One Word

We had our first day of school yesterday! The two oldest had to start college classes, Olivia started her online classes, although Zoom was having a lot of trouble because of all the online classes starting yesterday, and Elliot started Challenge B for Classical Conversations.

So, I decided that the rest of the kids should start too. We didn’t do much, and really the day didn’t really go as I envisioned!

After the boys got out the door, I left with Elliot to drop him off. Then I met a friend for coffee. We both have 10 kids and just get this life we’re in! It’s so good to talk with someone who really knows what it’s like to manage a really large family everyday and try to coordinate and follow their schedules.

I glanced at the time and it was 11:40!! I guess we had a lot to catch up on! I had to race home to get Olivia on her first class.

When I got home my kids had had lunch, cleaned it up and put the little one down for nap! They had also read and done math on their own! The big kids had even helped the little ones read their practice books!  I could get used to that kind of first day.

We did a little project in the afternoon and then swam in our pool with some friends.

It was a good first day. Not at all the way I planned or thought it would go, but it was good.

I’m not really one for big events or even having a tradition of doing the same thing every first day. Some years we just crack down and get started.

But I might just have to continue the tradition of mom going out for coffee on the first day. Getting that boost and reminder of how good it all is, was so helpful!

This summer as I’ve been praying and thinking about our school year, the Lord keeps giving me one word: Consistency.

The big events and traditions can be fun and there’s nothing wrong with them, but what happens in between those is way more important.

Are we being consistent? Are we diligently working on our school work? Are we puffing away and making progress weekly?

We almost always have other things in our week that take away our time for school. We rarely get 5 days in and thats ok. The other things we do are important too. We need time with friends, time for appointments, time to decompress. But if we can be careful with our time and choose wisely what we say yes to, then we still have enough time for school work too.

This year, the theme is consistency. Just keep at it, keep working, pick up where we left off. And part of being consistent, is being very careful with our time and what we say yes to. The reality is that it’s difficult to maintain everyone’s schedules in a big family and having a big family takes a lot of time. Everyone needs something and everyone is at different levels.

Taking some time for me is also important. If I’m not recharged daily,I have nothing to give my kids. So, my part in being consistent is getting up early and spending time reading Scripture and praying. It changes and alters my heart, mind, and soul, and aligns me with what God wants me to focus on for that day. It’s amazing how if I spend time in God’s Word, whatever comes my way is manageable but if I don’t I feel harried and worried. So, my consistency is being with Jesus everyday.

For my kids it means working on what God has given them. That math that’s difficult? Let’s do it, work hard and push through. That paper that needs to be written? Let’s find a way to enjoy it and get it done.

And, as a family, it means making sure we spend time together and unplugged from technology. After having gone to our cabin where technology wasn’t possible, we saw such a deep deep need to unplug regularly. So, somehow in the crazy busy life, we need to unplug weekly and actually look in the eye the people God has given us right here.

Also, as a family we want to consistently spend time with good friends. People who speak wisdom, people who love Jesus, people who build us up and encourage us, and those who we can do the same for.

Your consistency may look really different from ours. You may have different focuses, but the important thing is to discover what God does want you to focus on and be consistent in them. I encourage you to take some time to pray over all the activities, curriculum, and outside forces vying for your time and really choose wisely. You cannot be consistent if you are over booked. It just won’t work.

This morning I read in 1 Corinthians 15, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.” And verse 58: “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you.”

By His grace we are changed. We can be consistent and diligent because of the effects of His grace. And because of His grace we can stand firm. We can say no to those things that just take away time and don’t add value to our lives.

May He guide, direct, and bless your day and your school year and help you be consistent!

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