I have been thinking a lot lately about how everyone has a story. How every single person I meet has a different story. How I have a story. We all have hopes and fears, joys and sorrows that are often hidden deep in our hearts, we all have different journeys that life has taken us on.
All this thinking about stories really started this last fall when I read Donald Miller's book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story.
"Somehow we realize that great stories are told in conflict, but we are unwilling to embrace the potential greatness of the story we are actually in. We think God is unjust, rather than a master storyteller."
I have a story. And it is more than what you see on this blog. Of course this blog is definitely a reflection of me and my life, but it is not the whole picture. No one's blog is. My life is full of beauty and joy and heartache and pain. And I share pieces of it all. But not everything.
Part of my story is that this year has been really hard for my little family. In ways that would never be appropriate or comfortable to share in this space. We have been challenged and stretched, in good ways, but really difficult ways. God has been and is so faithful and so good and we see evidence of Him taking care of us every single day. But of course, we still struggle, we still hurt and wonder and ask why.
"I've wondered, though, if one of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don't want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgement. We don't want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage. And if life isn't remarkable, then we don't have to do any of that; we can be unwilling victims rather than grateful participants."
I told a dear friend this last weekend that while I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is very present and is here to offer us grace and peace (especially during hard times), I have realized lately that I have not been completely open to receiving His grace and peace and comfort in my own life. I have tried to stay in control because I am so fearful of letting go. I am so fearful of what sacrifices, what changes the Lord will ask of me.
"This is what I've come to believe about change: it's good in the way that childbirth is good, and failure is good. By that I mean that it's incredibly painful, exponentially more so if you fight it, and also that it has the potential to open you up, to open life up, to deliver you right into the palm of God's hand, which is where you wanted to be all along, except that you were too busy pushing and pulling your life into exactly what you thought it should be."
Bittersweet (another really beautiful + inspiring book that I have been reading this week)
So this last weekend, I decided to let go. To open my heart fully to whatever it is that God asks of me, to whatever ways He wants to carry this burden for me and pour His grace and peace and comfort into my life, into my little family's lives.
He asked me to do something HUGE.
Something that requires a lot of trust. A lot of letting go. A lot of facing fears.
My little ones are starting preschool next week.
I know. It probably doesn't sound that huge or significant or scary to you. But to me it is all those things.
You see I have this very big dream in my heart. I really want to homeschool my kids.
But right now, for this season of our lives, it is not working.
I am completely and totally overwhelmed with taking care of my family and getting us through this difficult time. Yet I have also been consumed with guilt and feelings of failure every single day because my kids' education is not looking like I want it to, like it needs to. Now granted, I know Audrey and Elliot are just three and five, so I shouldn't be too stressed out. But this was supposed to be our trial year; Audrey starts kindergarten next year. So we wanted to spend this year testing the waters, seeing if we could make it work.
And I have loved it. My kids have loved it. The problem is that we are so inconsistent. Days, weeks go by with hardly any school because I am carrying an even bigger burden than my kids' education on my shoulders right now.
I have to be realistic. Homeschooling is more than I can handle right now. I am hoping that that won't always be the case, that someday (hopefully this autumn), we'll be ready to give it a shot again. However, right now I know in my heart that preschool will be so so good for my little ones. I have no doubt that they are going to love it there and completely thrive.
We made the decision on Sunday. I called my first choice preschool first thing Monday morning. Audrey got the very last spot in her class; Elliot got the best three year old teacher in the school. God is good. God is faithful.
And I already feel like the burden is lighter.