The Difficult Season {}

Tonight, as I go through tomorrow’s to-do list, a whisper keeps subtle cadence for the more prominent thoughts. Three weeks left. Just three more weeks. It repeats even when I don’t want it to, even when I don’t notice. Three weeks left. Just three more weeks.

When I wake up tomorrow, I know it will be the first thought to skitter across my synapses. I will push it to the back of my brain, hoping to bury it under more pressing concerns, like prayer, thanksgiving, and caffeine. But I know as the children wake and start demanding food and attention, I will call it to the frontlines. We can do this. There are only three weeks left. Just three more weeks.

We will grudgingly wash down our fatigue with coffee or chocolate milk (for those not yet in double digits). We will brush the dreaminess from our hair and the morning breath from our teeth and then gather in the living room to start our school day. “Can you believe we only have three weeks left?” I will ask in chipper sing song. My children will see right through my feigned syrupiness and respond in kind, “Jeepers, mom, can you believe everything we have to do in those three weeks?”

It isn’t much, mind you. It is some of the lightest weeks they’ve had all year. It is just that finishing is sometimes a hard thing to do. And after 33 weeks of trudging through the muck and mire of homeschool, we are ready to be finished. It is easier just to give up than to endure to the finish line, even though it is in our sights.

Three weeks left. Just three more weeks.

I have a confession: we have never actually finished a planned year of homeschool. We quit. I was tired. The kids were tired. They were burned out. I was burned out. It’s not like they didn’t meet the requirements. We did the time. We did the work. We just didn’t persevere until our end date. We failed to fulfill our commitment.

This year has been the hardest. It’s the reason I’ve been absent from here; from you. We were in a Difficult Season. Lessons were hard. Attitudes were bad. Fuses were short. Feelings were hurt. Characters were tested. (and I was the biggest offender.)

When we began this journey, a mentor told me I would learn more from homeschooling my children than they would learn from me. I now see what she meant.

There is a gravity to homeschooling that kept me from it for the first four years of my children’s education. It is the weight of being entirely responsible. It is all on me. Whether they grow into successful contributing adults or stay awkward and asocial is totally dependant upon me and the education/environment I provide.

Except that’s not quite true. The weight is not fully upon me, but upon our Father in heaven. He created them, and in His sovereignty, predestined every step they will take upon this Earth. I, the sin-filled sack of flesh that I am, cannot change God’s plan. Not for me, and not for my children. (I know. It is shocking.)

But there is a flip side to that coin. I am God’s servant. He blessed me with these children, entrusting me to nurture His creation. I am to train them up in the ways of the Lord. I am to care for them and love them and disciple them. It is a significant weight. Not a bad weight, but a big one all the same.

This Difficult Season resulted in some priority shifts. We pulled in. We hunkered down. We examined our hearts and prayerfully sought God’s will. It meant there was less time for me, and more time for them. There was less time for lunch dates, walks with friends, and lazy reads, so we had more time for math, adolescent crying jags, and character building.

Less laughter. More tears. Less free time. More work.

But it was good work. It was Kingdom work. And now, with only three weeks left, just three more weeks, I can look back and see God’s provision through the Difficult Season. God changed me. He changed my heart.

I’ve always struggled with self-control. So it comes as no surprise that I spawned little creatures who, whether by genetics or example, inherited the same struggles. God used the Difficult Season to show me everything I placed ahead of the most important thing. He challenged my priorities. He forced me to become more disciplined for the sake of my children. He held me close while whispering conviction with tenderness, mercy, and grace. Then, He persevered with me. Yes, I had to walk through it, but I didn’t walk alone.

While the Difficult Season was trying, it assured me of the call to homeschool. It reignited hope. Because of God’s provisions and refinement, I can confidently endure. At least for the next three weeks.

Has God used homeschooling, or any other situation, to refine you? I’d love to hear your story.