The Lord replied, "I will personally go with you...and I will give you rest--everything will be fine for you." Exodus 33:14

Friday, September 23, 2011

Like He Loves

I knew the hardest part would be staying positive and having patience when the kids had a bad attitude.

What do you do when they just aren't teachable?  They should be so thankful!  They should know that I have their best interests in mind.  They should...  They should...  It's so easy to become offended by the negative attitudes and behavior of our children.

Math has been so challenging.  They have felt frustrated.  It's too hard.  Tell me about it.  There's nothing easy about teaching someone who doesn't want to learn...

Nothing is learned and nothing gained in doing only what is easy and familiar.  For the kids and for me.  Once again, I know there's something He wants me to learn.  There's more at play than the challenge of long division.  There's a Grand Efficiency wherein we're all growing in this process...

One morning all I met was furrowed brows and whining.  Stubbornness.  My jaws were aching, clenched.  Anger was simmering.  All around.  How on earth am I supposed to deal with this??  A whisper answered my anguished cry, "Love like He does...expecting nothing in return."

Time out for mom--I know this verse.  I need to find it and read it in it's entirety--and figure out how it apply it to this struggle.

"Watch what God does, and then you do it,
like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.
Mostly what God does is love you.  
Keep company with him and learn a life of love.
Observe how Christ loved us.
His love was not cautious but extravagant.
He didn't love in order to get something from us
but to give everything of himself to us.
Love like that."*

Not cautious, but extravagant.  Expecting nothing in return.  Giving everything of himself to us.

No punishment.  He took that upon Himself.  No condemnation.  No guilt trip.  No "should-ing" on us.

I returned to the classroom humbled.  Boundaries and consequences must remain, but my anger won't accomplish anything I truly desire.  I love the way the Amplified Bible says that "God's love in us is...patient, kind, long suffering, never envious or touchy or fretful or resentful."  God's love in us.  I don't have to, couldn't possibly, come up with it on my own...I do have to pause and lean into Him.  Receiving so I can give.

No one's jumping up and down with excitement about math...yet.  A little one did snuggle up to me and say, "Thanks, Mom.  I like you."   Good fruit.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening--it's painful!
But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of
right living for those who are trained in this way.
So take a new grip with your tired hands
and strengthen your weak knees.
Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those
who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.
Hebrews 12:11-13

*Ephesians 5:1-2 MSG

Just for fun...

(...more serious post to follow.)

Introducing a great author (expect to see her writing published someday):

The bane of all great authors is all the pesky interruptions of the mundane...or, in this case, little brothers.

Now if you can't beat them, sometimes the best strategy is to join them...or get them to join you--by putting them to work...

...looking up really big words in the dictionary...

...until, hopefully, you wear them out and they leave you alone!

By the way, one of the Little Man's favorite things about homeschooling is the dress code!  :-)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Yay for Grace!

"Will I still get my Ready to Learn sticker?"

His eyes were intense and anxious.  Having his sticker chart filled is the key to getting a Kindersurprise at the end of the week.  We'd had company overnight and were late starting.

The sticker chart seemed like divine inspiration--so elementary to you elementary school teachers, I'm sure--and it's been the key to (almost) 'nag-free' homeschooling (sometimes I forget that I'm not supposed to!).  The ball is in their court.  You want a Kindersurprise on Friday?  Do your stuff!

"Ready to Learn" means that you're dressed, brushed, bed made, and ready to learn at 8:30.  There's a sticker for every subject and piano/guitar practice.  The jar of Kindersurprises (purchased in bulk) sits on the table as reminder of the goal.

On the morning in question, the answer was, "Of course!  There's grace for today!  We had guests."

The house rang with his shout of, "Yay for grace!!"

He has no idea.  Well, hopefully he's learning.  It's my shout for this week too.  I feel almost euphoric as I look back over the week.  Frustrating moments?  Oh, yeah!  Tired?  Almost indescribably as I had to work several evenings this week.   But we made it!  Through it all I see grace.  Amazing grace.  Grace has been the theme of my life this week--strengthening, inspiring, helping us back up again when we stumbled, filling us with laughter.   And wonder.  Only He could do this in our lives.

He is good!

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!
Psalm 34:8

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Important Lesson

"I can't!!  I can't do it!!"

You have no idea how crazy those shouted words make me feel.  It seems it would be so much easier to ask for help or something...

And so before I blow and he melts down completely, I send him outside for a few minutes.  I stand at my kitchen window and watch him struggle.  I pray that he'll find the courage to face the giant.  My heart aches as I watch him run with tears streaming, dog keeping pace trying to comfort.  I know this is why we're here.  In a classroom this would be a behavioral problem, but here in my home it's the heart that matters--and can matter--more than nouns and verbs.  Learning how to face giants is the most important lesson of all.

I pray and wait.  And the gentle reminder comes that I too sometimes feel like "I can't".  It might look different, but it's all the same.  It wasn't that long ago that I said, "I can't" to homeschooling and now I find myself doing it by His power and grace.  "I can't," turned into, "Please help!" and something amazing happened.

A little callused hand slips into mine and eyes that are shining with more than tears tell me that he's ready.  Not only is he ready, but he has a new idea about how to tackle the problem.  Something I hadn't thought of.

It worked.

I'm in awe.

This child has a heavenly Father who is on his side.  My part is so small--important, but small.  The greatness of the God who created this little man and Who longs to see him succeed even more than I do--this power is on his side.

The fact that he later asked, "Mom, am I an action verb?" is just the icing on the cake.

Our God is ready, willing, available to help.  We just need to ask.  And wait, listening, for the answer.

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?
If God is for us, who can ever be against us?"
Romans 8:31

Friday, September 2, 2011

It's a Wrap

We've completed our first week and I'm feeling good about it.  There have been highs and lows...

Day Two brought, "I hate being homeschooled!"

Perhaps I shouldn't have laughed out loud, but I was expecting this sooner or later.

"So you'd rather be at school ___________?" I asked, reminding him of something I knew wasn't his favorite.

He grunted.

Fifteen years of marriage has given me the ability to interpret a wide variety of grunts and that one definitely meant, "You've got a point.  Let's not talk about it any more."

Day Three started with the kids fighting, physically, on the steps before we'd even made it to the school room.  Didn't laugh at that one, but we got through it with lessons learned.  That's what we're here for.  I need to remember that!

I managed to get the essential stuff done at my paying job, the laundry isn't all folded yet (the kids' job), I have a few unanswered e-mails, and the kitchen floor is definitely dirty.  I've had an incredible amount of loving, prayerful support.  I've laughed and cried. We've had moments of connecting with friends--a need I was very concerned about for all of us. It's a wrap and I'm calling it a success.

Remembering the high level of anxiety I felt about this four months ago, I feel a sense of awe and wonder at the goodness of my Father who brought me gently to this place.  I'm keenly aware that there will be challenging days ahead and I'm determined to keep my eyes on the One who brought us safely through this week.  He will be there ready and willing to help.

Thankful.  Thankful.  Thankful!

"This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes!"
Psalm 118:23