A Letter to Myself on the First Day of {Home} School

Dear Bethany,

Welcome to your 7th year of homeschooling! Seven years ago, did you ever dream you’d be here? I seem to remember you hoped you would, but you had well founded doubts. You knew all the virtues God would need to grow (and all the vices he’d need free you from) in order to make you the kind of homeschooling mama you longed to be. Seven years, and while you’re more acutely aware of those much-needed virtues (and those pesky pet vices), you’re still a work in progress — and you’re starting to be more okay with that. That’s a good thing, by the way. You’re starting to learn that it’s less about your failures or successes than it is about his amazing grace. You know now that the only worthwhile striving is the striving after his love and mercy. Fortunately for you, both are infinite.

I know you have so many dreams and plans for this school year, pretty color-coded plans (I know I’ve told you before, but you realize you are absurdly Type-A, right?) that you cannot wait to put into action. I’m here to remind you that they won’t work out the way you hoped. They won’t look even remotely as beautiful as they did in your head when you first started dreaming — but that’s okay. In your head, you’re all alone, but out here in the world where dreams get messy, your family is with you. Sure, things are messier when we’re all together. That’s what happens when lives bump up against each other — but that’s also where the magic happens. Embrace the mess, and encounter joy.

Embrace the mess, but don’t surrender to it. Don’t just give in and give up and say, “This is the way it is, and it will never get any better.” No, never that. Instead, surrender to the artist-God who sees beyond the mess and knows how it all comes beautifully together in the end. He knows what he’s creating, and you’re just a brush in his hand, a little well-used pencil. It might look like chaos from where you’re sitting, but he’s got the bird’s eye view. He’s got you. Accept the mess in your little corner, and let him create beauty in and with and all around you.

I know that’s easy to say, but sometimes it can all get so overwhelming that it’s hard to keep things in perspective. That’s okay, you’re human. Remember you’re human, and when you feel yourself losing control, let go and let God. When it all feels like it’s falling apart, run to Him, and let him put your day and your heart and you back together. When you can’t see eye to eye with one of your children, ask your good, good Father to help you see that child with his eyes. When you’re tired and the night was short and the day feels interminable, give thank that you’re here. Now. With them. Learning and loving and living. Together. Because deep down you know you’d never rather be anywhere else.

At the risk of being pedantic: This is the day the Lord has made! (And here’s a secret: He’s made tomorrow, too, so you don’t worry about that.) Rejoice, be glad. Even if life is so much messier than your dreams, give thanks in the midst of it — for life is messy, and beautiful, and glorious, and so very, very good. No, you don’t have to savor every moment. You just need to live each moment fully alive and fully in love with the author of life itself. He’s writing a love story, and today is the next chapter. If you teach them nothing else, teach them to read that story. Everything else is extra.


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