Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What I Wish I Would Ignore

In my thoughts the other day, I asked God why it was so hard for moms, particularly (but not limited to) stay at home moms, to understand their own value. We say it, some of us, but to really believe that doing dishes and laundry and making sure everyone brushed their teeth day after day is a noble task is nearly impossible.

The answer was clear as a bell to my soul, but less likely as eloquent coming from my fingertips. It was more of a picture than a sentence. But at my attempt to interpret, I think it is because we are looking for the wrong results.

We seek approval or evidence of accomplishment. A paycheck is nearly instant gratification, even an annual eval is something to work toward. But here I sit after a day much longer than 8.5 hours with no physical evidence of accomplishment and completely exhausted.

But God reminded me that He did not create us for deadlines and paychecks. He didn't make our children to become star athletes or make the honor roll. Even though these things are not bad, that is not how He measures our worth.

"Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created."- Revelations 4:11

Our lives are for a fairly simple purpose. To just be the creation that we were meant to be. Can we take pleasure in simply being? Working out of necessity, yes. But in the midst of simply being? Can we let God take pleasure in that? I think it sounds delightful.

Incidentally, immediately after God answered the question that I was certain would take weeks to answer, our art class solidified my celestial conversation. The lesson began by comparing Hans Christian Anderson's The Emperor's New Clothes to modern art. Rather than thinking for themselves, people have depended on the popular vote to dictate what is good.  The author continues:

"Art was intended to be sublime, to make us feel better about ourselves and to be uplifting, elevating man to a higher level. Art was intended to touch our hearts; to inspire us to think on those things which are good an pure. It seems as if with today's art, our hearts are set aside. Instead, the mind, or the intellect is what art strives to captivate."- Berry Stebbing, God and the History of Art
In light of viewing ourselves as the creation and God as the artist, our critics, including ourselves, are taking the focus off the original intent of who we were made to be. My friends, there is glory in the seemingly dull repetition of our days.

Our lives are a story- the best kind, where the climax proves to be uncertain to the mind, but to the heart, relentless hope that the ending will be sweeter than imagined. An annual evaluation only would ruin the ending, and assigning an hourly wage would cheapen the experience, no matter the price.

And God takes pleasure in it, if we will let Him.

I want to ignore the opinions of others screaming the foolishness of this. I want to erase the magazine-inspired standards of homemaking, the process of success, the intellectual analysis of every stinking thing. Why do we need full articles written about a celebrity's choice of shoes? It is ruining this canvas.

I want to escape the need get a pat on the back or double digit "likes" on a post. God doesn't care about these things. Instead, HE is worthy of glory and honor produced in our lives by simply basking in the act of being.

In typical God fashion, this principle is inescapable if any value is put on His written word. I am reminded of one of my favorite verses:

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? - Matthew 6:28-30
Let us have faith that in being who God created us to be, and living the story He has written for us, we will be bringing glory to God, and living an incredibly beautiful life.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Annual Homeschool Blog Post

Every year, there is a brief homeschool/ non-homeschool mama pecking of the wounds.

It's kinda like being a dietitian. You tell someone, then they think you're a food Nazi.

You tell someone you homeschool, they get defensive because they think you think you are superior.

So here's the truth. This is why I homeschool:

God told me to. Yep, God talks to me. He told me to. Maybe He told you to, maybe not. If He did not, don't do it. I didn't grow up dreaming of having four children surround me fifteen hours a day and messing up any hope of sanity. One day, I walked into a meeting, rolling my eyes at the homeschooling speaker, and coming out a believer.  My mind was made up and I have never regretted it. That's my story.

You see, there are some things I didn't know about myself when my oldest was four. I didn't know it, but God did.

First, I didn't know that I would love teaching- and that I am good at it. I remember thinking how hard teaching must be. Truth is, I'd rather teach than clean. Homeschooling is great cleaning procrastination.

Second, I was spared elementary school Post Traumatic Stress. I'm pretty sure if I had to drop off any of my kids at a school, I'd go home and curl up in a fetal position. I'd rather avoid that than spend some time in peace and quiet. I have issues.

In addition, I failed school the first time around- not literally, but relatively speaking. I could have done so much better under different circumstances. Now I get to know-- really, really know what I missed. I also get to know that I am than I thought I was. God knows I needed that.

To be brutally honest, I'm introverted and I would rather avoid highly social activities. Birthday parties of classmates, listening to moms sitting around, talking about how their kids are too smart for the gifted program, while my son sticks straws up his nose and my daughter tells me one of her favorite hobbies is making funny faces at strangers. I like my little bubble. I like that I don't even subconsciously compare my kids with others. I like it that I can almost always hand pick the social activities we participate in. I'm in my comfort zone. And my kids are free to be completely goofy. I like that because.... well, it's free entertainment.

I have an excuse to buy paint and Sharpies, because any, and I mean any lesson can be turned into an art project. I can color with Sharpies and call it serious business.

Free labor. I teach cooking classes so they will make their own lunch. And they think it's fun.

I'm not a morning person.

No one is telling me where to be and when to be there. And if I get bored or overwhelmed, I can pack everyone up and go on a spontaneous field trip. Or a spontaneous trip to Grandma's for a few days.

My kids don't see what all the other kids have and want it, so I save a lot of money.

My kids love me and show it openly. You see, they don't know there is any other option, because I have brainwashed them.

There are a few other reasons like my kids get to learn at their own pace and I get to choose what and when they learn.... but mostly, it's because God loved me so much and knew exactly what I needed. It may look like a holier than thou sacrifice, but it really is just what was best for me, which is different than most of the people surrounding us.