Spring is Worth the Winter
I rarely write about schooling, and today isn’t so much about schooling as much as it is recognizing how God has been producing fruit and grace in my own life. Yet, it is through the prayerful endeavor to homeschool most of our kids that God has caused this growth.
We began homeschooling when Christopher, our oldest, was in First Grade. (All of my boys attended half-day kindergarten.) We chose a quality curriculum that provided everything we needed for free, but it was not for us! (Maybe more specifically, Christopher and I weren’t for it!) The following year we were blessed to become a part of a Homeschool Co-op through a local Charter School. This avenue also provided for all the curriculum needs we had at no charge! We are still a part of this co-op, but it is just one day a week. The rest of the week it is me and the kids and sometimes it has just been a wreck! (Or maybe that was just me being one??!)
I can honestly say that every year has gotten better, but I do so wish those first 2 1/2 had been better! He gives more grace! After I received these words and consolation from my dear friend Jennie, things really began to take on a different rhythm, and I have never been happier in our schooling experience!
I am not waving “Perfect Day” posters around, but maybe something more like, “Grace, Grace, God’s Grace!” and “Thanks, thanks, I give you thanks…for all You’ve done. I am so blessed, my soul has found rest; Oh Lord, I give you thanks!” Really, the days have become more and more like the ideals I’ve prayed about for the last 3 years. The pressure has been brought low and we tend to work more on a simmer these days. Begin with The Word…still…simmer…savor. Move onto the schedule for this day (not always the same…yet;))…calm…slow…breathe…whoops…sorry…forgive Mommy?…pray…moving on.
Did you note that, “whoops…sorry…forgive…”? Yes, it is still a part of our week, but maybe not as frequent as it used to be. I recently told Nathan, one night as we were heading upstairs to bed, “I’m just getting weary of waiting. I keep praying – for years been praying – for this fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When will it be Spring in my life?” He, of course, was encouraging and loving and way more gracious in his response, but I still just felt weary. So, I kept praying, pleading, and yes, begging Father to produce something of worth in me within my home! (My children’s lives are at stake, after all!)
Then, another week after a previous week of snow. Now, I actually love cold weather, fires in the fire place, hot coffee enjoyed throughout the day, and cuddly quilts, but it is April! The bunnies are hopping around and the robins are sticking it out even when they are flying through the bitter cold one day and gliding through the sunny, warm days the next. Quite frankly, I just began to really feel like my spirit would never get out of winter; apparently Colorado Springs and I have a lot in common! Then, somewhere along the end of last week, I awoke to a “spring” of grace within me that I had not felt before. There was still snow in the upcoming forecast, things at home were a little jostled, and I was still fighting and struggling through many of the same things that I always do, but there was a fresh air that had washed over me. Oh, and it was sweet. Oh, and it was good. Oh, and it still is!
So, back to the “school thang” in relation to all this. We were finishing up one day, right before our second son Timothy was due home from his school, when it dawned on me that we had spent all day getting things done, and we had not stressed or argued over the amount of time things were taking. We had gently glided from one thing to the next, and though the day had been full and not perfect, it had been…a joy. A JOY! Sometimes I really don’t recognize these little sprigs of growth, but that day my eyes were open to what that day meant for our family! I was no longer trying to push a “let’s get it all done in three hours today” schedule which always ended in frustration, tears, and harsh words. I didn’t get upset that I had to stop what I was doing several times and attend to the heart and mind of this child or that one. I wasn’t even frazzled (well, too frazzled) over the fact that very little, if any, house cleaning had occurred that day. Instead the accomplishments had come in the shape of a Mommy loving her children and then a wife loving her husband. And after that realization, get this…PEACE! Another fruit, picked fresh for me, and laid on the table of my soul!
As the days have followed I have tasted of a variety of fruit, sweet to the spirit! LOVE fanned into with my husband. PATIENCE dripping off where before there had been a wilderness of impetuous reaction. KINDNESS where bitterness used to dwell. GOODNESS when a focus on the bad had festered for too long! FAITHFULNESS when weariness had caused me to stop before. GENTLENESS where harsh words and ugly attitudes had been overgrown. SELF-CONTROL where screaming, crying, and flying off the handle had become the norm. (And these fruits, not just seen in this Momma, but also in her kiddos. Glory!)
I know we live in a world that spins on it’s axis, orbits the sun, and, hence, lives through seasons. Each one has it’s benefits; each one is needed. Wanting to cheat one season to get to another has never produced the fruit that I have longed for, but there are days…
Today, though, is another day when I am waking up to more of His glory, living in greater grace, and gathering a “bountiful basket” full of God-given fruit! And just like my recent purchase from Bountiful Baskets here in the Springs, some fruit isn’t quite ready to eat, but it’s here, ripening, and one day soon I’ll taste and see that it is good! (As Christopher proclaimed last night over family devos – different post, different day, still waiting for the best fruit from that…) Hallelujah!