I wasn’t sure what to do. Burnt out, and with an unusual compulsion not to homeschool, I felt a little lost. Sure, I went through the motions each day but that feeling of purpose and fulfilment had disappeared.
I wondered if it would ever return.
Struggling to contain the laundry, keep my home clean and tidy whilst making enough time for the teens and ensuring the littles were not neglected…
Adjusting to both Thomas and Charlotte leaving the home at seven each morning and returning after six each night…
Cooking for seven as usual, but now Charlotte and Abigail were dairy free, Lillie was a vegetarian and nobody was around at the same time so dinner was required at different times…
Life was becoming reactive instead of proactive and intentional. I was putting out fires at such an alarming rate that I couldn’t see past one moment at a time.
I figured I just needed time to adjust to the new circumstances, and to some extent I was right. Having the littles do workbooks was not using any of my strengths and gifts, but it did give me time to think. What did I want going forward? There was so much noise in my head that it was hard to discern the helpful from the harmful.
Our church had been working its way through Deuteronomy. I couldn’t wait to go each Sunday to hear more. Our preacher is incredibly gifted at applying the word of God to our lives today, and each week it was like water being poured on my parched soul. It was during this one hour each week that the chaos inside my head calmed. Slowly I began to see that I needed more: more of God; more of His word; more of his Peace and, most importantly, more of His Grace.
I stopped looking for answers to the question of what I needed to do to get back to normal and instead began to listen and focus on what I needed to be. As a family we had lost the heart of what it meant to be us, each living our separate parallel lives (especially since the new term had started).
Chores were not being done properly as Thomas and Charlotte struggled with the new routine of getting up at six and leaving the house for twelve hours each day. Lillie, whilst recovering nicely, was sleeping in until eight. Gary was up at five and the littles and I were up and about at seven. We all had different schedules and were like ships that passed in the dark. Something had to change.
First and foremost was ensuring that God was my breath of life. I needed to turn back to Him as both the rudder to steer my life and the anchor to steady my life. Fair or unfair, I was the one in the family who set the tone for each day. Running on empty meant that this tone was fuzzy and purposeless. I needed filling with words of truth, words of encouragement, and words which would uplift, energise and offer Peace which surpassed all understanding.
And most of all, I needed to grasp a comprehension of God’s Grace, offered to me daily and freely as a gift. Because it is in understanding God’s Grace that I can stop focusing on myself and instead turn my eyes to Him. It is this same Grace that says I may not be enough, but He is; I may not have this, but He does; I may not understand how to move forward in this season of my life, but He can and will direct my path.
Grace means I can make mistakes and it will be okay.
Secondly, I needed to return to the heart of what our family has always been, and that is together. Life had become so hectic and busy, and in order to thrive in such an environment I needed to know what our priorities were as a family. Being together, sharing experiences together, eating together, chatting together… these are all the things that make our lives tick at a healthy beat.
Knowing that my priority as a mum and wife was to keep our family together for as many minutes and/or hours I could each day gave my planning purpose. I knew I had to crowd out all the other things which were crying out for my attention. For now, my energies needed to be poured into finding moments to share together.
I need to go and homeschool now, but in my next post I will share practically what changes I have made to both my life and that of my family’s which have made a difference moving forward in this new season of parenting an adult, teens, a tween and a youngster.