Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Great Expectations???

I've been thinking about something recently that I know I need to change if I want to keep moving forward on this journey with the Lord.  As I've said before, He has gently revealed things to me this year as I've been open to hear them and grow and I hear Him speaking again.

One of the times in our home that tends to be hectic and stressful for me is "homework time"-  that hour or so after the kids get home from school, have a quick snack and delve into homework before it's time to get dinner ready.  In the past, I would allow the kids an hour to settle in, snack, rest, play a little, etc. before hitting the books.  But I have seen that that simply does not work for our family.  It is just too draining for me to get everyone back into work mode after the hour's rest.

So, after the snack, the books come out.  My eight year old is basically independent with his work at this point, although he does need help from time to time and he most certainly needs my attention.  My five year old usually needs help to get started on his written work and then we have to review his sight words and phonograms together after his written work is complete.  I have done different things with the three year old during this time such as having her play in the playroom alone, having her sit with us and color on her own or having her sit with us and review concepts with her such as colors, shapes. etc.

I almost always bring some work of my own to the table, too, like bills to pay or mail to sort through.  And this, I realize is the crux of the problem.  I come to the table (pun intended :) with the expectation that I will get something done during this time, too.  I have a genuine difficulty just being still.  I am not a high energy person who is always on the move, but I seem to always be seeking to occupy my mind with a task.  And when I get my mind set on something, I do not like to be interrupted.  And, yes, though I am ashamed to admit it, I do sometimes see my children's wants and needs as interruptions- even during a time I have set aside for them!   That's when I get short-tempered and just plain nasty.

I was sharing this dilemma with my husband this weekend.  The thing is, I know that I should just come to the table (pun intended, again :) with no expectations.  I should come with the intention of just being still and at the ready to help the children.  But this is NOT my nature.  Like many moms,  I am a "Martha" and look to accomplish tasks whenever I can.  My husband shared that having the ability to be still is a sign of inner peace.  I agree wholeheartedly!
Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.  The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."  
I want the peace that comes from God!  But the hard truth is I am just not there yet all the time or in all situations.

On Sunday morning, a friend from church and I were talking about these scenarios that seem to bring out the worst in us.  This is a mom of many children, a homeschooler, a hard worker, a Godly woman I admire, yet she too struggles with similar issues.  We both wondered aloud how to change our expectations so that we can have peace and in doing so model how to do so to our children.

In writing this post, God brought this passage of Scripture to mind, as I am not the first believer to have struggled with my flesh.  As I read this familiar chapter, He highlighted for me the answer to the dilemma.  And though, of course, I have read these words many times, they were like a fresh word this afternoon.
"So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.  What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!"  Romans 7: 21-25
Maybe it is because I am on this journey that those words stood out to me today.  Yes, He is going to rescue me from this war between my spirit and my flesh!  I think I will drop my "great expectations" about being "productive" during homework time and instead practice giving thanks to my Jesus for each of these precious "interruptions" He has so freely given me!

And I will pray for God's grace and power because I know from experience that this is not a battle that will be easily won.  No, I will have to train and I will have to fight!
 "Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Natalie,you shared so wonderfully how the Lord is working in you....
Your husband is wise. =) Being still is inner peace and a TRUST in the Lord because we are so wired to "DO" but by being still and letting HIM work we show we are TRUSTING Him to "do".
By being focused on your children during this time,it will be helpful to you should you choose to home school.... for this is the life of a home school mother. =)
Thank you for sharing!


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