Monday, March 3, 2014

Dare I Say the 'S' Word?

I don't like using the 's' word, especially about myself, but my heart has been pricked again and again until I was forced to finally admit it...I'm selfish.  I didn't think I was being selfish, but the Lord knows my heart and He pegged it accurately-selfishness is at the root of some of my issues.

Okay, let me give you the biggest selfish act that I have had to deal with over these last couple of weeks.-"me time." Now, before you say, "Ellen, everyone needs time alone" let me explain. Over the last several months I found myself, for example, doing a job quickly just so I could get it done and somehow find a 'minute of peace.' I even raced through playing a board game with my little one just so I could say, "I played the game with you, and now mommy needs to check her facebook. (!) I noticed I was doing it here and there and not getting any real alone time, nor was I ever satisfied. Before I knew it I would be called by one of the kids and had to jump back into life, but then I was agitated. I was constantly looking for 'me time,' not getting it and feeling frustrated. So, how is this selfish? Well, I wasn't taking time to do the things that I, as a mom, a homeschooling mom and wife, needed to do. I was racing through my work- I was running.

In my quiet time of prayer with the Lord I asked Him, "What am I running for? "What am I running from?" Slowly He began to show me. I was feeling overwhelmed with my responsibility of homeschooling my six children. It felt like it was all too much and I was drowning with the all the book reports, reading, grading tests, and preparing their report cards. I was remembering how I used to have these great Bible times with the children and now they weren't so great. "How do I get it back?" I was thinking about, "How do I cook, clean and teach the kids and somehow find time for me?  I just couldn't face it. And then I thought, "What's the point of facing this when I know what the answer was..."Get back to work, Ellen!" I have to be honest with you I was scared to face it.  But as I did face it with God. He gave me a new schedule and plan for getting in all my work with the children each day, and even a really wonderful Bible time.

Okay, so, here is the new schedule:

6:30am - 7am        Breakfast
7am - 7:30am        Clean up breakfast, get dressed, do morning chores
7:30am -8am         Bible Time (Totally psyched about our time together!)
8am-9:30am          Teaching time with two youngest
9:30am-10:30am   Teaching time with my 6th grader
10:30am-11:30am Teaching time with my 4th  graders
11:30am                Clean up (a little) prepare lunch
1pm-3pm              Teaching time with my 8th grader

(My eighth grader and I work in the kitchen now and I'm finding when he doesn't need me, I stay in the kitchen, but start preparing dinner. By the time I finish working with him, my diner is just about done).

School is officially done for the day at 3pm-that is for me! That includes giving quizzes and tests, grading them, marking it down on the progress reports, checking homework, review work and new work.

At three o'clock I feel like I have not only spent good quality time with each of my children, but I have accomplished what is in my heart to do. At three o'clock I tell my kids that I want to have my Bible time and I do. No one interrupts me. I am alone for about half and hour with the Lord. I come out feeling refreshed and ready to face the rest of my day.

In the evenings I am not sitting at the table grading tests, or preparing for the next day. I am restful. I have each evening free to spend time with my husband, work on my blog, complete the Pre-K curriculum I am writing, bake...whatever. I no longer have a pit in my stomach full of fear of all the things I have to do and get done because it is already done. I feel confident now. I feel in charge. The kids have quickly fallen in love with the schedule and it is running smoothly. (I have to tweak the little ones schedule for the 10:30am -11:30am time, but I confident that the Lord will reveal to me what I should do).

It amazes me how Mommy-life is complete sacrifice again and again. Dying to selfish ways...again and again. I thought it was going to hurt more, but funny, it's not as bad as I thought. And I realized too, that I didn't need all the alone time I had been looking for, because it wasn't a need for true alone time as much as a chance to run away from my many responsibilities. I don't think I ever thought mommyhood would be this hard and yet so rewarding at the same time.

I hope you got something out of all this...I know it's my struggle with selfishness and fear of responsibility, but in some way I hope you benefit from it. I hope you see a loving God who knew my heart better than I did. A God who is gentle, loving and forgiving. A God who really does have a plan for each of our lives. I am completely blessed by the schedule He gave to me, but you may feel overwhelmed by it and that's okay- it's my schedule, not yours. Ask Him to show you, if you need help ordering your day, what will bring order and peace to your day and your heart.

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