There’s a moment in a well-crafted talk when the speaker can feel their audience lean into the message. Perhaps not physically, but emotionally, with rapt attention, inclining their hearts forward, with a desire to understand and apply the teaching.
The world’s best orator I am not, but there is a message I regularly speak to mom’s groups that has hit a tender nerve in the homeschooling community, simply titled “Fitting Mom Back into Motherhood.”
And the ladies lean in, because it’s all too common that we lose ourselves in the midst of our long (albeit blessed) homeschooling days.
You and I, we know the basics of simple self-care, and the importance of our own soul-care, but the common tendency is to lose track of our health—our diet and exercise, that trip to the dentist (not to mention the visit to the hair salon we so desperately need), and good rest. Add home-educating our children to our already-full plates, and there’s a tendency to slip into a dark season where we lose more than our health. We lose ourselves.
More than physical and spiritual wellness, it’s possible for a woman to forget the deep well of her own beautiful design.
Most homeschool moms are sincerely clever when it comes to helping their children unearth the treasures hidden deep within them! She mines for them, as if for gold! And she praises her God for knitting her children together so exceptionally well, singing over them:
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
—Psalm 139:13–14, ESV
And yet (and this is when my audience leans in), those verses above weren’t written about our children. Those verses above were written in the first person, by a man after God’s own heart, about himself!
Dear homeschooling moms, you are fearfully- and wonderfully-wrought children of God too!
I see you each year at the Great Homeschool Conventions, poring over book tables, carefully scouring the booths, faithfully choosing curriculum that fits the fearful and wonderful design of each of your children. Good job! Well done! You are a wonderful mom and a wonderful teacher too.
But, here’s my question: “What about you?” Because God did a marvelous job when He made you too. Whether He gave you a love for the great outdoors, for hiking, or planting in your garden. Or if He made you a story-teller and a poet, a photographer, or a seamstress. Did you used to love going to the theatre, listening to Debussy on balmy summer days as you served homemade peach lemonade to your loved ones? Did you used to delight in dinner parties and dancing? Or knitting with needles?
These things, large or small, ordinary or extraordinary, are part of your God-design. And you’re His kid!
Perhaps God stitched you together with a sensitive heart that is easily moved when reading good books. You used to love books, and trips to the orchestra, and working on quilts and preserving summer jams and vine-grown marinara.
We need to make room for something we enjoy
Well, here’s my charge: You need to find a way to fit yourself back into your busy family life again. You need it, and your children need to see you delight in your own learning and self-expression if they will ever take their own to heart. What’s more, your husband needs you to delight in your life beyond everyone else’s delighting too! He fell in love with you before babies, before child-rearing and homeschooling and lesson planning took over your dining room table and all your brain-space.
So here’s your assignment today: as you set your children’s assignments out upon their desks, or at the kitchen table, or on the patio picnic table…
- Search your fearfully- and wonderfully-made heart and recall what you once loved to do. And jot it down.
- Make a plan to do one simple thing this season to delight again in your own passions and pleasures.
Oh, I know it’s hard to fit those passions into the practical places of parenting, but I believe that you’ll find that the passion actually fuels the practical work before you!
Here near the beginning of another homeschool year, pouring out into the inspired little people God has put in your home, I want to remind you that God did a wonderful job when He wove you together: fearfully and wonderfully!
This isn’t about “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” This is about you getting a little exercise and getting to your annual doctor’s appointment and finding a way to fit time in God’s Word into your busy homeschool routine. And this is about the God-design stitched intentionally into your fibers long ago.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
—Ephesians 2:10, ESV