Wednesday, March 29, 2006

It Was One of Those Days

I have to say that yesterday, I almost caved into Ms. Hirshman's all women must work and have only one child policy. I threatened to put my child into daycare. I was sure that at the end of the day I would march him down to the local public school office and enroll him in public school.

It was one of those days that I wouldn't want Ms. Hirshman to read about on my blog, because certainly I would have seemed as low as Lowly Worm (read any good Richard Scarry books lately?). It was certainly boring. The kids have had colds that rendered them unfit for society, and the weather was dreary and threatening rain. Little Missy is cutting teeth in addition to her cold, and so was feeling crabby and needy. Little Man was following me around, getting into stuff, asking far too many "why" questions, and making incessant boy noises when he wasn't asking questions.

I made a point to reserve a few hairs on my head for the next day, but most of the good ones no longer reside there.

But isn't this is the test? Can we handle the dailiness of life with grace and contentment? I believe this is the point that people are missing--those that insist that one cannot live a fulfilled existence as a stay at home mom. It is on days like yesterday that I take comfort in this passage from Proverbs 31:25-27:

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue,
She watches over the affairs of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

Yesterday I did not feel strong or dignified. I felt tired and low. I was not laughing at the days to come, I was questioning my sanity. I didn't feel wise or particularly iformative. I was watching over my household, but I felt despondent.

Even so, God was faithful to speak to my heart that in fact, every day in the life of my children is part of their journey toward eternity. I cannot grow weary in doing good for them. I am entrusted with a beautiful treasure, so I will embrace my life in this place and laugh at the days to come...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Silence is the Only Word...

I have been sitting with a blank screen in front of me for some time, searching for words to reflect my thoughts...

There are times in this life when there are no words, quite simply, and the only thing that makes sense is silence. I have been greatly troubled and moved to grief in the last day by the news that a family friend's older daughter was hit by a drunk driver on Saturday. She died Sunday morning.

The drunk driver was travelling (from what I was told) 90 miles an hour, rear-ended the car in which the young woman and her boyfriend were driving, flipped the car three times into a telephone pole and killed our friend's daughter. The drunk walked away unscathed. The innocent suffer.
Psalm 103:15
As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
I held my daughter and wept for our friend.

Flesh gives birth to flesh, and the spirit belongs to God.
Ecclesiastes 5:2-3, 7
Do not be quick with your mouth,
do not be hasty in your heart
to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven
and you are on the earth,
so let your words be few.
...Much dreaming and many words are meaningless.
Therefore stand in awe of God.
Silence...there are no answers to grief in this life except that God is just, even when this life is as unjust as this tragedy. We exist in the flesh, but Life belongs to eternity.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sally Made me do it!

If you asked me who finally tipped the scales for me in the decision to homeschool my children, I'd have to say that "Sally made me do it." If you haven't heard of Sally Clarkson, it's time you familiarized yourself with her work and ministry. Here, don't read the rest of this blog post...go buy some of her books, then come back and finish reading...

The reason I say this is because I was first introduced to her through her book The Ministry of Motherhood. It examined the job that we do as mothers as compared to the ministry of Jesus and the relationship he had with his disciples. I would call it a very inspirational handbook on what it means to raise disciples, and I plan to read it again...something I rarely do.

However it is her book The Mission of Motherhood that I am currently re-reading because this book inspires me, encourages me and brings me to tears. Very gently and with a warmth that springs from her own contentment as a wife and mother, she unfolds the biblical design and purpose to which mothers are called, and the incredible responsibilites with which they have been entrusted.

Even though Sally Clarkson is a homeschooling mother, she never mentions this as something one must do in order to fulfill the biblical design of motherhood. Nevertheless, when I was finished reading these books, I walked away feeling a certain conviction that I could more certainly build the kind of home that she talks about by homeschooling my children rather than sending them out to be taught by others.

She writes about one rough day that brought about an epiphany:

"I needed to accept days like this--my children's neediness, the myriad mindless tasks, and even my own occasional discomfort--as part of my partnering with my husband toward our mutual goal of building a godly heritage for Christ. I needed to nurture my children with my songs, my words, and my physical labor, treating each day as sacred in ther development toward becoming healthy, mature adults. I needed to face the reality that all of the "important stuff" I was longing to do had far less eternal significance than what I was involved in doing. If I didn't commit myself wholeheartedly to the demands of motherhood, I would never be able to do my best, because my heart would always be somewhere else."

And this, dear homeschooling mommies, is what many of us struggle with on a day-in-day-out basis. It is so difficult to infuse our homes with kindness, bless our children when they spill their milk at dinner or throw up in our beds, realize that the gentleness with which we love and nurture them is what softens and prepares little hearts to receive the message of the gospel and receive the Lord into their lives. Keeping the eternal perspective daily and understanding that if we do not, we tear down our homes with our own hands is the task before us. Let us not grow weary...

If you are needing refreshment and some encouragement for the road you journey, read The Mission of Motherhood. I guarantee a blessing will come of it!

Proverbs 14:1
"The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands."

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sons and Daughters

I adore baby boys. I think they are the cutest things in the whole world--pudgy, fat fingers, rolly-poly legs, tromping and banging through life with all the grace of a wrecking-ball. Then they turn to their mamas and oh, my...the sweetness and adoration and cuddles that they can generate! There is a special bond between mothers and baby boys that is unmatched in any other relationship, and I'm convinced that even a man's wife cannot possibly love him as much as his mama.

But I should state all of that with this one disclaimer--I adore baby girls. Sweet and delicate and easily offended, a little girl daintily charts her way through life with intent and a gentle touch, feeling her way with deft little fingers that pick and lift and stroke (and sometimes grab and pull, much to the cat's dismay.) Mama is her safety, her companion, her friend, and Daddy is her object of adoration.

I have one of each, a son and a daughter. I was convinced that I wanted two boys, and that life would be great that way. I could raise boys--they are uncomplicated, fun, rough and tumble, loving, and eat a lot. I like all of that. Girls play with dolls and like frilly things and role-play a lot (just like I did when I was little) but something in me forgot how to like that stuff...until I had a girl. When I first found out she was a girl, I had the thought, "What does one do with a girl?" until our first "conversation" in the hospital. I picked her up and looked at her, and she looked me in the eye and opened her mouth wide at me. She didn't fuss or cry or wimper. I replied, "Oh, you want to nurse. Okay. I can do that!" and from that moment on I felt that we had an understanding, us girls. I have that...and the adoration of a sweet son who makes no apologies for loving guns, projectile objects, all manner of fighting robots, and noise in general. They are so different, and I love them so completely for who they are.

Edna St. Vincent Millay says of an autumn scene in the poem God's World:

Long have I known a glory in it all,
But never knew I this:
Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart,--Lord I do fear
Thsou'st made the world too beautiful this y ear;
My soul is all but out of me,--let fall
No burning leaf; prithee; let no bird call.

This poem describes an encounter with beauty, in this case a breathtaking autumn landscape, but in my case, I recall this poem often when I consider my passion for my children. My soul is all but out of me...