First day of school! The hustle and bustle to get a healthy breakfast served & lunches made, waking up kids who, all summer were up at the crack of dawn but now that school has resumed are un-wakeable.
Find every child's lost uniform piece, even though I reminded them the night before to lay everything out. Somewhere in there, I shower and make myself presentable to begin the day. Rush out the door by 8:10 at the latest, which always ends up being 8:16, guaranteeing the walk of shame to the office to get a late slip.
Walk my younger girls to their classrooms where one of them chooses to be clingy and needs to be physically removed from my being. Head outside to chat with my mom friends until 9:30am. Drive the 15 minutes home, clean up from the morning chaos. How is it possible that my house looks like a bomb went off in the 30 minutes between my family finally waking and walking out the door for school? Oh no, totally forgot I was supposed to be volunteering in one of my 3 girls classes. I leave my kitchen half clean and race back to school apologizing for my tardiness.
Leave the school after reading with 25 kids (the cuddle with my little one made it worth it) to get to my lunch meeting, 15 minutes late, apologizing for my tardiness (notice the trend). Receive a call from Mark asking if we can have a new family for dinner. Sure, no problem. Race to the grocery store to grab a few items; why don't they have what I need, run to a different grocery store. Text my friend apologizing and asking if she can wait with my younger daughters at school as I'm running behind. Finally, arrive at the school, exhausted, don't want to get out of the car. Need to recharge.
Not now, I hug my girls and talk to the moms at school. My oldest is now out of class, but I continue to talk, girls continue to play. A mom has an appointment and needs help with her kids, I offer to take them home with me. Somehow, I end up with 10 kids at home with me. I love it! I wouldn't have offered if I didn't.
We get home at 4:30pm to the unfinished kitchen, people coming to dinner in an hour. I scramble around, cleaning, cooking, trying to make my home presentable for a new family all the while 10 kids are running back and forth. By the time people leave, my house is back the way it started, a disaster, past bedtime, kids remember they have homework and one of them needs to have a heartfelt talk with me. I give all I have left, and I leave her room exhausted. Can't slow down because there is a field trip tomorrow and bible study, and I'm double booked.
And the cycle continued. Day after day after day.
I realized that I needed to make a change. I was exhausted. I started to pray and seek what I could give up to simplify our life a little. God made it very clear that I am to continue to open up my home, spend time with women studying the Bible each week, and pouring into my girls lives - teaching them about God, friendship, character, womanhood, etc. We have been so blessed by our school, my girls loved their teachers, we all had great friends, but I felt God telling me that we needed to pull back from a school setting to simplify. I am trained in Early Childhood Education and have the ability, creativity and patience to teach my girls, but battled with God. What would people think? What will people say? Will I hurt the school's feelings? Will we lose friends?
I was listening to Julie Richard from Fearless Moms and she said something that God used to speak to my heart. She said, "The chatter doesn't matter. The vision makes the decision." I realized, our family's vision to care for our community, to share Christ's love and truth to those we meet, to raise my girls to love God, his church & his ways could be met in a more powerful way if I slowed down the running around and homeschooled. The chatter of the world's norm or our peers opinions don't matter if homeschooling fits our vision.
We spent a week at a family camp this summer. With this calling in my mind, I was encouraged to spend time with a couple friends that I only see during this one week each summer. Seeing these beautiful women who's girls are now teens fulfill the call of schooling in their home were a timely example of obedience and grace.
At this point I still had only shared my thoughts with my best friend as we drove home from an evening out. I felt I was at a crossroads but didn't want to disrupt our family if it was my desire and not God's. I came home and committed to fast and pray until God spoke to me. That Sunday morning I sat in church and listened to Mark share about how we can't negotiate with God. If God asks you do something you can't say, "Well, I won't do that, but what about this instead?"
In that moment, again I felt God's nudging, that I am that person. He's making it clear, and I'm giving him alternatives. I knew that God was calling me to homeschool my girls. I went to Mark that afternoon, assuming he would bring me to my senses and tell me I'm crazy. Instead, he confirmed that it would be best for our family. Later that day, we mentioned it to our girls explaining my process of prayer and seeking the Lord on it. Our girls, who love their school, unanimously agreed. That's when I began to panic: now I would have to actually act on it.
"The chatter doesn't matter," even when it's my own! ... "the vision makes the decision."
First Day of School Today! It was exactly how I envisioned it, peaceful, life giving for both my girls and myself and feeling energized for the days ahead. I have worked tirelessly to make this year of learning a success. I will post about how homeschooling looks for our family - our curriculum, our classroom and everything in between in the coming days/weeks.
Do I think homeschooling is for everyone? No. What I've realized as I'm getting older is that everyone's capacity is different. I was exhausted by taking on too much but was not willing to miss a field trip or an opportunity to volunteer at the school, not because I wanted to please the school or the teachers but because I wanted to be with my girls. I wanted them to know that amidst the busyness of ministry life, speaking engagements, meetings, travel, and everything else our life consists of in this season, that they are my priority.
And before God I want to know that I used my God-given gifts to serve Jesus, his church and my family well. So here goes.