Wait….Marriage Isn’t Supposed to Make Me Happy?

Recently, the Lord showed me a freeing revelation. One that I think is worth sharing. So here goes…

It started at Bible Study last week – the one I haven’t been to since November and was wondering if it was worth going to because I’ve missed so many weeks and chapters!

But I went… and may have listened to the last few minutes of the chapter on Audible as I drove.

Marriage happened to be the topic of the night. A topic I’m not currently struggling with and didn’t come with any deep message to share or heavy question to ask.

But the Lord had something to share with me. One of the stories in the book was about a couple who struggled in their marriage. The woman had filed for divorce. Before it was final, she received a letter from a widowed friend saying humble yourself. She decided to try it. The more she willingly humbled herself the more she grew to love her husband and saw him as a wonderful man. She actually enjoyed being his wife. Then, close to Christmas, he died.

I don’t know if it was sudden or expected but she was thankful for the restoration God had brought in her marriage! She had no regrets. (Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free pages 189-190)

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Making Time for Special Things

One of my goals this year is to do things that are special. And by special I mean those things that when I do them, time stops. I can’t tell if 5 minutes or 5 hours have gone by.

When I make these special things a priority, I feel an increased capacity to deal with the daily problems. Whether it’s figuring out how to diagram direct objects or explaining how to reduce fractions, somehow I have more to give than when I chased getting all the things done and pushed off doing my special thing until the work was done.

I often think of the verse in Hebrews that says, ”…He [Jesus] sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 10:12) When Jesus finished his work, He sat down. I try to emulate that and not sit down till I’m finished. The problem is, I’m never finished. There are always more dishes to wash – or unload, more clothes to wash – or fold – or put away – or what’s that called – iron?! There’s always more I think I need to do.

Finding time to do special things feels like a reward I need to earn and so it gets pushed back to tomorrow, and tomorrow and next Wednesday, and when I can do a better job, be more organized, not have so much going on, when the kids aren’t toddlers, or teenagers, when I’m not tired, when I don’t have to wash my hair…

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Sometimes I Want to Quit

It happens every time I take a break.

I want to quit.

I want to quit homeschooling.

And this Christmas holiday was no different. There’s something about unplugging that makes me realize how run down I was before. I slid into the holidays feeling like Elastigirl from The Incredibles – stretched thin on all sides while playing the superhero and preventing anything or anyone from hitting the ground.

I usually keep everyone else together while afterwards, I curl up in a ball and lock myself away in a dark room dreading the idea of going back to reality now that I know what peace and sanity feel like.

In times like this, I always place the blame at the feet of homeschooling, because obviously it takes up the biggest chunk of time and energy. It must be to blame!

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Would Someone Please Turn On the Light?

The shower water was already running when I realized I forgot to grab my clothes. Opening the dresser, I reached towards the pile where my night shirts are stacked, looking for a particular shirt. The room was dark, and at first glance I didn’t see it.

I squinted my eyes and fingered though the stack again, but still couldn’t find it. Next I pulled the stack of shirts out, thinking somehow it got shoved in the corner. Still didn’t see it. Frustrated now because I’m wasting hot water, I walked to the light switch and flicked on the lights. Lo and behold, there was my shirt hiding in plain sight.

Good grief I thought to myself. Why didn’t I do that in the first place?

Well, because I thought I knew where it was and didn’t think I needed the light!

Trying to laugh, I hollered to my husband in the other room “Hey, just a piece of advice: when you’re looking for something, it helps to turn on the light!”

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Has Anyone Seen My Keys?

The other day we were late to leave the house and my husband could not find his truck keys. He knew he had seen them, even had them in his hand that very morning. We checked everywhere, every cabinet, drawer, basket, dirty pair of pants, his usual pocket….and…nothing!

After going back through all of those areas again, he decided to check his truck. One pull on the handle told him it was locked. Hoping he didn’t lock the keys in the truck, he cupped his hands to peer through the window at the ignition. No keys there.

Pondering what to do next, he instinctively stuck his hands in his pockets. That’s when he felt it. In his left pocket was a familiar metallic, key-shaped object pressing against his hand. Embarrassed, he pulled it out and yep, it was his truck key!

We are creatures of habit. Adam’s habit is to put his keys in his right pant pocket. When it wasn’t there, he panicked and didn’t know where they could be! He checked his right pocket a dozen times. But because he is such a strong creature of habit it didn’t dawn on him to simply check the other pocket.

I laughed at my husband’s lost keys but I so easily do this in my walk with Christ.

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The Rock that Wouldn’t Budge

While hiking side by side with my husband along a trail in Arkansas, the sight of this tree caused me to stop.

Do you see the rock in the middle of the tree? Do you see how the tree has grown around the rock?

I imagine that tree spent many days praying for God to remove that rock. “It’s in my way,” it whined. “I was here first!” It pleaded. “Please tell it to leave so I can grow.”

But God said No. He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Taking the Lord’s answer, the tree decided to stop sulking and instead keep growing, despite the rock in its way. And now years later, this is the result: A firmly planted and mature tree with a rock in the center.

I have many rocks in my life – burdens I’ve prayed for God to remove. Financial stress, relational strain, homeschool woes, fears and shameful memories. Some of these He has removed – to the glory and praise of His Great Name!

But others, He has left.

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To My Homeschooling Friends: The Magic Sauce

This May marks 9 years of homeschooling for me. Nine years! After that much time, I really thought I would have more figured out than I do. I think what I’ve figured out the most are my weaknesses and knowing better how to navigate around them. One problem with homeschooling is you don’t teach the same grade each year. Our job morphs as our children grow. So just about the time you figure one thing out, they’re moving on to the next!

One morning over Christmas break, I was journaling some of my struggles and questions, and I felt the Spirit encourage me: You can do this, but it’s not going to look like someone else.

Isn’t that a great word?

It challenged me to look around and see if I’m trying to implement how someone else is schooling their kids instead of looking to the Lord and asking Him to guide us. Isn’t it crazy how we can admire how one mom “does school” and we try and do it just like she does?

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When God Asks for Everything

Well it’s time for me to eat some humble pie here on this website. So much has transpired in my mind since the last time I posted here. Let me catch you up a bit…

During the Christmas break and after Papa passed, I struggled again with this calling of homeschooling. I’ll save you the long boring details. Let’s just say that in the end the Lord showed me that this calling to homeschool is like a marriage. Sometimes we’re on the same page and sometimes we’re not. Sometimes we get along and sometimes we fight. But He’s called me to be committed to this relationship no matter what.

With that said, when I try to squirm out of this calling and imagine how wonderful it would be to NOT homeschool, I’m being unfaithful to this marriage. It’s like flirting with another man. GULP! That truth really broke me. God’s word is so sharp and so personal that it hurts when He convicts you.

It reminds me of my sweet, bouncy daughter. Her favorite thing right now is to kick her own butt with her heels as she walks. So literally, every other step she’s alternating her heels into her backside. I can handle the commotion for awhile, but by evening time when we’re in the kitchen together and she’s bouncing around I have to say, “Darling, STOP! Please just keep your feet on the ground!”

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Normal is Only a Setting on the Dryer

Well, here we are: October 31. For 31 days I have pulled back the curtain to what really goes on in our home and shared with all of you my homeschooling story. I have searched for hope and found it anchored and secured firmly to Jesus. Life on earth may be scary at times, the waves of worry and doubt crashing over us, but even then “our anchor holds within the veil.”

I think so many of my frustrations can be traced back to unmet expectations. I’ve heard that 80% of expectations are assumed and never voiced. Which means that of the 100 things I envision happening, I expect 80 of them to run seamlessly without even telling them to. And maybe 20 of those things actually work. Ever heard of the 80/20 rule?

I have so many expectations on myself as the homeschool mom. In my head, I see our school days executed without a hitch. I see plenty of time for afternoon walks, meeting with friends, filling my journal with well worded thoughts and inspirations. I see us gathered at the lunch table discussing Columbus and World War II.

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Hope Does Not Disappoint

Today I just want to share a verse with you. I hope you won’t just skim over the words but will actually unpack what it says and pray for God to show you how to apply them.

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This past week I went to the Holocaust Museum in Dallas, Texas with my oldest son. The stories of that time period is what I thought about when I read the word suffering. I think of people like Corrie Ten Boom who endured suffering beyond what I can imagine. In her story, The Hiding Place, I see a beautiful example of suffering that produced perseverance, character and hope.

Corrie and her sister prayed for the guards and soldiers that mistreated them. They gave thanks for the lice in their barrack because they were able to read the Word of God without the guards coming in. They endured beatings, food rations, and the death of family members. In the end, Corrie tells the story of how she forgave those who persecuted her. I see her as a person who truly rejoiced in her sufferings because she had hope in God that He “has poured out his love into [her] heart by the Holy Spirit.”

Her story inspires me because I don’t like suffering. In fact, I try to avoid it at all cost. But God doesn’t always choose to take the suffering away from me because through it I am refined and He is glorified.

My Papa is famous for a firm handshake. In fact, even now he could still crush my hand. He has hands the size of the Hulk and has made men cower down for as long as I can remember. People always wonder what he did to have hands so strong. He didn’t just wake up one day with strong hands. He used his hands all the time. He was a master wood worker and used those hands to hold heavy materials and operate equipment.

He remembered people by their handshake and it bothered him when someone gave him a wet noodle handshake. That is exactly the image that comes to mind when I think of rejoicing in suffering. Without sufferings I’m like a wet noodle handshake that no one wants to handle. Through difficulties and hardships, that handshake is made firm so that anyone who shakes my hand afterwards remembers the strength that came from it.

I’ve shared over the past 30 days of my hardships in homeschooling. They are nothing when compared to the atrocities of the Holocaust, but they have been difficulties for me. I believe that through those, God is developing my perseverance, which grows my character and solidifies my hope in Him.

Are you facing struggles today? Will you choose to rejoice in them and allow God to strengthen you through them?

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This post is part of a series called 31 stories of hope for every homeschooler. To see the entire series, click HERE.

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