Thursday, May 30, 2013

Are We There Yet?

This is gonna be short and sweet - but it's something at least!

I read this hilarious post on Jen Hatmakers blog today and all on my own, in my living room, in my sassy green chair that is more comfortable to sit in than it looks, I laughed out loud.  I reposted.  I wanted to stand up and cheer and shout "Me TOO!" 

It was somehow freeing in that moment to admit that I too am a Worst End of School Year Mom.  Care to join me?

There are lots of great things about homeschooling. I highly recommend it!  But getting to the almost-end of the school year is just totally depressing. It can be downright disheartening.  Thank you Jen, for giving me permission to say so.

I know that homeschooling Mamas are a strange breed to many.   And I don't want to speak for everyone, because if there's one thing I've learned about homeschoolers is that they really really don't like to be categorized.  But I want to say this to my comrades in arms:

You do NOT have to always have it all together.  Especially in May.  It's okay to admit you can't wait for the school year to be over.  It doesn't mean you should quit homeschooling (unless it does, and that's ok too!) You don't have to prove that what you are doing is important.  It is. End of story.  Just remember we're all in this together - Sisters sending their kids to public school.  Girlfriends sending their kids to private school.  You teaching your kids at home.  You are all raising and loving your kids the best way you know how.  So be real.  When we are real we free one another to be different.  Different is good.  

Just be faithful. And remember this my homschooling sisters :

If you feel like you have wrecked your kids more this year than if they were in  a traditional school - take heart - it's probably not true.  I'm fairly certain my kids will end up wrecked no matter where I send them and I don't like packing lunches, so we homeschool. (We all have our reasons, okay?)  I'm collecting pop cans to contribute to their therapy bills.  It helps me sleep at night - especially in May.  

If you wake up every morning in May and your kids are at each other and you wish to sweet heaven that you had six field trips that someone else could take them on - you are still a good Mom and teacher.  Just maybe not today. And here's the best part Mama - that's okay.  We can't always be awesome. Seriously.  We can't. Noone can. So here's what I suggest:  Call a friend.  Tell her you need to practice socializing your kids.  Put on the telly and let your kids brains turn to mush while you and your girlfriend eat from the hidden chocolate stash and cry about how tired you are until you laugh at how funny life is and you wouldn't trade it for anything.

If you find yourself three quarters of the way through your curriculum and you just can not CAN. NOT. do one more lapbook or diorama of a tsetse fly habitat - just let it go. That report card is important, don't get me wrong - but it's NOT a report card on you.  Let that one sink in.  It will change your life if you believe it. 

Do your best.  Every day.  But remember that your best in May is very different than your best in October.  Seriously.  It's gonna be alright.

And when all else fails, just repeat to yourself over and over, the same thing Vancouver Canucks fans have been telling themselves since time began:

There's always next year.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Mercy Slide

My thoughts are incomplete.  They are a bit rambly.  They are definitely imperfect.  But writing helps, and so instead of avoiding it because I can't get it perfect, I'm just gonna let it fly and see what happens.

Lately I find myself going between extreme joy and clarity one moment to utter confusion and doubt the next.

Life is just like that sometimes, isn't it? Or maybe it's more accurate to say - that's just life.

Sometimes all you can do is throw yourself at the feet of Jesus, ya know?  And as oddly violent as that imagery sounds throwing myself down always is the right answer, even though it looks different every time.

For now,  I cannot spend enough time in prayer.  There aren't enough bible studies, devotionals and verses-of-the-day to quench my thirst. And it's not because I feel like I am praying to no one and finding nothing.  Quite the opposite.  I am finding so much life in those words, in His presence. Gods word is for me.  For today. What an awesome thing to believe that to my very center.

It's sort of freeing to embrace that you're imperfect, but still capable of change and becoming a better version of you. I'm learning to be okay with that tension.  Extremes are easy.  Living in tension is more difficult, but more rewarding.

It's comforting to find that when you go running to God  he doesn't always give you what you want, but always gives you exactly what you need. So sometimes the emotions are still all over the place, but there is sweet peace and mercy from God.  The calm inside while the storm merrily rages on.

And like a child whose been assured once again that Mom and Dad will be waiting at the bottom of the slide, I run off and begin to climb.  God is gracious enough to allow us to feel the fear that must be conquered in order to climb. Maybe the lesson is to not begrudge the climb? We often ask for the climb to be taken away, as though we would be better off if we were just plunked from slide-top to slide-top. But I wonder - if those dream seeds God has knit into our being take time and sometimes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to become reality.  If there is no struggle, no risk, if we don't have to conquer anything to get to the top of that slide we're just victims of gravity...maybe?  Can we understand the beauty of mercy and grace if we have no need of it?

This is what it feels like when you discover your calling, I suppose. When you screw up the courage to believe God has created you for a purpose, not just to breath air and take up space, but to do something - to live a life that matters.  Something changes when you speak outloud that tiny dream you have been to afraid to give oxygen to.  But let it out.  Courage, Faith and Obedience are all muscles we must exercise! Just do it! and climb one more step, even if it scares you!

Believe in your heart that God has created you to do something that will be big enough in God's kingdom that the only way it would be possible for it to happen would be that God would do it through spite of you...because of you.  All three, maybe?

But even more amazing than that is to know that whatever he has called you to comes with the promise of his presence, The gifts of his love, grace and mercy to those who are faithful.  Forgiveness for when we screw up and are faithless.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

So here I am.  Climbing a new ladder.  I can't even see the top yet, but I will do my best to climb well and to learn all that I have to so that when I do arrive at the summit of this challenge, I will be thankful for the lessons I have learned as I climbed each rung.  I will stand at the top and my heart will know that God made me for this moment.  Then I'll throw my hands in air and feel the sweet thrill of racing to the bottom, my heart will hear him say "Well done, you did it!" and then...

 I'll climb again.