Grace and peace to you my sweet sisters in Christ. I have felt compelled for some time to write a message to you and it has burned in my heart and stirred my spirit unwritten for many months now, as I have felt unworthy as a messenger. Not because Christ has not made me a worthy messenger, I know I am justified through Christ alone. My hesitation comes from my current state, in a jail cell, shackled and chained.
Have I been cast out, persecuted, martyred for my faith? Was I hunted, harassed, beaten and captured as I fled arrest? Who is my captor? Who is my enemy?
I have locked my own cage, I have bound my own frail wrists. I have swung my own cell door to a clamoring close and stand behind it wondering how did I get here, and how do I begin to plan my escape? What is this jail I sit in by my own fault?
I am speaking of the prison of busyness. I am describing a personal hell of expectation bound up in chains of comparison. In the past, I have had wonderful seasons of rest as a mom and a homeschool teacher. Days, when pajamas were our uniforms and playing outside and watching movies, trumped math and handwriting. Our flexible schedules allowed for spontaneous travel and “field trips” to wondrous places.
But, this season is not that. This is a storm. A typhoon of activity, with whipping wind, followed by Texas-sized hail stones. It is a calendar filled in on each square with highlighters of every color. It is running from music lessons to ballet, to basketball. It is an intro to logic, Latin, and literature. It is Saxon 5, Saxon 7/8, and Saxon 1 and 1/2. It is teen drama, and toddler tantrums and tween resistance to all things learning. There is no time to come up for air. Dinner table discussions are replaced by the dreaded drive-thru. Time is my enemy, there is no respite, and anxiety is a constant companion.
Waking up too early for my liking one morning, in a rare moment of quiet, the wind has stopped whirling and the rain on my metal roof has ceased its pounding, I sit with hot coffee and sleepy-eyed, I let my bible fall open. I only get through a few lines of Hebrews before I reach…
“Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”
My friend Paul. Paul… the professor of grace. He began and ended most of his letters with it, and you could find it swirled in each verse like melted caramel sweetening each bite. Paul was imprisoned for the sake of the gospel, while I am captured by my own free will. And there in His cell, He encountered God’s grace. God has often reminded me, after calling me to homeschool, that his yoke is easy, his burden is light.
When the world tells me my kids are deprived of social activities, that they are lacking, or less because of my choice to teach them at home, I have to stop and realize this is not my Father’s voice. When I feel the daunting weight of undone math lessons, papers left ungraded, and concepts left misunderstood, I have to stop and remove that weight by remembering He did not place that burden there.
And it’s like removing a backpack full of Saxon student & teacher texts. When I find our fabulously freeing homeschool schedule suddenly packed from hour to hour, and there is no end in sight, I remember God’s loving graciousness to provide me with all I need to achieve what He has called me to do. When my own expectations, my own fear of “ruining my children”, the pressure of being like other homeschool families who appear to have it all together bind me again and I have made myself a prisoner in my own mind and heart, I must take heart, and remind myself He has overcome the world. He holds the keys. Our high priest is seated, the work is done. All I need to do is sit with him and trust HIs goodness and mercy. His love for my children, His care for their future is so far and above what I could ever imagine.
So, how did I claim my freedom? Did I burn the Saxon text, replace ecclesiastical with pig Latin? Did I drop piano lessons, ditch ballet, tap, and musical theater? Or maybe I left the basketball team without their most mediocre point guard ever?
I turn to the one who promises rest. He so wants us to rest. It is a gift and a promise. I relish the quiet moments to speak to Him, to thank Him for my family, my children, and for giving me such a purpose and a calling. I enjoy this short season with my kids. I make the most of our car time knowing soon enough they will drive themselves and I will trade in my suburban for a sedan. In the total chaos, I ask Him to find rest in the most unlikely places, and He leads me there. I throw off the chains of comparison and expectation and instead put on my gown of grace, my new uniform. I will trust Him with my kid’s education, their minds, hearts, and spirits. I will trust that He has sent me a good helper in the Holy Spirit that I can call on at any time and say “shall we cuddle and read books today? Or finish up lesson 34 in Saxon?” I will find rest in the truth that He loves me, and He loves my kids even more than I do. He wants good for them. He has called me to this not to condemn me, but to allow me to take part in what He is doing in them. And in this rest, I find my freedom.
Enter His Rest, Stacey
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