“Are you so glad to have all your kids back home and be homeschooling again?” my sweet friend asked as I walked in the office.
Immediately I envisioned my other homeschooling friends, the ones with Michelle Duggar’s personality being asked that same question. I imagined them beaming with pride and saying something like, “Oh yes! We just love to be together. I was made for homeschooling!”
But for me, I frantically searched my brain for words to describe how I felt about the situation, and finally decided on, “Ummm…well…YES.” It was more of a declaration of what I hope for than reality, but hey, you have to start somewhere.
You see, almost one year ago, my life turned upside down. Imagine that. Upside down. The precious pieces I had stored on the top shelf in the closet plummeted to the floor, shattering into a million pieces. And as a result, I was not a whole person. I was a broken, blubbery mess most of the time and therefore not able to effectively continue teaching my children at home.
So for the first time ever, I enrolled two of my kids in public school. And for the record, that was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. We were remodeling our house at the time and one day I walked into the new room and noticed all the scrap pieces of wood lying around. I gathered them up and put them in a box because I felt like that decision was like trying to make a masterpiece out of that pile of scrap wood. It felt impossible.
The funny thing is, I loved my kids in school. I had a chance to breathe, work on projects, finish writing my book, go to lunch with my husband and even (shhh, don’t tell anyone) sit in the silence! I healed from my emotional wounds as a result of life turning upside down and I was finally making it through the days and weeks like Johnson’s baby soap: tear-free!
About spring break, I began praying about the next school year. I asked the Lord if public school was a new season for us, or if this was a time to “let the dust settle” in our life. I told Him, that if the choice was up to me I would like to keep the kids in school, but I was surrendering my plans to Him. If he told me to go back to homeschooling, then I would.
Through a strange series of events over spring break, the Lord truly changed my heart and called our family back to homeschooling. I cried, but agreed to obey. My only question was how to go back and remain a healthy, whole person in the process. That answer hasn’t been as quickly answered.
So the day I walked into the office and my sweet friend asked me if I was so glad to have my kids all under the same roof again, was the first week of school. And how was I doing? Three days back in the saddle and I already felt like I’d been thrown from the horse…several times.
For the rest of the day I thought about her question and how my stomach kneaded when I responded. By the next morning I was crying before the kids woke up. While my husband tried to comfort me, I finally just said the words that wouldn’t go away in my head.
“I don’t want to homeschool!” I said with tears leaking out everywhere.“It drains every morsel of energy and strength from me before 12 o’clock. If God has really called me to this, shouldn’t I enjoy something about it? I fear failing my kids. I fear breaking under the responsibility and pressure. I fear going back there.”
Finally Adam said, “Let me let you in on a little secret – You will fail. And it’s OK. This homeschool is the training ground for life. What happens when Caleb leaves the house and feels called to be a vet, but it’s hard, yet he still believes that’s what he’s called to do? He can think back and remember how you homeschooled even though it was hard for you. You don’t have to shield them to the fact this is hard. That may give our children the will to persevere later in life.”
How do you argue with that?!
This is truly the hardest walk of obedience for me. How can you feel so called to something yet it be the absolute hardest thing to actually do?
There was an Olympic marathon runner that gained national attention because even though he was dead last, he didn’t quit. They even offered to pick him up in a SWEEP van, but he declined and kept putting one foot in front of the other until he finished the race.
Was it hard?
It was excruciating! He had a strained muscle that hadn’t received any medical attention and so ran most of the race in brutal pain. His story spoke volumes to people everywhere and to me. My hope is that as I obey and keep walking even though my muscles are strained, God will supply all my needs and use this marathon for His glory. I hope my kids see something in this journey that teaches them to persevere and not give up when life is hard. Because it will be hard.
And if there’s anyone else who struggles with homeschooling, anyone who feels like her gifts would be better used over there, anyone who’s lonely, tired, spent and doesn’t understand why God’s called her to this – you are not alone. God will enable us to do His will! I’m counting on it.