Thursday, August 23, 2012

on back to school, expectations, and pressures

I have spent the last 10 years with at least one of my offspring beside me, on top of me, next to me, and all around me.

However, in just a few short weeks all of my kids will be in school. Not just a few like last year, all.

Part of me is giddy at the prospect, for there have been some summer days that have stretched long as we've all been so close together in this not so large house. I will welcome a little breathing space.

But part of me is sad. I am exchanging one season of life for another. We started this journey last year when we transitioned from home schooling to public school. It was hard and easy and heartbreaking all at the same time.

And lately I've been caught off guard by the question: "what are you going to do with all your time?" Neighbors, friends, and total strangers alike are all dying to know. Frankly, so am I.

As I muddle it over, I worry.

As I ponder, I get uptight.

And as I think of all the possibilities I get really excited and totally overwhelmed all at the same time.

It makes me want to hide in the hammock and take a nap.

It seems like there are so many expectations on a girl like me, a mom who has exchanged diapers and training wheels for notebooks and backpacks. I could get a job. I could volunteer. I could try to save the world by helping to provide clean water for kids in Africa. But really, I might not do any of that. And that all terrifies me.

I need to remember that most of the expectations I'm feeling are heavy on my heart because I am the one who has placed them there.

So I'm doing the only thing I know how to do right now: enjoy just where I am while I pray about what is next.

I need to take my frazzled emotions and remind myself that God says his burden is light. (Matt 11:30)

God has a plan, and all I have to do is ask for it. "Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come." (Jeremiah 33:3 NLT)

I usually make things much more difficult than they need to be. I place all these rules on my heart and ideas that are not my own in my head, and it leaves me all a mess.

I don't know what I'll do with my time. I'd like to write more, I'd like to help at the school, I want to serve the youth with my husband. And I want to do it all by 3 pm so I can be all there when the kids are out of school.

I honestly don't know what this season will hold but I know it will be good because I know the one who holds it.

He has never let me down.

So when I'm faced with uncertainty over the future I just need to tell myself to chill. Take it one day at a time. Stock up on Kleenex for the first day of school; not for the teachers but for me.

Whatever season we are in we can trust that God has goodness in store for his children that are wholeheartedly seeking him. Not good things necessarily, but goodness even in the middle of difficulties.

I have found myself humming this song lately:

You stay the same through the ages, your love never changes, there may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning. And when the oceans rage I don't have to be afraid, because your love never fails.

You make all things work together for my good.

I know that to be true, no matter what is going on in my life.


  1. listening to the song as i type...
    first, "I need to remember that most of the expectations I'm feeling are heavy on my heart because I am the one who has placed them there."

    i've been putting expectations on myself for a couple years, just in anticipation of what i will (or won't) do when all of mine are in school. it's really freaking me out. i have no clue what i will do...BUT GOD...right...BUT GOD...He knows. He already knows AND He will equip me for it and open the doors He wants me to walk His time..right. listening to you, and the Spirit in you, and STOPPING with the placing expectations on myself. "You make all things work together for my good."

    1. You'll know it when you're there, the thing you're supposed to do, the thing God had in store all along. I am constantly reminding myself these days that my life isn't really about me, but it's all for God's glory. He will lead me and put me right be wants me so that others can be drawn to him. I'm feeling ever watchful lately, looking for how he can use me and be glorified in the situations around me.

      Enjoy your season of homeschooling, and trust that you'll find HIS way once you're done.

  2. I was in your place last year when my youngest (I have 3 kids) started kindergarten. I had been fortunate enough to be home with my kids and have a dream job where I worked one day per week. I found out right before school started that where I worked was closing down. Everyone seemed to think I'd have this brilliant plan once all of my kids were in school and I felt this pressure to figure it out. I knew I needed to work some but like you wanted to be there at 3 everyday when they got off and didn't want to work weekends. I just prayed on it and hoped for the right thing to come along. I felt kind of lost and overwhelmed with the possibilities. I got so very lucky when one day my kids' principal called me (we are a preK-8th catholic school)and asked if I would be interested in a part time job at their school. So now I work from 8-12 every morning as a kindergarten aide at my boys' school (and love every second), my afternoons are free for errands, housework, and some me time, and my evenings and weekends can be dedicated to my family. I feel like I have the best of all worlds and I didn't even have to go searching for it. You will figure it all out, it might take trial and error, and it might take a bit of this and that, but at some point during this school year, I bet you will find your groove that includes all of the things you want. Hang in there. It's a huge transition time. I spent almost 13 years with kids at home and then all of sudden they were gone all day, and I knew we could never go back to where we were. It's bittersweet.
    I've always loved your blog although I know I hardly ever comment. Keep us updated!

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, the pressure we put on ourselves is crazy, isn't it? I know it will come together when it needs to. I love your story, how God opened the right door at the right time. I'm praying he does the same with me!

  3. i really love this post.
    i've read it twice already.
    i do this very thing.
    make up burdens.
    there are times when i stop and look around and really see how much pressure i've been putting on myself for nooooooo reason accept i have these preconceived notions.
    sometimes i dont even know how these ideas start.
    but its SO amazing to freeeeee myself from them!
    what a relief!
    thanks for sharing with us Gina!

    1. Thank you Shauna! That encourages me!

      Why are we so good at making up burdens? I think if I spent more time asking God what he thought and less time thinking about what the world around me might expect I'd be in a much better state of mind. And then it would be much easier to hear what God's perspective is.


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