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.

 

for when motherhood makes you want to hide

I got to go out with the girlz last night — thanks to my husband who organized a much needed break for this mama. And you know what we did? We went to see “Mom’s Night Out.” Two enthusiastic thumbs up.

The night couldn’t have come at a better time. Because, well, I’ve been tired. And I’ve had my share of motherhood moments lately.

Like the other day…

 

when motherhood makes you want to hide

 

If you’ve read my blog for a while, then you may know that this past year marked our first year of homeschooling. And I didn’t come into it gracefully. I pretty much fought it every step of the way because I’m the one who said I would never homeschool. Never ever.

Well, we made it through the first year and I will say that God has faithfully met me, usually in the locked bathroom with little fingers pushing in under the door. I don’t hate homeschooling any more, which is progress. He has even grown my desire for it, which is monumental. But it’s been hard.

Like the other day. It was about 3:30 in the afternoon and we were still not done with what I wanted us to accomplish in our school day. Key word, “I”. Mainly because I’m one person and they are three people. And I’m not a great juggler. And I’m a recovering perfectionist.

So I broke. I put people in time-out because they wouldn’t stop touching each other (“stop touching me!“). And I ran away. Well, not far. I just walked outside to take out the trash and saw the hammock and decided to hide. I cocooned myself in the hammock webbing and looked up at my God through the holes and with quiet tears I told Him, “I can’t do this, Lord. I can’t teach three kids. I can’t give them the kind of education that a school could give them.”

And you know what He said to me as quick as my next breath, “I haven’t called you to give them a school. I’ve called you to give them you.” I almost choked on the thought. And with more tears I spoke healing, confession words, blanketed in His sweet love and grace.

About seven minutes later the kids found me. And they made me smile.

 

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Galatians 1:10

“Do all to the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31

 

I know that not all of you homeschool. Amen. But if you’re a mom, then you’ve probably felt the pressure of “I can’t do this.” And you know what our sweet Daddy-God says in the kindest, most empowering voice, “I’ve called you to give them you.”

I often get on this soapbox, but as God’s child, He has crafted you and me — purposed us — for the life we live. I believe that with every ounce of my being. He has designed us both for the easy and the pull-your-hair-out hard. For the marriages we have (or don’t have) and the specific kids we raise (for however long He allows us raise them). Nothing enters our lives apart from His pursuing love.

The key when life gets out of whack and we want to hide in the hammock is to remember. Remember why we do what we do. Remember who we are, rooted in Whose we are. Remember that we’re lavished in the purposeful love of our God.

Remember.

Last night when that movie reached the end, the main character’s husband looked at her and said, “Your job (motherhood) is…important.” I lost it. Because something in me forgets. Or maybe that truth just gets suppressed under the infinite loads of laundry.

Motherhood is important. It is. And we’re not designed to do it on our own. We have a God who is willing and ready to meet us right in the middle of the messy days…and even messier houses. He meets us right there, gently pushes back the pieces of hair covering our eyes, and says, “Just give them you.” Just give them you.

 
Fill me, Lord…

What inspires your motherhood these days?
 

sow in hope {encouragement for moms}

A mentor recently asked me how motherhood was going. I was honest. “It’s hard,” I said, “Mainly because I can get discouraged in teaching the same lessons to the same child over and over and over and over again, wondering if they’ll ever get it.” She kindly chuckled with a touch of sympathy. Then she said something that hasn’t left my mind.

She said, “Remember to sow in hope, Lara. Sow in hope of the harvest.”

I have chewed on those words ever since. Sow in hope. Sow in hope. And I’ve asked God to expand those words in my spirit.

 

sow in hope

 

I’m not a farmer. But my grandparents were farmers. And I remember us taking trips to Tennessee for visits. We’d usually arrive in their gravel driveway just as the late afternoon sun was starting to set over the hills. Cows would be grazing in his pastures. His tractor would be resting in the field. And with the smell of my grandmother’s southern cookin’ lingering in the air, we would take a walk through their garden and they would talk about rain levels and hopes of a coming harvest.

I didn’t pay much attention.

But I learned this. I learned that a farmer sows seeds in hope. He cultivates the ground and pushes seeds into the earth. He pulls weeds and feeds and waters. He sweats and prays. But he doesn’t make the seeds grow. Only God can actually bring the harvest.

 

I (Paul) planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7

 

I’ve thought a lot about what this sowing and reaping looks like in motherhood. And I know that many of us will struggle with the idea of sowing in hope because it means a release of control — or perceived control. It means years of pushing the seeds of God’s word down into the soil of the hearts of our kids — one by one, day in and day out — without always seeing visible signs of growth. But if we don’t sow in hope of a coming harvest then discouragement will press down. And discouragement is not our inheritance in Christ.

It may not be a tomorrow harvest. Or even a next day harvest. But God does have a good plan. He’s writing our story just as much as He’s writing their story. And His loving Father heart can be trusted.

We sow. We water. We sweat. We pray. But we do it all in hope. We do it resting in the God of hope. Because He alone brings the growth. He alone brings the harvest.

 
Fill me, Lord…

How does this “sowing in hope” challenge or encourage you?
 

x