move.  It was always my goal to create a biome of green valleys and quiet streams for them to exist in.  Truth is that is not reality and that does them no favors.  Now we focus on the good and worth praying for equally recognizing each for what they are and the tailspin the latter used to send us into is much less most of time, because they are learning that it is a possibility.  They are learning that life has so little to do with what we want or what we "need."  
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I love being a mom but it has changed greatly for me over the last year.  It is not something I see as job anymore...not even a calling, instead it is something I see that I was always meant to be.  Sure the title was issued on the day they were born but God had prepared me for long before they arrived.  I was created to mother Elliot and Grace.  Once I realized that I felt indestructible.  I felt like I could handle it all. There will still be days that are hard, there will still be days that I have no idea what I am doing, but that does not mean they were bad, nothing is a loss. 
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Happy Mother's to all of you Moms out there.