Today I find my heart in reflection mode. Looking back. Remembering. Reaching back so that I can propel forward.
Another academic year has arrived and for most families that brings a time of planning and new beginnings.
To plan well, we first must reflect and take stock of what is going well and what needs to be adjusted. Sometimes we can just look back to yesterday and sometimes we have to go all the way back to where it began. That’s where my heart is today.
Recalling this now 7-year journey of homeschooling and wondering how I got here and how that first day of bringing Emma home from public school has become so many days of doing life together with some very dear friends: moms who go against the grain, swim upstream, and live outside of the box of societal norms.
My heart remembers the night I stood in our church hallway and poured out my insecurities to a veteran homeschooling mom who told me, “I was enough.” When I tried to convince her I was out of my league, she gently reminded me that if God gave me children, then I was the perfect choice for them and them for me. In her mind, her words may have just been noise from her lips but for me they were fuel to the kindling of the fire God was stirring in my soul.
Motherhood was always my dream yet not completely my vision. It hadn’t happened easily. Too many negative tests that disappointed, too many miscarriages had added bricks to the walls around my heart. Too many baby showers for other people had left me empty of vision for a family of my own. Too many glimpses into other families to believe my mess of a life could be a place of haven and harbor for little souls to flourish.
And like a crash landing, Emma Grace slammed into our lives at 27 weeks gestation. This two-pound medical mess with insurmountable odds had given me the title: mommy. Educating her was not even on the radar. Simply keeping her alive one day at a time was consuming. After watching God’s miracles over and over again in her little body, somehow those days added up and it was time for kindergarten. What now?
Seeking counsel and doing our research, we decided to place her in the public school system’s special education environment. God had already lined up the teacher and assistant who would love her and care for her while my body went through even more pregnancies and loss and then finally our last child was born, completing God’s vision for our family.
Four years later, through a series of events that God allowed and used to prepare my heart, we brought her home and began our journey and life style of home schooling. It is the journey I most enjoy in life. I had never known what title to give this “style” of life…this way of living as a family. It isn’t about the curriculum, the books, the meetings, the field trips…it’s about our belief that God put us together in a family for a reason and we are to fulfill His plan of touching the world for eternity through our home. We Parris-people are to be a team that becomes the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting and empty world. We are to love God supremely, serve others diligently, live intentionally, and laugh loudly and often!
This crazy, unpredictable life isn’t just for those who educate at home. Where our children receive their education is far less important than how we live and function as a family…inside the walls of shelter God provides. This life, this intentional, on-purpose pursuit of truth and seeking ways to live fully and following Godly principles…this is the journey worth taking.
And on this journey, an amazing byproduct of living life hard and well is the journey-mates we meet along the way. Kindred spirits who get why we do life the way we do. Friends who fall in step and love us in our mess. People who understand that we are at best…frail, human sinners who happen to love God and try each day to just be a bit better than yesterday.
These people…they make the journey fun. They make the trip bearable when the road has potholes that threaten to pull us under. They hold our arms up when we grow weary. They celebrate our success, cheer our achievements, shelter our failures and soften our heartaches.
How blessed my journey is because of these journey-mates. These amazing people are MINE…friends who I don’t deserve, iron-sharpening souls who I couldn’t have imagined would do life with me, and deep, abiding kindred spirits that I don’t want to live without!
Who are the journey-mates God has placed on your path. Love them well, serve them fully, and hold their hearts securely. We only get this life journey once!