A New Adventure Begins
The dictionary defines adventure as an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity. That pretty much sums up our life, because I truly believe when we trust Jesus and step out of our comfort zone in obedience it is unusual, exciting and (more often than not) … hazardous.
These past few years have been an over-the-top series of adventures that included new jobs, new schools, planting a church, moving onto a houseboat, and ending up homeless after a fierce storm. (We did say “hazardous”, right?) If you aren’t caught up on the Petri-adventure-saga you can find all the details in earlier posts. Maybe make some popcorn first.
In all seriousness, I think it’s natural that during the good times we all tend to rejoice, celebrate and enjoy the moment. We take a deep breath. Maybe even smile. But when life is hard or hazardous (like it feels right now), it is a challenge to rejoice, pray and trust God. All too often, my typical first step involves screaming/crying/questioning God’s plan. And THEN I put my trust in Him. (We are all a work in progress. This is a judgement free-zone.)
Maybe you relate to this: Imagine a tightrope walker, slowly and steadily moving forward in an attempt to maintain balance. One foot at a time, navigating life without falling. This is how I feel, attempting to find balance in my current season of life. (Ever been there?) I often feel overwhelmed at this stage, so it feels crazy for God to call me to a NEW adventure while I’m still right in the middle of my balancing act. It’s like someone tosses you a ball while you’re on the tightrope and expects you to catch it and keep moving forward without losing your footing. Crazy, right?
Crazy AND hazardous, yes. However, as I’ve walked with God I have learned a few things: first His ways are always better than my ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and if He calls me to it he will equip me for it (Hebrews 13:21). I am confident of these truths. So, ready or not, here we go.
I’m about to step into a world I’ve admired from a distance, but never had any desire to be a part of: Homeschooling. (Those of you who know me well are probably shaking your head in disbelief because, truly, this is so unlike me). I struggle with patience and never paid attention in school. I’m fairly confident that in most areas of education I am NOT smarter than a fifth grader. Confession: The other day I had a moment where I thought Idaho was in the Midwest – so my kids may be in real trouble here, at least in geography.
Why now? Why this? If it’s going to be a struggle then why add it to my already overflowing plate? The answer is simple: Because I believe this is what is best for my family. They are my first God-given ministry. My daughter Maddie is eleven years old and struggles with dyslexia. The gap between her and her peers is growing bigger, but she keeps getting pushed through. She comes home with work she did not complete in class because her pace is slower and then has homework on top of that, so as you can imagine, our evenings are filled with stress and tears. She has begged to be homeschooled for years, but I dismissed it because I didn’t think I was cut out for it. (I still don’t.) But when I recently had a discussion with a group of my friends who are homeschooling moms I began to actually consider it. I prayed. I researched. Honestly, I knew. This is something I have to try for our family. We gave Noah the choice as well and he has also chosen to continue his education at home. So, the adventure begins this fall!
As I prepare for this journey I am both optimistic and absolutely terrified. I am hopeful that this is going to be a blessing for our family. The flexibility is a benefit, as is the increase of quality time together. The online curriculum will allow me to get my work done right alongside them, and jump in and help where needed. I have been researching, organizing and praying and I have a peace in my spirit that this is the right decision for our family.
As I share our decision with friends and family, a few themes of common concerns arise. First, what about the kids’ social lives? This one actually makes me laugh. (Like, are you serious? Have you met our family or our kids?) If anything, my kids are OVERLY socialized and could benefit from more family-only down time. The second most common concern is that they are going to be too sheltered. Brutal truth: My kids have shared with me that kids are vaping in bathrooms, selling condoms, bullying one another, publicly drinking and smoking on social media, and so much more. (These are middle school students!) While I know I cannot shelter them from everything, I can limit their exposure to the things of this world. The truth is they are exposed to more than enough between television, social media, the lake, their sports teams and even church which is a hospital for broken people. I don’t think we could shelter our kids even if we wanted to in our culture today. But we can take ownership for the rate of exposure to some very mature topics, especially in an academic setting.
I am not suggesting that homeschooling is for everyone, or a superior path than other alternatives. Honestly, I don’t even know if it is for us yet. I do know that as I prayed I felt peace about this direction and I have to try. My biggest fear is that I won’t succeed and I will let me kids down, but I am reminded of what Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; It is the courage to continue that counts.”
So, bring on the new rounds of hazards! I will continue to choose trust in God even when his plans are unusual and don’t make sense to me. I will rejoice when the adventure is exciting and lean on God when fun is not currently part of the equation, because there truly is no greater adventure than following Jesus