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.
It is this weight of life which hung around my neck heading into Tuesday. I had a triple task:
- attempt to keep our regular school schedule including history studies in the afternoon
- start helping at a new Bible club with CEF
- don my sack-cloth as David once did. (To mourn the sick and dieing as is appropriate... right?)
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 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
Linking up today with: