Renovation

This is my living room right now:

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You’ll note the assorted pieces of a sleigh bed stashed behind the couch or atop the dog crate, the random rolled-up rug, my messy desk devoid of my photo processing desktop computer, the filing cabinet adorned with two lamps, and so on. If you could look to the right, you’d see a couple of dressers, assorted computer parts, a couple of nightstands, and a whole lot of homeless junk.

Not far beyond that lies a room which used to sport yellow and red handprints on a cheerful blue background, custom cabinets filled with curriculum and home school supplies, three desks, and a whiteboard.

Now the walls are muted to a neutral gray, the paint-stained carpet has been replaced with vinyl planking, and the room currently houses the planking and materials for a new flooring project.

I assure you, this is not the normal state of affairs at our home; we are in a state of flux. My husband has a little breather in his crazy work schedule and we are beginning  a long-desired (and possibly long overdue) removal of the carpet in as many places as we can afford.

Why am I telling you this?

I suppose it is metaphorical. My entire life is in the midst of remodeling project.

One week from today, all three of my children will attend the first day at Zion Christian Academy.  In other words, one week from today, I will officially be out of a job.

Naturally, I will still be parenting. I am assured that job has no end; only changing requirements. But for the first time in 16 years, the full-time parenting, shepherding, and educating of my children that is homeschooling will be at an end. We are in a state of total transition.

So what now? I wish I knew.

Just as this shuffling of furniture brings about much reorganizing and re-evaluating of possessions, so also I am finding myself sorting through many familiar habits and routines and trying to discern which ones will need to stay and which need to be tossed. Some I know must stay – my time with God, my study of His Word; these are non-negotiable. Others, well… we shall see.

Also, as the gutting of rooms brings many discoveries – some of great value like a letter to me from one of the kids when they were young; some less wonderful, like the cigarette butt left beneath the carpet by the builders – so I am finding many discoveries beneath the surface of my life.

Some are bittersweet – an increased intentionality in my time with the kids as the quantity of time together naturally diminishes. Still, each precious moment with my brood is so much sweeter even as they become more rare, so there is great joy.

Other findings are less lovely, like the lack of a college degree coming back to haunt me – the carelessly discarded stub of a reckless and wasted youth buried for years beneath the duties of a homeschool mom.

So today at the age of 43, I am sifting through the topsy-turvy assortment of abilities and desires that have shaped my life, evaluating them for usefulness during this next season, exposing them to my God for examination, and seeking His help in deciding what to keep and what to discard.

At this crossroads, I do not know which direction to take. Until I do, I will simply stand, prayerfully exploring my options and ready to obey once the order is given. It is a season of transition; a humbling time of reckoning for past decisions and a painful exercise in trusting God to reveal His purposes for me. During it all, I doggedly cling to the promise that His grace is sufficient for me even as I survey the wreckage necessary for renovation.

And I praise Him that no matter how crazy or hopeless things look to me now, the work He is doing will be well worth it in the end. Just like our new floors.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…

…And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:25-26, 28

What’s New With Me

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

I know I’ve been something of a random poster these days; sometimes once a week, sometimes less. There are various reasons why, but today I thought I’d share the most complicated one of them with you.

You see, quite a bit has changed in my life lately. After 15 years of full-time motherhood and 10 of homeschooling, my oldest two (tenth grade and eighth grade) are attending a private school. While I still homeschool the youngest, this has been a rather dramatic alteration in our lifestyle and schedule.

Now instead of letting the kids sleep until 7:00, the older two get up at 6:00. The youngest gets up at 5:00 — don’t ask me why. She’s just like that. We do our Bible studies in the predawn hour but in separate rooms. It’s kind of cool, actually.

Instead of a quick trot to the school room, I am now hauling two of them on a thirty-minute drive south. That’s thirty minutes one-way, which means an hour is spent in the morning commute.

The youngest either comes along or stays home and works on her own schooling, depending on my husband’s schedule. Also, depending on his schedule, that hour commute is sometimes doubled.  Either way, there I am standing with one foot in two worlds.

And then, of course, there are activities and extracurricular events. There is church and community group. There is striving to find the time to stay in shape — or rather, in some semblance of shape — despite an odd assortment of injuries I have managed to accumulate, apparently just to keep things interesting.

I am also endeavoring to learn Hebrew; a task at which I am progressing at a snail’s pace. A dead snail’s pace. But it’s great fun, probably because I am the quintessential nerd.

Also at this stage of my life, there are the teenage years and puberty happening all around, along with the great emotional needs that accompanies this life stage, much more intense and exhausting than the toddler years as far as I can see. Or maybe I’m just exhausted because of age… or because of chronic migraine and its various treatments… or just because.

And so on, and so forth.

But to me, personally, the biggest, most exciting, and yet most frustrating new thing is that I have finished the first draft of a novel.

No, really. It’s true. It doesn’t seem possible to me, but it is true.

As a matter of fact, I am writing these words now with something of a guilty conscience, mainly because I am taking a break from rewriting a stubborn paragraph that simply will not come together.

All the while I am hiding from my intractable characters that have chosen this night not to behave and docilely speak sensible sentences as they ought, my Hebrew vocabulary cards are staring at me balefully, reminding me that I have not even glanced at them today and here it is eight o’clock at night.

But that’s another matter. The crazy, exhilarating, and intimidating truth is that I have actually typed out an entire novel and am working through the revision.

So what’s next?

Who knows? I consider it highly unlikely the thing will be published, but then that is in God’s hands, as is everything else.

Either way, I look to Him for wisdom in all of it — the rewriting, putting out feelers for publication, raising my teens and tweens, homeschooling, private schooling, being a wife, facilitating a small group, prayer meetings at church– all of it. It is either all for His glory, or it is worthless.

Either way, I am praying almost all the time these days because, frankly, I need God every second of every minute of every day no matter what I am working on.

So that’s basically all that’s new with me! Drop a line sometime and let me know what’s new with you. 🙂