How Do I Count Trials As Joy?

The devil has been whispering at me lately. “You can’t do this. It’s never going to work. The girls are going to drive you nuts. You’re making a big mistake.”

It seems that the minute we decided to begin homeschooling next month, the girls began their preschooler version of the defiance campaign. They have been pushing boundaries every second of the day, waiting until the very last second to grudgingly obey an instruction, and fighting with us and each other. They start almost as soon as they wake up, and don’t stop until they’re asleep. It’s exhausting.

How Do I Count Trials As Joy?
Photography: Michael Wright

Just last week, a friend asked me if the girls got on well. “Yes,” I replied. “They hardly fight. They’re great friends.” Well, my friend, that may have been true last week, but this week, not so much.

It doesn’t help that I’ve been sick. I can’t seem to shake this cold, and waking up in the middle of the night because Emmy has lost a sock, or can’t pull her duvet up, or has decided it’s morning, only adds to my zombie state.

Have I questioned our decision to homeschool? Have I considered that the girls being together 24/7 may be a recipe for chaos? Have I wondered how on earth I’m going to cope with an entire day of fighting and backchatting and tantrums?

Yes, I’ve wondered.

But I keep coming back to the main reason we have decided to homeschool: because God has called us to do it.

It is going to be hard – harder than I expect, probably. But I know that God will give me enough strength, and patience, and motivation to get through each day. Knowing this is what helps me ignore the voice of the enemy as he tries to plant doubt in my mind.

Because it is going to be so much better than I expect it to be, too.

How Do I Count Trials As Joy?
Photography: Michael Wright

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

It requires a conscious decision to count trials as joy, particularly the trials of defiant children, and tantrums, and backchatting. My first reaction is not one of joy, and I have to continuously try to follow other wise words of James – being slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1:19). I don’t get it right all the time. This last week, especially, I have been more Banshee Mommy than Zen Mommy.

I am so grateful for God’s grace, for his forgiveness, and my children’s forgiveness. Even in the midst of these terrible, horrible, no good days, I can see how God is working in my heart and in the hearts of my children. They are quick to apologise, quick to forgive, and quick to show love.

How Do I Count Trials As Joy?
Photography: Michael Wright

One thing that I have begun to realise lately is that homeschooling is not solely for my children’s sakes. Yes, we wish to disciple them and shape their character in good ways, but I think I’m going to be learning a lot about myself too – about my own character, about my faith, and about how God is working in me.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we make this transition.

Any immune-boosting, flu-busting tips for this sniffly mama?

PS Aren’t these photos gorgeous? My brother took and developed them as an experiment in his DIY darkroom.

How Do I Count Trials As Joy?
Photography: Michael Wright

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