October 27, 2007

Ok, now what do I do...

I cried and begged the Lord for His help and He graciously gave it to me. I begged to be released from the restriction of our previous schooling method because I could see that it wasn't a good fit for my son. I cried out to Him and offered up myself, my desires for our schooling, and all my many plans for our year. I laid them all at His feet and He gave me His peace. I felt relieved, I felt so much better, I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my head. That was yesterday and I do feel better today. I just don't know what to do now.

Have you ever been in this same kind of situation? Have you ever wondered why the Lord delivers us out of one mess and then leaves us squarely sitting in another? I have found the Lord to be incredibly faithful and understanding to me. He has rescued me so many times and given me such hope and peace. He just doesn't always clean up my messes. He often closes the door and then leaves me to sort through the details.

I have been thinking about this lately and trying to get my head wrapped around how the Lord deals with us. I used to believe that He was far off and never cared much for what was going on in my life. If I really, really, really cried out to Him, He might just glance a passing eye over my situation and maybe just feel a little bit of pity and do something about it. But not very often. Most of the time, I felt on my own and totally dependent on my own circumstances and feelings. Most of the time, I felt like He was there, way up there, and I was way down here with a great gulf in between us.

I don't feel this way anymore because I have seen the hand of God work miracles in my life, in the daily grind, the daily mundane, and the daily "oh not so very special" moments. He has showed me His character and I have been rescued, saved, loved, cared for, protected, provided for, and soothed by His tender mercies. Yes, the God of the Universe has become a very real friend to me. He is always there, always listening, always caring, and always ready to help me out. I have learned though that He just doesn't always do what I want Him to do or what I expect Him to do.

Take our schooling, for example. Last summer when my DH suffered a heart attack, I needed a fresh approach to schooling. It wasn't as if "A BEKA" suddenly popped into my head and I said "yes, Lord, I will use this method." No, I had been praying about using a textbook curriculum for three years. At least two times per year, I was on my face before Him crying about whether or not we should change from using a Charlotte Mason approach (classical good books) and follow a more traditional course and sequence. It didn't matter that when I first started home schooling and looking over the myriad of curriculum, I believed (and still do) that the Lord led me to this method and to using the Ambleside Online curriculum. I *knew* instantly that this curriculum was the right one for us -- I just knew it. I cannot really explain it other than to say that I do believe God's Spirit directed my searching and gave me some educational training so that I would know how to teach my gifted and "oh so very different" son at home.

I was overjoyed when I found AO and I was very content to use this curriculum. I spent two years immersing myself in the program, learning as much as I could about it and reading as much as I could about Charlotte Mason and her method (CM). I jumped into it with both feet and saw the blessings of using such a program. My son settled down and started to actually learn. He blossomed, to put it nicely.

Then I began to question what I was doing and started to wonder "was there something better?" I started to browse the catalogs and my eyes became fascinated with the many delights of educational intrigue. Yes, I am a voyeur of sorts. I love to look at catalogs and fantasize how they would work in my home. Yes, I know..."get a real life, will ya?" Yes, you are right. My life is pretty simple and this is one of my most glaring faults. Really, it is simply discontentment and it plays a huge part in my life. I love to think that I am content and have seriously prayed to be like the Apostle Paul and be content whether in poverty or riches. [Oh, that is another post -- what an incredible and amazing man!] I am the least content of anyone I know -- at least I can say that because I don't hide my discontent very well. Others may be discontent but they leave it simmering under the surface. I am discontent on the inside and the outside and I make no bones about it.

The good Lord has seen fit to not give me much to be discontented about so this issue becomes a doubly-troubling one for me. Why can I not be content? Why am I so dissatisfied that I constantly need change in my life? Is it that I am in such dire need to control everything that when I cannot, I literally go on the search for something, anything I can control?? Oh, yes! I do think this is a great part of the problem. I am not in control of my life at all. I have given Him control and I have rested in His care. I have experienced this over and over again -- I rest in Him and am at peace. Then I wrest with Him and I am in turmoil. It is the "wresting" part that causes me to stumble. One cannot wrest with the Lord and win. No, He will have His way and He will triumph, it is just a matter of time.

So, what does all this mean for me? Right now, it is clear that I have been wresting with Him -- literally wrestling with Him (as Jacob did, as Moses did, as so many other great Men of the Bible did) and He has won. I am left sitting in the dust, tired and worn out, unable to move. I do not know what to do, but I am alive and I am well. I am at peace and I know that my Savior loves me and that He does indeed have a good plan for my life. I just need to know how to walk in faith and how to stop questioning every single move I make ("is this right, Lord?")

Whenever I get to a point where I feel lost in my way, I find that it is helpful to recount the blessings and truths of God. Recounting them and reciting Scripture does help and does put the focus back where it belongs -- back on God (and off of me). God has promised that He will never leave me. He is with me and I feel His presence. He listens to me and cares deeply for me. He understands how hard it is for me to let go and to just be content. He knows that I need Him and without Him, I would truly be lost (or worse yet, truly be in dire need). He knows that it is best for Him to be in control and for me to be content. He knows that He cannot make me content -- that is an act of my will and I must learn how to do it myself. I have to choose contentment. I have to choose to be settled and to live with whatever choice I make. I have to say "it is enough" or "it is OK as is". I have to let go of my perfectionist ways and my desire to always be in control. I have to sit back and let Him drive this bus -- I am just a passenger, He is the Driver.

Oh, how hard it is to be a child of God some days...

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