This weekend, my family had the pleasure of attending the Teach Them Diligently Conference in Atlanta. This was not my first homeschool convention, but it was Scott’s first (aside from a quick run through of the Vendor Hall at the Southeast Homeschool Expo last year!) With close to 200 sessions to choose from, the volume of information being shared was incredible. I was reminded of my first homeschool convention back in 2007 in California, where I sat and listened to Bev Bradley of Bradley Family Ministries and thought in my head “Why can’t I be more like her?” I listened, learned, and came away with a renewed vision for my family.
We got into the car to leave and immediately had behavior issues with Alyssa – who had just been through three days of the Four:12 Teen Program (“Equipping Teens to be an Example in Their Walk with the Lord!”) Within 2 hours, Scott and I had a misunderstanding that lead to hurt feelings on both sides (ie: I said something I shouldn’t have said) and the whole evening blew up. He went downstairs to watch TV (ie: avoid me) and after putting away dinner that I think only Isabel ate, I went to bed.
I laid there and felt waves of defeat roll over me. Voices in my head pointed out all of my failures and shortcomings. “You’re such a failure as a homeschool mom. How do you think you’re going to do this all over again with Isabel?” “You had such grand ideas for this year, but you never follow through on anything.” “You will never be the kind of mom that you wish you could be.” “You will never walk as closely to Christ as you want to.” “You’re going to really screw up your marriage. Look how your first one turned out.” “You think your family is being called to the mission field? Are you KIDDING?”
Round and round they went, with no end in sight. I began praying.
First, I began thanking God for my husband. One by one, I thanked Him for qualities that came to mind.
– Scott really loves me.
– Scott loves the Lord and desires to REALLY follow Him.
– Scott knows how to fix just about anything and if he doesn’t know how, he will find out.
– Scott has very strong hands.
– Scott works hard to support our family.
– Scott does things that need to be done without grumbling or complaining, even if he is not feeling well.
– Scott boldly shares the Gospel and does not compromise Truth.
– Scott loves to study scripture.
– Scott cooks! 🙂
– Scott helps me whenever he sees that I need help.
– Scott does not berate me for my shortcomings.
– Scott loves our kids.
– Scott doesn’t take shortcuts. He does things right the first time.
– Scott sat through 3 days of a homeschool conference and although he was exhausted by the end, he enjoyed it.
Ya’ll, I have a really great husband… Thank you Lord, for my husband!
Then I remembered a session that Todd Friel did specifically geared for women – and their anxiety. He said that we’ve been taught that our feelings are dictated by our thoughts. He challenged this by saying that our thoughts are determined by our faith. If we have a problem with our feelings/thoughts (that is not organic), our problem is really rooted in our faith. Once we strengthen our faith in that area, our thoughts and feelings will fall in line.
I considered this for a while. Then I remembered Rachel Carman talking about trying to do things in our own power and how that doesn’t leave room for God; but that when we get beyond what we can handle, then God is able to work and do miraculous things.
Those voices of condemnation were beginning to quiet in my head.
I reflected on how far Alyssa has come. That first homeschool convention in 2007 – she was 5 years old. I had already been homeschooling for a year. She wasn’t even close to learning to read (little did I know she wouldn’t begin reading until age 8!!!) I remember I had registered her for the children’s program. I dropped her off and got her settled in and not too long afterwards, an hour or two max, my phone rang. Alyssa had been sitting in the corner crying and would not be consoled. My girl is now 13. She can read well and she just sat through three LONG days of sessions and didn’t want to leave! Yes, she is struggling with long division and she’s likely never going to complete calculus, but she has grown by leaps and bounds! God has a plan for her life (I suspect those plans don’t include becoming an engineer – and that’s totally okay!) I may not use the perfect words that so many presenters at homeschool convention seem to have on the tips of their tongues, but I have spoken truth and love into her life. And I’m not finished 🙂
Thankfully, the Lord isn’t finished with me either! He has brought me so far from where I used to be. I’m not quite to where I would like to be – but God knows the desires of my heart, He put them there! And He’s not finished with me.
All of my fears about starting over with Baby Girl… God has got this! I’ve been homeschooling a special needs child for 9 years! Isabel isn’t even 2 1/2 yet and she can count to 13 and mostly sing the alphabet song. She is so smart and so eager to learn. She is also strong-willed, so she will have her own challenges, I’m sure. But I don’t have to depend upon my own strength or abilities. This parenting gig – it requires supernatural intervention! The outcome is completely in God’s Hands. I just need to listen for His Voice, speak His word to my family, cover them in prayer, and trust HIM with the results. As much as I love lists and rules – walking in the Spirit doesn’t come with either.
I spent some more time thanking God and with a calm heart, drifted off to sleep…