So... I never thought I would say something like this, but homeschooling was NOT the thing that got most of my energy and attention this school year. The children did fine, and got most of their work done. But my high, idealistic standards were nowhere near met this year. God had a more hands-on, real life learning year in store for us. Of course, the lessons learned in those times are usually the best lessons of all.
Along with giving birth in the middle of August, I had to work with little Janie on some nursing difficulties. I invested a great deal of time and effort to keep my little darling breastfeeding and gaining weight. Breastfeeding troubles in the first few months can really try a mother's emotions, but I could feel God sustaining me through it. I felt like I was right in the middle of a miracle! I knew just what lesson I was learning as it was happening. I could clearly tell that I had to trust in God for the motivation and direction that I needed to make decisions on what to do about daily challenges. I had no choice but to have total dependence on God if I wanted nurse my baby, which was definitely my hopefull desire. Thank you God, for seeing us through that!
Besides the incapacitating nursing situation, five other kiddos with needs, and trying to homeschool, there were two other major life experiences going on this school year.
I mentioned in earlier posts that I was going to finish my degree this year. That experience felt a little less miraculous. I did it... I got straight A's... but I did have my moments of frustration and stress. I felt some guilt on this one stealing from our homeschool. It wasn't a neccessity to finish my schooling right at this time. But the opportunity presented itself, and it seemed like a shame not to take advantage of the program that became available to me. In a way, I thoroughly enjoyed handing in my work and getting graded and praised for a job well done. Actually, I may have enjoyed that a little more than I should have. But it really comes down to God working in me there too, and even though I didn't feel real spiritual when I was shoo-ing the kids out of the room so I could do my homework, I know there is no way I could have finished in my own power... I just don't have that much energy and brain power! And I called out for God's grace and mercy to cover my parenting gaps on this one as it distracted me from my real job more than I would have liked.
The other major project in my life this school year was political. In January, my husband decided to make a run for U.S. Congress. When he asked me if I was up for a political campaign, I had no idea what I was saying "why not?" to. I could tell my husband was right on about God's direction on it, so I stepped forward in faith. I knew God wouldn't give me more than I could handle! Kurt actually told me that he would take care of the campaign, so I could keep on track with my college classes. Realistically I should have known that it wouldn't be quite that simple, but when it comes to leaps of faith, ignorance is bliss, and then God steps in! I felt God completely carrying me through what could have been the craziest four months of my life. Again, I could feel myself being sustained in away like I have never experienced before.
In the middle of May, I graduated and the campaign came to an end. I am now attempting to transition back to a "normal" life. I will be extending our school year through the summer, because there are things I want to cover before we start next year. But things feel different now. I am suspicious that God has a new normal for me. It seems as though, even though my flesh would love to reach back into the past that seemed like a simpler time, God is ever moving me forward, stretching me and pulling me. I am so greatful for the flexibility that comes with homeschooling, and that we can, if we will, submit to God's plans and timing for our family.