Friday, July 22, 2011

A Gift from His Heart

*Forgive me if you subscribe to both of my blogs, you will see this post twice today.  I wrote it for my new homeschooling blog but I realized it was appropriate to post here, too, as the content is mostly about how God is speaking to me in this season.*

As our book club was drawing to a close last Saturday morning, my sweet friend handed me a book entitled Homeschool Supermom...NOT!  When Grace Meets Homeschooling by Susan Kemmerer.  She said it was a gift (along with an iPhone arm band thingy I wanted for the Couch to 5 K madness she has gotten me wrapped up in, but that's another post entirely.)  I thought it was such a kind gesture- don't you love it when you get a tangible blessing reminding you that someone is thinking of you?

Thursday afternoon, as the kids swam away the afternoon, I sat on our back patio and read Chapter 1 of Homeschool Supermom.  And I quickly realized that the book was not just a gift from my friend's heart to mine but one that was also straight from His heart!  Right from those first few pages, I could see that God was going to use this book to speak to me about several different thoughts/concerns I've been mulling over as of late.

Let me back up to Wednesday and explain.  Wednesday was a bad day here.  A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  I'll spare you the details but by lunchtime I had yelled so much my voice was hoarse and the kids were wide eyed with alarm.  By bedtime, I was ready to join in with the chorus of tears from my overtired kids.  Late Wednesday night, lying awake in bed while the rest of the family slumbered, all I could think was "what was I thinking?  How can I homeschool these children?  Is it too late to call the school and get them signed up for next year?  But what about all the money we've spent on homeschool materials?"  Sleep was slow in coming, needless to say.

Today I read this in Homeschool Supermom:
"If you're feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, ashamed, and burnt out, keep this in mind: putting your kids back in school or hiring a maid might make life easier- for a time- but it will not ultimately make you happier or more righteous before God, nor will it accomplish the changes in your life and family that you really desire... Only a heart focused on Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross on our behalf will ever experience true, lasting joy- even when the house is a wreck and school remains undone."
That encouragement was like water to a dry soul.  And there was plenty more encouragement and wisdom sprinkled throughout the short chapter. 

And speaking of my dry soul, that leads me to the next reason I love this book already.  Each chapter ends with questions to ponder and scriptures on which to meditate.  Since summer began, bringing with it a new routine, my morning prayer/scripture time has become less regular and somewhat stale.  Now I'm planning on using this feature of Homeschool Supermom in my morning Quiet Time and I am already feel excited about it again!

The last wonderful nugget I took away from Chapter 1 was actually a confirmation of concepts  God has been teaching me lately.  Remember that book club I mentioned at the start of this post?  We had been reading and discussing Authentic Relationships: Discover the Lost Art of One Anothering by Wayne Jacobsen and Clay Jacobsen.  One of the themes we discussed was how to be genuine, authentic, transparent in friendships- to allow people to see beyond the image into our real selves.  A favorite quote from this book:
"Our fear of letting people see beyond the image we want to project denies us the friendships for which we hunger."  Authentic Relationships
 And from Homeschool Supermom:
"...behind closed doors, there lurks a secret.  There's another side we seldom let anyone see. It's our messy homes and messy lives being worked out in the messy process of sanctification.  It's called 'our humanity.'"
I was reminded this afternoon, that I want to be genuine and real.  So many sweet friends have encouraged me already in this homeschool journey- sharing how they wish they could do it and how wonderful they think I am for doing this thing called homeschooling.  But the truth is, I am not all that wonderful.  I am not a Supermom by any stretch of the imagination.  Exhibit A- Wednesday at my house.  I'm simply a mom who feels led to give this homeschooling thing a try- willing to offer up my weaknesses as well as my gifts to God and see what He makes of it all.  If we continue on this homeschool journey after a year, it will be only by His grace.  If our journey ends after one year at home, that too then will be only by His grace. 

2 comments:

Andrea said...

I'm so so happy you love the book! Praise God in His timing!!! And I hope it blesses you in your morning quiet time.
And, Nat? This is precisely *why* you are homeschooling: not because you "have it all together" but because you *don't*. To be in that humble place is the best place to be. You inspire me! xo

Mary B said...

Oh, Natalie...I DO love it when I "get a tangible blessing reminding you that someone is thinking of you?"
But more than that, TODAY I love your transparency and honesty. I doesn't matter if our kids are toddlers, middle schoolers, teenagers or young adults - we ALL have days like you had. Thankfully, HE loves us anyway, accepts us just as we are and is always willing to wrap us in His arms. Thank you again, this was a powerful post that spoke directly to my heart!

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