"There is a difference between giving something and having it taken from you. If you still count the things that you lost with resentment, then you did not give them. You need to let go of those things that you no longer have. Lay them down. If you find yourself in bed at night tallying what has been lost to you, you need to let go of that list. Lay them down. Give them freely. Don't count them as stolen."
- Rachel Jankovic Fit to Burst
Finally sitting at my computer to write again. After finishing The Grind and then birthing a baby boy I haven't had much time to write. I have had a lot of time to read while nursing my little stud muffin which has been so good. I seriously love having the "excuse" of nursing as a chance to plow through my stack of books I've been wanting to read, but haven't had the time or availability to dig into. I'll write another post on the books I've read while sitting around snuggling my baby (some great ones I can't wait to share with you!)
Today though I had a few minutes to myself while the baby napped and the 4 year old was at the bee hive with Ben and the 2 year old was at the garden with a big sister so I thought I would take a moment and write out something that has been spinning in my mind lately mainly because of the above quote. I just finished reading Fit to Burst by Rachel Jankovic and I would highly recommend it - seriously a great Biblical perspective on motherhood that is seldom written about these days. I found it challenging and there are several ways I was convicted where my attitude has been off and needed some correcting. But that is not the point of this post either.
I read the above quote and was reminded of my first year of homeschooling. Ben and I were both working full time and homeschooling our 3 bigs. It was wild and busier than I've ever been in my life (and I'm not saying that to brag - it was too busy and my priorities were out of wack). Half way through the homeschool year I found myself unemployed and trying to figure out what life looked like with the lack of income and as "just a stay at home, homeschool mom." I'll be honest it wasn't pretty and I was having a hard time adjusting to what the new normal was. I didn't give up my job so that I could make my family a priority it was taken from me and I threw a pity party for a while. I'd set my fulfillment in my job rather than in what should have been my first, second, and third priorities - the Lord, my husband, and my children.
The Lord was gracious and let me throw my royal pity party for a while, but after a few weeks He so gently reminded me as I read the story of the prodigal son that I could sit and wallow like a pig in self pity or I could embrace this new life that He had given me and throw all my energy, passion, and joy into being "just a stay at home, homeschool mom"
So I stopped wallowing around in the mud pit with my tiara and instead I started finding joy in this life. It took a while but I wasn't "just a stay at home, homeschool mom" anymore. I had been given the gift of being A STAY AT HOME, HOMESCHOOL MOM and it rocked my world!!! My fulfillment was in the Lord, I was finding joy in small moments watching my kids master their times tables, learning to read, and getting to slow down and do life together. Discipleship became the central focus of our home and I was able to watch my children's walks with the Lord flourish as did all of our friendships as well. Rather than running the rat race, we had time to play games, sit around and sing as Ben played his guitar, and eat meals together around the table. Life changed in dramatic ways and for the first time I learned how fulfilling being a mom could be. I found Sally Clarkson, Edith Schaeffer, and Cindy Rollins (authors) and as I read my eyes were opened to even more of what the home was intended to be.
I've never looked back. The Lord brought me such fulfillment and joy in this role that I would never wish to go back to that job again. The job outside the home was fake fulfillment, serving people who ultimately weren't my responsibility to serve. My family is my responsibility and I will answer for how I steward this time I have with them in my home.
So why am I telling you all this?!? Many of you have started this homeschool journey not by choice. Many of you had public or private school taken from you and life as you know it looks drastically different now. You'd imagined your K student walking with a backpack that was 2 sizes too large on their back, giving you a toothy grin while walking in to his first day of class and instead he's still wearing pj's there is no classroom to go to and school is happening at the kitchen table.
I want to challenge you mommies today to change the perspective on your homeschool year. Rather than looking at it like the school year was taken from you and you have lost your time alone or time with the younger kids, rather start viewing this Covid time as a blessing. You've been GIVEN the gift of a homeschool year with your children. Maybe it's only one year or maybe for some of you, you might fall in love with this wild world of homeschooling and discipling your children and this might be the rest of your journey. My encouragement is to get out of the mud pit, take off that pity party crown and look for the gift. Find joy in the small moments of the day, thank the Lord often for every little gift you can see.
Is homeschooling hard - YES, is staying home with your children all day every day hard - YES, does Satan want you to feel like you aren't accomplishing anything and are failing - YES, BUT does God ever call us to do something without a plan - NO. The Lord knew long before Covid was thing that you were going to homeschool, He has this path and plan prepared for you and wants to use this time not only for your children to learn and finish 3rd grade, but this is for your sake too. The Lord wants to use this homeschool season to grow your character, your joy, and to build your family into something that reflects His glory. James 1: 2-4 says 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Yes, homeschooling can be a trial, Covid can be a trial, your kids not being in school can be a trial, but if these trials produce in us a growing faith so that we may be complete and lacking nothing, then it's worth looking at these trials as a gift from the Lord.
We need to flip our mindset from what has been TAKEN to what has been GIVEN. What have you been GIVEN today?