Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Returning to the Gospel, Again and Again

We've had a hard day.  We all have them from time to time, don't we?  Nothing specifically went wrong; I just seemed to be unable to get anything done.  And the house was a wreck.  And I had to remind Ada over and over and over again to sit still and pay attention and get your work done.  And sweet Evie pea followed me around the house, undoing any cleaning that I actually managed to get done.  By noon, I felt very discouraged, and I couldn't even remember why I was homeschooling in the first place. 

But now, now the day is done, and I am making myself sit down and remind myself why I decided to do this in the first place, so that I can start tomorrow with fresh vision.

My goal here, which I forget over and over again, is to live out the gospel in daily life with my children.  I want them home with me, so that while they are young, I can naturally help them respond to daily living with the truth of the gospel.  Today, their room was so messy, and I have told them so many times to clean it, and I just lost it with them.  Lost it.  And I took a minute, and I texted a friend, and I called Scott, and I prayed.  And then I gathered them around me in their room, and I apologized.  And I reminded them of the reality of sin and the reality that we live in a fallen world.  That the mess and the chaos and the yelling--that is not how it is supposed to be.  And I reminded them that as much as I hate the sin and the mess (the mess of the house and the mess of us) that we have hope because God has promised that one day he will return and he will make all things new.  It won't always be like this!!  AND I reminded them that we also can have hope because in the mean time, God has given us a helper--the holy spirit, to strengthen us in our weakness, to convict us of our sin, to enable us to turn away from that sin.  And then we prayed, we thanked God for Jesus, who saw us in our mess and knew we had no way out apart from him.  And we thanked God for the holy spirit, who is our helper, and we asked for help.  Help us, Jesus!!  And we thanked God for the hope that one day he will return and make all things new!!!  Hallelujah!!

And, as I prayed, and as they prayed, John also kept getting up and running around the room and asking me if we were done, and Ada's prayer seemed very half-hearted, and even as I told them ALL of the above, I felt discouraged again.  But this is why I have them home with me.  Because living the ins and outs of daily life with anyone provides so much opportunity for gospel application.  One day, one morning, one hour of this life shows us the reality of our sin and this fallen world.  We are a mess, and I want to be here to tell them the answer to the mess.  It's Jesus!!  And they may roll their eyes or ask if we are done, but I believe that if we keep going back to the gospel over and over again, and if we keep going to his word together, it will not return void.  I am trusting that God will use my feeble attempts at gospel talk to change their little hearts.  Now, I know that he certainly doesn't need me to change their hearts, but what a privilege if he allows me to play a role.

My prayer is that he would turn their hearts to Him, and that they would love Him with all of their heart and soul and mind and strength.  I pray that they would love His word, and that they would love prayer, and that they would spend their lives surrendered to him, surrendered to His will for their lives.  I have them home with me because I want them to know this is what comes first.  Phonics and math and memory work and handwriting, all of this must center around the gospel, and so I homeschool. 

Also, I always pray, always, show me if I am wrong.  Show me if it would be better if they were in public school.  Because, I certainly might be wrong.  But for now, this is where I feel he has called us.  So, I rest in Him on the good days and the bad days.  We run to the gospel on the good days and the bad days.  We run to Him.  He is always the answer.

yesterday at CC, learning about Norman Rockwell. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Order out of chaos

Well, here I find myself halfway through January of 2015, and no matter how much I try to walk away from the blog, there is always an urging in me to come back to it and record the details of our life. 

Evie is now a year old, fourteen months TODAY, and I am beginning to see through the fog of the past couple of years.  My pregnancy with her was a hard one.  Of course, there are those who have much harder ones than mine, but compared to my other two, hers was a doozy.  I was so uncomfortable and sick to my stomach for the entire pregnancy.  Then she was born, and we entered into the twilight zone that is the first year with a baby.  On top of that, the particular position that Scott had at Home Depot meant that he was working ALL OF THE TIME.  He got home late, and when he did get home, he got his lap top out and worked some more, and we felt like we couldn't ever really get to him.  But now, praise the Lord, he is two weeks into a new job that is so much CLOSER to home, and he has much more normal hours, and we are so very thankful.  We are also so very thankful for his time at Home Depot.  It was a good company, a good job, and it will always be a reminder of how God stepped into what felt like a hopeless situation and placed our feet on solid ground.  And I am thankful that Scott is such a hard worker and that he threw himself into that job and pursued excellence there in that position, BUT, I feel such relief with this new job that he has.  We all do.  In fact, just last week, after several days of Scott being home by six, John said, "mom, do you promise that daddy will always keep THIS job."  Bless him, he went to bed many nights this past year without seeing Scott.  (I realize that is the norm for so many families who go for months at a time without seeing their husband/father at all, but we are still thankful to see Scott on a more regular basis!).  This blog has always been a place where I could record the tangible ways that God provides for our family.  Scott's new job is the latest in that obvious provision.  I can't stop praising God for it. 

So, here we are, a new year, Evie is now moving into her toddler years, though she has yet to start walking.  She is my timid one, it seems.  She cruises around, and will walk while holding onto only ONE of my fingers, but she will not let go.  I am content with that.  She will walk when she is ready.
I am, of course, still homeschooling.  Though, technically, I am still only homeschooling one child.  Ada is in second grade, and, praise the Lord, this year has been mostly smooth sailing.  Second grade seems to be an easy year--no big learning milestones, really.  She is reading independently, sailing through math lessons, doing well memorizing her CC grammar.  Another way that God is providing.  It has been a hard past year, so for the school portion of it to be easy is a huge gift from the Lord.

All of that to say,  I have been living in survival mode--somewhat out of necessity, and I am ready to move out of that frame of mind.  We are two weeks into this school semester (we have spent these two weeks sick, so it hasn't been a great start), and I am thinking through a better system for our day.  School has to be a priority, obviously, because I am always aware that Ada is in SECOND GRADE, and sometimes I get that same feeling--like that dream that everyone has, where I am in college and it is finals week and I realize that I haven't been to class all semester!--well, I get that feeling sometimes about Ada.  As if she was supposed to start school two years ago, and we didn't start.  Really, I know that she is fine, but sometimes it is overwhelming that the responsibility of her education is ALL MINE.  I want to make sure that I am being a good steward of these years and this choice to educate my children at home.  I want to make the most of it. 

I am hoping--hoping being the important word--that I can start using this blog as a place to reflect and evaluate what is and is not working in our day to day life.  I crave an orderly home, and right now, it is more fly by the seat of our pants.  Some of that is inevitable during this season of life, but I want to be intentional in trying to find possible solutions for the chaos.   

We'll see.  Who knows when I will be back to this online journal of mine.  But my hope, and my plan, is that I will return soon.