Sunday, July 30, 2006

Confessions of a Bad Year

I am very active in my homeschool community. One of my ministries to moms for the past several years has been to help those who are just starting to homeschool. I have really loved talking to them and guiding them through their first year. I love the excitement in their voices when they tell me about a really good day they had & how surprised they were when their kids actually wanted to "do school".

This past year was hard for me though. I continued to mentor and teach the moms, when deep inside I have felt that I had no business telling them anything. I guess I felt a lot like a hypocrite. I had to try extra hard to get excited about curriculum and why this works for some & that doesn't work for others. Our school year, I felt, was horrible. We weren't getting much of anything done it seemed. It was my 10th year & really felt like I had no idea what I was doing!! My oldest is high school age and yet she was falling between the cracks in a really big way, at least that is how I feel. She is dyslexic and needed a lot of my attention that I did not give her. I needed her to do some of her work on her own and she didn't. She is the oldest of 9 and I am expecting the next one anytime now. Everyone kept telling me, "Wait until they get older then they are more independant." Not her!! I feel guilty for getting frustrated with her, but I still do. "Just do the work!" I want to tell her. I try really hard not to compare her with her younger siblings that are more on target, but I know I still do. I also have a son who is almost 13 & still can't read very well. His younger brothers help him read stuff. This is driving me crazy, because he just really doesn't seem to care. He has missed many opportunities of service at our church because he can't read. I have heard from many moms who have sons who really didn't learn to read until they were close to 14 years old. I didn't want my son to be one of those. He is behind in everything else because he can't read.

I really wish I could just erase this past year. This week is our last week of school. Since I am about to have a baby we just kept going through the summer so that we could take a nice break after I had the baby. I'm afraid to let them stop though. My 2 older ones are going to keep doing math a few times a week so they don't fall to far behind, but will my dyslexic daughter do it with out me reminding her constantly? I don't know. I'm afraid if we stop school then we may never get it started again. Mainly because I don't want to. I need the break. I know that, it is obvious since I am writing like this. If any other mom came to me & told me this stuff I would tell her that she was burned out & needed a break. I know that I am not totally alone in this, I just have never admitted it. I'm the one that helps those who are feeling this a way to pull out of it. The stresses of mommyhood are huge right now and adding teacher to it is just too much. I guess this teacher needs to take her well deserved break & just be mommy. I have noticed in the past that my kids have actully learned a lot during our breaks. Several mastered reading, one began writing stories on her own & still writes without ever being told. Another proudly memorized poetry and scripture. I just had to get out of the way & let the relaxed schooling happen. Another copied the Shakespeare play, "The Tempest" and is now a huge fan of Shakespeare. I guess that is what we are in need to get out of the way.

Thanks, I feel better!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

About Dana

I am a mom of 11 children, but before that I was a wife to Scott. We were married in 1990 & were thrilled that the Lord began blessing us with children very soon.

I was 19 when I had our first baby. I knew nothing, but thought I knew it all.

5 years later, I had 5 kids. I was in complete survival mode. I don't remember much about those days except making sure the kids took a nap everyday so I could have some time to myself or get the house cleaned up. My time with the Lord was so rare. I knew I needed to spend time reading the Bible & praying everyday, but I thought God would understand why I didn't since he gave me these kids. My faith & trust in God grew very small, but my faith in myself grew very big.

I have learned that when God wants you to do something, he has a way of getting you to the point in which you can do it and do it very well. This happened to me. He wanted to use me to share with others about his love for them, but because my heart was in the horrible & and selfish shape it was, he wouldn't use me. So He decided to break my heart and slowly piece it back together.
In 1999, I was in a car accident with my 6 children and was 9 weeks pregnant. I lost control on a rock road, rolling 3 or 4 times landing upside down. Our suburban was totaled, but we all survived. In the months after that accident I sank into a deep depression as I believed that I tried to kill my kids that day. The enemy had a powerful hold on my mind. After many months I slowly began to recognize my condition as depression. Finally after 18 months of living in spiritual and emotional darkness, the Lord began to work in me. I was truly a new creature. My journey has been long and difficult & is still going on. He is not done with me yet! But fear and depression is not a daily part of my life anymore...Praise the Lord!
In the midst of my healing I read a scripture that really seem to jump out at me and it seemed like the Lord was speaking directly to me. Isaiah 61:1-3 says,

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me
to preach the good news. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to
proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on
them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning
and a garment of praise in stead of despair. They will be called oaks of
righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."

I accept this verse & claim it as my charge from the Lord. Now, the desire to encourage & minister to mothers is a passion and reality for me. He has placed many friends in my path that I have had the pleasure of visiting and sharing my heart with. He speaks to me through his scripture and gives me words to write that I could never write before. He gives me words to say that I could never have said on my own.
I am still a work in progress as we all are. I don't have all the answers and never will. My kids aren't raised yet, we are still training and praying that we are doing it right. God has blessed Scott & I with 10 kids so far. We don't know if he will bless us with more or not, but we feel so blessed with the ones we have. He uses my kids daily to reveal more of his truth, because I have to seek his wisdom or I will fall flat on my face.

Dana & Scott

He is teaching me daily that I have a choice in my circumstances. I can either praise him or cry. I can either reflect him in my reaction to my circumstances or I won't. It is my choice. I can be blessed with his joy or I won't. It is my choice, no one can make it for me.

I pray daily that he will use me and to bring comfort to the many hurting hearts I will encounter. As mothers we face challenges every day & can't do it alone. I need the Lord just to get out of bed each morning.