Yesterday, ladies, was a very long day.   It was a Nemo day.  I think I’ve explained our Nemo days, but in case you’ve missed it, let me go over it one more time.  Do you remember in Finding Nemo when Nemo’s dad is berating Nemo and he says, “You think you can do these things Nemo.  But you can’t!  You just can’t!”  Nemo days are the days when I wake up and take on the day with a full list, assuming that if I just keep moving forward the house and the children are going to fold neatly into my plan.  Sometimes this does indeed happen.  I can’t actually name a remembered instance, but I’m certain that sometime over the last 15 years, 10 of them homeschooling, it has gone according to plan at least once… I think.

So, as we’ve already semi-started school for the year, yesterday was to be our first full “ON” day.  After years of experience, I know better than to just make a schedule and jump straight from summer freedom to hours of school. 😀  So, needless to say, I was optimistic at 4:15 yesterday when I woke up and had that first cup of coffee.

Somehow, it all went downhill from there.

Not in a bad way, mind you.  Just a little crazy, a little chaotic, a lot tired.   We had a couple discipline issues I didn’t foresee… As in one of the older kids needed an incredibly long talk on attitude and that seemed to come flying out of almost nowhere, especially from this particularly easy child.  We had a mama who was fighting nausea all morning… And yes, I immediately took a pregnancy test yesterday with a repeat this AM, and no, we have no announcement, lol.

And then we got to naptime.  There is a particular child who shall remain nameless in our household, who seems to butt heads with me on a daily basis.  His daddy seems to think our personalities just clash.  We know the turth… Mommy is right and little boy is not.  🙂  Okay, maybe that’s not quite right.  So I put extra effort into tying strings with him yesterday.  As we arrived at naptime I saw an animal book on the ground by his bed and knew this would be a wonderful opportunity.  So nameless child and I snuggled on his bed and I read two pages.  I was feeling pretty cozy and snuggly when I kissed him and tucked him in for nap.  And at the last minute I asked, “Can I pray for you buddy?”

And so I prayed for my sweet little boy and for both of us to work at getting along and being sweet to one another.  And as I was walking away, this sweet, nameless, five year old boy said, “Mom, can I pray for you?”

And I’m thinking, “YES!  What a great little boy!”  And so he starts, “Dear God, thank you for my mom.”  (Loving this, loving this!)  “Please help her….”  He pauses.  I’m waiting for some deep, emotional, relevant thought.

“Please help her to be mean to Abigail because sometimes Abigail is mean.”  Bwa Ha Ha.  Okay.  So maybe it’s NOT the deep, emotional, relevant thought I was looking for.  We followed this prayer with a little more guidance on how to pray good for those around us and how to love them up to God.  But you know what?  This is a big praise for this little boy.  His heart is turning towards me.  And more than that, my heart is turning towards him.   I’ve spent the last two years, on my bad days, telling my husband that perhaps this particular child would enjoy a small 2-3 year vacation in the public school system.  My reasoning was logical.  I thought perhaps if  he could just go to school for several hours, then I would have “more” to offer him when he got home as far as a joyous, sweet mama was concerned.  My wise husband, God bless him, knew that this particular child needed to be with his mama the most.  And, because he is wise, he did NOT add that this particular mama also needed to be near this particular son more often as well.

He tries me.  He tries my patience.  Timothy is the child I cannot fake it around.  You can see my grind my teeth together ever so slightly under the smile when he does… Well, whatever he happens to be doing that is frustrating at the moment.  I can’t even say he’s naughty.  He’s not so much.    It’s that he is FILLED with a massive amount of energy that releases itself in very boy-ish ways… And I love it.  I do!  I love his energy when he & I have time alone.  I LOVE his energy on the weekends when his daddy takes him outside and uses up all the energy towards GOOD things!  I LOVE that energy when that little five year old boy wants to chop wood, or pick up sticks, or do other massive chores for his own little self.   I do not love that energy so much when I’m trying to care for one baby, wrangle one toddler, teach sweetness to one “mean” little three year old sister, lol, do hand crafts with one six year old, memorization with an eight year old, grammar with an eleven year old, and Algebra with my 14 year old.  Then, that energy tends to be a bit of a hindrance.

So, you understand this morning, that I woke up a little at a loss.

Because, I know, unlike my early “newbie” years, that my problem is not curriculum.  It is not that I need more time.  It isn’t even that I need a better schedule, flow charts, or a beautiful chart with color coded names.  It is none of these things.  I know that my problem lies squarely in my heart and my willingness to love my children with a biblical love… The willingness to die to self and give until I cry tears of blood.  I woke up this morning craving a whole lot of God, grabbed my Bible, and sat down at my computer.  And while going through my morning rituals, I decided to listen to a little Voddie.  And it was in the final moments of Biblical Womanhood, Part 5, I think I found what I was seeking this morning.

Voddie Baucham on biblical love:

“An act of the will, accompanied by emotion that leads to action on behalf of its’ object.  In the words of that theologian Janet Jackson, “What have you done for me lately?”

Love leads to action on behalf of its’ object.

By the way, if you’re wondering where an example of this kind of love exists it’s the garden of Gethsemane.

Jesus is praying intently, sweating drops of blood, saying,  ‘If there is any other way, let this bitter cup pass from me.’

He comes to the point where He says, ‘Nevertheless, not my will, but Yours will be done.’

What did he do in the garden of Gethsemane?  It was an act of the will.  It was a choice! It was  accompanied by emotion, that led to action on behalf of its’ object.  Jesus did not need the cross. It was not selfish.  Not for his own benefit.  That was for his Bride.”

What does that mean exactly to mothers?  If biblical love, godly love means what Voddie’s definition means, then it means a willingness to take the hard parts of motherhood… The bitter cup.

We love to read articles about the sweet, gentle art of mothering.  At least I know I do.  I love that.  I love being inspired to be something more, something greater than what I am.   But there are days when I want to cry out, “Lord!  What is it you’re asking from me?  I’m tired.  I’m worn out!  I’m completely touched out, they outnumber me, and I have nothing left to give.”

And I suspect I have my answer.  He asks that I only love with a biblical love.   That it not be selfish.  That it not be what *I* need.  That I not do something for my own benefit.  That I simply love biblically.   That I, just a really simple Mama, should pray earnestly that His will be done in our lives, that I be willing to be used, and that I should be willing to walk through those harder days with my children for Him.  And that I allow my love for GOD lead to action in their little lives.  Because so often we think we need to do this for the children.  This is wrong thinking.  We do not parent well on behalf of our children.  We choose to love and act lovingly on behalf of God.

If I were doing it for the children I wouldn’t have to discipline, or train, or do hard things.  But, I am not doing this, day after day, for them.  I love them.  I love them desperately.  They make each day better.  I’m grateful for each of them, individually, and according to how they were created, in my life.  But it is important to remember, each day, their schooling is not for them.  Their discipline is not for them.  Their training is not for them.  These, these are offerings to God.  It is a willingness, a choice, an act of the will, accompanied by emotion, leading to action….

Motherhood, homeschooling, having all of these littles, it isn’t quite what I thought it would be.  It is so much more.

God bless you today in your home.