Life After Homeschooling: What Now?
“Our way of being -in-the-world works its way into us through ritual and repetition. James K.A. Smith explains that a particular view of ‘the good life’ is ingrained in us through repetitive practices that motivate how we live and what we love.”-Tish Warren, The Liturgy of the Ordinary
For years “the good life” was having, raising and homeschooling our children. Life was not always easy and many hard fought battles were won physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, but there was an underlying sense that it was “good”. The work placed in front of me each day had God’s fingerprints all over it as I cared for, fed, bathed, educated, loved and watched over these children that I KNOW came directly from HIS hand. I am a helper by nature and these little ones needed my help in the most basic and practical ways. It didn’t require lots of emotional energy, but certainly lots of physical energy.
Slowly, I noticed the flow of energy required was less physical and more mental, emotional and spiritual. There were countless new ways that God was challenging me and the growing pains were real, but for the sake of our children and wanting to finish well, I pressed on.
We spend these years repetitively doing those things that ingrain into us what the “good life” is and at the center of that is doing what we do out of love for our children. Suddenly we find ourselves in a new season where those rituals and repetitions are no longer called for. We look around and realize that the “good life” as we knew it is quickly transforming into a new season of uncharted waters.
Not only are those well worn and familiar rituals we’ve been participating in not necessary, they are in many ways worn out. Often we may in some ways feel sense of relief, but also a sense of panic. “If THAT was the good life and I’m not living that anymore then…..” fill in the blank:
“Is this the ‘bad’ life?”
“Do I have purpose?”
“Am I directionless?”
“What is my calling now?”
The list goes on and on, but the emotions are still the same…feeling emotionally, mentally and sometimes even spiritually “homeless”.
We likely have much to offer elsewhere, but we can’t quite put our finger on exactly what that is. Do we simply keep ourselves busy with whatever we can in order to remain valuable or relevant? Do we take that much deserved rest or vacation that we longed for over our season as busy moms?
Years ago local colleges offered a class for “Displaced Homemakers”. Back then, more women had been stay at home moms and there were a good number who found themselves depressed, lost and directionless once the children left home.
I always thought that was a little pathetic. Shouldn’t our world as moms be bigger than our own home and children? Well, yes, of course, but if you have been fully investing in your children and family and desiring to finish well, chances are you will likely be faced with feelings of displacement BECAUSE you invested and were intentional.
How about my identity in Christ? Shouldn’t that be secure and keep me from feeling lost? Well, yes and no.
Do you remember adjusting to motherhood? For some of us it was harder than others, but we all had a sense that our reality had changed dramatically and as much as we were rejoicing in giving birth to our children, there were many aspects that took some major adjustments. We cried, we felt guilty because we expected better from ourselves. We prayed, we asked God to help us, He did and we adjusted.
How about when we decided to homeschool? It changed our lives forever. Everyday was a choice to keep our hand to the plow, to persevere for the sake of our children, but oh the lessons learned and the multifaceted ways that God has sanctified us through this journey! He was always moving, always working, showing us Himself and helping us see how He was bringing redemption to our imperfect and messy world. Was it easy? Nope. Was there joy and beauty along the way? Absolutely. But it was a journey wrought with emotions.
I always tell my kids that feelings are not right or wrong. They are feelings. The real question is WHAT are we going to do with these feelings? The same is true for us, moms, and just like every day we spent trying to be intentional in raising our kids, we need to be intentional in THIS season. The reality is, though, that there will be grief. That doesn’t mean that we are failing to understand our identity in Christ, but it is our identity in Christ that helps us THROUGH this season.
What does that even look like? Truthfully, I feel like I am only beginning to get a vision for my new reality. All I know is that we need each other now more than ever. It can feel daunting and downright overwhelming to face these uncharted waters alone. This is the time to drop our preconceived notions about each other and ourselves. It’s the time to extend grace to each other and to ourselves.
The Enemy does his most effective work when we feel alone.
I’ve been feeling somewhat alone in this and that loneliness has, at times, sucked the life out of me. It’s why I’m writing and inviting you to walk this journey together. Because the truth is, this season involves a certain amount of grief. Anytime there is a big change in our lives, even if it’s good, there is grief involved in letting go of what was and embracing what IS, much like when we became mothers, when we decided to homeschool, when our children became teens, when they started driving,
I do know this…our God is an amazing, powerful, loving, sovereign God who has a GOOD plan for us in this season. He will do more than we could ask or imagine, but we need to lean HARD into Him, hold tightly to each other and take.one.day.at.a.time.
How do you feel about this season of life? (If you are a subscriber and received this via email, please reply to this message so I can hear what is on your heart)