My Pictures Look Magical, But I'm In The Trenches!

We started our first year of homeschool this week.

I put all the cutsey, happy pictures up on Facebook and Instagram. But do you want to know a secret? What I really felt wasn't all cutsey and happy, actually. Sure, I thought my girls looked adorable in their uniforms that we chose to have them wear to help them distinguish between playtime and school time. And there were moments when I thought, 'We're really going to enjoy this.'

But most of the week was overwhelming.

One morning I got up before the rest of the family to think about why I was so overwhelmed, and I realized that what I was feeling was that same old feeling that I've felt at other big intersections of being a mother, like: becoming a mom, staying home alone with two girls while my husband went back to work, potty training, sending my daughter to kindergarten (and therefore starting to embark on the 'letting go' stage of parenting).

It's that nagging feeling inside that I'm just not sure that I HAVE WHAT IT TAKES to do this part of mothering.

I remember when I first became a mother I really had to grapple with this. I kept thinking, "I don't know if I'm really CUT OUT for this, for being a mother. I don't know if I have it in me." It was a big doubt for me. I kept questioning, even up until my first daughter's first birthday, if I was 'cut out' for mothering. 

And I still question myself...all the time. Do I have what it takes?

Choosing to homeschool is making me face this question again. Am I smart enough to think through educational philosophies and understand what they entail? Am I wise enough to choose which educational philosophy and how I want my daughters to learn? Am I restful enough, still enough, motivated enough to be able to sit down and spend ALL DAY with my girls? Am I a good enough leader to be able to create a place of learning that is magical and full of wonder for them? Will I be able to explain things well enough to them that they learn? 

So as we climbed the stairs to our little school room this week, our pictures on social media may have looked magical to the world, but the feelings I had inside of me were certainly not magical. They were overwhelmed, concerned, worried, intimidated and unsure.

In the middle of my less-than-magical feelings, I read this little blurb on Instagram about an author that I really enjoy:

So I decided that even though my personal 'trenches' this September aren't as tough as announcing a separation, they are MY trenches. And I want to show up...'in the during.' In the middle of my process. Before I'm settled in my spirit about all the answers and all the comforts that will carry me through the school year.

So, for anyone else out there who is in similar shoes as me, who is muddling through their own 'during,' I'm just going to share some resources that have started to speak to my soul already.

The first is an article from Desiring God blog. I think alot of where I need to come to in my mind over and over and over again is the place of being ok with weakness- because it leads me to a place of needing God and crying out to Him. And relying on Him for all the things: wisdom, patience, energy, parenting's such a good place to hope in Him. This article describes the beauty of weakness so well:

Embracing Weakness Will Change Your Life

In a similar vein, the next thing that is encouraging me is found in this blog post, Missional Motherhood. It's a short paragraph that gripped me when I read it. It reminded me of my 'place' as a mother, the ok-ness of my frailty: how right and ordained it is to be weak.

"First, we get a grip on being a jar of clay.

Not one mother can claim to have it all together. Being a fragile, common jar of clay means that we are free to enjoy and appropriate the sufficient grace of God and show the world that “the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (see 2 Corinthians 4:7–10). Because Christ’s strength is made perfect through weak moms, we are free to lose the pretense that we are self-sufficient moms. Instead, we can boast all the more gladly of our weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest on us and fuel our contentment (2 Corinthians 12:9–10)."

On the other hand, I ALSO need to come to a place of finding out that, as I call on God, I CAN do the things God has asked me to do...because He is with me and He made me and He has given me what I need to follow Him into these new areas. Essentially, I do have what it takes to walk into this new area, because God Himself promises and provides it. Here's resource number two, straight from God's Word:

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Hebrews 13:20

I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] 

Philippians 4:13

Lastly, there are a few songs that I've been listening to. I typically am most helped by songs when I actually stop all my other activities and multi-tasking and just lay on the floor...or go for a run or a walk...or sit on my couch and listen to the song. It's like I remember who I am in those still moments. It's like my soul was as dry as a desert and then it's being plunged into a cup of water and just soaking in the truth that it so desperately needs. Here are some that have been a good reminder of truth for me:

So there you have it. Some of the resources and content that have been helping good old "Mrs. Teacher," the new homeschool mom, grapple through this new adjustment, as I come up against the same old doubt that says, "I'm not sure if I have what it takes." 

May they bless someone else out there who is also hanging out in the trenches with me this September. <3