As I expected, it was helpful in figuring out my "plan" in regards to homeschooling. I love a good plan, a good checklist, a good map to lay out the journey. Marc and I worked together to set up a written discipline plan to take the stress out of discipline (this has worked so well!). I visioned the whys and whats, I prayerfully wrote a vision statement and attempted to lay out a general plan for each day.
What I did not expect was to be stopped dead in my tracks on day two, to find myself at a loss for words as I examined my own heart and fell in repentance before the Lord. What I did not expect was this:
(*note for better viewing, please click on image and it will take you to the original blog post)
Guys, seriously, I sat in my easy chair in the corner of my bedroom in silence as I looked at this chart. I long ago learned I am not a super mom and if asked, I would definitely say/have said that I was using the term tongue-in-cheek and had no such aspirations; but, as I read through her comparison of Super Mom vs. Abiding Mom, my heart sort of broke. I had much to repent that day and daily every since. How often my disposition is affected by the storms of life. I want my kids to be godly, truly I do...and yet so often I am most concerned with them being "good". My perspective is so often based on what is seen. I am discouraged by failure. I expect perfection of myself.
I have to tell you, this was most convicting not because of my blog title (though let's be honest it was poetic justice), but because one of my favorite books ever is Abiding in Christ by Andrew Murray. I read it 17 years ago and knew I wanted my life to be marked by abiding. Yet, when I saw this comparison laid out in this way I realized how self-sufficiency creeps into so many areas of my life and my motherhood.
I DO NOT WANT TO BE A SUPER MOM; I WANT TO BE AN ABIDING MOM!
I know the homeschool aspect of this journey is such a small piece, just a tool He is using at the moment. God is graciously directing me to a new place with Him. In some ways perhaps I strayed a bit, but in most ways, I think He is always growing us, leading us, taking us into deeper intimacy with him. That is what I ask Him for, and I believe He is answering in new ways, bringing me to a deeper level of dependence and surrender. He is opening my eyes in new ways...Oh! that they would stay open to what He has to show me!
It is often said that in scripture and life, when something is repeated, it is important. At the moment, I feel like God has been repeating or reinforcing the same message. I better be getting it! I just finished a short, little, recently published, former ebook, titled Teaching From Rest . It's a great quick read, that packs a powerful punch. It's final section deals out homeschool suggestions, but I swear she should take it out and just publish it under "Parenting from Rest". It is so good and reinforced what God has continued to whisper to my heart about simplicity, getting my agenda from Him, being present in the now....ABIDING.
"Before we attempt to live a day well, teach our children, or tackle our to-dos, first we put the whole thing at His feet. We beg God to use us to fulfill His purpose, and then we see that every frustration in the day ahead is an answer to that very prayer."
Every frustration an answer to prayer? How desperately I want to go through my days with that proper perspective: to realize that everything that crosses my path is fulfilling HIS purposes, not mine. That He is refining me and simultaneously using me to show His love and grace to my kids, to neighbors, to slow cashiers at Target, to the McDonalds attendant who gives me ice tea instead of coke....everything.
"Most of my own frustration comes from forgetting what my real task is in the first place. He's called me to be faithful, yet I am determined to be successful." Faithful looks so different that what the world tells us defines success. He has asked me to be a good steward of my time, of my children, of my talents. He hasn't asked ME to perform miracles, He's got that job sealed up lock, stock, and barrel. He wants to be God and wants me to be...well, me;) I just need to bring Him what I have, my proverbial "Five loaves of bread and two fish", and HE will stretch it, expand it, and work miracles.
Marc and I have so clearly felt led to pull back, simplify, focus on relationships, to exchange busyness for rest and chaos for peace; yet almost every day I have to catch myself from adding more into our lives. It is so hard to keep my eyes focused on what He has laid out for us; it's so easy to look around and fall trap to the comparison that kills contentment, peace, and joy. I see so many things others are doing, so many GOOD things. I know my kids could be speaking other languages, taking more classes, and obtaining more skills and sometimes when I hear others giving these things to their kids, I feel like maybe I am failing. I feel like my kids are missing out. I see people thriving in ministry and I start to question whether I am contributing enough; if I am honest, one of my BIGGEST struggles is wondering if OTHER people think I am doing enough. I buy into the worlds deceitful definition of success. I worry what
man women think of me and my contributions to church, bible study, our neighborhood, friendships, our homeschool community. I am prone to worry and yet all God has asked of me is to be faithful to what HE has called me to- not to what He called someone else to;) When I look to the left or right, I find anxiety and discontent. Yet, when I keep my eyes on Him, when I am abiding in Him? That is where I find that indeed His yoke IS easy and His burden IS light.
"Jesus did not do it all. Jesus didn't meet every need. He left people waiting in line to be healed. He left one town to preach to another. He hid away to pray. He got tired. He never interacted with the vast majority of people on the planet. He spent thirty years in training and only three years in ministry. He did not try to do it all. And yet, He did everything God asked Him to do." (Quote in this book from another one- Kevin DeYoung in Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem.)