In this together
I am a better person when I slow down.
For some reason, (probably because I am a wannabe-don’t wannabe perfectionist), I constantly try and improve my life and create perfect scenarios. Some of this is positive. It is good to take time out to evaluate different areas of my life, relationships, my home, our ministry, our marriage, our parenting and see where things are not working out so well and make a plan for change. But why do I suddenly think that with that plan in place, suddenly everything will be perfect?
This year Joel has finished pre-school and he has begun homeschool with Daniel. They are very different personalities. Daniel is studious and curious and self-motivated. Joel is fun, bouncy, has ants in his pants, and wants to be on the move. Constantly. This is one of the reasons he was at nursery last year, and one of the reasons he is not going to school this year!
I love the fact that, in theory at least, homeschool gives us the opportunity to help Joel learn in the way he learns best. However, I am also having to learn how to help him learn! Now, in many ways, this year is not too complicated - we will be traveling a lot and the boys will learn a huge amount of things that books and videos could never show them. Joel is only 5, so he doesn’t need a lot of time spent on reading and writing each day. But what am I meant to do with him for the rest of the day?!
Of course being a wannabe-not-wannabe perfectionist, I want to have our homeschool days mapped out with all the things I want them to learn, right from the beginning. But learning how to help Joel and what works for him, and for him as part of our family as a whole, takes time and requires lots of trying things out and seeing how they go. I can’t map out his next year for him, nor should I try too.
Instead, I hear God calling me to His side and Him telling me that He knows and He can help me if I just slow down and listen to Him for a while.
So I do, and I feel encouraged to ask some other homeschooling mothers what they do with their active 5-year-olds. ‘Paper. Scissors. String and tape’, one mother tells me. I realize my wisely-administering-school-materials mindset and my mess-avoidance may be blocking my child’s creativity. I breathe deeply, remember that we have a dustpan and broom and give Joel a stack of paper and scissors the next day. He sits there for an hour. A miracle in itself. He makes 50-odd snowflake-flowers and declares that he wants to be a snowflake maker when he grows up and how much did I think people would pay for his snowflakes?!
I laugh because I know in my head but I have just experienced in my heart God’s guiding in our homeschool day. I have just experienced Emmanuel.
Then I wonder how much of my own life I try and map out and stick in boxes, because I am worried if I don’t then nothing will happen, when God has a plan for me and for my family that is as unique as the snowflake-flowers.
God reminds me that actually He doesn’t want me to rigidly map out my life or my children’s lives. Life is meant to be lived with a large respect for the unknown of tomorrow because it is meant to be about day to day relationship, conversation, connection and walking it through together right here, right now.
He wants me to know that we are in this together and He wants to lead me through it all. That He totally cares about my children and their education and that He has a unique, heavenly-perfect, earthly-messy-looking plan for their lives. It won’t happen in straight lines and in boxes. It will happen as I lean into Him each day and He guides me through, us through, them through as they learn to be guided by God for themselves.
So what I really need to do is stop, spend some time each day asking God what is on His heart for the day and He will guide us through.
I am a better person when I slow down and remember: God and I, we are in this together.
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