Summer break is winding down quickly and I am feeling sad already! I've never liked the start of school, either as a student or as a homeschool mom. This year we have joined a charter school so there will be a lot of change for us. Although my kids will have some traditional classes, most of our courses will be homeschool/independent study. Olivia will have the most class time since she is in high school now, and she will be on campus 4/5 days even though half her schooling is still independent study. I am fiercely independent, and I can tell already that answering to a "system" and proving myself to an "educational specialist" is going to rub me the wrong way at times. The administrative load is significant, and in my opinion much time is wasted. However, my boys are excited about their elective classes and Olivia is looking forward to new experiences and resources. Overall, it will be a good experience and new opportunity for growth. I'm sure the discomfort I have toward change will soon dissipate as we settle into a new routine, and "change" begins to feel "normal."
Flag football has begun, much to the boys' happiness. Jon is coaching all three teams because this makes enrolling in sports more do-able for us. Since he is coaching, the practices are held back-to-back, and the games are all on the same day at the same location. I'm so thankful for Jon's practical involvement, but especially for his desire to do things like this with the boys.
sports = injuries
The benefits of sports outweigh surface injuries, and boys equate blood with toughness and, well, qualities that make boys manly. Or something like that.
And now for the sake of feminine balance around here, my stephanotis growing well and smelling wonderful.
Olivia is in braces again. The pain is nearly gone now, but she was feeling it when I snapped these shots last week.
Jon took Michael on a fun little father-son getaway earlier this week, so I made it my business to do something with the other three. They chose the beach and late evening tacos after the sunset. Since school has started in some districts, the beach was noticeably less busy.
Undistracted by a surfboard, Olivia enjoyed playing with her little brothers.
Fun in the waves and funny faces!
Tiny brittle stars in the washed up seaweed.
Clear water, good waves
Bracing himself for the torrent of water...
Our end-of-summer-vacation sky
"Be still and know that I am God." This has always been a special verse to me. In fact, I heard that sentence as a kid and held on to it long before I even knew it was a verse in the Bible. It just seemed so right that this would be the safest, happiest place to be. Be still. Know. God is GOD... and it's going to be OK. It's so simple.
"Be still," God says. But I've not been perfectly still. I've wiggled and squirmed like a child impatient on her parent's lap. I have trusted him, I think, but with impatient discomfort.
Perhaps if I didn't have that deeply set knowledge that God is indeed GOD, I might be more than impatient. I might not even hope to find stillness and rest. Maybe I'd be downright angry. For me anger can come in not understanding.
I've been tested more than once by God in pretty significant ways. His grace is the only way I've stood firm. It wasn't by my super-faith that I had resolute trust in His goodness and coming provision when it appeared I might find myself to be a widow and single mother of four. It wasn't because of my immense spiritual maturity that I weathered days in the PICU with my four-year old son whose broken neck and bent spinal chord weren't responding to treatment. Car accidents are not accidents in God's economy 'cause He ordains events in our lives with love for our good and for His glory. And in His love for us, He provides all that we need. His grace carried me through, and I can take no credit.
But unlike car crashes and physical injuries where there is no choosing or personal culpability involved, some trials are harder to accept because personal responsibility and choice feel central. This trial with the two foster kids did involve choice. And the choices seemed to be lose-lose.
So the lingering question remains: "Were my choices and actions right?"
Will this question haunt me till I die?
And the questions persist: How did I fail? Should I have been more resolute, more trusting in the Lord? Could I have been more compassionate, more loving? Given the nature of the situation, did we make the right decision for everyone involved?
Yes, I believe the right decision was made, but there is that lingering "What if...?" that is tormenting at times.
And so here I am. I find myself impatient with what God is doing in my life. I am squirming because it's hard to be still.
Now what? The change of events and resulting disappointments have left me out of sorts. My insecurities seem magnified, deficiencies outweighing any capability. It seems so juvenile, so whiny... but yeah, I feel like I'm not good at anything. What are my natural talents, and what are my spiritual gifts? Will my life be the hum-drum story of a comfortable, clean and shiny Christian that never worked hard, never got down and dirty to produce fruit?
"God, you know my heart. Lead me to the place of quiet rest and stillness in Your sovereign plan. Enable me to do what pleases you most."
And so if God chooses to bless me with relative ease, should I not receive that with thanksgiving...?
...Because what He really wants is for me to delight in Him.