Thursday, September 8, 2011

In the Classroom

It was the first day of our homeschool lessons, and I was pumped. I'd sharpened pencils to fine, black points. I'd polished desks and filled them with tidy stacks of blue-lined paper. I'd even replaced hard, craggy glue sticks with brand new ones. I was ready. Ready to leap head-long into our deep stacks of classics. Ready to revel in math facts. Ready to roll up my sleeves and teach my boys about volcanoes and verbs and the War of 1812.

But the morning didn’t go well. Things didn't go as planned.

“Mom, when it is my turn for math? I’m tired of waiting. Tired. Tired. Tired.”

“Mom, Gabe is sitting too close to me. And he’s gnawing his pencil. Like mad.”

“Mom, tell Zay that it’s ABCD. Not ABDD. He’s saying it wrong. Wrong all wrong.”

So much for my romantic first-day-of-school dreams. The boys' hearts were out of shape.

At first my responses were patient and kind. We need to learn to wait (what if Jesus had put himself first?).We honor one another when we choose to not interrupt. Too many words cause problems, measure them carefully. And don’t worry if your brother eats his pencil (it’s non-toxic after all). But after two hours of realizing how much we’d slipped during the summer, I’d hit the end of my rope. My patience wore out, discouragement settled on my shoulders, and my attitude became as sharp as those number-two pencils.

“I think it’s time for recess," I said. "Mama needs a break.” I opened the back door, ushered the boys to the trampoline, and slumped into a chair.

“Lord this is tough. Their heads don’t work when their hearts are out of whack. And I’m tired. Already,” I whispered out loud.

Show them the fruit, came the gentle reply.

“Fruit? Fruit  of the Spirit? I can’t. I’m frustrated.”

Let me fill you with My Spirit. Let Me fill you up. Then you’ll be ready to pour into them.

I sat for a moment to process the Spirit’s call on my own heart. I’d sharpened pencils. I’d purchased texts and notebooks and flashcards. I’d even gone wild on the desks with lemon oil Pledge.  But I hadn’t prayed up. Hadn't filled up.

Guess I really wasn’t ready at all.

“Fill me fresh, with Your spirit, Lord. And let the fruit flow…”

And then I was ready. In my own strength, no one was going to learn a thing. But when empowered by the Lord, the fruit would come. I opened the door and hollered for the boys.

Oh, the gentle ways the Lord teaches me when I’m trying to teach my sons.

I never want to leave His classroom.


  1. I love how you listen to His urgings. You are right, we are always the teacher to some, and the student some other times. Always. Happy school year to those boys!

  2. What a wonderful example of how we are always in God's classroom, learning as we go and we are never to old to learn from our maker, our God who loves us enough to be loving, gentle, patient and kind. Thank you for sharing this with me, Shawnelle. My life has been rolling along at a clip that unsettles me and I am feeling exhausted....I need to get my prayer life in order and seek God in those unpleasant moments and praise him for the amazing ones. As always you have touched my heart and brightened my day dear friend!!
    Love you, Sarah