Friday, February 13, 2015

Hard Moments and Little Vacations

It's been one of those weird homeschool weeks where all my resolve from the beginning of the year till now to STAY ON TASK and hold tight to the bucking bronco of homeschool.... simply wained and fell!

It started with a phone call in the middle of an algebra lesson on Monday.  My step-sister's voice seemed tiered as she attempted a cheerful salutation then began explaining how my step-mom had decided to refuse chemo.  The cancer, which has lived a year in her lungs, was not responding to the highest level of chemo they could issue.  Weary from the fight, she was giving up the loosing battle. I was dazed.  Stunned.  Even though I knew this news was coming.  My heart ached... the term heart-sick had tangible meaning.  My scramblings to secure airfare for a final hello/good-bye fell through the cracks as we all prepare for weeks instead of months left. There are deep-heart issues which spin around my family and this news.  Let it simply suffice to say, at this time, the death sentence of cancer is never easy to take, especially not in circumstances like ours.

 The kids and I filled our afternoon that day with a health movie on circulation and white blood cells on the attack via the Magic School Bus for it's humor and light-hearted material. I no longer had the energy to do jumping jacks and discuss taking our pulses.  I needed to place my thoughts and grasp towards peace. At the end of the program we pulled out our new Clue board game.  It seemed I had more ability to teach strategy at that moment then I had for health concepts.  Ironic.

It is this weight of life which hung around my neck heading into Tuesday.  I had a triple task:
  1. attempt to keep our regular school schedule including history studies in the afternoon
  2. start helping at a new Bible club with CEF
  3. don my sack-cloth as David once did.  (To mourn the sick and dieing as is appropriate... right?)
But the gloom was too heavy.  My children, who have not been able to form a relationship with their grandma (due to distance and communication) couldn't quite understand my bereaved mood.  I couldn't expect them too.

 As the day trudged on my weariness allowed History to turn into another round of Clue.  I wanted desperately to be prepared with a heart felt smile for the children at club before the day was through.  I snuck away for a short space of quiet praying and seeking.  I felt as though God met me as understanding dawned: I can choose hope and joy in the midst of this sadness.  I can and should focus on Jesus for peace... no amount of mourning would change the circumstance.   No one would blame me for my melancholy mood but the peace of Jesus also meant I had the freedom to enjoy His presence to overcome my heartache.  I had experienced this glimmer of rest when my own mother passed away suddenly 13 years ago.  I could have that peace again.

I stepped from my quiet spot praising and thanking God for His divine comfort.  I was renewed, even if still heavy hearted, I could smile and hope and give my kids and our club my all.  And I did!

As I welcomed renewed strength, by bedtime Tuesday night, Ashley was coming down with a bad head-cold.  As ready as I was to finish our week stronger than we started it, I also knew that sometimes we simply need a break.  The kids have worked hard since Christmas break ended over a month ago.  So, I instructed them to leave their alarms off and Wednesday morning I announced a mini vacation!

I would like to say we have been constructive with our down time.... but the only thing we have been constructive about is doing nothing!  I did manage the outlines for a website upgrade my darling husband is helping me with!!  Super excited about that.  Otherwise, it has been rather lawless in my house since about noon Wednesday!  I did warn them though: ENJOY it because when we hit the books back up on Monday, we will be in FULL SWING until spring break at the end of March!

I have to admit, though, this break wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for the wonderful host of the linky party I am hitting today.  Last week, Kris Bales of Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers, shared in her Weekly Wrap up a tiny statement which had a HUGE (almost prophetic) impact on me:  "I will not be a slave to my curriculum".  While we do need to be careful to not take too many liberties as homeschoolers, her point was well made in recognizing how sometimes we just NEED a break.  Public schoolers take them with teacher in service days and school holidays and so on.  Why shouldn't homeschoolers from time to time?  So I gave myself permission to lay down the curriculum and simply breathe.

We are all enjoying the benefits already and, yes, even the kids are looking forward to starting back up on Monday while they immensely enjoy this impromptu partial vacation!  I don't want to seem insensitive to the plight of my family back east.  My heart continues to ache and my prayers are constantly lifted up. I know, when that final call comes, it won't be an easy day then either. God has, however, given me the ability to both live and pray with hope in the same breath.  This is the step I choose.

I pray you give yourself permission for life's little vacations when you need them and that you find hope to walk forward even in life's hardest moments. Jesus did, we can too!
I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 
My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
 - Psalm 34:1-8


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  1. My heart aches as I read this. You see I understand more than you will ever know. I was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I homeschool my kids and they have shared my pain and their faith has grown. I had treatment and have fought valiantly. I have lived much much longer then anticipated--thank you Lord! Just know it's not about being there if a flight doesn't come through. It's about the love you share, the faith you both have in our Saviour, and supporting her emotionally when ever she needs it.....your family is in my prayers.

    1. Thank you for your encouraging comment. It blesses my heart. Unfortunately, the deepest hurt I have in this time is that my step-mom is not saved. She is angry with God and it doesn't help that my dad is an atheist (think Professor Radison in God's Not Dead). As a result, my family and I have been estranged for many years. When I became a full time missionary it seemed to be too much and what few calls I got dwindled to nothing unless a sibling decided to call me with tragic news like deaths in the family and my step-mom's cancer. My step-mom did ask for me, but has not responded to any of my messages to talk. She is searching though. She is realizing she NEEDS to make amends with the Lord and I have one step sister who is trying to help her in that direction. My greatest prayer at this point is that she would come into repentance and accept her savior before she takes her last breath. I have made amends with all past hurts... I am Trusting Jesus to help her do the same. It would be so much easier if I could just be sure I got to see her in eternity... I hate to think of anyone spending an eternity elsewhere. I pray you continue to be the miraculous victor in your battle with cancer!

  2. I'm just visiting from Weekly Wrap Up. I'm praying for peace for your family.