Thursday, November 20, 2014

To Soothe Overwhelm

Do what you can, do it well, and trust the Lord to take care of the rest.

I read that sentence on Marianne's blog today and it soothed me. Each day I want to get so many lessons done, but I don't ever succeed.

Marianne goes on to write:

Slow and steady does in fact win the race.  A little learning every day adds up to a lot of learning over time.  Your faithfulness to do what you can will be rewarded.  Do what you can, do it well and don’t fret about what didn't get done.
I know that for me as the productive type, I like to get stuff done.  I like to check off the boxes so I can coast for a bit.
 Get child reading – check.
 Instill a Biblical worldview – check.
As if these things don’t take years of daily instruction, testing and trying to really do well.
 I am teaching myself to let go of the notion of finishing.  Not only is the notion that I can finish parenting, schooling, or cleaning and then coast for some extended period of time absurd as a mom of 8, it is flawed for several reasons.
My work as a wife and mother will never be finished (and likely, at least for some time, my home will never be entirely clean).  Jesus calls me to be about the business of blessing others with my talents.  If not my family, as it is now with my full house, then for others in need.  God has blessed me with gifts so that I can give them away to others.  That is not something that ends when the kids turn 18 and are finally independent or when I turn 65 and can officially retire.
Marianne Sunderland, a 20-year homeschooling mother, has seven children with dyslexia. Her oldest is a prodigal son--the same son who at 17 sailed around the world alone. Her second oldest, a daughter, tried to sail around the world alone at age 16, but her boat suffered storm damage, leading to her rescue in the Indian Ocean. Their family was widely criticized for that the world over, due to their daughter's age and the expense of the rescue.  

Marianne has known harsh ridicule; she has been despised. She has been tested. As a mother she has loved and challenged her children, believed in them, let them run with the talents and bents God gave them. She has celebrated their strengths, and worked tirelessly to remediate their weaknesses. 

I look at her challenges, and her story, and I see the conclusions she's come to. Nothing matters except God and what he wants from our day. His agenda is not what we would naturally want in our flesh, but as I say here ad nauseam, our lives are not our own. He wants us to live for bless others with what he's so graciously given us. 

I've come to the same conclusions, based largely on having challenges facing me each day that are bigger than me, my husband and my children. If I made my life about me, it would be a big fat failure, devoid of all meaning. I rather like meaning; I must have it. It's why I get up everyday.

The more challenges the Lord heaps on you, the more you want to run to him for your meaning, because you sure ain't getting it from the world, in your sorry condition. The world will ridicule you and say it's all your fault, and if only you would just do better, you wouldn't have all these problems. 

It's all stacked against you, but the Lord holds you up, and sometimes even makes you triumph. You see him more clearly than ever before, and you feel more grateful at your core than ever before. All because your challenges are so insurmountable.

I feel every day so overwhelmed with what God has given me to deal with in these wonderful children. I look at how much trouble Beth is having with numbers and I wonder if she also has dyslexia and I cringe at the thought.

Already Peter and his issues drive me to my knees daily. There is just so much; every child has particular issues.

But for Marianne it is the same, and she has eight children. If she can do this everyday, I certainly can too. She, a wise woman, further along than me, says "Do what you can, do it well, and trust the Lord to take care of the rest." You can bet that's advice I'm going to take.

Along with that advice, I've come to conclusions about our appointment schedule, which has for a couple years gotten in the way of our schooling.

I made two important decisions this week: I withdraw us from speech and psychology appointments. The psychologist turned out to be a pretty disorganized practitioner. I felt we could make better progress using the Talking Back To OCD book, which is highly organized and systematic, as opposed to driving two hours round trip and spending two more hours in the office once a week.

As far as speech therapy for /th/ and /r/ goes, I felt the kids had come far enough that I could fix the remaining issues myself.

We will still have periodic appointments for the kids' chronic issues. In fact, Beth's arthritis is getting worse, so we may have to resume physical therapy appointments if the recent increase in the chemo drug doesn't take care of her joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. 

Remediating dyslexia is hard work and it requires plenty of time at home, and this is my life. I love my children and I love teaching. I love a one-piece life where it all blends together. It's so hard fought, but God gives me instinct in how to love my children, train them, celebrate their strengths, remediate their weaknesses, and counsel them. Not to mention, he's also had very good practitioners write books to help me.

I can't do it all everyday, as Marianne reminds me, but I can do some things well, steadily, and I can trust the Lord with the rest.


1 comment:

Tesha Papik said...

I love Marianne's blog it has helped me so much! This is a great post so filled with convicting truth. Like you I often want to be done have my to dos checked a mom I am realizing this might never be;) I think it is good to cut back on as many outside appointment as possible they do drain time and energy. I need to keep this post in mind while I am teaching my Jadon a task that tries my heart and mind. I hope your head is feeling better!