We all have bad days. Those of us with seven kids and those of us with two kids. Those of us who homeschool and those of us who entrust others to educate our kids. We ALL have bad days. So today, and yesterday for that matter, were bad days. At least today threatened to be bad, until my mother and my best friend who understands and doesn’t ask any questions made it better. And then I got home and checked the mail, which I RARELY do. That is normally left to Superman as he pulls up from work each afternoon. My day was redeemed, people. God spoke to me in a letter from a friend. When I say friend, I mean a lady at church that has worked in the nursery with my boys. When I say friend, I mean a fellow homeschooler on the more experienced end of the spectrum with 2/3 graduated, her girls, with her son in his high school years and not in jail or socially inept. When I say friend, I mean a Facebook friend that bats a comment back and forth with me from time to time. We have not spent a ton of time together. We don’t really KNOW each other. We are quiet and distant observers of one another.
I have to back up. To when, I can’t really say for sure. I’ve always been hard on myself, but since embarking on large family living and homeschooling, I seemed to have increased my own criticism of myself. I don’t want people to look poorly on life with seven little ones. I don’t want them to see it as burdensome. I don’t want my kids to grow up resenting it. I don’t want to fail, yet many times a day week, I proclaim my failures to Superman. I can never do enough or be enough for my ________ (fill in the blank). I do this to myself. And it seems that Satan is very aware of the Georgia homeschool convention schedule because he starts whispering to me the week of, usually right after I let others know how excited I am to attend. And yesterday, as I have done in the past, I decided not to go. Didn’t matter that we had already paid for it. I was headed to the local Board of Education tomorrow, instead of the conference, to sign up the girls and Earnhart for public school. I mean it. I’m not in a very good place right now. I wouldn’t normally share that with anyone. Not even my mom or best girlfriends. I don’t want anyone to say, “Well what did you expect? You have seven kids!” or “You need to stop having kids. If you can’t handle it now, then what will happen if you have another one?” I don’t know why. It doesn’t really matter if they say that. I just don’t want to hear it. So back to the letter. It was clearly God reminding me that He has called me to this chaotic life, and that I’m not disgracing it as badly as I think I am. At least that is what I got from the letter. I am not sharing this to boast or toot any horns. I am simply sharing this because I want you to know how awesome God is! My friend wrote this letter a few days ago, before my melt down, and it just happened to arrive today, and I just happened to check the mail. If Superman had checked it, the letter would still be sitting in a stack of mail in his passenger seat, or the floorboard, some time next week. I’d like to share some excerpts so you can see how God spoke to me through this letter. Although I sort of blew our cover last post, I will be using our good ‘ol blog names to protect the privacy of the innocent. 😉
Dear Content (more like Chaos, on this given day) and Superman,
I want to tell you how much I admire your family. You live what you believe, and that’s not easy to do sometimes, or maybe even most times. I admire how you have a large family. I imagine you hear remarks everywhere you go. I remember when I was pregnant with E (my third, and last), an acquaintance asked me if I knew what was causing it (we get that one quite a bit!), and that was only with a third child! I’m sure with seven children, you hear that and worse. But I hope occasionally, you hear better. I was in a store recently where a family passed by with six children. I’m certain they were all siblings, and I was fascinated, as I am with your family. I love to look at each one of your children and see who they remind me of with regard to their parents and to each other. Your children are all beautiful and adorable. I’m sorry I wasn’t at (our church) sooner to keep your girls in the nursery, but I have been blessed to keep each of your sons.
I also admire you for not having air conditioning (….) that will cost $10,000 for you to get in your house. I think it says a lot about your family that you are willing to wait on it (she’s referring to our plan to save up the money to get it and not go in debt over it).
I also admire you for being a generous, giving family. (We’ve given away two OLD appliances recently, one to her family) You were so kind to give us your spare dryer, and Superman, although dressed for work, you were so willing to help me and E load it onto the truck. (….) Generosity comes back to you and I know that your family must feel that. It is also very cook the way Content always compliments you, Superman, on how kind and helpful you are to other people, and E and I were able to experience that first hand.
I hope you all have some kind of an idea of the example you are to others, even to me, whose children are 2/3 grown…just one more to go. I’ve learned a lot just by observing your family. Staying home full time with children is wonderful, and it’s also the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Staying home full time with children and homeschooling them is wonderful, and is also the super hardest thing I’ve ever done! With seven, it must be very challenging many days, but I know you all are committed to it and I promise I’ll pray for your family every time I think of you. Hang in there with all the challenges, even with nasty neighbors who complain about your yard and your house. I’m praying about that, too.
Please remember that we don’t live that far from you, and if our family could ever be of help to you, we will be. –PH
Heard and noted. Thanks, PH, for the reminder that this is worth it. Thank you for believing in my commitment to this for our children, since just this week, I quit believing in it myself. Thank you for reminding me that all this is more important and impacting on others than a clean kitchen counter would be. Thank you for changing my plans in the morning. Instead of meeting with the Bored Board of Education tomorrow, I’ll be planning and learning how to enhance my children’s learning experiences for their own unique little lives. I can do this. He wants me to do this, and He just reminded me that I can do it well, regardless of the opinion of my own worst critic. PH, you were the vessel through which He accomplished this today. Thank you. That’s worth a free dryer and then some.