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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Prequel: Our Road to Homeschool and Year End Blessings

Where do I even begin? I reflected a little bit about the faithfulness of the Lord in our homeschool here, however it really struck me again today. We have enjoyed a blessed weekend with lots of family time. Today, as my husband and children were in the swimming pool, I was working on a Bible study. I got called away to get the youngest one-she has had a bellyache today and had an "accident". When I returned home and began to study, something really weighed on my heart.

I have been in an uncomfortable season, mentioned in several places on this blog. I have been clawing to get out. But, what if it's not about "getting out?" At least, not yet anyway? What if it's about so much more? If it's about learning so much more? If it's about trusting Him so much more?

We are wrapping our school year up around here, so of course I have been doing a lot of reflecting lately. Mainly on the negative. But it's like that still whisper in the back of my mind, reminding me of all the good that came out. In spite of me. Because of Him. Really, my mind wanders way back.

I started nursing school when my oldest two, (of my four), were really young. It was a full day's work, not to mention a part-time job at the hospital and doing clinicals for school-sometimes at night. My heart was torn. On one hand, I selfishly wanted to "accomplish" something for myself and build a career. On the other hand, I knew what all I was missing in the boy's lives and felt rotten. Yet, not bad enough that I didn't keep pushing on. That's when the heart problems started-not only physically, but spiritually as well. That's when the anxiety and depression kicked in and cranked up. Little did I know, I was being "called home" but was fighting it with every ounce of independent pride in me.

Fast forward-my husband and I wanted a third child, hopefully a little girl. We loved our boys so much, but wondered what it would be like to have a little girl. I was working all weekend on night shift, and my husband was working all week on night shift. We were like ships passing by. It is by God's grace alone that our marriage made it through those few tough years. Neither of us attended church, or had a real relationship with the Lord at this time-I just said a bedtime prayer with the boys, and occasionally, one myself.

God granted that desire of our heart, but it would take nearly two years for her to arrive. Arrive she did! I was induced and it was a scary delivery. She was struggling to breathe and a strange blue-black color. The OB doctor wasn't much help, as I heard her whisper "Should I call a code?" As a nurse, I KNEW what a code was. My child was in trouble! Thankfully, a Pediatrician was accidentally called when I was fully dilated instead of my OB, so he was already on the floor. Furthermore, the nurses took my girl from her and handled the situation. They really went to work on her and soon my baby girl was fine.

Life was wonderful for a little while, then it was back to work. At this time, I was serving as the Primary Weekend Charge Nurse and dabbling in other departments with my heart set on the ER. That would soon become a reality, as I stepped into working ER only. Then, working as needed in an ER in another hospital too. 

Surprise! I was pregnant again. Considered high risk with my last pregnancy, they took me in right away. An ultrasound was performed VERY early. TWINS!! Oh, wow!! However, Twin B was not near as big as Twin A and they were very cautious about telling me. I was to return for another ultrasound to monitor the situation. At the next ultrasound, I got to see two tiny heartbeats. However, Twin B was still lagging. A few short weeks later, we would receive the news that Baby B was no longer with us.

After our second daughter was born, things began to take a twist. We had a few issues with her, then I developed multiple post-partum issues, some that I still struggle with today, and problems would strike both of her brothers. That story starts here. 

Prior to those events, I began to ponder homeschooling in my heart. I had not heard much about it, and a lot of it was portrayed in a negative light. I said a simple prayer in the shower asking God about it, and prayed that if it was the right thing, that He would soften my husband's heart. 

Soon, it became apparent with all that was going on with my son, that work was going to be difficult at best. Scared to leave him, and after spending so much time at home, it began an inward battle that lasted about a year. Soon, my husband got offered a job to temporarily relocate to a new state to work on a new plant start-up. We pondered it for many months, and finally decided to go for it.

The issue? We would not only be leaving mid-school year, but we would return mid-school year as well. Homeschool "seemed" the best option at the time-only temporarily of course, (or so we thought). Suddenly, people came out of the woodwork at Toyota who homeschooled their kids. A connection between myself and another mom was made and she offered some advice. 

My oldest experienced some issues at his school and due to his medicines, story here, so we decided two days into the new school year that we should go ahead and homeschool him now. His brother would follow about four months later.

That first year was a little rocky-here we were entering a new phase of education coupled with a 500 mile move. But, God was faithful. The kids were learning so much and we were thriving as a family. We began to "get to know" each other in ways that we never had time for before. Stubbornly, I still tried to work at least a little during this period but it was miserable. I worked long nights in the ER, and still had to teach my kiddos. I was adamant that I would continue up until we left-we really needed the money anyway, right?

My loving boss at the time, a friend and the wife of our current pastor, knew things were hairy at home. She suggested that I go ahead and "take off" the next two months to prepare for our move. To finish out the schedule and then stay home. I was shocked and scared, but went forward with it.

May I just say as I reflect back to those early years, nearly three years ago, that I can see the Lord graciously going before me and taking care of everything? That when we moved, so many blessings came with it?

 I was reeling from some hurts at a church I grew up in. I was having trouble trusting "church people" and so called "friends". I didn't give up on Jesus, but I was ready to give up on church. I scouted the area down here before we moved searching for a church. The one we picked, we based it upon the name alone originally and the location-right down the street. The name? Ironically, (or not?), Hope Church! I read up on their belief statement and agreed. We began attending Sunday morning services.

Two years later, I sit in awe of the people in this church. It is a big church-I grew up in a teeny tiny church of less than 50 members. This place had attendees in the hundreds! However, each one got to know us. They took time to get to know us. They showed us the love of Jesus that I had never seen. We met HOMESCHOOLERS there!! Wow! My boys soon became involved in almost every volunteer opportunity they could and LOVE their youth group. They are taught the Word, just like on Sunday morning, have worship, and small groups/prayer groups. I was astonished. The youth pastor took his role as mentor seriously and lovingly encouraged, rebuked and instructed my boys. 

As I sit here and reflect, I am overwhelmed by the blessings. The Lord provided MORE than what my salary was, in bonuses at my husband's job in this new area, my husband came to have a new relationship with Christ, and we finally truly felt like we had a "church family". We are even homeschooling a HIGH SCHOOLER this!! My husband has a short commute to work, compared to HOURS at home. He was FINALLY on dayshift for a long period of time!

But, as I reflect over the blessings, there is a bittersweet air blowing. Yes, we miss our family-a lot. I have never been this far from my mama or my grandma. We are three months out from a tentatively scheduled move  back to Kentucky. There is a situation facing us in our home and lots of uncertainties. Services this past Sunday were bittersweet as I counted how many Sunday's we may have left in our precious church. At prayer time, I asked the Lord to bless each one of these people and thanked Him for bringing them into our paths. My husband and I both said that was the one thing that made this possible move back so difficult--leaving our church home.

I can now see, all along, how the Lord was blessing us and guiding us these last two years. While the last four seemed so difficult, I can clearly see He was there in the midst of it all. 

Homeschooling has become a way of life for us now. We never miss an opportunity to learn, if at all possible. However, learning takes different shapes for us than it did in the past. I see my boys growing and maturing into young men, taking on responsibilities and having such caring hearts. I see my girls as best friends, and growing and learning so much. Not just academics either. All four of them-their relationship with the Lord, with each other and with us. The academics are only a small part, but the Lord has really blessed us there as well. 

All I could do yesterday afternoon was thank Him for this time He has given me at home. The blessings of our church family and meeting other homeschoolers who love the Lord. The blessing of meeting some who have graduated their kiddos, and they are successful in their endeavors, (gasp). 

School doesn't just happen in a brick building, mama. Trust me, my kids are not that far out from the brick building. We had a lot of really great teachers and we are thankful for that, however in this season, I am thankful that I am able to learn alongside with them and develop an amazing bond with these 4 precious gifts from God. You can do this-with God ever by your side, you can do this. Even when the days run long and it seems all you do is discipline and correct them, you can do this. You will be amazed at what they are learning even if you DON'T have a "formal" curriculum. Most of our "great minds", came from a homeschooling background. Google it-I dare you! However, that is only a 'bonus' and not the reason for us. 

The reason? Proverbs 22:6~Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. (NKJV)

Do you homeschool? Have you looked back at your year yet? Share with us!

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  1. It is exciting to hear as you reflect on how God lead your family and also provided for you. I am about to finish my 4th year of homeschooling.

    1. Not too far behind you Beth! Finishing year 3 here. Blessings to you!

  2. Thank you for sharing your testimony! Wonderful read. This is our first year homeschooling so I enjoy reading about the journey from others! :) I'm your newest follower from the HHH. Jenn @

    1. Yay!! Homeschooling is such a blessing.