So this morning in church, yes church, we had a guest speaker who happened to be inspired by our pastor’s facebook post. It was fantastic, and I am going to use her “sermon” just a little and pull from it some things we as homeschoolers ought to know/be doing.
“What on Earth was UP with Cinderellas stupid shoe!”– Robert Fultz via Facebook status update.
I had never noticed this before, I really hadn’t, everything about Cinderella switched back at midnight…EVERYTHING. Her dress turned back to rags, her coach turned back in to a pumpkin, the horses turned back to mice and so forth and so on. That shoe though, the one that slipped off, it remained a glass slipper. Is that as odd to you now that you really think about it, as it is to me? Really, I mean what kept it from also turning back into a torn and tattered scrap leather shoe? Everything else completely transformed back into its prior state….except that shoe!
Sister Woodruff picked up there with that point, her direction though was slightly different than my own. She spoke of how the “king” or “prince” sent out a search party looking for the owner of that shoe, she told of how the wicked step sisters tried everything to squeeze their fat feet into said shoe, and how they did not cease to search until they found the owner. She compared this to our “garment of salvation”, it fits only us. No matter who else would ever try to squeeze themselves into our clean white robe, it is custom made just for us and nobody else will exactly fill it to its measure and our “king” God would recognize that this was a counterfeit. She also pointed out that she believes that this shoe belonging to Cinderella did not “change back” because it remained in the presence of the king. She spoke of how when we leave the palace, it becomes our midnight hour and things for us begin to change. Then she reminded us, that when someone leaves the “palace” of God, he too sends out that search party. He searches high and low, he tries that “shoe” onto every foot in the world until he finds that lost one….in their tattered rags…dirty and roughed up…and he places that shoe that is rightly theirs upon their foot and immediately recognizes that perfect fit and they are returned to the palace….where the bridegroom welcomes his bride, and the rag tag garments are traded for the finest linen because they are back in the “presence of their king”.
She really did a wonderful job intertwining this story with biblical principals. The point though I’d like to make, is how everything was custom made. I think we fail to realize that as Christians, our destinies are custom made just for us. Our salvation is just for us, our “holy garment” will only fit us….we serve a God who meets us on an individual level, custom to our own need, and nothing happens that he hasn’t already foreknown. He is not writing our story as he goes, nothing surprises him. The God who laid the foundations of this Earth, also wrote the stories of our lives from beginning to end without error. He isn’t frantically pacing about waiting to see what comes next, he is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. I think we ought to take just a moment this beautiful Sunday, and think….just think, that this day, this moment, this situation, this magnificent mess was not a surprise to our Heavenly Father.
*****PAUSE AND REFLECT******
Moving forward, our trials in homeschool….those are not surprises either. The days when our children seem to think their purpose in life is to run our nerves ragged, those were ordained to a purpose. The days when our kids surprise us and are extremely obedient, those were ordained to a purpose. Those magnificent moments when you see the light click on above their head because they “get” that concept you’ve worked so hard to teach, those were ordained to a purpose. All of the times you reached the point of exhausted frustration and hot tears poured forth because you felt like a total and complete failure, those too were for a purpose.
You see, there is a purpose to it all….there is no battle fought, no victory won, no tear shed, no “aha” moment, no pleasant surprise, that God isn’t using to teach us. In the heat of the battle, it is often difficult to see the victory is just over the next hill. Often times, people who have prayed their hearts out without ceasing, people who are just on the edge of a miraculous victory, give up….and lose out…because they failed to persevere and hold on to the faith that the God who has called them to this battle will deliver the victory. It really is all about faith and perseverance, even when it feels like it’s just a punishment. Sometimes, God is teaching you patience. Sometimes, God is building your faith. Sometimes, God is showing you what you’re made of, so that he can show you what HE is capable of. Sometimes, he’s breaking YOU down so that you will allow HIM to be God…..oh how often we find ourselves in this situation right?
Ask a homeschooler…any homeschooler….and you will find that EVEN the unschoolers like to “be in control”. The definition of “control” may vary, sometimes it means being in control of allowing things to be uncontrolled, other times it means its literal term of controlling every breath, thought etc. Yes, it’s true, we all (homeschoolers especially) suffer from “control issues”.
God calls us to the journey, we say “SIR, YES, SIR” click our heels together like good soldiers and off we go. “Right two three four, Left two three four” marching forward, but then we miss it….the ” Compannnnnyyyyy HALT” command, or ” AT EASE”. So there we go, marching right along, not realizing we have just walked out of obedience and directly into disobedience. We are doing such a “good” job of obeying, that we have missed the fact that we are no longer obeying. God has a plan, his plan is for us to willingly obey his plans and commands. There is room for error though. He has a customized life journey just waiting for us, all we have to do is listen carefully and of course….follow HIS direction.
Some of us, he calls to homeschool. I assume, atleast I hope…that he calls some of us to use worksheets, others to classical, others to eclectic, and others to “unschool”….because if not, then clearly someone is missing the mark. I am sure though, because he created us all with unique strengths and weaknesses, that this must be true. So it is very important that we have our spiritual ears tuned well enough to “hear” his direction and follow them.
So here comes the “tricky” part…..this is the lesson I have struggled for 30 years to learn.
God will say to ME (little miss “helper”) “Shallon, do such and such”.
“SIR YES SIR” I click my heels and off I go, help help help help help.
Now, you see I am a very willing little “helper” am I not? But, there is a problem…..a VERY big problem. I am such a very good helper, that I OFTEN complete the task, then turn to go back for more direction and as I am walking out….I see it….that one little extra thing that I could do just real quick on my way out….just realllllly quick…and I’m good at that thing too, so I could do it up super nice and omgah it would be so AWESOME and WOULDN’T GOD BE SO PROUD OF ME FOR TAKING THE INITIATIVE!!!!!!!!!
Do you see the problem yet? Yea….I do it with homeschool too.
God called me 10 years ago to homeschool my children, they weren’t even born yet! So, I went to college and pursued a degree in education thinking this would better enable me to perform this task. Then, I had children and of course being such a great and obedient little “helper” I began at birth singing the “Alphabet Song” as a bedtime lullaby. Oh how smart these children would be! Then, I began singing numbers to them at nap time. I began before my first child could even sit up, to research all of the most wonderful homeschool curriculum! I saved my money, I was going to buy the ABSOLUTELY BEST OF THE BEST….no price was too high for my child’s educational future. Invest it ALL baby, no matter the cost.
Does that sound like God? or are you seeing the “Shallon” creep in there yet?
Somewhere, I missed the “whooaa slow down, lets not over do it” from God. Before my oldest child was kindergarten age, I was burnt out. Thus began my “Jonah” time. I had done “enough” I thought, after all…I had homeschooled for 4 years, I had taught him his alphabet, numbers, all kinds of bible stories and had “preached” enough sermons to him to last a lifetime right? I had “followed the call”….yes, yes yes I was certain I had followed the call. Kindergarten rolled around, hesitantly I enrolled him. The storm rolled up, and just like Jonah…I hid below deck. The storm RAGED…and FINALLY rather than do what I should do, I flung myself OVERBOARD. I pulled him from school, we began to homeschool……kinda. I halfheartedly homeschooled Grayson through Kindergarten and part of 1st grade. I mean hey God called me to this, so it was HIS job to “give” me the victory right? Poor Jonah….Poor Shallon….oh how stupid we were. You see, it didn’t occur to me….even though I was CLEARLY being chastened by God….and once even HEARD myself called JONAH…..but nevertheless it didn’t occur to me, that when God called Jonah to Nineveh, he did not *poof* him over there. No, God intended Jonah to walk….every step of the way. For those who aren’t familiar with how far Jonah would’ve had to walk, it was approximately 100 miles across a desert. Lord help us, if we had just obeyed to begin with God would’ve supplied our every need for every step…..but no…no not Jonah…no not Shallon….no we were very disobedient little boogers.
I struggled through….I didn’t ask God for help, because at that point….I was pretty sure he was kicking my butt on purpose for disobeying. Finally, I hit another wall…but being already “in trouble” for disobeying, and being pouty…I enrolled, both kids, into public school. Lord, let this testimony save some other mother…that is all I can say for it. I was terrible!
Public school….well, let’s just say that PS made the “storm” look like….a drizzle. For 3 months, I dragged myself to the school every single morning, every single afternoon, and I did every possible thing I could do to TRY to “make it work”. I tutored them at home…hey that was KINDA what I was called to do right? I volunteered in their classrooms (that meant I was involved right!?), I visited the guidance counselor, I visited the principal, I ate lunch with them every single day, I organized field trips on weekends to “make up” for not homeschooling……and finally….even my “anti homeschooling” husband came to me and said “Honey, we are in Whale Hell, and I am so sick of it PLEASE PULL THEM OUT OF SCHOOL AND DO WHAT GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO DO!” That’s what it took….God had to literally work a “homeschool miracle”, he changed the heart of my husband who before had been….well ….bleh….he didnt say NO, but he didn’t AGREE either. So we prayed together…we sought God whole heartedly and FINALLY we “reset” and began the journey the RIGHT way.
This time, our “spiritual hearing aides” were tuned up, and we HEARD God directing us. This time, when we were beginning to be in “overkill” we listened when he reigned us back. This time, when God spoke to us and said “they’re just little, this is just new, they are just learning”, we didn’t flip out and try to “fix” every little learning glitch. We quickly discovered that when we followed the direction of the Lord, although we came to “jordans” and “red seas”, we had no worry about how to cross them, we simply waited, prayed and God delivered us. So I guess you could say, all of our “desert wandering” prepared us for the “promised land” of “homeschool heaven”. We aren’t THERE YET, but we have DIRECTION now….This time, instead of being “self led”, we are “God led” and God leads us to relax quite regularly. He reminds us each morning that his mercies are new, and that we must also be merciful to the little lives we are given to raise. God has shown us, that his plan for US is not the same as it is for anyone else. He has shown us that his in HIS plan, he will prosper us and never harm us. Only when we begin to follow our “own” plan, and “leave the palace” do we quickly find ourselves in the “midnight hour” with everything changing back to the rag tag way it used to be.
He has a custom made plan for us, he has one for you as well. Maybe, like me, you are being a little to “helpful” or perhaps just a little too self directed. Slow down, wait a minute, and listen. There is a still small voice, it will speak to you in your spirit, it will remind you to follow HIS plan and not your own. Before the foundations of the Earth, he had this plan for you. He knew every bead of sweat that would pop onto your forehead, he knew every angry frustrated tear that would fall, he knew every smile, he knew every cry for help, and every shout for joy that would cross your lips. He knew, and yet he called you to homeschool. So take heart, there is joy in the journey and it’s custom made just for you….nobody else could wear that homeschool garment…it’s got your name written inside.