This week at homeschool was a tough one. The oldest one came down with a cold on Monday, making our shared school a no go on Tuesday. (My kids attend a shared school run by the school district for homeschool parents in our county on Tuesdays and Thursdays.) Being under the weather also meant no outside play in these cold days of January.
So by Wednesday, the little one was way out of sorts. There were listening issues, brotherly fights, and even a slammed bedroom door. I thought he would wake up sick on Thursday with how hard of a day he had on Wednesday, but thankfully that did not happen.
Weeks like this always throw off my best-laid plans too. We missed six planned lessons—mostly math- with the sickness and the drama. I wonder why math is the one we miss the most. (wink, wink. Math is momma's least favorite subject). A few days like this a year ago made me question if homeschooling was working. Then, I would have questioned myself, thinking shaming thoughts like "I am not cut out for this" or "I am ruining my kids." But this year, I started planning in pencil. It's part of my commitment to let it slide and focus more on their hearts than meeting the plan.
Plus, I now understand that everything worth anything takes hard work and patience. Discipling our children is hard work. But I can assure you it is worth it. And I got a front-row seat this week of the hard work bearing fruit at Shared School on Thursday...
My Little Joy Bugs
Whenever I pick up my kids from shared school, I ask them about their favorite part of their day. It is a great way to get a conversation going and avoid a "fine" answer. It also shows them that I care about the details of their little lives, which I do, but it is often hard to show.
This week, as is so often the answer, the little one answered, "lunch," which always makes me giggle. Apparently, lunch at shared school is really fun. But the story shifted quickly when the little one said,
"Actually, lunch was not that great, mom."
"Oh, why was that?" I questioned.
"I was talking about how we pray and read the Bible every night," he responded, "and everyone was making fun of it."
Pause. Um...what do I say here? Lord, help me; I pray silently.
"What were they making fun of?" I asked. I think that he is going to say they made fun of him, and I am preparing how I teach my kids how to handle persecution from their peers. But that is not what happens.
"They were making fun of God," he responds, "and that made me mad."
Now, I am even more perplexed, but luckily the middle one jumps in, curious about what they said. I listen for a bit, still praying, deciding to ask more about his feelings.
"How did that make you feel?" I question.
"It made me sad because everyone should believe in God. And it made me mad that they made fun of God," He responds.
"But one good thing happened," he interrupted with excitement. "Wesley said he would start praying at night."
At this point, all I can do is agree and tell him I am very proud of him. I remind them that not everyone believes in God, and we all agree that it is very sad because God loves all His children so very much.
But really, I have no words of wisdom. I am still shocked at the belief and understanding of this little boy. While I thought the situation could damage his faith, he was simply sad for his little friends. His faith was not in question at all. To his little mind, God is as real as the sun coming up in the East, and he was sad his friends could not see that.
He also did not feel the need to defend himself or his faith but only defended his God. I am confident that this is what Jesus meant when He said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3-4
Do you know that saying that sometimes the disciple teaches the teacher? Yep, I got schooled my littlest disciple today, and I couldn't be more proud. Plus, it has put me on a journey to strengthen my faith. I have been praying for this childlike faith. Faith that just goes along like a child knowing that they are loved and cared for by their Father. Faith that doesn't strive or prove but just receives. Faith that says along with King David, "the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want." Psalm 23:1
My Little Disciples:
But remember, this is the same little disciple who slammed the door in my face during science the very day before. One moment, one day, and even a hard season never have the final say. Great things take time. Jesus often used agricultural metaphors to talk about work in the kingdom. Why? Because the slow growth we see in the plant world is a great reminder of how God works. Some days we will sow, water, and work really hard with no evidence of fruit. Some days we will even be presented with nasty weeds. But, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Gal 6:9). In other words, some days, we will see fruit that blooms in our hearts with such joy it brings tears to our eyes and leaves us with the sense that we just saw the kingdom of heaven right here on earth.
Father, king of the universe, you have set the sowing and reaping order in motion. Please help us to become like little children whose faith in you is more like fact than belief. Help us to keep doing the good that you have called us to do, knowing that we will reap a harvest of amazing fruit. You are the good Father that we can trust with our whole life. In Jesus's name, I pray. Amen.