This week we rejoiced in the little things. And for me, that is a BIG thing. Let me explain…
This week was hard. I’m not going to sugarcoat it or try to put a positive spin on things. It was just hard.
I saw a lot of my selfishness, my lack of patience, my short temper. And it’s never easy to come face to face with your own sin.
Parenting is definitely the hardest thing I have ever done (and I’m only 5 years & 2 kids in!).
This week I was reminded that I am in the middle of the ocean.
Because of God’s tremendous grace in some many various forms (curriculum, supportive friends, other mamas-in-the-trenches, to name a few), this season of newly homeschooling hasn’t been as scary as I had anticipated. His strength has been apparent, His guidance confirming and comforting, and His mercy new every day. Great is His faithfulness.
And like I tend to do, I get comfortable in this.
I don’t think that in and of itself this is bad. I think we’re called to abide in God’s grace, to rest and cozy up in it. However, for me, comfortable usually leads to complacency. And complacency looks a whole lot like laziness, forgetfulness, and overall getting me back to a place where I am unconsciously trying to do this thing on my own.
I forget that it’s His grace that has been sufficient and it was His grace that was sustaining. And I slowly unplug from the Source. Life gets a little bit busier as I am taking on ‘extra’ things that seem really good and beneficial, because hey – things are going well and I think I can do a little bit more. And I forget to consider and pray to see if that is what God has for us in this season. I stop having necessary time in God’s Word, in soaking in His Truth to renew and remind my heart and mind. I stop asking for the strength that I so desperately need, and start trying to pull it from other sources – coffee, friends, quick devos here and there, naps. Whatever seems to offer the quickest fix so that I can get back on to all.the.things.
Man oh man, same story, different season. This is my pattern.
So, like I mentioned, this week, in His grace, God reminded me that I really am in the deep end. I’ve been swimming and enjoying life, and now I’m getting a little tired. I’m trying to float and bob along with the waves, but because I’m not relying on His Presence in the same capacity as before, I’m exhausted. Pretty much just barely keeping my head above water.
What this looks like on a day to day basis is the sin I talked about before. Snapping at my kids for being kids, because when it comes down to it, that’s what it is. My impatience manifesting itself because their need for direction and training and correction is requiring what is left of my slowly emptying energy tank.
But as He always does, God doesn’t leave me alone. He doesn’t leave me to my own devices because I am His, and He has better for me than what I have been settling for, better for my family than what I have to offer them on my own.
Through the Holy Spirit’s small, soft voice, I started to identify that part of my struggle with this pattern that I see cropping up in my life: I have a hard time celebrating and receiving the little victories in my life. Because I am detail-oriented, I see the whole myriad of tasks and work that go into bringing a project/event/whatever to completion. And so it makes it really hard for me to be thankful and grateful for the progress of two completed steps when I see the thirty that still need to be done. I want to rest when things are done, sit back and enjoy the completion and bask in that.
BUT, because I’m relying on my own perspective and understanding, what I don’t often realize is that God’s portion for that day may just be those two steps. The other remaining thirty may be the next year’s work for me to walk out. But I take on the burden of what I see and what is undone and I carry it around. And I allow that lack of perspective to steal my joy, and ultimately steal my praise and gratitude for what God has accomplished in my life already.
So, this week, being reminded that I am in fact in the middle of this huge calling that I have no ability to fulfill on my own, I started seeing the miraculous in the small glimpses of progress. I started seeing how God was and is moving in my mundane, day-to-day life by accomplishing the ‘little’ tasks that I thought I should be able to do on my own, but now realize that it’s been Him all along. And I stopped long enough to enjoy that – to thank the Lord for His Presence and faithfulness in our everyday lives -that may have just looked like a morning without losing my patience, but for me, that is huge.
(HUGE side note: I have to remove the just’s from my vocabulary and allow it to be a big thing, because even a subtle statement like that can and often does minimize God’s work in my life. What do you just do? Are you just a stay-at-home-mama? Are you just a wife? Are you just an employee? Are you just a friend? When we remove the just’s, we can stand in the fullness of that position and let it define itself, without that little justifier.)
And then, as I stopped to take in the little successes, I asked Him to continue to do what only He can do.
And He did!
Natalie is Reading! (click here for a sweet video!)
This week I was able to recognize a little bit more confidence in Natalie’s pre-reading skills, as you can tell from the video. Usually she resorts to a ‘baby voice,’ as we call it, when she feels a little shy or insecure about something she is trying to do or say. It shows a little in the video, but this is by far the most confident I have seen her so quickly. It’s exciting to be able to watch her pre-reading skills develop along with her confidence in this area.
When I pulled out the book this past week (included in October’s Mother Goose Time Box), I expected that I would read it to her first, and then give her a chance to explore and sound out the words. However, as we got started, Natalie asked if she could read the words she knew, and I, of course, supported that idea. The first page definitely helped, giving her some vocabulary right off the bat with the picture clues. The only word I needed to help her with after that was “have.” I don’t believe this is a sight word we covered earlier this year through the Confessions of a Homeschooler curriculum that we were using for a few months, and so she really didn’t have any frame of reference for it. But after that, she was off and running.
As challenging as some days can be – and not just with homeschooling, but parenting in general -it is the moments like this that help me keep perspective and remember just how blessed I am to get to witness first-hand how my daughter is learning and growing. Today, by God’s grace, I took in the moment. I rejoiced in my daughter’s progress and celebrated her courage to let me video her doing something new (she struggles with perfectionism as well, and often has a hard time sharing unless she feels she can do it well). So what may appear little here, with insider knowledge, I know isn’t quite so small.
So today we rejoiced in the ‘little’-little steps, little pep-talks, little lessons that have added up to a big step for my little girl.
And I am thankful and expectant to see what other ‘little’ things the Lord has for us this week!
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