There were tears…
Lots of tears.
There were five year old girl tears and eleven year old girl tears, and there was the eight year old’s tantrums that made me feel like I was the most inept and out of control mother in the entire universe of homeschooling moms. After all, I was supposed to be good at this. I’m a mom of five. It’s not like I’d never done this before. But here I was, looking like a crazy woman, yelling at the top of my lungs, swearing that I would march my tantrum boy straight into our local elementary school and register him for the third grade today; as in right now; go put your shoes and we’re leaving. My other children looked back and forth between tantrum boy and myself as if watching a tennis match between two clearly unstable opponents. I did what any logical mom would do. I ignored them. I reasoned with myself that homeschooling was clearly overrated, and I was clearly not equipped to do this job anymore: and besides, how bad could public school really be anyway?!?
Did I mention that this only on day one of school?
It reminded me of the phrase in the Bible, “There would be crying and gnashing of teeth.” That always threw me. Gnashing of teeth. That didn’t sound pleasant at all. It actually sounded painful. But last week, I kind of felt like I understood it. I was on our first day of school and I had to fight the urge to run away and hide in my closet. How would I ever make it through the entire year? Between the eight year olds temper tantrums, to the girls crying and the fifteen year old who was trying to endlessly convince me that Captain America; The Winter Soldier was a good family movie and we owed it to ourselves as a family to rent it, I was frankly worn out. Did I mention that it was only day one? I felt so overwhelmed. It was so hard. Was this even worth it? Would public school be such a bad thing? I have to admit, I thought about it. The problem was that God called us to homeschooling. So to do anything other than that would be in direct opposition to what the Lord placed on mine and my husband’s heart so many years ago. I was stuck, and I didn’t know what to do.
And so, I prayed.
Something that I should have done the minute the tears started. I prayed for my son, whose tantrums were bad before his dad passed away and hadn’t gotten any better… I prayed for my fifteen year old who kept giving me alternatives to the directives I was giving him, I prayed for my little one, who was such a perfectionist at five years old, that she cried if her work wasn’t perfect, and I prayed for her sister who cried because of all things, much to this English major’s heartache; she hated to write.
How could I possibly think I could go on without hearing from God? How could I possibly think that I would be successful without going to him first? What was I thinking? I should have prayed the night before, I should have prayed that morning. I should have prayed with them before we started. Would my daughters still have cried? Probably, maybe, I don’t know. But I do know that I would be able to deal with the crying better. I think I would be able to deal with the temper tantrums better. I do think I wouldn’t feel so inclined to chase a yellow bus and begging the bus driver to please take my kids to the nearest school.
I realized that I was trying to do everything in my own strength, and getting frustrated that I wasn’t having the victories that I wanted. I was fussing at my son for throwing tantrums and here I was throwing my own tantrum. (so much so, that my sweet five year old could be heard saying, “Gee Mom, you’re kindsa mean…”) Had it not been the truth, I might have been upset by her observation. I wanted our homeschooling experience to be better than this. I envisioned eager students who praised me for my brilliant teaching skills, I dreamed of thought provoking discussions on our current studies. But what we were experiencing was far from that picture. It wasn’t even close, and I realized my biggest mistake in our seemingly failed first day of school. I had all of the shiny new books, pencils were sharpened, cubbies were filled to the brim with everything needed and we were set to begin. Except for one thing.
I was missing the most important component to our school.
How could I possibly expect that God would be there in my home and homeschool if I failed to invite him in? I allowed the busyness of life to override the need for an intimate partnership with the Lord. I hadn’t made the time to pray or spend the time with the Lord that I needed to make it through the day successfully. Unless we make time for Him, we won’t have the ability to function in a Godly way when things go awry. The word tells us to “Be anxious for nothing but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hears and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
That passage speaks to me.
God wants intimacy with us. He knows whats going on in our lives. But he wants us to bring our issues to him. He wants to hear about our praises. He desires a relationship with us. Have you ever met someone and thought, wow, I’d love her to be my friend! You just want to hang out and get to know that person? Well, God created us, and he is the creator of the entire universe. Yet, he wants and desires to have fellowship with us. He loves us. He desires our time and our hearts. We have to make him a priority. Not just because we need help with things that are going on in life, but because we love him. We love him and we need him and I’ve never realized that more since my husband passed away. I found myself saying things like, I miss him so much, I need him, I feel so alone. And in the midst of my pain, I heard that small quiet voice whisper, “Yes, I understand… But he’s ok. He’s with me, and you’re not alone. I’m here. You may miss Robert, but I have never left you. You may want to be with him, and you will one day, in the meantime, spend time with me. You may feel alone, but don’t trust your feelings, because they can be deceptive. You’re never alone. I’m always with you.”
Here’s the deal folks.
God loves us, he cares for us, but he won’t force his way into your life. We need to invite him to be with us, we have to give him our cares and our heartaches and let him handle them. There may be crying and gnashing of teeth, but with God, there will be a sweetness of clarity and grace after the crying has ceased. I hope you’ll remember to not try to live your life apart from him. He’s waiting, waiting for us to ask him for help, and he’s more than ready to move in and give us the patience and grace that we need to make it through each day. And I’ll be real with you, I’ll probably want to chase a bus or two between now and May, but I’m pretty sure that with the Lord’s help, he will ease that urge and remind me to chase after him and to chase after the hearts of my children.
Be Blessed Friends…