Some End of the School Year/ Life Reflection

I was being nostalgic (always dangerous for me) and going through some older posts and photos. And I noticed something… I did way better at mothering and homeschooling before the 2021-2022 homeschool year… why? What totally fell apart this year that had [has] me in spiritual/emotional/routine/everything shambles?

So I started to reflect and ponder. Because if there’s anything of which I’m 100% positive, it’s that I do not want a repeat of this past school year.

I think the slip began last spring. I lost my bottle baby Guernsey buck, Fonso. Then my grandmother passed away. Then I had an unexpected pregnancy, that ended in a 1st trimester miscarriage. That alone was a lot of loss in just 4 weeks.

Then my husband left his youth pastor job to follow and honor denominational convictions, so we moved church families, [a move that wowed me and definitely is worthy of my respect- my man has integrity], and he began working multiple part time jobs to support our family, as he continued to look for full-time ministry opportunities, which we still have yet to find at this time. He had another couple job shifts/changes as we came back into more of an equilibrium, but settled into a salary 4k less a year than that to which we’d grown accustomed, in the middle of a kitchen remodel.

Then we lost our entire chicken flock to either predators and/or illness.

The whole while, I was struggling with hormonal imbalance following the miscarriage, and really struggling to process all of the life changes, thinking that on top of everything else, I was experiencing perimenopause. And I was… except that then in taking steps to naturopathically correct that imbalance and relieve stress, God restored the balance, and I ended up unexpectedly pregnant…again… And due in another 6ish weeks.

We’ve had 2 broken windows, one broken twice, a broken TV which means I can’t even turn on Winnie the Pooh to give myself 20 minutes of sanity when nothing else works to still my children who all have decidedly HIGH INPUT requirements of my time and attention.

We have homeschooled 1 very curious and agile toddler, 2 in kindergarten/pre-K, 1 in 1st Grade, and have made it to day 169 of 180 days required by our state.

The Thursday before Easter, the kids and I were nearly hit in a head on collision on our way to a choir rehearsal, when a white truck swerved into our lane. That was scary; there was nothing for me to do but swerve into the ditch and pray for van not to roll. It did not; but by all laws of physics, it should have. We all agreed afterwards that God had some strong angels tipping the vehicle back the right way.

I have changed my budgeting practices, striven for greater organization, implemented planning systems, and even stuck with them! But what I never did in all this time was take time for myself to grieve the hard things.

And the longer I went without taking time to acknowledge pain, disappointment, struggle, the more I slipped into self-reliance mode.

Self-reliance is a big term in the homesteading community, by which they usually mean the opposite of consumerism/materialism/needing the world financial/economic system. But in Christianity, I’m finding that the concept of self-reliance is nothing short of spiritual death. I can’t stand firm (Ephesians 6:10) because I don’t have the strength! I can only stand in the positional holiness afforded to me by Christ; and that requires honest humility in taking my struggle and grief to Him on prayer.

And the more I tried to manage things on my own without taking the time to grieve the hard things, the more I sought relief and comfort and peace in myself, and the more I drifted out from under the protection and care of the Lord. Ultimately, I ended up in a really depressed state and could not figure out why.

It’s been a hard year. But I can’t move forward if I’m still mentally and spiritually stuck in what is behind me. I’ve got to allow myself to feel sad; to experience the hard feelings of grief, disappointment, heartache. And I just haven’t made space for that… I need to, though. And for the first time yesterday afternoon, I sat outside, looking at the irises in bloom and just letting myself process everything that has happened over the last year.

God never promised me “easy.” He did promise never to leave or forsake me, because of Christ. In this moment, I need to cling to that truth whether or not I feel it’s power. God is still here, He’s still working. He never left. He never will. And by pushing through difficult circumstances in my own strength, I’m actually denying myself the chance to draw closer to Him, and to know Christ more intimately and fully as I share in His suffering.

I’m not all the way there yet. But I sense that healing is happening, and that the more I bring my raw and honest struggle to the Lord, the stronger He proved Himself to be in shouldering that burden so that I can walk humbly with Him, and to continue to serve and love my family well.

I want to be 100% okay. But, I’m not. And the issues I deal with in my health mean that a lot of times, I’m not at my best, mentally or physically. And I hate that. It’s wearisome. I long to be an asset rather than a liability to my family. The only way I can get close to “okay” is to get closer to my Savior.

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