You will notice that I have not posted a blog here in some time. In the fall of 2010, our oldest son, Evan, was diagnosed with Burkitts Lymphoma/Leukemia. Needless to say, it has been an extremely challenging season for our family and we needed to pull back from just about everything we were doing prior to that time. Except for taking care of our three boys' physical needs, teaching them in a more limited manner, and maintaining my husband's job, our primary focus was to help our son and his brothers work through this very difficult period.*
Yet, during this trial, the Lord has so graciously sustained and encouraged us. He has brought forth an amazing community of love and support through friends, family, neighbors, and even strangers. His faithfulness has been declared time and again throughout the many details and events we experienced as we have helped Evan and I am here to say several months later that we are stronger for it.
When all else seemed foreign, homeschooling remained constant. Although we were not able to continue our regular schedule or accomplish certain things we had planned for the year, all of the basics were consistently covered for all three of our boys and they have thrived in spite of the emotional and logistical challenges that come with caring for a child with cancer. Being able to move at a pace conducive to each of them has not only kept their sense of purpose and stability in place, but has also enabled us to grow closer in our various relationships with each other. Not one of us is the same as we were this time last year.
So remember that when difficulties come, as they always do in some form, that you must (among others) do four things.
1. Stay united in your course - Make sure that the principles and beliefs you stood on yesterday are still intact today. You want to firmly establish your approach so that you will be successful in making time-sensitive or critical decisions. Such a decision encourages you and your spouse to decide in advance that you will stand firm on God's Word when troubles come for the overall benefit of your marriage and your family.
2. Remind yourself that you cannot NOT go through this - There are some rare occasions where using a double negative in a statement is appropriate, and this is one of them! Withdrawing from life is not an option. So know that when your children see you working your way through each day as fully and calmly as possible, they are learning valuable life lessons from you and your spouse.
3. Be flexible - Life's logistics will be disrupted and the "normal" life you had before is now a thing of the past. Work towards a "new normal" by being willing to make adjustments as needed. Know that the schooling will be addressed at some point and be thankful that your child doesn't need to cope with the expectations of an outside educational institution.
4. Reach out - Rather than withdrawing from others and suffering in silence, make your heart and needs known to others. Allow the Body of Christ to fulfill its purpose by ministering to you in whatever way God leads them to respond. In the process, you will serve as an encouragement and a testimony to them. If you are working through a crisis at this time, be encouraged by these thoughts and also consider Stormie Omartian's book, Just Enough Light for the Step I'm On. In it, she reminds us that God doesn't lead us down life's road as if we are walking in a well-lit football field with flood lights that let us see what is coming way down the street. Instead, it is more like a footpath with low-voltage lighting that allows you to see the next step or so but not weeks or months down the road. One path is a search for control whereas the other is a life of faith.
So walk the life of faith, follow God's leading for each step, and let Him worry about the future.
*For an update on Evan's health, please visit his Caring Bridge site at the following link: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/evangary
Homeschooling since 2000, Carol shares in her blog observations, confessions, and musings that help provide perspective and inspiration for homeschooling moms.