It’s Your Call

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Walking through “Las Piedrotas” in Tapalpa, Mexico. Can you see the little munchkins waiting on me up there? 

Sometimes answers are like walking out of a cave into the bright sunlight. An instant warmth and sense of deep awareness.

Other times it’s more like waking when it’s still pitch black outside, an then watching as the shadows slowly disappear, and the sun takes its’ rightful place in the sky. Blackness fading away to grey and finally a bright yellow of newness and understanding.

Yep, sometimes the answers come very clearly, very forcefully, there is no doubt. But many times, or should I say, most of the time, my answers come with a little insight here and a little more there. Like a sculptor that methodically chisels away at a block of marble to release the masterpiece waiting beneath its’ surface.

I’m dealing with one of those right now. The second method. The slow elimination and determined chipping away. You see, I know there is a God. I know He is there. I know he listens when I pray. I know He answers. But just as any loving parent, I believe He knows that we cannot just be given the answers to all of our questions and problems. Sometimes He answers immediately and clearly. Sometimes he leads us and guides us almost just as clearly. And sometimes I think he says, “It’s your call”.

I detest this answer. I don’t want to make the call. I don’t know that I’m ready to make the call. All by myself? All on my own? But am I really on my own? No, not really. He’s my Father. He’ll tell me what He thinks, but not directly, not obviously. I must search. I must listen. I must quiet my soul in order to hear.

That is what I’m in the midst of right now. It’s actually a question I ask myself every year. Am I still sure that we should be homeschooling our children?

For the first few years, I really felt a calling. I KNEW it was what we needed to do. As our journey embarked I soon discovered that our first child would have significant struggles in any other school setting, which added confirmation to our decision.

Then a few more moves, a few more children, a few changes of employment and a plethora of changes to our homeschooling….I felt I was starting to “get it”. I felt like we could make this work. I felt a culture forming that I craved. I smiled. We can do this.

But as I just told a dear friend who is struggling with the same decision, for different reasons…Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. And just because you shouldn’t now, doesn’t mean you can’t later. There is a plan and a time for everything.

A couple years ago my husband started making the steps and changes necessary to be completely self-employed. At the beginning of this year we made the final and complete leap into the world of self-employment. This means he is working from home whenever he is not attending meetings, giving trainings and/or travelling. It has mostly been a gradual change and we thought that we were figuring it out. I have always tried my best to help with my husband’s work when he was an employee and now even more as we have a family business. But I admit, I am both hesitant and ignorant. Sometimes I just don’t know what in the world I am doing! I really don’t want to mess something up that is that important. Other times I feel like if I put too much into it than I’m neglecting my responsibilities as a mother and teacher. It’s always been a difficult balance, for me.

Over the past few months I have been reflecting a lot on my priorities in order to create a good balance and decide where I need to make improvements. It was amongst this journey that my husband asked one day, “Are you sure we are supposed to be homeschooling?”

At first I was a bit flabbergasted. Though not involved with the process much, he has always been very supportive of my endeavors.

Unfortunately, I continued to react with my natural responses to his critiques….defensive mode on….How dare he… After all we’ve been through? Does he not see I’m trying my best? Doesn’t he see that the kids learn better this way?

Wait….wait for it…ok, now reflection hits….but this is my husband. My eternal companion. My best friend. What if he’s right? What if I’m doing something wrong? What if I need to have my focus elsewhere?…..

Well, very long story short, by the end of the day I was an emotional mess. I have since been spending the majority of my thinking time grappling with this subject. I’ve searched, pondered and prayed….even fasted. I feel my answer is….It’s your call….not really what I was looking for….definitely not the easy route. I have already been guided. For the moment I’ve decided to finish the school year and come to a final decision by our summer break.  I know the answer will come. Hopefully it’s before I become a habitual insomniac 😉

To all of you who’ve struggled with this, or a similar decision….what helped you?

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Fear, Team Spirit, and Mountains

ImageThree things we going through my mind as we made our journey up to see the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary this past weekend.

One was fear.

I don’t like heights, never have. I have tried to combat this fear by logic and even mountain climbing and rappelling with and without ropes, without much improvement. The actual hike was great because there were no steep cliffs. It was mostly the drive on the VERY narrow road that had almost no guard-railing and then the military trucks careening down the other lane without much regard for staying in their lane…all of which did not dissipate my fears.

Needless to say the seat may have permanent marks from my grip and my Heavenly Father was probably rolling his eyes at my near constant prayer for safety. But, once again we lived through it and I was flooded by a feeling of gratitude for our safe climb and descent.

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Two was Team Spirit.

I really love those experiences when, despite struggle and hardship your family sticks together, remains in good spirits and reaches a goal together.

The climb to the actual sanctuary would have taken my husband and I probably 30 minutes each way if we were to go straight through without stopping. The terrain is not too difficult, but lots and lots of stairs and it has very little pathway that is not inclined.

With our kids it took 2 hours. I was carrying our 2 ½ month old daughter. My husband had our 2 ½ year old daughter, of whom he carried most of the way up and down (about 4 hours in total). Our 7 year old son and 4 year old daughter switched back and forth between Mom and Dad and exploring ahead and behind of us.I felt very blessed that everyone stayed in such a good mood and kept working together to reach our goal.

It felt like life. Sometimes one or another in the family needs a little more help, or a little more patience, or a little bit of encouragement. At times like these, we can either see it as a hindrance to our own progress or as a way for us to grow and learn. In the end we even help ourselves because ultimately aren’t we all trying for the same goal? Don’t we want our family to be with us forever? We can’t do it alone and we’re not meant too. God planned life to be made of families. He knew that we would not only need the help but also helping another makes us a little closer to our goal of living with and being like Him.

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Three was Mountains.

Once we had accomplished the goal of seeing the monarchs the descent seemed much easier and faster. Now the conversation switched from encouragement and motivationI, to reflection.Our family started chatting about the beauty we were seeing and what we were feeling.

We reflected on the peace and calm we felt in this beautifully forested mountain. About why we thought the butterflies would want to go there. It always amazes me of how much children understand spiritual experiences. They may not be able to fully explain it but they know when they are happy and calm and peaceful and they know that those feelings come from God.

It was a wonderful time to help them realize that nature holds a special spiritual power. To point out to them that even ancient prophets such as Moses and Isaiah were called into the mountains to speak with God. Even Jesus himself went to the mountain to talk with His Father in Heaven. Mountains and the surrounding nature help us feel closer to our Maker because we share the same Maker.

The butterflies were beautiful, amazing and truly a marvel to behold. It was also fascinating and rewarding to see how much our children had learned in our study beforehand and marvel at the connections and discoveries they made as we hiked, both in the mind and in the heart. But I think more than anything I was grateful that our family grew and learned …together!

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