When you have a less than stellar year…

Last fall I stepped into our school year expecting it to be more difficult. It was our first year of setting up our fall homeschool conference, my children had jobs and would be working many days until late fall, my husband takes all of December off as vacation… you know how easy it is to do school while Daddy is on vacation ;)…. and then there is Christmas busy-ness… I truly didn’t expect to have a great start to our school schedule until January 3rd of 2016.

I was prepared for a less than stellar year. I also have been around long enough to know that when I am doing what God wants me to do I should expect opposition. I’ll say it again. If you are doing what is right, expect opposition! Expect it to be hard with obstacles in your way. If you step out in obedience and teach your children, and take them to church, and teach them the Bible, and pray, and obey the Bible that you are studying… expect tremendous opposition. It means you are on the right track. I’m pretty sure Satan doesn’t like sold-out, self-sacrificing moms. Get used to it.

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Maybe you had a crazy year, too. Maybe you had a pregnancy, illness, depression, a husband that lost his job, didn’t get along with your kids… But I am here to say that even in those years that don’t seem to go right at all you can still learn so much! DO NOT GIVE UP!!! In years to come you will be so encouraged to look back and see all that your family learned in those busy times, those difficult times, those exhausting I-just-want-to-stay-in-bed-until-its-all-over times. And it is when you hit those crazy hard times that the Lord’s deliverance is right around the corner. It’s just that so many of us give up at the hardest point and miss the huge blessing after we endure.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.” James 1:12                     So Stick with it and see what God has in store!

Since I realized in August that it would be difficult to accomplish all I had set out to do in our school calendar I stepped up the tiger-mom in me a bit. We made sure we got as much done as we could on the good and sane days. I was amazed at how far we got. I’m so glad I didn’t give up and give in before even starting, because…the year got a lot harder, real fast. I know that the Lord was pushing me to get more done on the days it worked out because He knew what was going to be happening later on.

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That night that I got the call that dad was in the hospital and they had just found a massive brain tumour turned our year upside down even more. At that point school wasn’t important anymore. So the next couple of months were spent driving to the city whenever possible, praying like crazy through my days, and being thoroughly preoccupied with the bigger issues of life. School was still done, but we cut out all extras and kept it to the three R’s on the days we could fit it in. At this point I was so thankful to have been consistent through the busy start to our year.

I was learning a lot through this time. Tumours will do that to you. Forced me into the Word even more and made me see everything in a new light. It brings perspective. It brings godly perspective if you immerse yourself in God’s Word throughout it. I could see so many spiritual battles taking place, in so many areas of our life.

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Just as things were looking slightly less stressful I got a call from my nephew at the work site…. ” Uhhhh, Hi, Aunt Shannon….. Don’t want to alarm you or anything, everything is fine…. but, ahhh, Jacob is on his way to the hospital. We think he broke his leg….” And so begins surgery and all the invalid craziness that goes along with it. Our living room became his new bedroom. I fluffed pillows, served drinks, picked up walkers & crutches, set up shower seats, and answered the door for the many awesome friends that popped in with kind words and visits for Jacob.

I realize that so many people deal with much more difficult things. I’ve watched as others deal with astronomical difficulties and handle them with godly grace and grow closer to the Lord in the midst of it all. They are my heroes and the ones I watch as an example of how to handle my lesser problems.

I also realize that many times we are under spiritual attack and don’t even realize. Sometimes Satan goes ‘wham!’ and hits you with a whopper. Sometimes he just picks away slow and steady in every area of your life waiting for an opening. It helps just to know this. Individually it looks like we just have tumours and broken legs and cancer, the flu & pink eye, marriage & family relationships threatening to go sour, infections and more infections, airlifted sick children, children’s attitudes trying to pull you into the depths of despair, and no time to get that school done so you can fill out those bless-ed reports…. But if you had a year something like this, know there are bigger things at work. There are spiritual battles taking place. It helps to keep a proper focus, and keep plugging away.

“Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9

Don’t give up on what is most difficult just because you are tired and can’t see a way out. Satan likes to use discouragement to lessen our convictions and choose an easier route. But it is the most difficult things that God wants us to do that are the most important to stay consistent in. And, it is in these that we will yield the biggest harvest, if we do not lose heart.
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So even if you had a less than stellar year, keep plugging away. It’s still worth it. Get into your Bible. Study it. Memorize it. You can learn so much from each trial you have endured. And, next year you can take what you have learned and be ready for whatever comes.
Endure. And then watch for the blessing.

~Shannon