Answered Prayers

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Ever pray, really really hard, and think God wasn’t listening?

I do it a lot. Then six months later, I look back and see that He was listening and He did answer, I just didn’t always see that it was the answer right away.

Two weeks ago, I was a mess. A hot mess. That by itself is pretty normal, but this time I was upset about something and couldn’t talk to anyone about it. I already knew what they would say, and quite frankly, I didn’t want to hear it. Any of it. And what I needed to say out loud was going to come out rude no matter how I worded it because I couldn’t find the right words to express what I was trying, and needing to say. <–that’s why there was no blog post about it.

And I still don’t want to talk about it. But….

I did pray about it. I prayed a lot.

Things kept getting crazier and more chaotic. We all came down with head colds. Softball schedules came in that made me want to cry.

Then my old Mommy Helper, recently turned 18, bumped into the us at Target. For good reasons, she was no longer living at home. She was staying with friends (friends who still lived with their parents), until they could get and apartment. We told her that before she slept in her car, she could call us. A week later, in the middle of stove installations and room renovations and school work and sports and a string of vet appointments and doctors appointments, she called us. She needed a roof for a week. **We knew right then that it would be more than a week.**

She had a friend drop her off last Sunday night. By Tuesday morning, I realized that this unexpected addition to our chaos was God’s wonderful answer to my prayers.

Obviously, the extra two hands around the house is helpful. She entertains the kids, she unloads the dishwasher, and she gently nudges them to clean up their rooms.

She also spends time having coffee with me and talking to me about being a homeschool graduate, and about being a teenage homeschooler. We talk about what she enjoyed about school, what curriculums she used, what she liked and what she hated. She let me quiz her on silly things that “homeschooled kids all know” and I feel guilty because mine don’t know them; and she laughed as she said “ya know, I’m pretty sure Momma taught me that, but heck if I remember.” She asks me for advice about living on her own, and sincerely listens as I lay out the realities for her.

I really can’t explain how her arrival has blessed me. Certainly, from outside, the taking in of another person in the middle of our mess would seem counterproductive to fixing the issues around here. Yet, it was exactly what we needed. I would have never thought to ask for her, but God knew that she was what we needed. He always has my back. He always provides an answer to our prayers. They just aren’t always answered the way we think they should be.

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Cartesian Coordinate Pictures and God’s Plan

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I printed off worksheets yesterday, for fun, for the big girls. It was on coordinate picturesThey plot out the points listed, then draw a line connecting them. They repeat this process for each line until a picture appears. Day one went well, once they figured out what they were doing, and everyone enjoyed it.

Today, my Taderbug asked for another worksheet. WorksheetWorks.com is easy to print and go, so I printed her a “Be Mine” picture. A few minutes into working and she was in tears. She knew the picture was supposed to be a heart, because I accidentally gave it away in an earlier conversation. But here was this weird line, off to the side, and she just couldn’t see how it fit. She had reviewed the coordinates and thought her dots were right, but that line just looked out of place.

She didn’t know that there was more to the picture than just the heart. I wanted it to be a surprise, so I kept the answer key under my book. The directions don’t have you graph your lines in a logical order. Top of heart, side of heart, other side of heart, etc. They mix them up, part of the heart, then part of a word, then part of the arrow and back to a heart section. I hated to see her crying and I pulled out the answer key to show her that her line was, in fact, exactly where it was supposed to be.

She looked confused, and then a little upset. She said if I had told her that there was an arrow and words then she wouldn’t have been upset.

But that’s just it kiddo, you don’t always get to see the big picture first. We have to do our best, be wise, and be prayerful having faith that our little works (lines) will work together for a greater good (the big picture).

God rarely gives us the answer key (I don’t like saying never). We get pieces, often just the next step, and we have to go on faith that it is all working together for a bigger picture, His plan for us, for our good.

I’d be lying if I said I’ve never hid my face on the couch, like my daughter during her assignment today, crying and believing I was doing something crazy wrong even though I had prayed and felt I was “following directions”.

I can’t count how many times I’ve asked God, “Uhhhh, this thing you’re asking of me doesn’t exactly fit along with that other thing I thought you wanted me to do, in fact, it seems way off in left field…. are you sure this is what you wanted?”

I also can’t count how many times I have looked back over my life and wept at seeing the beautiful picture He had made with all those weird and out-in-left-field lines.

So I just keep praying, keep trying to make wise choices, and keep drawing lines where He tells me to draw them. Faithful that later on I’ll look back and see something wonderful.

Cartesian Graphs and God's Plan

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Your socks do not determine your goodness.

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Your Socks Do Not Determine Your Goodness

You’re right. That feeling you have as you stand over the ever-full sink of dishes, tears welling up, because nothing ever gets done. Completed. Accomplished.

It doesn’t. It’s one of the hardest parts of being a grown up that I’ve ever had to deal with. As soon as you think you’re done, it starts all over again.

Remember the feeling of putting a finished assignment in your backpack? It felt amazing. You could just chill the rest of the night, because you were done.
Ever clock out at the end of a long day at work and skip off to your car because you were DONE for the day and you go do whatever you wanted?

It’s not like that anymore. Not now that I’m a parent. I love being a parent. I am so immensely blessed to have these four precious people in my life. This isn’t about loving them. This is about loving me. I crave a feeling of accomplishment. I need to sit down at the end of the day and look back at a job well done, and I can’t. No matter how hard I work, this day still comes. The day I’m crying at the sink, wondering if it will ever get done and knowing in my heart that it won’t.

We have a home full of energetic children, eager to play and learn and move. They need to be fed and washed and educated. Meals are waiting to be cooked and bills are waiting to be paid. Dirty laundry is waiting to be discovered – just as you think you’re putting in the final load. Birds are dropping feathers, dogs are shedding fur, and dust bunnies are planning revolutions.

No matter how hard and fast we work, it will never be marked “done”. My list never includes a task that can be fully completed. It’s always a task that is just meant to keep one of the many plates spinning. Load of laundry, run the dishwasher, make sure bathrooms have toilet paper, take out something for dinner. Rinse, repeat.

My Self Worth is Not Determined by The Dishes In My Sink

I write, and I craft, to give me a brief feeling of accomplishment. I finished a post. I finished the blanket. I can mark something as “done”.

Here is where my own head starts to mess with me. Unless there is a justifiable reason (wedding, holiday, birthday) to warrant the putting aside of the to-do list to do something fun, I can’t do it. This means that on an average day, I can’t write or craft or do anything that could bring me a sense of accomplishment, until all the other things are done. Those other things are never done, not completely, not in a way that satisfies my brain. My motivation and inspiration disappear because I’m not getting a boost from having something be finished, and I start having difficulty in just making progress on all the daily tasks, even the easy ones. Fun circle of doom isn’t it?

This especially cold winter is only making things worse. In the spring and summer, I can send the kids outside for a bit, get something cleaned up, and actually see it stay clean for more than five minutes. No snowing dog paws on the freshly vacuumed carpet in June. Shorts and bathing suits take up less space in the washer, so laundry takes half the time. Picnics are held under the willow tree, crumbs landing in the grass instead of the kitchen floor. And sunshine. Glorious sunshine.

Marbles in socks

I can not make winter move along faster. I can not stop my children from learning and playing and leaving a trail of happy childhood messes behind them. I must adjust my thinking.

Reconsider my standards: am I expecting too much of myself and others in my house?

Reinstate a routine, even if it’s a flexible one: have I stopped requiring certain “must dos” to be done because I became overwhelmed by it all?

Rediscover joy: have I failed to focus on the blessings? the giggles? the “a-ha” moments that my children have daily?

Set a time: As mommas (all mommas, not just homeschooling mommas), our day is never-ending. From the moment the family is awake (if not sooner), until the moment the last sweet head hits the pillow, it’s game on for us. Set working hours. Set them for house work. Set them for school work. When the clock says it’s closing time, shut her down. Call it a day. That doesn’t have to mean you stop being mom. It doesn’t mean you have to ignore the socks on the floor, if you don’t want to ignore them. It means you stop, acknowledge a day’s work well done, and choose what you want to do next. Take a bath, watch tv, knit, read, write, without guilt.

Because you did work hard. You did do a good job. The dishes can wait.

Don’t let a dirty sink or crumbs on the floor determine your worth my friends. Jesus already told you what you were worth. You were worth dying for.

Socks on the floor can’t take that away.

This post may contain affiliate links. Proceeds from affiliate links go towards the cost of hosting the blog and helps to support our homeschool books, supplies, and classes. Thank you in advance for your support! If you would like to read more about our affiliations please see our Disclosures page.