I’m writing to the girl with the black hair. I know you felt so out-of-place today. I mean I know you listen to us say things like we ought to love our neighbor and reach the lost. You heard it in church. We told you we want you to come as you are, today you did, and it wasn’t good enough. You asked me before why your mom didn’t want you ” I mean I wasn’t a bad baby Mrs. Barker, why didn’t my birth mom want me? What you don’t know is I held back my tears and my hatred for your real mom. I know I’m supposed to love her, but she is so selfish and I just can’t imagine a mom keeping some children and abusing others.I wasn’t abandoned by my mother and I can only imagine what that feels like. So girl with the black hair, I wish I could say she was having a hard life or she didn’t have money, but honestly she was selfish and cruel, no child deserves to be abused. No child. I don’t care if you cried all night, spit in her coffee or said I hate you( which you didn’t) No child, None.
So now you have come to us, the people of God, and you want to be loved, accepted ,you want to know we want you. I’m sorry girl with the black hair that you have come to us and we want you to be like us. I’m sorry that we say come as you are, but we mean come as WE are. I m sorry that even though I take the time to love you and have you over, that I too fail you. I know you are so desperate for that feeling of acceptance and sometimes it’s all I can to tolerate my four kids. I don’t know why we can’t love the unlovely. I don’t know why we say we want to reach people and then we nit pick the very people we are trying to reach. I know what you feel like, girl with the black hair. I used to be you.
I came to Christ at the age of 14. I didn’t know the Christian lingo, the terms, the proper dress or the proper etiquette in church. I was just so happy to finally be loved by God. My soul was so empty and I was finally in a place where I was loved. Then one day I was out with my sister. We were shopping and I was wearing black jeans and a t-shirt. I walked into a store and saw a church member. Man I was so excited. I never saw church members outside of church. I smiled real big and held the door for her. Then my heart sunk. This woman whom I absolutely looked up to, looked me up, then down, then put her nose up in the air and walked right away as if she did not know me. I was devastated. If that women only knew. If she only knew how broken and fragile I really was. How I craved acceptance. What she knew though was she was taught certain things. The number one was to shun what she did not understand. Yeah it’s just ignorance and I too can be so guilty of it. God brought me back to him after that day. I Left for quite a while but He showed me what He was really like and that He in fact did love the unlovely. He .Loved. Me.
So here I am in all my honesty. People suck. They do.
But our God is in the dark places. He is in the cry of a child forsaken by her mother. He is in the heart of a child so desperate for love, even in a church that only cares about not soiling their little blessings with the likes of you. What they don’t know is it will be someone like You who will reach the world. It was someone like you that JESUS died for. The ground at the foot of the cross is equal. We are all sinners before a Holy God. There is NONE righteous, no, not one!!! God is not a respector of persons girl with the black hair, but people suck, and we are.
You see He was broken for us, isn’t that what The Lord Supper is about? Remembering his bruised broken body, His beatings .He was bruised for our iniquities. His body was broken. Yet girl with the black hair, He tried to reach the world. He did not stay in His perfect Sunday best, in His perfect Sunday church. He did not stay away from the likes of you. He went to the publican and sinner. I think some of us want to keep them off our pews. Wouldn’t want the unchurched to spoil our perfect little blessings. He was broken for YOU though, so I think , no I know he wants you there. Bring your stuffed animal, even if they tell you otherwise(in fact sit next to the homeschooler who brought her doll and look them right in the eye and dare them to say something). I will fight for you, He fought for me. He pulled me out of the miry clay, He continues to pull me out of the darkness. So girl with the black hair, He knows your name. Even if they didn’t.(Psht.) He knows your name and HE wants you there. Come as you are but don’t ever leave the way you came. Let HIM change you on the inside, and when you look at them smile knowing He sought you out and loves you. Let them have their judgement. When you stand before that loving Savior, naked and complete, none of it will matter.
You. Are. Loved.
We all sat around the table drinking coffee, sharing in holiday goodies and chatted.I listened to an all too familiar story. I can see his face, feel his shame. I’m so stupid.( I want to go back, go back andtell him. You are not stupid.You are created with a wonderful gift. You do not have a learning disability. You have a reading and spelling disability.Jesus does not care if you read the Bible out loud. Find your gift. Excel in it.) That’s what he knows though. That’s what they have told him. No-one spoke it. They did not say it out-loud. No words are needed. He sat in class. He had to read out loud. Because of course what would happen if he just sat there and listened ? I mean we are the church, we could not possibly come along side the struggling and help them. Do we see the need and stop the shame or enforce our control and insist, no demand perfect obedience? Because we all know every child is disobedient who does not want to participate, right?Did they consider how he would feel reading in front of his peers? Now it’s too late. The damage done. Facing them is worse than reading. Now his parents take the hit. ” Why is Dyslexia so strong in our family? We had him come out of that class. He was so embarrassed.” I brushed away the tear and shook my head. “I am so sorry. This happened to us too.“I sure wish I had the answer to that one. I know it’s hereditary, but really? To watch certain children struggle is so hard. . We didn’t know that it would affect all areas of life. People are so ignorant. Dyslexia is real. I will always fight for my kids. I will always teach my kids to also endure hardness. People will be ignorant and I can’t help the way they respond. I honestly don’t need my kids to be under the influence of controlling, ignorant individuals. I’ve taught my son it’s never going away. Allow them their ignorance. Be better. Love better. Rise above them.I think back on our struggles and I watch my son ,just when I want to give up on people (and I think some people should spend a little more time trying to use Google) an older fellow comes over to my son at church. He puts his arm around him and says, “I wanted you to know I’ve missed you.” He smiles. Someone misses him. (and that’s all he needs to know.) That’s all it takes. There is no shame in Dyslexia. Only shame in Church leaders who can’t see past their pride in taking in the least of these. http:
It’s cold here in northwestern PA. . I know Polar Vortex, as if this is a sci-fi movie. Please. It’s cold. We feel it. Some of my chickens died and my Linemen husband is frozen when he actually comes home. This cold does go right through to your bones.The bleakness of winter can consume you if you let it. My kids of course are driving me crazy. If we don’t get above 1 degree soon I am seriously going to reevaluate my mental health. We’ve acquired a talking Amazon Parrot , conure, kitten and a dog since I last posted. I don’t have enough chaos in here, I’m opting for an indoor zoo! So I haven’t posted in over a year. I wasn’t able to sit at my computer. I have these disks that seem to pop like popcorn. This is the third time it has happened to me. I thought for sure I was done. I don’t know if you have ever experienced nerve pain, but it is not like anything I can describe.It is relentless and pursuing. I could not escape it. I did finally get surgery. I am not a fan of chiropractors and please refrain from telling me how wonderful they are for you. So I know this is not like my usual posts. I want you to know that God does hear the prayers of the Homeschooling Mom. He heard me say” God I can’t do this. If you don’t help me I quit. I am sending these kids to the public school and I just give up. The pain is too much( and it was)”. My friends forgot me, some family thought I was addicted to the pain meds( I don’t know why, they didn’t help much) . I told Him in no uncertain terms that I was done with Him and with everyone. Now if you don’t know God you will say” some God you have there” I know . You see this is not the worst thing I have ever been through, Maybe as far as pain level, but not the worst thing. He did help me through this and compensated for the lack of schooling I was not able to do. My kids are so much better now. I could just weep to think of it.I ditched my old schooling. I have so much better results now. I have more help for my dyslexic son. God used this time when I could not even sit, to do some great things in my kids lives. I have come out of this thing called suffering so much better. You see when you suffer no-one can go through this with you. You have no companion. It is not meant to be shared. I am not out of pain and probably never will be. I’m okay with that. I’ll be okay, someday. It has been awful. It has been painful and hard. Lonely nights. One thing I can say is trite things like this” You have not suffered as much as Job or as much as….” are just so ridiculous. So glad I have a great God who does reach down in my pain, because I have suffered as much as ME. He made me and knows my pain. My Creator fashioned me. No matter where I am. In a lonely dark place( which I have been before).He’s been there for me. This lesson isn’t learned breezing through life. It’s learned on the road less traveled. God knows our pain. No matter how deep the pit. Take heart. Homeschooling can be hard. I know. I’ve weathered the storms, the comments, the scrutiny, the struggles. They’re worth it. Don’t give up. I’m not perfect. I’ve been unorganized, my house messy, freaked out, lost my patience, lost my mind, please don’t ever think that you have lost your God. He’s here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQnBvUiAGsI#!
I drove by a dogwood tree today. The beautiful flowers blew in the spring breeze. Immediately I was taken back to my childhood. The small Dogwood in our front yard. I waited every year for it to bloom. It was a bright spot in my hard life. Joel and I were coming back from the dentist. We were chatting and enjoying one on one time. It’s always nice to just get alone with one of my children. I thought about the memory of the Dogwood and how it brought me back. It reminded me that memories are being made every day. I can choose to be a part of them or I can be a distant memory in my children’s lives. Time tends to erase memories. In an instant though a smell, or a sight can bring them flooding back. I want to be part of those memories in my kids life. Every silly giggle and exciting event. I don’t want to be the Mom on Facebook posting ABOUT my kids. I want to be the mom who INVESTED in her kids. Even while I home educate the balance of Mom and teacher is carefully weighed. Some days I feel like all I do is scold. I hate that. Todays dogwood reminded me that my kids need me to be their Mom, not just the scolding teacher. It’s the silliest moments that create the most memories. Sometimes I get caught in the trap of DOING. The more I do, the more social activities the more friends I allow, that will create great memories for my kids. You know what? My kids always remember the quality time together, like taking a walk yesterday. A Huge black snake came slithering out of the swamp in front of us. We all froze. I gasped( hey you would too if you saw it.) Gasping has a funny effect on my Australian Shepherd Cooper. He went on the attack. He started flinging that creepy beast back and forth. The kids were yelling, I was gasping( causing the dog to attack more) Now the kids are spazing and everyone is worried about Cooper. Cooper turned out fine and that black devil was dead. Guess what my kids have been retelling all day! They are not remembering the latest movie or a toy recently purchased, nope they are reacting the drama of yesterday. I could have said no lets not walk, I’d rather________________, but the sun was shining and my children were asking. I don’t want to be a distant memory. I want to be part of the whole picture.I was encouraged that my kids don’t think I’m the scolding teacher I feel like. Cheyenne made me this picture. In her mind I am a smiling happy mom.(good thing she can’t see how I feel on the inside, some days I feel like such a failure)
God gave these kids to ME. It’s my responsibility and joy to join in the adventure and raise them. Now Monday when I am freaking out because the house is a mess, or they are lagging on school, I might have a different opinion. Today I’m enjoying these gifts and being thankful for every drama filled minute. At least when this ride is over I can say I invested my all and am part of the memory. Memories are being made every day. Are you part of them?
I never realized before how much I appreciated the action of sitting. I told you in a previous blog I was in pain. Well I am. I have a herniated disk which is pinching a nerve, making sitting near impossible. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not whining. That’s not something I usually do. I just want to be thankful today for the things I’m sure I don’t even realize I take for granted. I haven’t blogged in a while. I usually get up at 4:30 am when it’s quiet. The rooster isn’t even crowing then. The quiet gives my mind a chance to just flow. Well I also sit in front of the computer, with my coffee:O) and savor the alone time. None of those things are appealing to me right now. I’m in a state of perpetual motion. But I looked outside today and the sun is shining. . It’s going to be 80 out, the wind is blowing. I love the wind. I can’t lie. I’m in agony. The pain meds are not even helping. Home educating is so frustrating. There is something about the wind though.. it’s like a balm to my soul. I remember going to Prince Edward Island with my husband. We stood there on the cliffs and felt the force of the wind. Ever since we call these types of days PEI days. You know those days. When your soul feels like it has wings. It doesn’t take away my pain. it just makes me stop and remember that God has not forgotten me. I hear his still small voice. Only it doesn’t seem so small. It’s pretty loud. The trees rustle, The red brush grinds, the clouds are whipping by. The forest is bustling with activity. I need this reminder. That amidst all my pain and all the crazy bombings and factories exploding, the evil in this world, God is still in control. He hasn’t forgotten. He is still In charge. He still gives me these PEI days. The pain tries to overwhelm me. Home educating becomes a chore. Portfolios are the last thing I want to do. He hasn’t forgotten me. I can still cling to the knowledge that yes, I do know the Master of the wind.
The Wind by Robert Louis Stevenson
We all know Reducers. To reduce means this:
Make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size: “the need to reduce costs”; “a reduced risk of coronary disease”.
Become smaller or less in size, amount, or degree.
diminish – decrease – lessen – abate – lower
You know that particular someone who you cringe when they come near. The are the ones who without a doubt will say something negative to “help” you in someway. In casual conversation they have to tell you(for your benefit of course) that your child has committed an infraction. They will put down your goals. Put down your kids. Put down you. All in the name of “help”. Yet they are older or more experienced. They are the leaders. A scenario like this just happened to me. In casual conversation I was talking about one of my children. Smiling, I said a positive. The reducer said in counter,” Yes and your other child was doing such and such.” I blinked . As if I already don’t know how my children behave. I mean it’s not like I spend all day watching their lives play out before me.Here’s what I learned about reducers. They don’t have all the answers! In pointing out the flaws of your life they miss the bright sign pointing at themselves. We are always spouting the Bible verse “thou shalt not judge”. I think we also miss the overwhelming evidence of God telling us to encourage each other, to edify, to uplift.
A reducer expects you to discipline your child on their behalf. DON’T DO IT! Throw away the “help” of the reducer.NEVER discipline your child for what others think. This is performance based parenting and Christians are so guilty of it. My kids were given to me by God. They were born sinners, just like me. They are not spiritual, they are little conformists. Do I expect my kids to always perform for me? Are they robots programmed by a master controller? No, they are kids with personalities and a will of their own. I can train my kids to do right, but in the end I cannot make them. A reducer will only see the negative. This particular reducer practically ran to tell me about my childs misbehavior.( which I already knew via a tattling sibling) Am I saying never to listen to correction? No . I don’t listen to those I know have an ulterior motive in informing me how “bad” my kids are. Trust me I already know the areas they need to work on. I am already working on them. The truth is this reducer makes me sigh every time they come near. I think it’s a “my kids are better than yours.” Here’s what they fail to see. I’m not in competition. I’m trying to please ONE and I don’t live my life based on the opinions of others. I decided to use this for good. I am consciously aware of how I treat others. There are some times I want to say something( and thankfully people can’t read minds) but I always think” do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Do I like being reduced? Do I like this person coming to me informing me of every flaw in my life?( in the name of I am more godly than you)I’m sure this reducer walks away very proud that they helped me grow. Yes, thank you for showing me that I NEVER want to be the one reducing people down to size.
I watched the sun rise this morning. All the colors rose slowly until they met in one burst of brightness. It felt like an eternity. I was sitting there alone doing what people call devotions. It didn’t feel like devotion , it felt like wonder. God was speaking to me. I’m always in a hurry. It might be just my natural inclination or being raised in CT. I’m not sure. Most times I don’t even know why the hurry. It’s just. hurry to get school done, hurry to prepare supper, hurry to church. It’s so exhausting. I am not in a position to hurry right now. I guess God is trying to slow me down. You could say I wrestled with God. I hate admitting that I’m in pain, so here it is. I’m in pain. I read this morning. “Life is not an Emergency. Life is brief and is fleeting but it is not an Emergency.” Ann Voskamp I think of yesterday. The moments I want to take time to remember. All of us standing behind Joel praying he finally beats the boss on Timez attack. He had tried 32 times. We all feel his pain. Failure is not an option for him. He finally got those last three facts. We all cheered. I could have missed that moment. I had so much to do. In this moment I decided to stop. I joined in the struggle. It felt like my victory. Dyslexia has many aspects to it. Memory is really affected by it. Sequencing, memorizing steps in math, all affected. I know that the Dyslexia movement keeps saying it’s a gift. I wonder if they ask a child who has it. In hind sight one can always say it was a gift, but in the struggle, sometimes all you see is the struggle. I told my husband yesterday as we watched Joel build a fort in the front yard ” you would never know he is the same kid who took 32 times to beat a level on his Timez attack. He is happy, confident hammering away( with my husbands tools he is sure to lose.) I know why he built it in the front yard and not on the rest of our 60 acres. He wanted his dad to come home and see his fort. He was super proud. Today I just wanted to remember the moment. Each tiny, little moment. Haste makes waste people say. I know why, we are in such a hurry to get to the next moment we miss the magic of the one we are in.
Gotta go. I’m missing the sunshine and many magical moments.
It’s one of those days. I don’t like complaining. You wont find me updating my Facebook status. I don’t tell my husband. I wont even call my family. The pain of my back and my nerve have taken over. I don’t feel like home educating. My kids don’t know. I just wake up. The pains there. I say “not today.” This started for me when my youngest was five months. Now here I am with two back surgeries. In a world where surgery is sociably unacceptable, where the chiropractor seems to be “god”. What do I do? I have no substitute teacher. I could be the super mom and push through the pain. My kids know this mom. She’s not fun. Isn’t that what we Christians do though. God gave me these kids to raise. This is my job. I need to raise them. I mean if I don’t do algebra today my children will be ruined for life. I have been through every scenario where I guilted myself into pushing past the pain. I have become the super “godly” mom to keep educating. God has reminded me lately though that even our Lord got tired. That it really is okay to take a day off. I admit it is hard for me. I have to just let it all go. For people like moms that’s nearly impossible. We are the givers. We do the doing. To let others help. That is where the struggle comes. You may not have a back problem. What if your brain is just fried. Oh man, I have been there. I have been where I can’t think. You know like Winnie the Pooh, think, think, think. I’m just done. I want out. Other moms tend to “help” here too. They will say things like “oh I just love home schooling” You know and your thinking, really because right now I’d like to be in Costa Rica! Don’t worry Homeschooling moms can lie too! Don’t compare yourselves to their lie. Everyone has their days. I don’t NEED to home educate. God has chosen to have me home educate. I can’t tell you the days I have pleaded for my nerve pain to go away. I have a pain management regime I follow, but some days there isn’t enough I can do. I just don’t feel like doing my job. Do you know what God does for me? It comes in the form of a phone call. One of my best friends in the whole world. My husbands grandma. She’ll call. I say “Hi Grandma.”
Thinking I am giving nothing away she’s “Barb what’s wrong.?”UGH, I am trying to make her life easier and she picks up on it every time. We share back pain so she knows. We pray for each other. God knows your needs. Sometimes He is like the calm before the springtime. Yesterday the birds were singing. Joel said” Mom I can’t believe those birds are singing.” I stopped and listened. He would notice.It started snowing yesterday. It was just like God saying,” Don’t get discouraged spring really is going to come.” Spring will come for you. Just take a day off. Listen for God . Do something fun with your kids. Maybe read to them, bake cookie.Most of all, LAUGH. Be the mom, not the teacher. I know it gets hard. I don’t always feel like home educating. I don’t today. Don’t waste the time you have with regret. God gave this time you have to use wisely. Life will not fall apart in one day. When you don’t feel like home educating. Take a day off. Be just a mom, a happy, carefree SMILING mom.
11 For,lo,the winter is past,the rain is over and gone;
12 The flowers appear on the earth ;the time of the singing of the birds is come….. Song of Solomon 2:11,12
Spring is Coming. You will begin again. God gives new beginnings. If I can begin anew even in my pain, so can you!