Monday, November 7, 2016

As the Lord Commanded

An alternate title could be Discouraged, Depressed, and Ready To Quit.

The month of October was difficult.

Not many people know the challenges we faced or how stressful the last 5 weeks have been. Without giving too many details, I'll list a few of  our struggles.

  • A child with an injury that would have sent him to the ER.
  • A husband with an impacted wisdom tooth that developed into an infection that covered half of his face and resulted in extreme pain.
  • A husband who had an oral surgery that was "traumatic" and "one of the worst" surgeries the doctor had ever seen and caused multiple complications.
  • A sickness for the children.
  • Another sickness for the children.
  • And yet another sickness for the children.
  • A child with a croupy cough that almost sent him to the ER and kept the family awake for hours in the night.
  • A child with a persistent disrespectful and rebellious spirit.
  • A child with an allergic reaction that sent him to Urgent Care.
  • A child with hives that lasted for weeks, causing itchiness, pain, and discomfort.

As a mom, one of my main jobs is to take care of everyone. My husband had that surgery and severe pain for weeks and at the same time all 5 children were very sick. I bounced around trying to make them all as comfortable as I could. As soon as the last child was better, the first one picked up a completely different bug, and the cycle continued. Our family who rarely gets sick, just could not get healthy. I felt helpless and overwhelmed as I watched the ones I love most suffer much physical pain.

Then, the not-quite-2-year-old broke out in ugly hives. Big, red blotches covered his body. A handful of home remedies, steroids, and allergy meds--nothing made a difference. My boy who normally runs around terrorizing the house all day, wanted Mama to hold him and nurse him every waking second. As far as nighttime, he has never been a good sleeper. In nearly 2 years of life, I can count on one hand how many times he's slept through the night. One hand. That's over 700 nights of restless sleep. I know exhaustion. Yet this past month was elevated to a new level. He was so irritable, so itchy, that he slept an hour or two before waking up whining. The rest of the night he insisted on staying attached to me. Night after night. Not only can I not fall asleep with him nursing, I became sore and dreaded him asking for that comfort. And while it's not unusual for him to get up for an hour or two to play in the middle of the night, this month it became more nights than not--2--3--4 hours at a time. Then just as I'd get him to fall asleep again, the other kids would begin to wake.

I was beyond exhausted.      

Chronic sleep deprivation, along with the increased stress of the other issues, began to show evidence. I experienced my own physical ailments, became short-fused, lost my ambition, and felt lonely and overwhelmed. Discouragement filled my days.

The house. The chores. The children. The schooling. Nothing seemed to be going right. I just couldn't catch up. Being someone who very much likes to be in control, it was difficult to admit that I couldn't handle it. I poured out my heart to my husband.

It became clear that something needed to change. My body was betraying me. And so were my emotions. I could not continue to get only a couple hours of sleep consistently and still keep up with everything else. But what? Where could I be remiss? Housework was not an option. A messy, cluttered house is stressful for me and would only have aggravated the problem. Cooking couldn't be overlooked, because the family expects to eat every day. Schooling wasn't an option either. Or was it?

The more I considered it, the more I began to believe our schooling situation was the variable that could be changed. I hated to think it. We are in our seventh year of homeschooling. My kids know nothing else. I have always loved it, even through the difficult times. What kind of teacher could I really be though if I were sleep deprived and wanting to hide from responsibility all day?  I realized that the older three could go to school in January for the second semester of this year. That would leave just the two little ones at home with me. I wouldn't have nearly as much to do during the the day. No more being responsible for the education of my children. No more dealing with attitudes when the assignments bothered them. Not nearly as much of a mess made--dishes, toys, books, papers. And I would even have the opportunity to sneak a nap in when the baby did. Hopefully, by the time school started up again next fall, the little one would be sleeping, and we could go back to our passion of schooling at home.

I prayed about it. And prayed about it. And as much as I disliked the idea, I really saw no other option. My husband and I briefly discussed it before leaving for church on Wednesday night. I was upset. With myself. The situation. Everything.

That night, our pastor had us turn to Joshua 11:15.

"As the Lord commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; 
he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses."

By the time he finished reading the verse, my eyes were filled with tears. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses. There was the answer to my prayer. There, sitting in that pew, I heard the Lord's reply. It was not that "still small voice;" it was the strength of the wind, the power of the earthquake, the heat of the fire. I knew sending my little ones to school--even for a season--was not what He wanted.

No, I'm not claiming homeschooling is the best option for every family. But it is for ours. As the Lord commanded. Before Leighton and I had kids, we knew we'd homeschool. We had that settled. And, who knows, maybe one day it will be best for us to choose another option, but I know that for now, homeschooling is what we need. Homeschooling is what He commanded.

I spent the entire service trying not to bawl. I heard His answer, but still, "How, Lord? How can I go on?"

Trust Me, child. 

"But I'm so tired. I can't do this."

I know. Trust Me. 

In the midst of everything, I felt a peace. Yes, my children were still sick. Yes, my littlest one was still suffering. Yes, I still felt I was drowning. Yes, I was still spending the greater portion of the nights awake. My circumstances had not changed at all. But I had strength in His reply. 

As the Lord commanded.  

Getting that settled in my heart was not going to help with my physical issues though. We had to implement some changes. The kids gained a little more responsibility around the house in order to help out more. And I purchased a few freezer meals that I could just pop in the oven on super stressful days. (The kids accepted the chores better than that one, ha. The day I set one of those meals on the table, I got weird looks and was asked, "What is that?") I make nearly everything from scratch and we eat very little processed foods, so this was not easy for me. I had to admit that I cannot do it all. I am not Super Mom. It's ok. Just feed your children.

The past few days have been better. Chaotic. Loud. Busy.


Everyone is healthy again, attitudes are good, and the little one is back to just sleeping poorly, instead of practically not sleeping at all.

And we're still schooling at home--through the good and the bad--as the Lord commanded.

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  1. Beautiful, honest post! Love it and love 'ya Erika! YOU are NOT alone!

  2. Been there, felt that. But we also believe that homeschooling is the right choice for us at this time. I LOVE how the Lord is working and showing us that we can find strength in HIM. We as stay-at-home moms NEED to know that we are NOT ALONE!!!! Thanks Erika.