Sunday, August 18, 2013

God, do I have to be the salmon? Thoughts on a new school year...

I was contemplating life as a homeschooler the other day.  Usually the beginning of a school year is filled with excitement for me.  A new year filled with possibilities and learning; new history eras to study and science topics to discover; the joy of watching my children daily grow and morph into these wonderfully creative, curious, capable humans.

This year is a little different.

This year my eldest enters the high school years.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little daunted by that fact.  The ugly, honest truth is I’m quite terrified.  What if I mess this up?  What if I keep the wrong records or not enough?  Am I preparing him to be the best he can be?  Am I teaching the right things, encouraging the right traits, and choosing the right battles?

And my baby, the middle-school guy coming up behind him…I don’t want to short change him in my effort to do all. the. right. things. with the high schooler.

And that’s when it happens.  That’s when I question whether this homeschool journey that has been such an integral part of my being and our family’s existence for so long is really the right path to take.

Maybe, just maybe, regular high school IS the way to go.  My husband and I were public school kids and we turned out relatively okay…didn’t we?  I mean, in public school it’s all planned out; the well worn path is in place.  It’s the way it’s been all of my life and for my parents before that.  Why not?  It’s the way most everybody does it…why not go with the flow?

 Maybe, I can’t do this.  Maybe, I don’t have to do this.  Maybe, I shouldn’t do this.

Doubt.  Fear.  Worry.  The anxieties sink in deeper and deeper with an overwhelming crush.   The ever helpful internet will be happy to provide me with a thousand and one reasons by experts, laymen, and everyone in between on why this fringe homeschool movement is ruining our children.  Why it is selfish.  Why it is poorly thought out.

All the reasons why I can’t and shouldn’t do this.

But then, mercy and grace fall.  In a moment of silent prayer, crying out to the One, the Creator, the Sustainer, He who IS Peace…the doubts, the critics, the worries, the challenges, and the attacks are stopped.  I am wrapped in my Father’s love and He reminds me why.

Why I can.  Why I should.  And why I want to choose to do this.

Because I am called.  And because I am called, I am equipped. 

It may not be perfect.  It may be messy and crazy and difficult and overwhelming at times.  But it is mine and I am not alone.  I am guided, and walked with, and readied for just this purpose that He has called me to.  And in my obedience I will be blessed.  Blessed with the joy of watching my children learn.  Blessed with the time I am able to spend with them.  Blessed as my heart overflows watching them blossom into godly young men with a will and a desire for Him.  Blessed as I turn these two boys and their training over to the only One who could ever meet their every need and prepare them for every path, challenge, and opportunity that lies ahead. 

I realize I am called to be the salmon in this area of my life.  It may not be easy and I will fight against the swift current; beating myself on the rocks some days to complete the journey that has been written into my very being.  There will be bears and predators who will try to stop me along the way; but there will also be protection and most of all, joy.  Joy in the journey and joy when I finally see my Lord and can stand before Him knowing that I obeyed His call and swam diligently in the river.

 I lift my head and find Peace has driven out the anxieties.  Where there was fear and worry now lives hope and, yes, even excitement.  I can give you a thousand and one reasons why I should and can homeschool…but there is really only one that matters.

There will be days when the current is strong, but I am encouraged and renewed to continue.  I can do this.  I will do this.  We will do this together, in God’s plan, and we will do it well.   I know it’s not His plan for everyone, but it has been made abundantly clear through the years that it is His plan for us.

I am reminded that he has faithfully provided for us at every point on this journey.  In Psalm 32 He promises, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”  In Proverbs 3:5-6 we are told, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not upon your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.”

We are all called to be the salmon in different ways.  My prayer is that we would passionately seek His will and be steadfast and obedient to it; trusting in Him to fulfill his promises and allowing Him to direct our paths...even when those paths are so different from from the family, friends, and world around us at times.

For my fellow homeschooling moms, may your new school year be filled to the brim with blessings, encouragements, and glimpses of God at work in your children’s hearts and minds.  May you feel His hand guiding you and filling them with every good and perfect gift.   It’s a challenging swim…but it is worth every single moment you can put into it.
Trust.  Faith.  Believe.  And swim on strong and joyful for you were made for this.



1 comment:

Mary Jane said...

Very well said and very well written. I can't wait to read a book written by you.