The One where I Lay It ALL Out There

Summer is winding down, and everywhere we go, my kids get the question:

"Are you ready to go back to school?"

Then the inquisitor looks at me with a knowing look and a nod and says something like, "I bet you're ready for them to go back to school."

I don't think my kids are particularly unruly or misbehaved.  They do have a presence, after all, there are four of them, but I'm not sure why innocent conversationalists assume that I welcome and relish the time away from my kids that school provides.  

There was indeed a time when that Staples commercial rang true - you know the one:
 (Like it or not, that's brilliant advertising.)

I didn't always enjoy spending time with my kids.  It's the truth.  I love them all dearly as extensions of me, and as the gifts from God that they are, but there was a time in my life when they seemed like work.  And I didn't truly find joy from hanging out with them.  Maybe that was to blame on being an inexperienced, stressed-out parent, or maybe it was learning the ropes of infanthood/toddlerhood/preschool-hood, but I really and truly think it was because I didn't know how to spend time with them.

God brought me home in November 2010.  He dragged me here kicking and screaming when I got laid off from my not-at-all cushy, underpaid, grunt-work of a civil engineering job that I didn't really even love.  But, one thing I knew (or thought I knew) I did not want to be home. I spent hours per day searching for jobs outside the home - even considered going back to school to get an advanced degree.  Anything but being a stay-at-home mom.

I was terrified to death of being with my own children twenty-four hours a day.

Ouch.  The truth hurts.

Eventually, I figured out that my kids are pretty awesome.  I maintain that they're little sinners just like everyone else and everyone else's children (sorry if that comes as a shock to you - but your kids are little sinners too), but I'm not scared of being around them anymore.  This isn't to say I don't have moments when I need a break, and in those moments, Sam is awesome about recognizing my need to reset and calls me out on it, even if my pride gets in the way sometimes.  I'm truly blessed to have a husband who has never been afraid of his own children. 

Fast forward to now, approaching two years later.

In less than one week, our family will begin our newest adventure - homeschooling.

I've come a long way from doing anything I can to get away from these kids of mine...

It's amazing what you hear when you stop, wait patiently, and listen for instruction.  When I got laid off, I cried, went into a funk, and was determined to find a new, better job.  Well, I found one (being a stay-at-home mom).  It's not the one I would have picked, but it's one I've grown to love.  Now, I wouldn't trade it.  Little did I know that less than two years later, I'd receive a monumental promotion, of sorts.  And, to be honest, I did a little kicking and screaming before I decided that this was, indeed, what God was calling me to do.

I can tell you, while shaking in my boots, that I am nervous, excited, and terrified.  I'm confident in my ability to teach the subject matter.  I'm excited about the opportunity to teach the heart matters when we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we arise.  And for all the gaps in my abilities, well, that's where I'll rely on the ultimate source of these abilities anyway:
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:28-31
I am anticipating the negativity I'll encounter when I go out to the grocery store in the middle of a school day.  I'm dreading the questions I'll get like, "Don't you think you're wasting your education?" and "Aren't the public schools good enough for you?" 

Since those have the makings of an entirely new post altogether, let me just say that our decision to homeschool our kids is a personal conviction that Sam and I have had.  It's not an indictment on the schools, or anyone else's choice to send their kids to any other institution of learning that they see fit.  This is not a judgment on anyone else.  We heard the call, and we are answering.  That's the best I can explain it.  I've chosen my own way more than a few times, but this time, we're choosing obedience.  

So, to answer the original question -

Yes, my kids are ready to go back to school.  And so am I.

Let's get this party started.

For those of you who might not have been along for the ride during which I decided to homeschool - here are a couple more posts on that:  


Jade Steckly said...

Wow, you hit the nail on the head...with a few of those points! I think it's awesome that you have chosen to homeschool, and I have the highest respect for you because of it! The fears you mentioned..like your ability to teach the subject matter, etc. are some of the reasons we have not yet ventured into the homeschooling world. Also, I'm just starting to be able to manage my organizational skills...I can't imagine trying to keep a classroom organized as well. We might one day though. I love the school that the girls are in now, but once they hit middle school Daniel and I will definitely revisit the thought of homeschooling. Good luck Jennie! If anyone can do it, YOU can!

Carrie said...

I dream of homeschooling someday! Hope you blog about curriculum and such! I hope we receive the call, otherwise I think I'd make a big mess of things. God equips the called, so you are golden! Miss following you, by the way! I'm still on hiatus but still burning to write. Trying the obedience thing myself. Pray for me, friend! Blessings!

Debbie said...

I wish you could see the smile on my face. This post warmed my heart. I will tell you now because it's safe to do so (I hope) that when you first got laid off, I prayed for you to get a new job. The whole time, however, I just had a niggling feeling in my spirit that you had already gotten the best job in the world and praying for something less than that would not be praying the nature of agape love.

So I prayed.

But what I prayed over and over for you was for God's perfect will regarding your vocation.

Just deleted a whopper of an additional comment about hurtful comments. I'll just say that you'll get them no matter what you do because of that pesky sin nature that abides within all of us. When people see you making a choice different from their choice, the sin nature feels judged merely by your actions. Nothing you say will be able to change their minds, but don't worry. Mind changing isn't our job.

Debbie said...

Can you imagine how long that would have been had I NOT deleted the whopper. Good grief.

Jennie said...

Thank you, Jade! We were pleased (for the most part) with the school Ben & Abby were in, which makes it all the more obvious that it's a "God thing"...it's the only rational explanation!

Carrie!!!! It's WONDERFUL to see you! I've been checking in on you since, oh, I don't know August of 2010? I will pray! Email me if there's anything I can pray specifically for!

Mrs. Debbie - I'm honored to have you co-author this blog via the comment section. Hahahah! You know I love your "lengthy" comments. Please don't ever feel the need to cut them short. I am so honored to have your encouragement and blessing, but most of all your prayers! You're the best!

See Jamie blog said...

Awesome! Yes, it's hard, I think, for many parents to make the mental switch, but I love being with my kids. Even my teen -- and teens really tend to get a bad rap. Enjoyed your post, and my first visit to your blog! (I'm a homeschool mom, too!)

Bethany said...

I think that is awesome. We are called to obey what the Lord has called us to do. It's not usually a popular choice and most often it is a stretch of our faith. I know God will bless you for obeying Him.

And, I've never really understood all the negativity towards homeschooling. I think it's pretty cool.

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