Two months ago, I decided it would be a good idea to write a post about “rest”.
Let me say that again, in case the irony of the statement eluded you.
Two months ago, I decided to write a post about rest.
We do not live in a world of “rest”. As home educating mothers, we live in a world of multi-tasking, planning, organizing, mentoring, disciplining, facilitating, juggling, re-directing, managing, refereeing, and- oh, yeah- educating!
And yet, we are called again and again by the Savior’s invitation to rest. This is an imperative and a promise: “(You) Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Rest in the nitty-gritty years of parenting and homeschooling is elusive. It comes in sips or gulps. It is rarely a long, slow, refreshing drink from the well. And we are thirsty.
In many ways, this lack of rest is self-imposed and must be accepted and borne. We have chosen the task of homeschooling. Aside from the sense of calling to it and responsibility that many of us feel, it is not forced upon us. It is a task we have willingly (and might I add, courageously) taken up. This decision has teeth and in some very real ways, you can’t rest. The task of educating your children is in your hands and you have to discipline yourself to accomplish this task in real and tangible ways. They must learn to read and write and someday (heaven help the right-brained mother) do Algebra! There is no skirting this fact, and the degree to which you accomplish it during any given year will vary based on many factors. But accomplish it you must if you are to be faithful to your children and your vocation. How we go about reaching that end has the potential to fill us up, deplete us completely, or land us somewhere in between.
I tend to land in the “somewhere in between”. Some days are rich and filled with all the things I dream about: good discussions, time to read together, an easy Algebra lesson. Other days? Well, other days simply deplete as though the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh get together and say, “Let’s go nuclear on this bunch!”
No day is free of that accursed trio, but some days we feel the heat of battle more. And those days cause us to question and wrestle and writhe and tempt us to give up. Those are the days when nothing other than true Rest will do. Not crawl-under-the-covers-and-nap rest or can-I-just-have-five-minutes-to-myself rest. Only “Lo, I am with your always” and “It is finished” rest will do in moments like this.
This is a rest that is sufficient. A rest that permeates. A rest that extends its Everlasting Arms around you and your children and lets you dwell in the warm embrace of absolution.
It is possible to be depleted, and yet filled. Discouraged, and yet fortified. Exhausted, and yet rested. But it is possible only in Christ. Any other rest is temporary and unsustainable because “life”, in its myriad of ways, will keep finding ways to snatch it away.
As we enter a season that is anything but restful, be reminded that, while you have taken on a monumental task, you can feel renewed, refreshed, and replenished by the promises of Christ for you and your children every moment of every long day. Stay the course. Do the hard work. And rest.
Jenna Thompson is the wife of Rev. David Thompson, mother, grandmother and home educator for 23 years and counting. She currently resides in Lombard, IL where she continues to homeschool her youngest daughter and works remotely for Great Hearts Academies as a curriculum writer for their co-curricular department.