I love my kids. And I feel called to homeschool them. “Train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). These are very compelling arguments for homeschooling . . . these, and the cost of private Christian education. But this isn’t the only reason I choose to homeschool.
I love my kids. But I struggle with being intentional in my time with them . . . or else, I think I would, if we didn’t homeschool. Our choice in education systems isn’t just about the learning. It is an invitation to more cuddles, creative play and shared meals. It is an opportunity to teach them responsibility and develop stronger family ties. It is the freedom to experience life together.
But today, I am tired, and I would have rather stayed in bed this morning reading a book . . . and studying . . . and writing. Instead, before I could even finish my morning quiet time, someone was up and ready to be fed. As soon as little feet touch the floor, another day of potty training begins. So, before we had even cracked open our first book, my three-year-old was on his second set of pants. And I might as well have traded in my “comfy clothes” for a referee’s uniform because I had already broken up the first fight before my first cup of coffee.
This week has been so crazy. My emotions feel so jumbled, my nerves on edge and I have raised my voice in frustration more times than I care to admit. Yes, I know, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1), but what is the appropriate tone when a young child is unbuckling in the middle of traffic? Would they even hear me if I spoke softly into the tornado of chaos?!
Today, I want to be rescued. And this makes me feel guilty, like a parenting failure. Because I know that “children are a heritage from the LORD” (Psalm 127:3) and God has blessed me with four beautiful children . . . and I still have all four of those beautiful children. Because I know families that are grieving over the loss of a child, and my heart breaks for them. Each night, I am grateful that we are still here . . . together. And I feel ashamed that sometimes I lose my patience and want to be on a deserted island somewhere that has wi-fi.
Some of you may recently be empty nesters. My heart is full for the pangs you feel in letting go. I know you want to remind me that “this too shall pass” and “one day, I’m going to miss this.” I know you are right, but this doesn’t help right now. Oh, I already feel so guilty for feeling this way.
Is it wrong for this homeschooling mom of energetic, vibrant children to want some time of peace and uninterrupted work?
I’m writing and listening to my children play and wondering if I will get some of this precious, coveted non-crazy time alone tonight. I’m thinking of Jesus and remembering one of my favorite verses in the Gospels: “And after he dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone” (Matthew 14:23). After a full but stressful day of feeding more than 5,000 hungry people, Jesus “dismissed the crowd” and spent time alone with His Father. And I wonder, tonight, Lord, will you allow me some time to be alone again with You?
I love my kids . . . really, honestly, I do. But I know I’m a better mom after I’ve spent time alone with my Father.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self [and my sanity] is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory [in my heart and the lives of my children] beyond all comparison.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-17
Wednesday, April 6, 2016