9.18.2010

Weekly Wrap-Up # 15: The One with a Web-Driven Spiritual Revelation

HOME LEARNING
This was it: the week the girls' passports "arrived" so we could "go to Mexico" - our first stop beyond U.S. borders in our year-long globe-trotting journey with My Father's World: Exploring Countries and Cultures (ECC).

With varying degrees of patience, the girls had waited for the passports since the beginning of August - a delay the curriculum purposefully employs in order to simulate the wait for a real passport - and were very excited to finally sign them and become "legal travelers." And then we immediately took off, "arriving" in Mexico to the tune of Pin Pón, a cute little folk tune. Abigail really was as excited as Rachel; she just had a tummy ache when I snapped this photo.

Aside from the song, we enjoyed reading and discussing many books about Mexican history and culture, as well as several about the desert, one of Mexico's major biomes. We lunched on tacos one day and played our first round of ECC's Geography Game in order to begin learning the names and locations of the 17 North American countries. Plus, Jeff started reading a biography on Cameron Townsend at bedtime, and the girls tried their hands at Metepec sculpture.



TEACHERS' TOTS
My daycare girls and I began our first of 26 letter/sound-themed lessons using My Father's World from A to Z, focusing this week on S. And, coincidentally, that meshed very well with Rachel and Abigail's study of Mexico, so Anna and N. got to make Metepec sun sculptures, too.

In addition, we read books about the sun each day - through which I think the girls grasped the idea that it's really the Earth moving when it appears that the sun moves across our sky throughout the day - and memorized our key truth that Jesus is the Light of the World. We also did daily math work and various language-related tasks, including this cut-and-paste sheet demonstrating some words that start with S.


On Wednesday, Baby H. marked the two-week anniversary of his birth, and his mom says he's doing well. He'll join us here on a daily basis a mere six weeks from now!


PERSONAL
As the week began, I found myself in the very frustrating position of being up in the air regarding both our living room ceiling project and my status with my favorite home education website, The Homeschool Lounge (THL). When I wrote last Saturday, it seemed the ceiling would soon be entirely repaired and that I was back online with THL. However, by Monday morning, both were messed up again, and I was beside myself.

The ceiling situation turned out to be a miscommunication. I had thought from what was initially explained that the restoration company would patch the leak internally and then quickly give me a new ceiling. And, when I was told otherwise on Monday morning - that we'd need a patch from the outside, if not an entire new roof, before the ceiling would be replaced - I panicked and feared I'd been duped.

Once things were clearly explained, my tension eased a bit - but I realized we'd definitely need at least an external patch before any ceiling work could proceed. Thankfully, a wonderful handyman friend from church - he's previously replaced a different part of our roof and has fixed a bathroom sink - could come over on Tuesday. And not only did he pinpoint the problem, he did the patchwork right then and there...for free! He acknowledged that we will need a new roof in the spring - he will get the job! - but felt his fix would hold until then. And it did - through fierce storms the very next night, during which not one drop of rain fell into our living room - giving us all the proof we needed that we could, indeed, schedule the ceiling work.

So - praise God! - it will begin on the 29th and be completed during the first week of October - a longer process than I'd anticipated, but manageable nonetheless. And we now have six months to work on saving for that roof.

I think the ceiling got to me more than it otherwise would have because of what happened with THL, from whom I discovered on Monday morning that I was once again - inexplicably - disconnected... despite having found success using my own "patch" over the previous weekend. And, when I realized that neither THL's platform company (Ning) nor Yahoo has a customer service telephone number - instead expecting customers to carry on protracted email "conversations" regarding problems - I lost it. Yes, I cried - because I didn't know what else to do to find a solution and felt that no one who might help cared to listen.

Of course, I knew God cared - even about something as small (in the grand scheme of things) as my virtual friendships with other home educating moms - and that He would somehow provide me with fellowship even as I longed for my familiar "lounge sisters." But I still grieved. And on Wednesday I came to the end of my emotional rope on the matter, knowing I couldn't continue spending time and energy trying to fix a situation over which I clearly had no control. So I resigned myself to leaving THL.

I wrote a post to that effect on Facebook, and quickly got lots of feedback from friends I know on both sites. It was heartening to hear so many asking me to stay, and I assured them I didn't want to go - but that there seemed no point in being there if I wasn't really there. Then several others encouraged me in various ways, and, as a result, my plan changed.

Instead of outright leaving the site - which I was a just a few clicks from doing - I finally (almost a month in!) gave the whole situation to the Lord in a very conscious way, saying, "Okay, Father, I don't understand what's up here, and I can't fix it even though I want to. So it's Yours." And then I determined I would leave it in His hands - first, by purposing to become "okay" with it if I could never again be a part of THL and, second, by choosing to trust that He'd let my emails come back if and when He wanted me back on the site.

That was a very hard thing to do - I was giving up a major place of connection with other like-minded women and sacrificing some good friendships in the process. But, truly, once I put it in His hands, I did feel a peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4.6-7) just as He promises. I was still sad, but my anxiety and frustration evaporated.

And then guess what happened on Friday morning? Yep, my inbox was flooded with messages from THL, as whatever had inexplicably gunked up the system instantly cleared out! Just like that - not really inexplicably and certainly not coincidentally. And it's evident now - much more so than with my solution last weekend - that the fix is for real.

So what was going on here? Well, I'm not entirely sure, but I believe what happened was either satan's way of messing with me...or a test from God - which, of course, He does in love and for good reason when He goes that route. In either case, He ultimately wanted me to come to the place of deeply and sincerely acknowledging that I was willing to surrender a big desire to His will - that I was willing to stop trying to solve and control it myself - even if I never got what I wanted. And, once I did that, He chose to provide what I wanted...but only because I'd become fully willing to accept a "No."

Of course, this concept has application in any number of other areas in my life, too - and I think that was His message to me as well. The idea isn't that we ought not do our part to solve a problem - we do have a responsibility to take what measures we can - but that we should not trust in our own efforts. Instead, it's about surrender - real, heartfelt surrender - to whatever He has in mind, even if it's not what we would want.

Boy, that's hard! It tore at me in this relatively unimportant matter with my online friends...so the thought of fully surrendering other, more significant areas is, frankly, pretty terrifying. But this situation has brought some of those areas into the Light in a clearer way than ever before...so I'm now working up my courage to surrender them, too.

Fear not, He says, for He is with me. He will make it all okay. In fact, He'll pour out blessings of one sort or another if I will only drop it at His feet...and keep it there.


Photo Credit: lu_lu's photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/_lulu/3504168764/)

2 comments:

Kimberly said...

Beautiful! Isn't it amazing when we finally give up our own will God moves? Blessings to you this week.

Monica said...

Hi Tina -
I just awarded you the Lovely Blog Award
http://discovertheirgifts.blogspot.com/2010/09/one-lovely-blog-award.html

Congrats! Monica

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