Saturday, December 4, 2010

Totally Lost

Ahh another devotional (this post is going to be a bit long – not my usual on here but I have stuff I need to share even if just for myself) that is perfect for where I am at the moment with homeschooling.  I set out this year with all the right materials and intentions.  We even had a school room instead of our kitchen table.  Everything was set in place.   We began doing light work in late July and have already completed 80+ days of school. 

Yet, at the moment I can see, I lost my way.  I lost the joy in doing all that I hoped to do with them and planned for the year.  I am tired of the daily struggle to find balance as mom and teacher.  I am a bit worn down from the season we are in as a family with 7 adopted children who need more than most children emotionally and spiritually.  I never really had time to think about – what it would like to have this many children?  Because it was never part of my plan or ours.  I didn’t get to plan a single thing out.  It just happened as we continued to say yes to God – one by one they filled our home.  I never had time to prepare for all the changes or their individual needs.  Nor did I have time to get to figure out how it would work adding more children into our schedule and school room.  Nor did I ever get to consider what it would feel like for me to be responsible for raising this many children and the time it would take to do it well. 

God knew that was a good idea to keep me from knowing what I do now or I would have truly fought His plan for our family or messed it up royally.

I lost my way.   I have tried to figure it out.  I want to figure it out.  They need to me to have a plan.  They need me to catch up and find out where we all are.   Well, guess what?

I can’t.  I don’t have the wisdom needed for a job this big.

But thank GOD He has all the answers and knows exactly where we are going.   Thank GOD that He has gone before our family and is lovingly showing me the way. 

I hated to find out that I have been resisting the way lately.  I was broken beyond words yesterday to learn how far off the path I have gone as their mom and teacher.   But that is all part of His plan to help me find my way perfectly back to Him and heal in areas that needed His soothing love. 

He knew that I would end up feeling this way eventually.  That our whirlwind adoptions would finally catch up to me.  He is not surprised by my lack of joy or desire to homeschool at the moment.   He is not surprised by where I ended up either.  He knew that I would get to this place – right here – right now feeling lost and overwhelmed.  Because He knows I can’t do a thing without Him.

I didn’t realize how much I was avoiding because I was trying in my own strength.  I didn’t realize how much I was pretending was working for me either.  Nor did I realize how it was effecting our children and the rhythm of our home.   I closed my eyes and hearts to the parts I did not want to see or face.

But God.  My two favorite words in the bible.  He has rescued me once again and wrapped me up in His love – as only He could – so that I can look at all that is before me through His truths.

As I shared on our family blog – I am a winner.  I am loved simply because I am love.  I talked about a little leaven and how raising children to grow up humble is one of the toughest jobs I have ever faced.  This week I also shared a huge dose of laughter – which God also knew I desperately needed.

I received this devotional from Alpha Omega Publications today – words I needed to read and a prayer I needed to pray.  The verse shared at the end of this devotional is for me {for you too}.  It is my life verse since the day I found my way into a relationship with Jesus.  It is the very first verse spoken to me and I have needed to cling to it many times over the last five years.  I’m clinging to it again right now.  I want to live out what I teach the children – that for God all things are possible.  In God even the trials can be filled with joy.  In God we can rest through a storm.  In God we can have peace no matter the situation.  In God we can walk by faith –doing what He asks of us -  trusting Him, obeying Him and letting go of all that we face knowing He that has begun a good work in us will not finish until the day of Christ Jesus.  That He is faithful and His grace is sufficient for everything!


Some days, even the best homeschool teacher has trouble communicating a lesson. Whether you're teaching equations in algebra or diagramming sentences in grammar, a change begins to occur in your child when he does not comprehend the information you are covering. You've seen the look — a blank stare, a squint, eyebrows up in the form of a question mark. The body begins to fidget, and unintelligible utterances come from his mouth. He doesn't have a clue what you are talking about and is totally lost. What are you going to do?

When I was new to homeschooling, I walked away in frustration or assumed my child was not paying attention. I tried repeating the same information or using a louder voice. With infinite variations, the battle went on until I realized the problem was not with my child; it was with me. I was the teacher, and I had failed to teach. I needed to try again and approach the information from a different angle — a new learning style or additional visual aids.

Thankfully, God doesn't lose His temper or walk away from us when teaching life's lessons. When we begin our fussing routine or get that lost look, He gently wraps His arms around us and takes us back to where we last understood. Lovingly, He leads us to godly counsel from Christian friends or words of wisdom from the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit customizes each particular lesson until we grow "in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).

Do you feel lost today? Let the Lord guide you back to where you should be. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Jesus, thank You for always knowing where to find me. Without You, I am totally lost in teaching my children. Show our family where we need to be and how to keep our eyes on You. In Your name, Amen.

I am blessed beyond measure that my husband did not judge me yesterday when I shared my heart and all that I am feeling.  I’m blessed that he immediately began to encourage me and wanted to come up with solutions so that I could find balance in being their mom and teacher.  He also gave me the greatest gift when he said, “if for whatever reason this isn’t for you and you need us to change course  - don’t think you failed them or me. No matter what – together we will seek God’s best for our family and you.” 

With that I cried and let all the tears fall.  I needed to let go of the guilt and shame I have been feeling inside about how I have not met my own expectations for this year.  I had to let go of the shame I was putting on myself that I was letting our children and my husband down.  Sure they have learned a ton already but I know in my heart of hearts the truth – that I was doing it because I had to – not because I wanted to.  God sees the motives of our hearts.  Mine were not aligned with Him.  Nor is God trying to shame me.  That is something I do all by myself and have for way too long.  I have listened to the lies of the enemy of my soul and it is time to fully claim who I am in Christ – LOVED!  Fully and completely no matter how often I mess up – no matter how many times I get lost along the way – because my God will direct my paths!  He will lead me on the good path and will surely supply for all of my needs.  His grace is sufficient. 

I am not sure what the future holds for our family and homeschooling or how it will look next year.  But I do know one thing for sure - no matter where God leads I will be behind Him and letting Him lead the way.   I know it to be The Way, The Truth and The Life! 

My prayer for each of you today is this – if you have found yourself lost and unsure of yourself as a teacher and a mom – God is ready and able to help you too! 

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10 comments:

  1. This post has blessed me greatly. So often, when I rely on myself and my own strength or when I try to make sense of things I lose my way. The burden becomes heavy. But, then, it's my faithful Father who tells me to come to Him and give Him the burdens. Sadly, I forget or become too stubborn.

    Thank you for redirecting me to the truth.

    Blessings,
    Rachel

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  2. Oh Jill, thank you for your honesty! How often we feel we need to do more and be more and we begin to work from our flesh. Not everyone is called to home school. I can tell you that as I work each day now in a school there are so many wonderful teachers who care. There's no shame in recognizing that it may be time to change plans.

    I think you are amazing! Adopting so many children in obedience has ben inspirational for me to read all about each day on your blog. I often wondered "how does she do it all?". I know after working for about a month now with little children, I get exhausted.

    You've been entrusted with these precious children. And I have no doubt they will each learn so much from you and also about God's unconditional love.

    Love you,
    Debbie

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  3. Thank you Debbie for the sweet words of encouragement. I'm not sure what the future holds like I said - but I now know no matter what it is all going to be OK because I have entrusted it all to the ONE who can handle it all!

    Love you!
    Jill

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  4. Your honesty is a HUGE deal to me. As a mommy who home schools and feels the burden...I want everything to go so well.....and you know - it doesn't. I see the blankness in their eyes and I have to do something. WHAT? I forget that my JOY comes from God not from doing the best teacher job on the planet. My JOY comes from children who learn about HIM not facts of algebra. Thank you for this post! It has really reminded me of my own life as a homeschool loving Jesus family!

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  5. Your post is so timely for me. We too are going through homeschooling changes, and I have been a little unsure of my steps. Thank you for the reminder that I am not alone, and He is guiding me also.

    God bless you for what you are doing for your children. You are giving them the spiritual tools they need, and you are a living example of God's love.

    I need to focus on my one goal, and that is to keep God in the center of all that I do. I cannot offer any other better lesson for my son than to do that, and teach him to do the same. I will start there as you already have.

    God Bless You!

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  6. Just stopped by to say, have a blessed day!

    Janet

    www.homeward4.blogspot.com

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  7. Oh Jill again your words speak exactly what I am feeling as well! It's very difficult to find that balance of mommy and teacher but throw in some major emotional and behavioral issues from some of our adopted children and WOO WEE....exhaustion/frustration/guilt/shame/ (and for me) comparison takes over.

    Like you said, the logistics of having so many little ones and trying to cover each of their educational bases can be overwhelming. Yes, I know God is truly their Teacher but Lisa in all her high expectation glory tries to help things along,unfortunatley. :)

    Thanks for the post. Thanks for sharing your heart.
    I'll be praying for peace in your heart and homeschool today and mine as well!
    Much love!
    Lisa

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  8. Jill-
    You don't know how much I need this today. I praise God for you and your sharing. I read you lots when you first started posting over that Totally Tots. I learned a lot from you. When praying the other day you came to my mind and I set out to find you. I know God want me to see I was not alone in feeling I lost my way. Your words are great. I thank you for being honest her for the world to see who you are. I needed it. Thanks again.

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  9. Jill,
    I've been there myself, which I think any homeschooling mom has. I have had times when I realized that we aren't having fun (shouldn't learning be fun) and the kids aren't excited about learning. I heard about Mary Hood around 8 years ago--even had her to speak at our homeschooling group. When I find our house getting into one of the homeschooling ruts I reevaluate what we are doing and why we are doing it. Rereading some of Mary's books help me to get back to where I need to be. Learning can take place in so many different way!! Maybe check out her materials---it was so freeing to be able to have our kids follow their interests (and still learn lots!! and remember what they learned!).

    Blessings!

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  10. Thank you - I really needed to hear this reminder today - I just have two children (and a third on the way) and I only school one of them - just preschool - but I get overwhelmed even with that little bit when I try to do it all in my own strength - which has been a struggle for me lately. I really appreciate this post, and your transparency with all that you share on your blogs.

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