Every year for the last few years, I have joined thousands of others and chosen a word to live by for the new year. Sometimes it’s something that I have to ponder and pray about for awhile, but sometimes it just comes to me instantly, and that is how it came this year. The Word of the Year is one that represents how I want to live this year… what I want my focus to be. Usually it’s a verb. This year my word is
The last couple of years God has really impressed on my heart my need to be less self-centered and more other-centered, but it’s really hard for me. I think I talk a good game, but deep down inside I stubbornly and desperately try to retain my “rights” to myself. To the world this is all well and good, and to the world this is something that must be done and is encouraged. As a Christian however, I must die to self each and every day, because He must be first. In order to live out the calling and purposes that He has for me, and for my family for that matter, there can be no part of my selfish ambition standing in the way. Oh, but that is HARD! I am finding though, that as I surrender my self to Him, His desires become my desires, which is exactly how he intends for it to be. Let me give you an example of this.
In August my oldest child becomes a middle schooler. Here in middle Tennessee middle school is 5th-8th grade. I’m not really cool with that. My husband and I also are not very enthused about the options that we have with our public school system. We really love the elementary school that the kids are in, and the middle school is a good one, but public schools in TN are not great and Abby is an extremely bright girl. We also worry about the social issues that come with middle school as well as having a desire to have more control over what our daughter is being taught. Also, to tell you the truth, we are sick and tired of the public school system dictating every single minute of our family’s schedule: when we wake up, what the kids wear, what we do after school, what time we eat dinner, how much time we can spend having quality time as a family in the evenings, what time the kids go to bed, when we can take family vacations, even what the kids can bring to school for lunch!… I mean, enough is enough!
I have several friends who homeschool and I have always admired them, but never had an inkling of a desire to homeschool my children. I have been looking forward to having all of my kids in school and having my days back. Me time! Yay! What sane mother is not excited for that? I’ve wished that I wanted to homeschool, but decided that it was not for me. It’s funny how feelings can change.
One night my husband and I were praying about how we could best serve our children. We love them so much. They are our lives. We believe that God has entrusted them to us. and that we have a responsibility to Him to rear them the best that we can. As we ended the prayer we both seemed to know right then and there that the way that we could best serve our daughter right now is to homeschool her, and once we spoke those words there was no turning back. WOW! At that moment I saw just how selfish I had been. The only reason that I had for not doing this was a selfish one. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I could do it. I was scared. Particularly I was scared about giving up my precious “Me” time. But if the last 9 years have taught me anything, it is how quickly children grow. Each year seems to race by more quickly than the last, and I saw myself in 9 years, at Abby’s graduation, wishing that I had done more to pour into her life and regretting not having spent more time with her. I don’t want that to happen. I want my kids to flourish. I want them to be their best and I want to give them everything that they need to reach their goals, whatever they might be. Abby wants to be an author and by golly, if I have anything to do with it, as long as she wants to be an author I’ll help her get there. So starting in the fall we will embark on our homeschool journey. For now, the boys will stay in the schools that we love while Abby and I adventure together through a classical homeschool curriculum. And you know what? I am totally excited about it!
Serve my God. Serve my children. Serve my husband. Serve my family and friends. Serve the least of these. This year I want to have a heart that is focused less on myself and more on others.
Do you have a Word of the Year? Leave a comment and tell us what it is!