I can’t believe that the end of October is already here! It’s been almost two months since I decided to start blogging again, and I’ve been having so much fun with it. I wish I could post every single day, but just doing a little here and there as I am able still feels so satisfying. It’s a lot better than keeping my ideas pent up. The best part is that the more I do, the more ideas I have!
I have so many things I want to share, but there’s not enough time in the day to do it all. I’ve started carrying a little notebook in my purse so I can write my ideas down, and maybe someday I will turn some of the things churning around in my brain into something bigger. For now, I choose to accept my limitations for what they really are: an opportunity for God to show His strength in my weakness.
Today is Halloween, of course- so I thought this would be a good enough time to talk about masks and disguises. Can you bear with that? See, there are some costumes we wear just for fun…
…and then there are others that we wear because they make us feel good, even though the heroic feelings they give us are deceptive and keep us from meeting our potential. And that’s what this post is actually about.
The past couple of months in my life have brought one upheaval after another, if I’m honest with you. The changes haven’t all been for the worst, but the combined effect has felt very chaotic. First, after two years educating my oldest son at home, we had to make the decision to put Seth in public school for a while. Making the switch felt like a failure on my part, deep down. It felt like giving up, even though I knew it was the best thing for both of us.
Soon after Seth started public school, we found out that my husband’s mother lost possession of her home. The reasons are complicated and frustrating, but for a while we considered redeeming the house and moving there to help her. It was a grueling few weeks full of difficult conversations and meetings with attorneys. I honestly think it was best for Seth to spend most of that time in school and away from the dysfunction! We eventually decided not to make the move, and Eric and I are convinced we made the right choice.
Having a creative outlet through all of this truly helped me feel grounded and purposeful. Meanwhile, Seth has been doing awesome in school! He is a brilliant student and is learning so much. He’s gained some much-needed confidence, especially in reading and writing.
But he’s still very unhappy.
I had hoped he would be, to be truthful…
But there’s something else at work here.
It wasn’t hard to discern that I initially felt so bad about putting Seth in public school because I had to sacrifice my identity as a homeschool mom in order to do so. I needed to surrender it to God, because my identity should always have been in Him alone! “Homeschool mom” became a mask. It was a disguise that kept me from fully embracing the woman God wants me to become.
While Jesus alone should be my reason for everything I do, I put faith in my ability to mold my children into my own image. I placed my “purpose eggs” in the wrong basket, so to speak… and my hope for my childrens’ future in myself. Oh, pride can be so deceptive… and so destructive, when left to its own devices!
I was happy when Seth said he wanted to come home. It didn’t take long… he was already asking us to bring him home before the first week was through! He has experienced a little internal back-and-forth because he does like some things about school. For about a week, it looked as if he had changed his mind and decided to stay, but it didn’t stick. Now he’s adamant, and he really wants us to bring him home as soon as possible!
I have to resist the urge to withdraw Seth from public school and bring him home right away. Eric and I agreed to keep him there at least through Christmas, because he desperately needs the lesson in perseverance! And I still need to live humbled, allowing God form my heart around His plans for me and our family.
As long as I stayed hidden behind the “homeschool mom” disguise, no matter how heroic it might have appeared, God never stopped tugging on my heart. He never stopped asking me to write my story. Still, I put away the dreams, tucking them behind the work of teaching my kids. Maybe when my children are older, I said. This is not the right time, I said.
And that’s correct in a way, because perhaps now is not the right time to start writing a book. That hope may be something that will remain in the margins for some time to come. But now is exactly the right time to be faithful to practice skills that need to be exercised for later and stretch the voice God has given me! If I am truly meant to write, then I will only ever be miserable if I keep the God-dream disguised behind the good work of educating my kids.
And a miserable mother makes for a poor teacher, let’s be honest.
The mask is off! And as much as I’m looking forward to bringing my son back to the table to learn with me, I won’t be making any firm lesson plans yet. God is the one Who has already written the story of our lives, and I need His hand on anything I do in order for it to truly succeed.
Could you be wearing a mask right now that is preventing you from being the person God intends you to be? What is it, and what can you do to step into the identity He has prepared for you?
P.S…. the Captain America costume has a story of its own. Check that out here… and have a safe and happy Halloween, my friends!