Looking for inspiration on today’s post, I posted to my Facebook friends to share a parenting question they’d like me to answer. It only took a couple of responses to realize, I don’t have ANY of those answers. They had many of the same questions as I do. Every parent is in the midst of a current parenting conundrum. None of us feel like we know what we are doing. At least not any of who are being honest.
No answers here. Just my own questions, my own lessons.
What am I learning through parenting?
This word is a regular at our house. With five boys ages 7 and under, we teach it. Daily. Hourly. Constantly.
But obedience, just like anything else, can’t be taught until it is first learned. My husband and I are constantly talking about our own obedience. It has been one of the largest lessons of our walk with Christ. We may rule this 1,500 square-foot roost, but we don’t have rule over ourselves. See, we gave up that throne years ago.
In September, our oldest two sons skipped up the driveway to the yellow bus. One starting his second year at our neighborhood elementary school as he headed to first grade. The other starting Kindergarten with the same teacher as his brother had last year, a teacher we loved. I was home during the days with the other three boys, a 3-and-a-half-year old, 2-year old and a 6-month old. I was “Embracing the Public School as a Christian Mom“, remember? I happily blogged it for all to see.
Homeschooling was not in my plans. It was not even on my radar. But, very quickly I realized that this year wasn’t like last year in our beloved school. Changes in our school, in education and most notably, in our sons, were stirring my heart.
Lots of praying. Lots of research. Lots of strategies. Lots of pros and cons. It all became irrelevant in a single moment in late November when I knew God had given me the direction I’d been so praying for, and so reluctant to listen to. It came down to obedience, the shear fact that I knew if I put my sons back on the school bus in January, I would be directly disobeying what I knew God was asking me to do. He wanted me to homeschool them.
Now let me add here, because I have found that sharing our decision to homeschool our boys is often responded to with justification for why others aren’t making that same choice. Obedience is a very personal matter. There are things God asks all of us to obey, but “Thou shalt homeschool” is not one of them.
What made me even hesitate at obeying God’s plan for me, even after watching it work out so much better than my own plan time and time again? Answer…the sacrifice that obedience requires.
But God, what about our mornings filled with playdates and our quiet afternoons of napping? What about my plans to paint the kitchen this winter? How can I possible keep up with my standards of housekeeping with that time now dedicated to schooling? You certainly couldn’t be asking me to give up my “me” time of Facebook and blog reading?
Ever step of obedience has taken an equal and harder step of sacrifice. There have been a lot of sacrifices in three months of homeschooling. Not as many friends are interested in playdates when you tow in a crew of 5 rambunctious boys. Afternoons are science projects, read alouds and poor attempts at music instruction. The kitchen makeover got shelved. The house never feels clean. Less “me” time, more “them” time.
Instead, rewards far greater. That is what follows obedience and sacrifice.
We must first take the on-our-knees, laid-before-Him position of surrender before we can stand and walk out obedience and sacrifice.
In our house, you’ll also hear a lot on the topic of will. Each of our adorable sons seems to have one. It is our job to teach them to submit their will under God’s authority, and for the time being, our parental authority.
A defiant Peters boy will hear the loving rebuke of their father’s voice, “Whose will are you doing right now? Yours or God’s?”
I have heard that loving rebuke from my Heavenly Father on many occasions. Danielle, whose will are you doing?
Some may see the raising of five sons, the choice to homeschool them, as a high calling. And it is, but more so for me, it has been my individualized lesson plan from God on surrender. The Great Teacher knows that it takes a little more with me than some of His other students to keep me humble, to keep me from boasting in my strength instead of letting Him come into my weakness. I can be a slow learner in this category.
It has taken 5 boys so far to keep me on my knees every day. My 44-year old husband is hoping I’ve learned my lesson by now. 🙂
I’m still a new to this parenting thing, bringing along a whole lot more questions than I have answers, a lot more things done wrong than done right. I am doing my best to teach our boys about obedience, sacrifice and surrender, all while learning those same lessons myself.
Instead that what life really is? A series of courses, a story of study, that only reaches completion when we stand before the Lord, expecting to be graded on our performance, only to be given a diploma of righteousness with a transcript that only bears on mark, a big, red “F”. Forgiven.
That’s the grade I’m working towards in parenting…a big fat “F”. Until then, I’ve got many more years of parenting to keep working out these lessons.
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