Thursday, October 26, 2017


Perhaps you've noticed my absence. The pessimist in me says probably not, but I'm trying to choke down that pesky voice.

In all my homeschooling years, this September has been the most difficult by far. I know, it's October, but I'm back-tracking just a bit. There are probably at least 20 reasons why last month was so challenging: football practice for Asher three days a week, soccer practice for Cole two days a week, tutoring Essentials (and learning everything from Essentials for the first time ever), teaching Asher through Essentials for the first time, Jovi being in CC for the first time, and trying to write a book/book proposal at the same time are the large chunk of it.

I don't see myself as a positive person really, but some people might say I am good at looking at the bright side of things. I think it comes more from my ability to look at what's wrong and then come up with a great solution. So in reality, it starts with looking at fault and discord, then it morphs into improvement, which often looks to others like a lovely spin on difficulties. But this month, and last month, there is so much to do, so much always left undone, and more ambition than I can wrestle, that I am striving incredibly hard to stay afloat and still smile. No matter what solution I try to come up with to "fix" it all, nothing gets fixed. It has been extremely challenging to not quit everything and it's still really hard to not give up.

Many of the women in my circle of ambition are SAHMs (Stay At Home Moms) too, but most of them have their children in school full time. Other moms who are homeschooling along with me don't have the same nagging drive for working outside the home or other business-like endeavors. Then the moms who do, and are prominent or successful, seem to have husbands whose jobs are more flexible, or who even work together on their same, thriving business. I know, I know, I'm sure I'm not the only mom wearing these shoes, but I often feel very alone in this journey, and much of the time, left without options for getting everything done. This is part of why I started this blog. Many of us desperately need to hear from ordinary, struggling homeschool moms.

As I try to make progress on my book proposal I am pretty much failing at doing exactly what I am encouraging other moms to do. Find your security in Christ, find your identity in God's purposes, find your strength in Jesus, find your confidence in the Holy Spirit's work, and find your reason for serving others in the fact that God is eternally serving and loving all of us: I say these things, and I know they are true, but they are not bringing me the help I wish they would.

During my eight-week-absence here, I've been attempting to learn to live. Not just staying alive and getting stuff done (which I really am not), but to actually want to do all the things my daily life requires. To say I don't struggle with depression would be a lie, but its spotty appearances, and its sudden disappearance every time I have more than four hours to myself, leave me working through this without the pursuit of professional help (for now). I really want to just have someone fix me and make me "normal." But for me, as of right now, I know there are things I need to deal with. It's harder than I realized to admit that I don't need or want Christ the way I should, the way I know is right, the way I know would be best.

I am fairly confident surrender is the answer, though I haven't yet fully embraced it. When I am completely, happily surrendered to God's will for my day, my mental check-list will not cause me to despair. When I totally trust that God's tasks for me are the absolute best, I will not feel guilty over other chores that are still undone. When I know for certain that the path I am on is 100% the best for us right now, I will not waver and waste a million hours fretting over if I can do, or should do something else. I have spent too much time striving and not enough time surrendering. And since it sucks so much to admit this, I am being ridiculous and just doing it publicly.

Somehow, there is a lot of satisfaction in bringing all this to light. Admitting struggle, confessing inability, coming to terms with my sin and my poor reactions that lead me away from peace; these are all impossible to do without God and still difficult to surrender to.

If you are in a hard spot like me, quit striving to make it all work out. Admit that it's hard, it's messy, and maybe even nearly impossible. Confess that you want to make it work but know only God can light that path for you. Find a way to bring these thoughts and fears to light. Whether that's talking about it with your spouse, with a good friend, a parent or your kids: it all needs to come into the light if you want it to stop messing with your head.

If you have friends in this hard spot, stop telling them to just quit. Yes, there is a time when you have too much on your plate. My dear homeschool mom friend told me several weeks ago that I had to stop going to every single one of my boys' practices. She graciously said I was doing enough for them, but that my 10+ hours each week of sitting outside to watch them throw, catch, dribble, and kick a ball was not actually helping them or the rest of my family. She was totally right! And this kind of advice is not what I'm talking about. If you're friend is so burdened by everything she wants to do but is not doing, telling her to stop wanting the deep burdens in her heart will not help.

We need to give life to one another, to water tender and breaking hearts with the refreshment Jesus gives. The mom who is doing too much might need told to stop. But the mom in despair with all the good she is trying to sow into the lives of others needs to be told it is worth it, even when it messes up other parts of life (like clean floors, folded laundry, or homemade meals every day of the week). God plants those seeds of desire in our hearts and He will always make a way for those callings, especially when it is a genuine investment in others. We need to stop driving each other from these things. We need to encourage one another into them.

Homeschooling or not, we need to be cultivating one another into the hard work of loving God first, and loving others as much as we love ourselves. It will be a sacrifice. It will often mean getting less for yourself. This is not a loss. Eternity is the main goal here, not blissful, momentary satisfaction with life on earth. Peace will follow surrender, and joy comes in knowing we are working towards the heavenly goals of God. I'm not saying don't take time to enjoy the blessings God gives on earth, but don't set your hearts upon them. When I can forget the goals I've selfishly established for my life here on earth and focus instead on what I want for eternity, surrendering to God's plan is foolishly simple. Not easy, but simple, and totally, completely, 100% of the time WORTH IT.

Please remember these things:

You are not the only person struggling. You can do this hard work. God will fill you up. Jesus will lead your decisions. The Holy Spirit will give you peace. Seek Him first. Don't think about what you weren't able to do but be confident in the work your are doing. Sow those good seeds over, and over, and over again. There are many women out there sowing in doubt, but we are blessed to be confident in this thing: "that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1:6)

God has got this. He's got you, and you'll be okay.

* If you are struggling with depression and it is interfering in your life in harmful, drastic ways, please don't try to will yourself from it. Medical depression and the struggle to enjoy life are complicated issues, and when it doubt, seek help!