Thursday, May 07, 2009

Encouragement in a tangible form

I'm the type of person who requires a great deal of encouragement and affirmation. I didn't used to be this way, or at least, I don't think I used to be this way. Maybe it's homeschooling or parenting in general that triggered it? School always came easy to me, and when other things didn't come easy to me, I could just stop (softball? tennis? LOL). Not so with parenting! And, in the last 7 years, homeschooling.

God has been gracious to me and keeps sending me little "whispers" of encouragement. You can read some of these on this very blog! It lasts, and then I slip into my old habit of getting discouraged. I worry about what the "world" thinks of me and my children, and of the job I'm doing with them. I worry about the kids' future, and if what I'm doing is going to mean that they won't one day have happy, productive lives. I know in my heart that God has a plan for their lives - it's a promise in the Bible! But when I get discouraged, I tend to want to rush in and do it my way. I want to take control!!

The last month or two have been particularly discouraging. I blogged last month about giving the kids the ITBS, and how proud I was of Austin. He was really working hard on the test, for the first time. And he was struggling with all he didn't know on the test, but he wasn't having meltdowns. His resilience is really coming along!

I didn't even look at his answers to see how he was doing. I didn't want to know. I felt like a failure, and I was determined that I had to change something so that he could have a fighting chance at a future. Homeschooling in a Charlotte Mason way must be too old-fashioned to work, and I'm not doing a good job at it anyway, right?

I started working on next year's plans in anticipation of the homeschool convention and I would spend hours at the computer planning, only to change those plans to something more traditional and familiar. I spent hours in tears.

Last night I found this scripture:

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do." James 1: 5-8 NLT

That's so much like me, it's kind of scary. In fact, when my husband saw it posted in my Facebook status this morning he messaged me and said, "Wow, that sounds just like you!" LOL It's not something I'm proud of at all, but I do worry so much about "the world". I even saw in my notes from a seminar given by Sonya from Simply Charlotte Mason where she spoke of "Fear of the World" (what the world expects, how everyone does everything), and I had circled it and underlined it in my notes. So this is nothing new for me - but I don't WANT to do this anymore.

Then today I get the ITBS scores in the mail. It's almost as if God was saying, "Fine, do you want it in writing?? Here you go! This is what I'm wanting you to do with those children, and yes they are making progress, and now you can't pretend like you're imagining it!"

And as that passage reminds me... I have no right to expect anything from God. I waver and I doubt and I question and I try to take all the control all the time. I spend so much more time caring what strangers think than what I feel like the Lord is trying to tell me. But He has so much patience with me. I don't even deserve it! He just keeps trying to reassure me.

I'm writing all of this, not so much to boast about the test scores. Yes, they were good... there was marked improvement in many areas!! But that's not my reason for sharing all of this in a very public forum. I'm writing this to remind MYSELF that God loves me. He has a plan for my children that is so much more than I could ever dream up on my own. I need to remember all of this so that I won't fall into despair and fighting blindly for control.


The Glasers said...

I am Snoopy dancing for you and Austin!!!!! :-)

JamBerry said...