We are now into the New year and in the middle of some of the coldest weather that Ohio has seen in quite some time. Below zero temperatures and blowing drifting snow has been the new normal. The children played in the snow a couple of times in November, but now? There is no playtime outside. Only chores and those have to be done as quickly as possible with the older children bundling up from head to toe.
Winter is when we celebrate many of the children's birthdays. It doesn't matter whose birthday is coming up because all of the kids look forward to these special days. They help to cure some of the after Christmas and winter time blues.
When it comes to our studies, some days I feel like we accomplish much, but then there are other days when I'm tempted to despair. We have days where we seem to have interruption after interruption. Phone calls, a very cranky toddler, a big spill or an overtired Mommy can disrupt our best laid plans. I do try to be realistic on certain days. Tuesdays are our music days. It's when most of the music lessons occur and on those evenings, I go to choir practice. We keep those days simpler with our focus being on Bible, music and reading. This past Tuesday, we also allowed more time for our animals. We had another cold front moving through that evening, so that was the best day for the farrier to trim the horses' hooves and a good day for our friend to deliver extra hay. Studies were not as important as getting our animals ready for another several days of extreme cold. So, even when more things than usual get added to our already busy days, we just have to thank the Lord for more opportunities to serve Him. And, we just keep pressing on.
We've had times where a child or two cannot seem to grasp a concept and therefore will fall behind where I'd like them to be. We're actually going through that right now. It can be discouraging to both parent and child, but we know it won't last forever. They will eventually get it. At those times, I pray that God will give me a balance between taking a break, but also getting down to the nitty gritty and grilling those concepts. I've found that breaks can be quite effective. I also like to encourage the kids to study topics they love, not just what I think is important for them to know. And, then, after a break from whatever subject is giving us a problem, we take a deep breath and try again. We don't study math, science or grammar for us. We don't study to keep up with those around us. We don't study so we'll land the perfect job one day. We study because God made it all. He's a God of order, constancy, and beauty. Everything we study shows us just a little more of His glory. It's because of this that we press on.
Life is hard. We all can be discouraged by an interruption to our schedule, sickness, confusion or even the loss of someone close to us, but we press on. We must press on. Not in our strength, but His. This is obedience to our Heavenly Father. We show our love for Him when we look to Him for our every need and then, continue to press on. We have a high calling. It is Jesus.
"Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14