Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Beginnings

Dear Chloe, Sam, & Max,

Last year when I began this homeschooling journey I never imagined how much could change in one short year. I had a plan, and it was solid: I would homeschool Chloe for two years while Sam and Max went to preschool. I told many people over and over about how important it was going to be for me to have two full years just homeschooling one child before I took on the task of homeschooling three.

Fast forward 365 or so days, and I am now homeschooling all three of you, while your cooing, kicking, three-month-old brother bounces away in his little seat in the corner.

I wouldn't have believed you if you'd told me then the way it would be now... I may not even have wanted to believe you. But what I hope you'll learn from this letter when you read it some day is that God equips whom He calls. He never promises the journey will be easy, but He promises that He will never call you to do something He knows you can't do, and that He will be with you every step of the way.

Last year I began to feel called to have you two crazy boys at home with Chloe and I. My reaction was very similar to the prayerful reaction I had when I began to feel called to homeschool in the first place:

Ummm, no way. Thanks for considering me capable, but no way. NO. WAY. Obedience matters, but so does my sanity.

As the year progressed though, preschool, which had been intended as a learning experience for you and a "break" for me ended up being more of a burden. It divided our tight little unit of four so often, with you two being dropped off for one learning adventure while Chloe and I raced back home for our own. The house was too quiet without you; I could tell that Chloe missed you, and that you both missed her. Although I loved your sweet teachers, I couldn't help feeling that I would do things differently. Sam, you would practice your L for an hour if we talked and learned about your beloved lions as you wrote the big line down and the little line across. And Max, you could count to 20 with excellence if there was a jelly bean waiting for you at the end of the task! Your teachers didn't know these things about you, and even if they did, they had too many other kids to think about and keep in line to give you that sort of individual attention. There certainly isn't anything wrong with that. Your teachers, like most teachers, loved what they did and poured their hearts into it. But God just kept nudging me.

I have a different path for your family, and I want you to have the courage to take it.

I started praying about it in the way I often like to pray:

God, I am really sensing that You are wanting me to keep the boys home next year. Here's the thing: I really, really don't want to. It will be too hard. They drive me crazy. I won't have the patience. I won't have the time. I won't have the joy. I'm too selfish... I want some time to myself! I know I'm supposed to trust You. But I don't want to do it. There. I prayed about it.

I would go on with my day. And before I knew it, while I was folding little underoos or elbow-deep in dirty dishwater, I would once again feel prompted to pray about keeping the boys home. God just doesn't give up. I am so grateful for that.

In time, an opportunity arose to participate in a classical co-op with other homeschoolers each week, forcing me to make a choice. I couldn't do both preschool and the co-op. By the time this happened, God had slowly, relentlessly replaced my fear with His courage, my doubt with His truth, my worry with His peace, my confusion with His clarity.

All He asked me to do was to trust Him and then get out of His way.

Tuesday, August 16th was our first day of school.

We decided we wanted to start a family tradition and go out to breakfast each year on our first day. You guys picked our favorite, the lovely greasy spoon Chubs.

We all went together and toasted our new beginning over plates of wobbly eggs and pancakes drenched in maple syrup.

Wake up buddy, it's not summer any more!

That day, as I recall, had its good and bad moments, and there have been good days and bad days since. But there is something indescribably special about knowing that we are in this together, our family. Each day we learn and sing and read and argue and forgive together, and I am aware, truly aware, of the abundant blessing God pours out on me when I am willing to trust Him.

I look forward to each and every day that I get to spend with the three of you.

In Him Who keeps you,

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

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