Boy, does the enemy hate it when we grab onto new-to-us truth.
I’m learning to look at life differently. I’m seeing God’s gifts to me all around, keeping a list, thanking Him in difficulties (*for* difficulties!) and finding joy in it. My girlfriends are joining me–reading Ann Voskamp’s book, starting their own lists, seeing the world through thanksgiving–the Eucharisteo that, as Ann shares, is the crux of the gospel.
Yup, you guessed it–the fire has been turned up! My weekly class was semi-disastrous yesterday. I’ve offended one of my kids, and they’re not understanding my heart–the more I explain, the more we go ’round, the worse it gets. I can’t find the paperwork I was supposed to turn in two weeks ago. The laundry is overflowing. I don’t feel well. And to top it all off, I do NOT understand the Latin I’m supposed to teach next Tuesday.
Of course, it’s the relational issues that weigh heaviest. When life happens and things don’t look the way we thought they would . . . don’t turn out the way we thought they surely should . . . what then? Can we, dare we, continue in our uphill climb, this homeschooling life, when it’s harder than we expected, and sometimes the very sacrifice we’ve made seems to have bred resentment? I’ve been wondering . . .
And so this afternoon I received an email. Apparently, the link to this article I wrote some time ago which was posted at Heart of the Matter is getting a crazy amount of “hits.” And no one knows why. Some women have graciously shared it with email loops and homeschool magazines, and so Heart of the Matter has published it once again (thank you!)
You know who needed to read it most today? Yup. ME.
So here it is. In case you’re still reading, and wonder why. 😉
The last couple of weeks have been tough. Trying to complete our studies between preparing for Thanksgiving, decorating for Christmas and everyone in the house getting a terrible three-week cold put me right over the edge. By the end of last week, I was literally in tears numerous times. I felt like a failure; why on earth couldn’t I get something–anything!– done, right and on time? Why did I keep forgetting to do spelling with one child, phonics with another, and another’s research paper? Why was there still a ginormous pile of laundry even though I was running three loads a day? Why couldn’t my child (who will remain unnamed to protect the not-so-innocent) seem to keep track of his glasses? Why were the girls’ toys procreating in their lovely, flowery bins ’til they overflowed? Why was I supposed to be in control of all those things, anyway? Why, why, why? And most of all, since I am obviously so bad at it, why on earth did God give me the job of being in charge of EVERYTHING ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH?
Ahem. So yesterday I was up early as usual, sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee and a new, unwritten-in journal before me (don’t you love that feeling?) I was asking God about my exhaustion. I knew He had something to say and that there must be some solution, since boarding school for everyone didn’t appear to be an option, and neither did a six-month European cruise for me. Guess what He said? There is something missing. There is one thing, which, if I’m lacking, will cause me to feel like–and indeed, even be–a failure. What is it? LOVE.
Now, I don’t mean that I don’t love my kids. That one was settled a long time ago. And I don’t even mean that I wasn’t doing nice things for them. Actually, part of the problem may have been that I was doing too many nice things! It’s just that once again, I’d let the wrong things become my focus. The Instructor’s Guide schedule. My to-do list. The two-year “get ready for college” list. The how to be ready for Christmas on time and without going crazy list. The how-many-lessons-you-have-to-finish-each-day-to-be-done-before-June-list. The here’s-how-to-keep-up-with-your-house list. Even the 25 Things to Do With Your Kids: One for Each Day of December list. Those things have a tendency to yell very loudly at me, and somehow my focus becomes, “How well am I doing with checking off all the things I think I should be doing?” instead of “How well am I doing at loving these people?”
The Lord graciously took me to 1 Corinthians 13. I’ve taken the liberty to write in some of my own aberrations and blind spots here, and thought perhaps some of you could relate. So here it is, though I’m sure it’s been done before, differently and probably better . . . my own version of 1 Corinthians 13 for Homeschool Moms.
1 Corinthians 13 for Homeschool Moms
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and teach my children Latin conjugations, Chinese and Portuguese, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal, and no matter what I say, they will not hear me.
If I have the gift of prophecy, and know my children’s bents and God’s plan for their lives, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and am the keeper of the teacher’s editions and solutions manuals, and if I have all faith, so as to move mountains, and even keep up with my giant piles of laundry and dishes, but do not have love, I am nothing, even if all the people at church think I’m Supermom.
And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and my formal dining room gets turned into a schoolroom and our family vacations look more like educational fieldtrips, and if I surrender my body to be burned, never having time to get my nails done, put makeup on or even take a bath, but do not have love, it profits me nothing, because all my family cares about is the expression on my face, anyway.
Love is patient with the child who still can’t get double-digit subtraction with borrowing, and kind to the one who hasn’t turned in his research paper. It is not jealous of moms with more, fewer, neater, more self-directed, better-behaved or smarter children. Love does not brag about homemade bread, book lists, or scholarships and is not arrogant about her lifestyle or curriculum choices. It does not act unbecomingly or correct the children in front of their friends. It does not seek its own, trying to squeeze in alone time when someone still needs help; it is not provoked when interrupted for the nineteenth time by a child, the phone, the doorbell or the dog; does not take into account a wrong suffered, even when no one compliments the dinner that took hours to make or the house that took so long to clean.
Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness or pointing out everyone else’s flaws, but rejoices with the truth and with every small step her children take in becoming more like Jesus, knowing it’s only by the grace of God when that occurs.
Love bears all things even while running on no sleep; believes all things, especially God’s promise to indwell and empower her, hopes all things, such as that she’ll actually complete the English curriculum this year and the kids will eventually graduate, endures all things, even questioning from strangers, worried relatives, and most of all, herself.
Love never fails. And neither will she. As long as she never, never, never gives up.
Misty Krasawski, December 8, 2008