(Not So) Graceful

This week has not been….graceful. Well, actually…to be honest the week has been fine–it’s a framework of time in which (to an extent, anyway) I can choose to weave things in one way or another, just like any other week. The truth is, I have not been graceful.

We are in our second full week of school, and working out the flow of our days is taking time. The house is messy, we are not running on a smooth schedule yet, and there are so many things that are in need of attention! So many loose ends that need tying up. My patience has become a thin veneer, wearing off in patches and all too easily cracked and chipped. I haven’t been graceful in teaching my kids, and have snapped at them for things that I shouldn’t have. I have been distracted by all these little unfinished projects that seem to be screaming for my attention and it has been a struggle to keep my focus on what’s important.

The last few weeks, it seems like I go to bed with visions of perfect homeschool life dancing in my head. The children, heads bent over their books, peacefully studying. Laughing over a cup of hot cocoa on a recess break. Walking to the park for P.E., enjoying the autumn sun. I look forward to learning with the kids, I make plans to get the house clean, pick up the peaches that dot the back yard, can the mountains of fresh peaches that wait in laundry baskets in the cool basement.

The kids doing school, on a graceFUL day!

But the reality is, the kids wake up grouchy. They need redirection, they cut corners on their writing assignments, they balk at having to re-write pages that were too hastily finished. The concepts that took five minutes yesterday to master now seem beyond Eldest’s grasp. His mind is elsewhere, and it’s a struggle to bring it back. Middle child makes whining an art form when it’s time for spelling. The phone rings…should I answer, or finish reading this book aloud to Youngest? The floor we are sitting on needs vacuuming, and this thought distracts me from being fully present with the kids. Should I stop and vacuum? Or work harder to focus on what I’m doing now?

The day grinds down, what I thought would be finished by lunchtime has taken until late afternoon. The sky is overcast, reflecting my mood. Middle child and I go out and pick peaches, trying to get the last of them off the tree before the rain comes. I look at the yard…so many over ripe peaches to pick up! But it’s time for dinner, and this, too must wait. My frustration builds and I clean the counter yet again, only to fill it back up with preparations for dinner. The kids are wound up, they race around the house in a big circle at full speed. Eldest picks out some tunes on the piano, playing the same thing over…and over…and over. I grit my teeth, slice tomatoes, remind myself that it’s good for him to be playing and that the noise is bothering me because everything else is bothering me. At the end of the day, there is still a pile of dirty laundry in front of the washer. The cobwebs in the windows of our bedroom are still waiting to be vacuumed. Everything seems to need scrubbing. The perfect homeschool day I dreamed of the night before seems so far out of reach!

I feel weak, defeated, spread too thin.

The truth is, some days are like my perfect homeschool dream. Some days, things run smoothly and our spirits are high. Some days, we are able to finish our school work early, the house stays clean, and we have time in the afternoon to get together and play with friends. Those days, it’s easy to be happy and peaceful and grateful! It’s the days like yesterday, the weeks that there is too much work and too little time, that seem so….graceless. That’s the word that comes to mind…I feel about as graceful as a ballerina wearing lead boots!

But it’s in our lack of grace that God’s strength is apparent! 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 keeps popping up lately, in my reading, in my mind: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

His grace is sufficient. Not mine! Mine doesn’t have to be, mine isn’t going to be. And that’s OK. It’s not that I won’t try to be more graceful in getting daily life done, I will continue to try (and fail, and wake up and try again!). But it won’t be my own efforts that matter in the end, because His grace is sufficient. Mine, as can be seen all too clearly this week, is most decidedly Insufficient. Which is OK! It gives God’s grace chance to shine through. Weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, difficulties…the last few weeks seem to have been full of them. God is offering a hand here, holding it out to us! It’s OK to be weak. Take my hand, my grace is sufficient. He loves us, if we are stronger leaning on God in our weakness than we could ever be at the peak of our own strength! It’s OK.

Today is already going better. Eldest is excited again about his Algebra class, eager to explain to me about Eratosthenes’ sieve. All the things that need to be done, will be done…perhaps not in the time frame I would like and perhaps not as gracefully as I’d like. I’m going to have to remind myself often…his grace is sufficient! His grace, not mine.

2 thoughts on “(Not So) Graceful

  • September 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    It certainly can be a struggle on those days where our expectations and reality are so far apart.

    I wrote about the daily battle awhile back here, as I began to realize that my focus needed to change. God has used this as a reminder to me that not every day will be bliss-filled. But that’s okay – we never grow and mature when life is idyllic. It’s a blessing to have those days, but we can see their beauty so much more clearly when contrasted with the more difficult days.

    Blessings! 😀

  • September 19, 2008 at 12:18 am

    great big hugs for you first! Those dreamy homeschool days are not nearly as often as we would like. And it is so easy to take the blame and worry and turn it on ourselves. So hard to remember that we are wonderfully made and beautiful in HIs sight when we feel so full of shortcomings and doubt.

    You are doing well, your love for God and your family is so evident and you are doing a great job expressing your frustrations in a good way! Please please let us know though what we can do to help! we look forward to hearing from you soon, but understand if the days slip by with activity an it takes longer than anticipated.


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