It has been SO long since I last blogged. I can’t remember blogging since before my youngest was born…she is six months old today! So much has gone on in my life since that moment and God has spoken in so many ways that I know I will never be able to catch up on writing everything down! I have been pondering recently on the idea of blogging my experiences and ideas relating to home education. I know it isn’t necessarily a topic of biblical inspiration to challenge, encourage or equip the Body of Christ but I do know that I find it particularly helpful to read other mums’ blogs about home education, especially if they are passionate about encompassing God and biblical morals in what they do. I will begin blogging soon about things we have tried, things we hope to do, thoughts, encouragements and even our concerns so watch out for this if it is something you think might be useful if you yourselves are considering such an adventure!
Today I want to share a couple of things about where I am at and what I feel God is doing at the moment…
So today is a snow day! My eldest two (girl age 4, boy age 2) love playing in the snow; my daughter more so as my son likes to be warm and cosy like his mum! Our youngest daughter (six months) is currently still in bed after a long night of unsettled sleep thanks to teething. We can hear the children next door very excited about a birthday and probably the fact that they are not in school today due to the snow – they have usually left for the school run by now but the running along the landing proves this is not the case today! I love to hear happy children. I have been praying for a couple of days now that our home would be filled with laughter and joy. I have a tendancy to be too serious. Already my eldest daughter understands the phrase ‘this is just my normal face’ because she often tells me to be happy!!!! I explain that I am happy, to which she disagrees because my face doesn’t look so happy. I repeat the words, ‘this is just my normal face’ and she realises that just because I am not laughing out loud I am still OK! I do want more laughing out loud moments though – it is a good medicine as the Bible tells us. I expect that at some point today the oldest two will be suited and booted for digging in the snow and they will have a good laugh chasing each other around throwing snow balls. I, however, cannot help but be concerned the rabbits are warm enough and their water hasn’t frozen again after my improvised insulation at 9pm last night whilst out in my flip flops. I am wondering whether today should turn into a DVD day with the quilts on the sofa because there is no way we are going out today and quite frankly that sounds like tons of fun. I wonder whether it is worth making my baby any porridge this morning as she seems to have gone off food these last couple of days and I think over how I can make brushing teeth more exciting as it seems to feel like my most stressful and fleshly time of day. I write all this not with a heavy heart but actually with a smile on my face. It is a good job I can laugh at myself right now, as some days it doesn’t feel very funny. It is 9am and already I regret my outburst at my son for his lack of ability to keep still while I brush his teeth. We have just managed to persuade him to let us check his teeth after he has ‘brushed’ them (by brushed I mean sucking off the toothpaste) and this is quite an achievement. Getting him to stand still while I go over them gently is another challenge altogether. I remember it well with our four year old girl – holding her down whilst she wrestled. I don’t recommend wrestling as a productive activity but when you are caught between two mind-sets of what to do for the best (dealing with it or ignoring it for now), stopping their teeth from decaying is my preferred option! In parenting as a whole I get trapped between the two thought processes of giving them responsibility to make their own choices and then simply making the choice for them because it is the safest option. For instance, ‘if you stand on your toys they will probably break’ gives my son the choice to either break his toy by continuing to stand on it or to get off and play with it but I often state ‘get off that toy!’ which is met with equally stern statement of ‘no mummy!’. With teeth I can say ‘if you don’t let me brush your teeth they will go rotten’ but he doesn’t actually care because he is only two. So, I battle to get the job done rather than give him the choice because I prefer to wrestle him than to have to leave him to have his teeth removed…not so easy in practise though. By 8.40am this morning he had already fallen out with me and gone to bed crying because he didn’t appreciate the mummy teeth cleaning process. Which, finally brings us to my point…I often question myself and doubt myself and have regrets about what I do, what I say, what I don’t do or say, and how I do or say things…this basically covers just about everything involved with existing! From what I hear from other mums, this is completely normal for us all. But I want to tell you what I feel has been gently said to me today through scripture.
Yesterday I read a devotional to my oldest daughter about the prodigal son that came home. His father welcomed him with love rather than punishment or disappointment. This morning after the teeth brushing incident I walked to my room to check on our little one in the cot and sat down to read my own devotional. This too was about the prodigal son. What struck me about it was that the father looked on him with compassion. That word compassion is a wonderful word. I immediately thought about how God looks on me with compassion even whilst those regrets for mistakes or times of ‘beating myself up’ as my husband calls them, echo on my brain. Whilst those thoughts swirl around my head, my Father looks on me with compassion. He isn’t disappointed in me, He understands and loves. He doesn’t punish me, He has already forgiven me. He allows me to learn from my mistakes and gives me the grace to do it better next time. More so, it ministers to me about how I communicate with my own children during those most stressful parts of the day. What us mums need is not people to step in and do the job for us because we don’t grow in that. I understand there are times we do need to ask for help but I am talking about day to day life, not a tough season in life that we all experience from time to time with illness etc. Instead, with day to day living we need the grace and the Holy Spirit to enable us to walk through it in Spirit rather than flesh. We don’t need a ‘break from our children’, we need to walk with Jesus and thus show our children Jesus. I love my family and I wouldn’t change my life for anything. I am not wanting a bombardment of messages offering to babysit so I can have ‘a day off’-if you think that is my hope you misunderstand me. I LOVE my life. The truth put simply is this; when people say ‘I don’t know how you do it’, my answer is ‘I can’t’, not in my own flesh anyway. But I can in Christ. No I don’t have super organised days with children that follow the plan but if I did that would be human effort. Human effort fails EVERY TIME. With three young children I can’t afford to run on human effort or ability because sooner or later my flesh fails. Yet so often that is what I do. I raise my voice or I get mad or I think stuff I shouldn’t or I forget to be kind or…the list goes on. I don’t like that version of mummy or wife or friend. I much prefer the version that lives knowing that when I am weak God makes me strong. On days where the snow says you can’t visit the library it doesn’t matter because when our focus is right the day can take any direction with lots of laughs (preferably one that doesn’t involve your son killing all but three fish by pouring bubble mixture into the tank but hey, that’s a story for another day!!!!)