Home grown and organic, for us, thank you!

“I wanted to call you. I really did. I needed SO much help and I knew you would help me without laughing at me….but I just couldn’t. Every time I would talk to your kids, they would tell me how busy you were with planning school and doing home school and everything….I just couldn’t make myself interrupt that no matter how much I needed your help.” Those were her words. I remember them with crushing clarity.

They were spoken by a young mom, who was overwhelmed with the whole concept of raising a high maintenance child (rawther like our Booger). All the rest of her friends and family had compliant, Stepford children and she had…well, she had a Booger. 🙂

The season of my life that she was in reference to was a time when I was spending 20 hrs a week on lesson planning. (No, that wasn’t a typo) I wanted my children to have a good home education experience and the only way we could obtain it, was for me to do my due diligence and get the lessons planned. Or so I thought.

The problem was, a lot of what I was doing, involved learning the lessons myself, in order to teach them. So, I was teaching my crew for 4 – 6 hours a day, doing housework, and also planning for at least 2 – 3 hours in the afternoon/ evening. I was a wreck, my house was a wreck, my husband felt like our marriage bed had been in a wreck and my children were wishing I would get in a wreck. (Just joking – but I was A.W.F.U.L. to live with.)

You see, perfectionism had shown its ugly face in my homeschooling. I had bright kids. Everyone knows that Scripture says, “To whom much is given, much is required.” Therefore, I was certain that this meant that a) since the Lord had given the children to me, much was required of me to teach them (like dishes and laundry alone didn’t qualify?!!)   🙄   b) since the Lord had given them much intelligence, therefore, I would require much of them in the realm of education. I didn’t care who they were and I didn’t care what their gifts were and I didn’t care how I did it, I was going to shove an education down their throats. If it killed all of us. Well, by God’s grace, we’re still alive, but our relationships took a royal hit during that season.

After over a year of that – and the comment by the young mom above, I broke. (I’m just not the fastest bullet in the magazine.) I just threw myself down and wept for days – from exhaustion, from realizing what I had done, from exhaustion, from seeing the state of the relationships in my life, from exhaustion and from the state of my house. Jeff simply looked at me and said, “As head of our household, I am telling you, no matter how much you love this curriculum, you’re done. It does not fit us. It’s a great curriculum and I do love it, but it is not for our family.” (He’s right – I still love it, but I simply wasn’t able to do it without falling into sin.)

The result of this was several years of what we call our “wandering and waffling” season. We wandered around, looking for the right curriculum for us and waffled back and forth every time we found a new one. It wasn’t as horrid as it sounds. Father did a lot of work in me during this time and we saw a lot of great home school products on the market. But, we still couldn’t find “us.” We couldn’t find Clark school.

This story is very long and rather than overwhelm you with all of it at one time, I’m going to exit here – and I’ll tell the rest tomorrow. Until then, please, ask Father to show you the one place that you might be/are driving your children out of your own fear of man/sin/ungodly expectations/perfectionism. It may be that none exist and I rejoice for you! (I’m kind of jealous, too, but I still rejoice!)

But if it is there, pray that Father would open your eyes – before you have to get to the point that I was at. I still ache to this day when I recall Terry’s, the young mom I mentioned above, words to me. She was all alone and there was no one to mother her. It makes me SO sad to think that because of my sin, she cried herself to sleep many a night.

(And for those of you who were thinking that this title meant I was going to talk about my garden….I’m very sorry. Although, I am praying that Father would put us in a place where we could grow a garden. Does that count?) 😉

3 Responses to “Home grown and organic, for us, thank you!”
  1. Margie says:

    It was only a matter of time before this discussion of perfectionism hit on homeschooling. I can hardly wait to hear the rest of the story. I may not be spending a full 20 hours a week on planning, but I am constantly comparing myself to others using the same curriculum and feeling that I am falling short.

    And as far as this applying to relationship vs perfectionism. This is exactly where God has been working in my heart.

    Walking this path with you, hoping to learn from one that walks ahead of me.

  2. ReneeFL says:

    As I have been following your posts — first in the TQ loop, then the Choosing Home blog and now this blog — and see how your family functions together, looking at the rituals and fun family times you share, I wonder where I went wrong and if there is still hope!? I know you admit to shortcomings and struggles but I always thought it was in the framework of where you are now. Now I am beginning to realize and see that it is a JOURNEY and our obedience to the everyday leading from God will restore, and redirect when necessary, and lead us to God’s ultimate plan! I know some choices bring irreversible consequences, and sometimes life itself just isn’t ever going to be what we had imagined, but then that is the time to realize that God has always had me (& my family) held tight in His hand and tucked under His wings (that is sometimes why the hard times are so dark!) and will never, never leave me to myself when I am seeking Him and His will for my family.

    I think I said it before but… I am learning that I must prepare my children to respond rather than react to life’s situations — to see God as the just but forgiving Father that He is. This had been a season of “drama” in our family with lots of opportunities for forgiveness — both from others and from ourselves (which has proved to be the hardest!) but my prayer is that as we acknowledge our own imperfections in the light of God’s perfection, we would see that He alone can judge us and He does so with a tenderness, seeing us as righteous because of the blood of Christ, and so looking past today to see what He is creating anew in us. My own dad taught me that mistakes are to learn from, failing does not make me a failure, and what I do (or don’t do) would never change his love for me. How much more God desires for me to realize I am secure in His love no matter what… and to love my children like that.

  3. javadawn says:

    Oh Renee, don’t even kind of allow yourself to think that there is no hope. In the Kingdom, there is ALWAYS hope! (A.L.W.A.Y.S.) I think that there are some irreversible choices, yes….but I think that God’s grace has to be even bigger than our stupid/poor choices. If that were not so, our God would be smaller than circumstances – He would, logically end up being smaller than us. Since that is not true – even if we make some REALLY lousy decisions, there is still hope. (been there, done that!!)
    It sounds to me like you’re really on an exciting journey. I have no doubts that you will have a testimony that is quite powerful when this season comes to completion. Be sure to journal it. I have found the quiet delight in going back and re-reading the incredible work that Father has done in my life is VERY faith building.
    I also thrill at your description…”that I must prepare my children to respond rather than react to life’s situations” THAT is incredible. I think that Father has given you some powerful wisdom. I also believe that you will have the opportunity to teach others of us that same lesson, as well.
    (Renee, I can’t tell you how humbling your words are to me. I can’t imagine first of all that anyone would desire to follow me…okay, except for my nursing baby. 😉 The fact that you would do so leaves me humbled….and quaking in my boots. You realize, of course, that by doing so, you’re primed to not only see what a dork I am/can be – you’re likely to be the victim of it!!! I’m VERY grateful to read that the Lord is putting you in positions to extend forgiveness…I have no doubts I will require that ministry.)

    Margie, I just pray that I would have some wisdom to share with you on this journey. I think more likely that we are mutual sojourners, my dear. 🙂 (AND since falling….okay, stepping off the deck a few years ago, my ankle remains weak, figure it’s likely that you’ll end up loaning me a shoulder while we’re walking.)

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