Back in the year 2002, when my first child was about two and a half, I began homeschooling. No, it was nothing structured and there were very few workbooks involved. But Britches and I would go to the library, with my Little Man in the stroller, and check out all kinds of books about everything we thought looked fun. She was at an age where she was curious about everything, and she had unlimited energy. We made at least one trip a week to our local park, and if we weren't there, we were in our yard learning about everything God made. We had so much fun learning together.
Then, the summer came. Here in the Deep South, when you say "summer," it means hot, humid, can't-breathe-when-you-walk-out-the-front-door kind of weather. It gets so hot that you don't even want to go to your mailbox. So very quickly, trips to the library, or anywhere else for that matter, became few and far between. Add on top of that was the fact that my Little Man was ALWAYS sick (and I mean that LITERALLY), and it made for a very bad situation. The walls began to close in on me! My rather roomy house suddenly became VERY SMALL! I love to be outside with my kids, but we were now stuck inside together for what seemed like forever. So I did the only thing I could think to do at the time. I put the babies in daycare, and I went to work.
I need to add something in here, so that you all understand something very clearly. God CALLED me a long time ago to be a stay-at-home mom and homeschool my kids. By putting them in daycare, what I was really saying was that I didn't like what God wanted me to do anymore. I didn't want to be "stuck" with this calling for the rest of my children's young life. I didn't trust that God could make a hard situation better. And I didn't think God knew what would make me happy, nor did He WANT me to be happy. So I stepped outside of God's plan for my life, and I went my own way. I paid the price for that decision for a LONG time! Back to my story.
Daycare and the job lasted for a grand total of 4 months. Because, just as terrible as the summers are here, the falls are equally wonderful. The first cool breeze of fall came, and I began to long for my children and a chance to take them to the park to play together. But I realized that I couldn't, because I had made a choice to work, and so now I had obligations. A few months went by, and I began to really MISS my children! They went early every day to stay with someone else, and by the time I picked them up, they were tired and cranky, and they had no fun left in them. Things were NOT working out like I had planned. I quit my job, and began keeping my children at home with me again.
Then the winter came. The winters here are about as hard for me as the summers. We don't have snow. We have rain, cold, and mud. The days go something like this: rain, rain, rain, cold, cold, cold, rain, cold, rain, cold, nice day with mud, rain - you get the picture. The walls once again began to close in on me. But I had already made the decision that my kids would not be going back to daycare, so I had to make the best of it. And eventually, it DID get better. And FINALLY, the spring came!!
Twice a year, every year since that time (in the dead of summer and the dead of winter), I have a few weeks where I question if this is still what I should be doing. I question if I am able to stay home with my kids, whether or not I should still be homeschooling them. But I can tell now when I'm feeling the walls closing in on me. I can see the signs more clearly. And it is at these times that I sit down and think about the calling God has given me. I know He has not changed His mind or given me another job to do as yet, so I can know for certain that this is RIGHT where I am supposed to be! So for a few weeks, I sit and pray, usually tearfully, and ask my God to give me the strength to continue with the calling that He has asked of me. And eventually, the spring will come!
These last few weeks have been extra hard for me, because this year, unlike most winters in the Deep South, the cold set in VERY early. Usually winter doesn't really hit until late January or February. But this year, it turned cold (and even snowed) in November. The walls began to close in on me earlier than usual. But for the last week, God has blessed us with a few absolutely BEAUTIFUL days that the kids and I were able to get outside, play, get some fresh air, and enjoy God's creation. And yesterday, we even made a trip to town to the park for playing and a picnic! No matter how bad it gets, there is always a beautiful day right around the corner!
Recently, I read in a book something that a wise woman once said. She said, "Every road has a turn in it; so when you get discouraged, don't stop, because, before long, the road will make a turn in your favor." Today, I encourage you to continue in the calling that God has given you to do. Not everyone has the same calling as I, but everyone who is a follower of Jesus DOES have something that He has asked of you. There are times, in any and every task we do, when we become tired, bored, frustrated, and even question what we are doing and why. God never said our road would be easy! But He did promise to be with us on this journey. The only true happiness you will ever find is right in the middle of the perfect will of God. When you step outside of that, you will never be truly happy. And remember, the spring will ALWAYS come!!!