It was one of those days. Discouragement seemed to open his ugly arms to me from the moment I rolled out of bed. It was my first year of home schooling our five very active children ranging from ages eleven to three years old. Winter had mildly set in southern California requiring only a light sweater. The day to day tasks of home schooling had taken their toll on me. I like success just like anyone else. I want to know that what I am doing has purpose and meaning. Am I making a difference in my children’s life? Are they learning or have I damaged them educationally for life? My brother told me when the nurse placed his new born baby girl in his gigantic hands he promised her, “I will save my money for your college or a good therapist, which ever you feel you need the most after I do my best parenting you.” I felt like that. I better come up with a plan B.
I quietly prayed as I prepared breakfast. Lord, what was I thinking? Are they learning anything? Maybe I should place them back in school? Lord, show me your direction, your plan for me and my children.
We had our morning devotions and began the math and language arts portion of the day. Things did not get much better.
“Stay on task.”
“No, it’s not lunch time yet.”
“Yes, you can get a drink of water.”
“I told you to find your math book, not tease your sister.”
“Okay, one more time, if you had three groups of three, what is it?
“Please read the directions to yourself, you can do it.”
“No, I know you can do it.”
“Just find your math book …please?
“Yes, you can go to the bathroom.”
“ai says “A”, ay says “A”…”
“No, your rabbit may not be on the school table.”
“I don’t care if he likes school.”
Lunch time came. I sat for a few minutes alone. Then my thoughts turned to the afternoon. We were coming to the end of our unit study on birds and we were supposed to learn about a bird’s bone structure. Like the children of Israel whining in the desert I said, “Lord, if they were in public school, they would probably have a test today and some cool pictures about a bird’s skeleton.” I had nothing. And besides, I’m not even sure they would even pass a test.
We sat down in our living room, the designated area for our unit studies.
All but one child came in. Apparently his fort building was more interesting than home schooling. As the last child came through the sliding glass door, a tiny yellow bellied song bird flew through into our home and landed on our ceiling fan. The tiny fellow was frightened and flapped his wings furiously but quickly settled down and perched on our ceiling fan to be admired by all. The children sprang into action. Our daughter ran for the Audubon reference book and began to look up what kind of bird had come to visit. Our sons started offering all kinds of bird facts and observations. Compassion rose in all of them. “We have to help him,” they cried. One son got a broom and noted the type of vision a bird has and used his knowledge to assist the little creature back through the sliding glass door to freedom.
I sat quietly with tears barely welling up. “They do know Lord, they have learned. Thank you for the test you gave them.” Just then my husband came home early from work. “Hey, I have something for you; look what I found on one of my job sites.” He said. He placed in my hands a ball wrapped in tissue. I unfolded it gently. The tears that were brimming moments ago now fell down my cheek. A tiny, perfectly formed baby bird skeleton was nestled in the unwrapped tissue. “I found it in a tree that I was taking down,” he said. The children oohed and awed at this small remnant of a little life once lived. Again compassion rose in our children’s the little hearts.
“What happened mom?”
“Was he sick?”
“Did his mom or dad leave him or did they die?”
“I don’t know,” I replied slowly trying to maintain my composure, but I do know one thing, in God’s word it says that not one bird falls to the ground apart from God the Father. But in my thoughts, I heard so softly, “and not one home school mom falls in discouragement either apart from the God the Father’s care.”
After the children left, I explained to my husband why his wife was an emotional basket case. I thank God for my husband’s tenderness to listen to my fears and affirmed the growth that took place in an ordinary day of home schooling.
Later, I thought about the tiny bird. I marveled that God knew that I would be discouraged on that day and He had already arranged the gift of that tiny bird to center me in His grace, His compassion, His calling and His purpose.
I call Psalm 116: 1, a home school Mom’s prayer. I can be found repeating it softly at any given time of the day.
A Home-School Mom’s Prayer Psalm 116:1
I love the Lord (I am in awe of Your love and grace for me)
Because He hears my voice (Even when my children don’t)
And my supplications. (You hear the deep down cries of my heart to be perfected into your image)
Because He has inclined His ears to me,
(You favor me as your daughter and stop to hear my heart)
Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.(Even after the children are grown and have left, I will lift up my heart to You)
(*Emphasis and commentary added by a desperate home-school mom in need of God’s unending grace.) We can rejoice in Him today!
From our House to Yours,