Photo by Dani Mac Photography
A couple of months ago, my husband and I decided that “the grace had lifted” on my career as a homeschooling mother and it was time to send the girls to school. When we first moved to Los Angeles, almost 3 years ago, we left our entire family behind, all our friends and everything we had ever known. My girls were devastated. I couldn’t just throw them into a school or a daycare in a new city, with new people, with everything so unknown and unfamiliar. I swore I’d never homeschool. Then again, I also swore I’d never move back to LA again after four years of college debauchery spent down here. God likes to think He’s pretty funny sometimes, I imagine. Truth be told, He really is quite a riot.
My homeschooling journey began and really, it was a lot of fun. We went on field trips to museums, the beach, Disneyland (yeah, that counts as a field trip) and countless other incredible Southern California destinations. It was challenging, as you’d expect, and at least once a week someone was breaking down in tears (it was usually me). But, I didn’t feel released from it yet. I made sacrifices when it came to my job, my social life, my mental health (kind of joking, but not entirely), my spiritual health and my physical body (less exercising for Mommy means less endorphins….and exercising creates endorphins, endorphins make people happy….happy Mommies don’t just yell at their children! Legally Blonde, anyone?).
After much prayer and discussion, my husband and I decided to begin researching schools and get serious about sending them off to be at the mercy of other educators who were total and complete strangers. That sounds dramatic, but that’s really how it felt. I felt like a failure because I knew I couldn’t go on another day homeschooling. The beauty is that God is so gracious to give us peace when something is right. I began to realize that this decision was right. He would provide the way if we simply walked in obedience. The entire process was a bit scary, a bit challenging, and it was often frustrating, but we made it. The girls were enrolled and ready to start school on January 8th!
This brings me to this week. The night before the first day of school, I bathed all my girls, blowdried their hair, laid out their clothes for the next morning, made their lunches and wrote notes on their little napkins. All was well until about 8pm. That’s when my two youngest daughters both began a “let’s see who can vomit all over the house the most times” contest. They were both winning. We were cleaning up underwear full of poop, ripping sheets off of beds full of throw up, even rolling up rugs in our living room that are now unsalvageable because of the amount of chunky matter embedded into the carpet. THE NIGHT BEFORE THEIR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. I had so many plans for the next day! Plans of sending them off to school with a kiss, then coming home and cleaning my entire house, going for a run, going into work, then planning a divine family dinner. Instead, I dropped my oldest daughter off at school, came home and began 5 loads of vomit laundry, tending to more diarrhea and puke and never once brushed my teeth or changed out of my pajamas.
Later that night, my oldest daughter woke up crying. She had the bug now. She was now the one vomiting all over the place. I couldn’t believe it. Now, I sit at home, all my grand plans foiled, tending to not one, not two, BUT THREE vomiting, pooping machines. I had even gone to Costco earlier last week and bought all the good snacks for their lunches, even things I don’t normally allow in our house, like LUCKY CHARMS! I am highly opposed to sugar cereal as part of a balanced breakfast but I was feeling oh-so-generous at the time! Their first time at a “real school” deserved some good, fun, slightly un-healthy sugar cereal!
Those Lucky Charms proved to not be so lucky. In fact, do you know who has been eating them all? ME. I haven’t had the energy to cook anything for myself, since I would be the only one eating it. I saw a post on Instagram this morning from the website Scary Mommy .
It made me laugh out loud. Obviously, I wouldn’t go so far as to call my children “little heathens”, but the sentiment WAS MOOD. I have been living off Lucky Charms cereal all week and part of me is so thankful for such an incredibly easy, delicious and satisfying “meal”. I asked my husband last night, in the midst of a bleary eyed vomit wiping stupor,
“Do you think we aren’t supposed to be sending them to school? Is this some sort of sign that I should keep homeschooling them? I mean, the timing of this is just too insane!”
His response, as usual, was logical, practical and snapped me back into reality.
“Of course not. These things just happen.”
It’s true. These things just happen sometimes. We often have our lives and our schedules planned out perfectly, according to our own goals and ideas, but God often sends us reminders that we aren’t supposed to be in charge. We are to submit every decision and every plan to Him, and pray that His will be done! There are so many things in my life currently that I am waiting on the Lord to answer. I am tempted to take the best ideas and run with them, but He gently reminds me to BE STILL. The opportunities will present themselves. The doors will swing open, or slam shut. My job is to submit everything to prayer and ask for His will to be done in my life.
Am I frustrated that I’m at home with three sick children and my grand plans for this week are ruined? To be honest, not really. It has been difficult, it has been challenging, but as any mother with children can understand, there is something so sweet about the time when your child is sick and in desperate need of your constant love and affection.
I believe these sweet times also exist between us and the Lord. When we are on the cusp of a new adventure, a new mission or journey He’s sending us on, He often calls us to BE STILL and sit with Him before we go. It’s meant to prepare us for what’s next. It’s meant for us to come to Him in need of an outpouring of love and affection so that we are prepared for the road ahead.
There are seasons in our life when we are all like little children prepping for our very first week of school. There are a few things that need to be purged from within us before God releases us into a brand new season of beautiful and new things. I am using this time to shower my babies with all of my attention and care (and shower them, literally, three times a day to cleanse their poor, weak, vomit covered bodies). So, when they are well enough to begin school, they will have spent their last week of freedom, snuggled up in the arms of their Mommy and Daddy.
So, if you’re in this season of life, enjoy the stillness. Eat those Lucky Charms and march on with great expectancy of what God is preparing you for. May you allow Him to work within you, to cleanse you from any baggage that you should leave behind in order to move forward. And I hope that your time of stillness will include less vomit.