I want to begin with something that is very dear to my heart and I believe very strongly in… Homeschooling. This is something I have always been very passionate about. When I was in my mid-teens, I loved helping out with babysitting and just loved to be around kids, especially babies. I wanted to do whatever I could to help people out. I think it was just the way I was raised because my brothers were the same way. It was evident, I think, that I loved kids because we have a fairly large family. I always wanted to have a lot of kids. I used to say as many as God would allow me to have, and as long as it wouldn’t affect my health or ability to raise my kids, I would love to be blessed with many children. We have, I feel, definitely been blessed with the seven we have, and I don’t take that for granted. When I first started homeschooling, I had two children and was about 4 months pregnant with our third child. At first, it was a little scary like anything is when you first start something, but mainly because it was something new. As the kids started getting a little older, it became easier in some ways and challenging in other ways.
I think some of the hardest challenges are when one of your kids gets really sick. When our first child was about eight years old, my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. This was one of those times that it was very scary. He had just turned 4, and we had to go to the hospital. By this time, our third child was 2 years old, and our fourth child was only 6 months old. This made things very challenging because now we were not only adjusting to another baby, but we also had to learn how to manage diabetes for a very young child as well. I think this was actually a good thing for us to grow and learn from. We decided early that we were going to incorporate the lifestyle, as far as nutrition, into all of our lives, not just Jimmy’s. It was hard for all of us to adapt to him having to take three shots a day. I had a different role added to wife, mother and teacher and that was the role of nurse, which is kind of a role every mother or any parent takes on, to some extent.
I have learned that you take things as they come. Likewise, I have to look at the challenges, that sometimes seem like mountains, in a more positive way: taking it one step at a time, or one prayer at a time. Understanding that there is nothing God would give me that I couldn’t handle, as long as I kept trusting Him to show me what to do, He would get me through. I won’t say that there haven’t been days when I felt that God, either really wanted to test my faith, or He thought I was stronger than I was. He always got me through the tough times, but I had to learn to really trust in Him and turn my problems over to Him. One of the things I love about homeschooling is the fact that my kids have learned to handle things together, work out their differences, and because of this have built good sibling relationships. Of Course, as with any kids they always have their moments when they bicker, but I have known adults who have issues with this sometimes more than children do. Things are never going to go according to every plan we have because that is not how life works. It is the surprises, accidents and spontaneous life events that make up our lives. We can learn to grow from life’s challenges and see them as blessings! I think that is one of the most important things to learn: how to adapt to the unexpected things in life. I am certainly not perfect (what human being is?) but if we can learn to incorporate our challenges into lessons on how to build strength and character from them, we have fought and won half the battle.
Image by Markus Trier