for when we want to quit and run away {homeschool}

I was only three days in, people. Three. Days. We (loosely) homeschooled last year for the first time which was…interesting. And hard. And hard. (Yep. Double-hard.) But I headed into this fresh year-two with optimism and a (sometimes fake) smile.

We bought new school supplies. We went shoe shopping. I got a big map rug and big map puzzle and big map beach ball, because that’s what homeschool people do. I was ready — like jaw-clinched, this-thing-aint-taking-me-down-this-time ready.

And three days in, I melted. Crumbled. Collapsed under the weight of three kids at three different levels asking eight million two hundred forty-six thousand three hundred sixteen questions an hour. Crumbled.

 

quit and run away homeschool confesssion

 

Halfway through the third morning I told my children that I was officially done. (They thought I meant for the day, but I really mean for.ever.) And then I locked myself in the bathroom with a crazed-look in my eye going through a mental roladex of every single school in a twenty-mile radius of our home wondering if I could still enroll them for this Fall. Bye freakin’ bye.

Don’t you feel so sorry for me with my first-world problems.

Breathe.

Then I had a moment of clarity from Jesus and sent out a tearful SOS to some dear friends, and to my mother, for prayer. Because I was (hormonally) desperate for some clarification that I was even on the right road with this h@m&$c#00l insanity. And that if I was to continue in this…journey…that God needed to do something really huge in me because I was certain that I would lose my ever-loving mind teaching my precious boy to read. For the love!

Three. Days. In.

My mom told me to bring the kids over so that I could have some time to refocus. She took them to the pool. I sat in her kitchen with Jesus and asked Him to talk to me. And in my spirit, I heard Him say, “Lara, what do you want?”

What do I want?

I knew what He meant. I knew that He meant, “What desires have I put in you in recent months as you have spent time worshipping me?” (Psalm 37:4) So I got a scrap piece of paper and started a list.

“I want them to know you and love you more than they know and love anything else on this planet. And I want to reflect you to them.” Pause. Crickets. Pause. “And I want them to learn this stuff that I’ve bought to teach them. I want them to learn it. But I need help. I need wisdom. I need some space to myself at times! I don’t know what the heck I’m doing and I feel like I’m suffocating.” I can be a little dramatic.

Then, I can’t really trace how it all happened, but He led my thoughts to some practical things we could change with regard to how we schedule our day. He calmed me internally and guided me externally (through YouTube and the blog-o-sphere and friends). He lifted my head. He kept me from running. And the next day, the changes He led me to make actually worked for us! Imagine that.

 

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:12-13)

 

I’m not one of those who always wanted to homeschool. And I’m not one who thinks that homeschooling is the only best choice. In fact, if I’m totally honest, I fight against jealousy as I watch my friends on Instagram wave good-bye to their sweet little people while I bury myself in phonics sounds and stories of explorers in the New World. Which I am totally dumb about. But homeschooling is where God has our family this year. And I believe that He’s led us here for good, holy reasons. And He’s meeting us right in the midst of it with blessings of Himself, now five days in.

Just because something is hard, doesn’t mean we’re on the wrong road. In fact, anything that strips us of self and teaches us greater dependence on Jesus is a gift.

These days, homeschooling is my personal messy place. It’s not earth-shattering or world-altering yet, but it’s where we are. And wherever we find ourselves — whatever the mess, big or small — God can be found. He wants to be found. And whenever we press into Him, He ushers in His peace and joy and love and hope and wisdom for our journey. Amen for grace.

And a word to those who are now worried for me or my children, I promise I’m OK. God is faithfully meeting me. He’s showing me His blessings in this journey. And…I adore my kids.

 
Fill me, Lord…

Want to join me in baring your soul? Share a time when you felt like running away but you pressed into God and He lifted your head.

 

a mindset that could change our relationships

I had a few other blog posts that I could have posted today. You know, ones that actually address the current state of our world and how so much is broken and sick and needy. But I decided to go a different route for this Friday. I decided to share a really crazy idea…

What if we decided to believe that everyone is doing their very best given their situation, their faith (or lack thereof), and their circumstances at that particular moment in time? What if we began there? What if we met people there? I’m thinking it would change our relationships.

 

change relationships

 

It would probably stop us from gossiping and slandering. Because gossiping and slandering assumes that the other person is not doing their very best. And we would probably stop criticizing. Because criticism births out of pride or jealousy, both of which are revealed and challenged and eventually demolished when we set our eyes on Jesus instead of on the weaknesses or mistakes of others.

I don’t know. All of this hit me when I was recently in Starbucks and I overheard four sweet, good-intentioned, slightly-naive college students talking about what makes a parent a good parent. It was…precious. And they were doing their very best with that conversation given their situation and circumstances. But one of their conclusions: A good parent has sanitary, clean kids. In other words, having dirty kids means you’re a bad parent. Dirty = bad. Clean = good. Y’all. I died.

I mean, just last night at dinner, I watched as my sweet, 8-year-old boy got ketchup on his elbow. Instead of grabbing a napkin he spent a solid minute trying to lick it off. And when he couldn’t reach it with his tongue, he gave up and left the ketchup on his elbow with a quickly whispered, “Can’t reach.” Instead of grabbing the napkin. People, I cannot control his state of cleanliness. I’ve tried. It’s mind-numbing.

But those young college girls were doing their very best with that conversation given their (childless) situation and life circumstances. So I didn’t blast them with a condescending one-day-you-will-understand look. I didn’t curse them to have 4 of the dirtiest kids on their block. I’m not offended. Though I think I internally stamped the moment with a “bless their hearts.” Because they’re doing their very best… you’re catching on.

This mindset choice doesn’t mean we’re condoning everything that everyone does. It doesn’t mean we’re approving of everything that everyone does. Have you seen the news? I’m thinking that this mindset would soften our perspective of others. It would press us towards prayer rather than control.

What if.

You’re husband, he’s doing his very best at this particular moment given his situation, his faith, and his circumstances. You’re kids, they’re doing their very best at this particular moment given their situation, their faith, and their circumstances. Your parents, your sisters, your brothers, your friends, your in-laws, your neighbors, that guy in the grocery store. The last person who hurt you.

And what if we just met people right where they are — right there in the midst of their current best — with Jesus. What if we met them with Jesus love. Jesus grace. Jesus truth. Jesus forgiveness. Jesus mercy. Jesus power. Jesus healing. Jesus beauty. What if instead of offense and criticism and slander, we poured out Jesus.

 

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
(Ephesians 4:31-32)

 

The only way I know to do that is if we die to our selves and find our identity firmly in Him. The only way to meet people with Jesus in the midst of their now is if our focus is on Jesus — asking Him to give us His vision, His compassion, and His love for His creation. Those aren’t just words. They’re truths meant to affect how we live out our days.

I’m thinking that we would step into a whole new level of “best.” A whole new level of freedom. The best that chooses grace. The best that chooses love. The best that believes for God’s kingdom to come.

What if.

 
Fill me, Lord…

How would that mindset change you in your most difficult relationship?
 

things about me that you may not know {and now may want to forget}

I’m traveling to Texas on Thursday to speak at the Declare Conference. (Can I get a yee-haw?!) I am SO excited.

In preparation, the Declare organizers asked the attendees to introduce ourselves via our blogs. Sooo, here’s some stuff you may not know about me (and some stuff you may want to now forget that you know about me). Feel free to share some things about yourself in the comments below. (No really. I want to know about your endearing quirks.)

4 things about me:

  1. I want to be poured out for Jesus,
  2. but I’m a mess, always desperately needy for grace.
  3. I didn’t choose homeschooling and mini-van driving; they both chose me (while I was kicking and screaming saying I would “never” do either). But my God always does good, holy things.
  4. I like olives and redeemed rap music.

 

about Lara

 

4 of my irritating endearing quirks (per my husband):

  1. I have a lighting fettish. (i.e. I like lamps on at night rather than overhead lights. And I like the little light over the oven on…all. the. time.)
  2. I like artsy, analog clocks. And I like to have one in every room of our house. Issues.
  3. I say “um” and “awesome” and “anyway” too much…especially in videos. Exhibit A.
  4. And when I’m on the phone I sometimes end sentences with a drawn out “buuuut.” I don’t know why I do that, except that I don’t really like to talk on the phone.

4 things about my blog and writing:

  1. When I first started blogging I had twelve — count them, 12 — blog followers for months and years. (But Heather reminded me that so did Jesus, so it’s all good.)
  2. I’m only a writer in as much as God makes me a writer — writing is not a “natural” talent of mine. (I have college and post-college research papers covered in red ink to prove it.)
  3. Over the years, writing has become a place of sweet worship, prayer, and release. (A total gift from my God.)
  4. When I write, I picture you and me sitting together chatting over a cup of coffee.

4 of my favorite things (well, my favorites are Jesus, the Bible, and my family but those sound so churchy soooo…):

  1. Fat straws (like these) from which to drink water. (And no, I don’t get anything for telling you about their fantasticness.)
  2. Coffee and a quiet corner.
  3. Yoga pants, ‘er day.
  4. Jazz music while cooking something semi-fancy.

Your turn…