[bl]W[/bl]e all have them in our life. The people and commitments that keep us living on the fine line between gracious and graceless. They’re the things we feel called to. The people we are responsible for. The mission placed before us. The job we go to daily.
We’re thankful for what’s been given to us. That God would entrust us with the responsibility. That he would call us to participate. And in our gratitude, our lips speak words of grace and our hands lift to praise.
But these are also the things that empty us. Consume us. Leave us thirsty and dry. And in our fatigue our lips speak graceless hurt. And our hands gather to fists in frustration.
This thing for me is homeschooling.
I am fully convinced it’s currently the faithful way of education for our family as we live out our values and mission. But I never cease feeling the weight of the sacrifice and commitment of our decision. When I assume the role as teacher, my other responsibilities as mother, wife and homemaker don’t just go away. And it doesn’t relieve me from engaging friendships and ministry outside of our home. It’s as if I’m performing a juggling act and if I answer the phone or stop to discipline a child or decide to clean out a closet – everything tumbles to the ground and it’s near impossible to pick up all the pieces and begin again.
The privilege of experiencing my children learning and growing all day long has me thanking God for all the provisions it takes for me to do this well. For the blessing that comes from this ever present family in my home. But the pressure to balance the cleaning and feeding, educating and training often has me short tempered and irritable. And it’s my family – you know the people I’m doing it all for – that receive the sharp words and frustrated behavior.
Why does grace seem to be less available to the ones we love the most?
It’s this joyful privilege and pressure that keeps me on the fine line between gracious and graceless.
I realize it’s a decision. This always with my children. This hardly stopping to rest. This never alone. But even though it’s my decision and desire, it’s still hard. And there are many days I wish my days looked different. I chose this way of education knowing it would be one of the hardest things I would do.
But it’s these hard things in our life that reveal our truest self. The ugly and the good. The tendencies of our spirit and flesh. And so it’s these very things that keep us turning to the Father. Seeking his grace to cover our graceless.
And without these things that keep us on the line, would we really even know how to be thankful? If we weren’t challenged and stretched. If we didn’t grow and learn from the hard, would our heart ever learn how rely on God for strength and endurance?
I’m excited for our school year. For the countless moments that I get to capture with my children. And my heart is taking notes on how to offer grace to my learning children and my working husband during these months when grace empties sooner in me.
And today as the pencils are sharpening
As I gather our curriculum
And as the hands of my children pick up books
I wonder what your things are. What keeps you on the fine line? What has you both gracious and graceless?
May God continually fill us as we empty ourselves for his glory. As we give to others. As we use our resources. And when we feel the weight of it all, when we notice depletion, when resentment begins to grow – my prayer is that we stop. Lift our hands in praise, speak words of gratitude and remember that his purposes are worth it all. And he promises to fill our cup.