• Angelene Woodard

How Your Weakness Can Be to Your Advantage

Desperate times call for desperate measures. And here’s one mama who gets desperate each and every February.

Y’all know homeschooling is my absolute biggest weakness. But homeschooling in February? That is my demise.

Five consecutive Februaries have almost done us in.

February in Tennessee is just plain messy and inconvenient. Our state is not equipped for winter weather at all. Nope. We completely shut down.

If we are fortunate enough to get snow, it only lasts a short time. Then it melts and refreezes keeping roadways a total mess for weeks at a time.

Businesses close, schools close, church services are cancelled, grocery stores run out of milk and bread.

Here’s a recap of my struggle.

First February: (This one doesn’t really count as we were still in the honeymoon phase.)

Second February: Our youngest was an infant. I was severely deep deprived, nursing, and attempting to teach a 1st grader while entertaining a distracting preschooler. Torture.

Third February: There was so much ice. My husband worked for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. That entire February was an emergency. He worked late and went in early. We hardly ever saw him. (This is code for I didn’t talk to other adults face-to-face for a whole month.) In addition, our van was parked at the bottom of our driveway on a super steep hill – on the shady side of the house. We were iced in. He dug us out once - only to be iced back in the very next day. I left the house a measly three times in twenty-four days. I was trapped alone in the house with three wild hyenas. To make matters even worse…we didn’t have Netflix yet. I know, it was bad.

Fourth February: I braced myself for the worst. To my surprise, it wasn’t as bad as the previous year. However, it was cold/icy/snowy/nasty enough for all our extracurricular activities to be cancelled. And let’s not forget the stupid van on the stupid hill stuck in the stupid ice. Again, we were trapped.

Fifth February: More of the same. Except now one of us was potty training, one of us was developing a few tendencies toward ADHD, one of us was copying his mama and complaining about everything all day every day, and one of us was depressed and doubting why we were even homeschooling in the first place.

This is my relationship with mean ol’ February. She shows up every year with her hateful darkness, hiding the sunshine.

With her long nights, come unending days.

She puts me in time-out, keeps us from our friends, and insists the only fun we are ever going to have is doing chores.

She places me under house arrest with three mini cell mates. Hyper, Whiney, and EntertainMeAlltheLiveLongDay are cute and nice enough. But they are also annoying, bothersome, and irritating.

She reminds me that spending unending hours with children and their thoughts, questions, stories, games, messes, and toys is insanely difficult – even if I do love them more than life itself.

What’s a miserable homeschooling mama to do?

Well, I called the local private school and requested applications.

I was done.

February had won not only the annual battle, but the war as well.

That was until the Lord intervened. Boy, did He intervene.

He stepped right in and saved our homeschool - right before I destroyed it.

This year – this February- will be different.

And I can’t wait.

How are we doing this you may ask? Well, we are traveling to the beach this winter.

We will experience warmer weather, sunnier skies, wide open beaches, and an indoor heated swimming pool. Take that, February!

That’s right. This homeschool family is packing up school curriculum and heading south with all the other brilliant snow birds.

This plan of survival has required months of planning, preparing, and saving. (Believe me, there is a price to pay when running away from home.)

So that’s the plan on paper. How’d I go from despising February to making it fabulous? Well, that’s all the Lord.

Two things happened:

  1. I came to the end of myself.

  2. My Savior showed up right on time.

I came to the end of myself? What does that even mean?

Here’s the truth. I quit.

I absolutely, positively, unequivocally just gave up.

I quit trying so dang hard. I quit trying to be better. I quit acting like I wasn't suffering day in and day out.

I accepted the fact that I was really bad at homeschooling. I accepted the fact that it caused me more stress and pain than I had ever imagined. I accepted the fact that my kids could receive a better education without me.

I surrendered to my shortcomings and weakness. I crumpled up all the failed attempts at being better into a tight little ball, squeezed it hard against my heart, and sobbed gut wrenching tears.

I told the Lord I had tried to be faithful and it just wasn’t working. If He wanted me to keep homeschooling, then He was going to have to change me and our homeschooling experience.

He was just going to have to accept my willingness to obey Him in lieu of my talents and skill set. I. Was. Done.

That’s when it happened. That’s when He changed everything.

I experienced His holy moving upon my heart at a little gathering place where other like-minded individuals share His truth and apply it to their lives. (Some people call it a Homeschool Convention. You say, “tomatoe”. I say, “toe-mah-toe”. Whatever.)

He showed me that I was trying harder instead of trusting more.

I was concentrating more on my weakness than His strength.

I was magnifying my insufficiencies and discrepancies when I should have been celebrating my God-given victories – even if they were teeny tiny.

I was attempting to homeschool within my own power.

The Almighty flipped a switch inside my frustrated heart.

Hopelessness: Off.

Hope and Peace: On.

He whispered to my heart, "There are other ways to do this.".

He bailed me out of frustration, depression, and stress by completely changing my thought process and feelings toward homeschooling.

He showed me that He does not expect me to do this without Him. He does not want me to do this without Him.

With that came the solution to my February problem.

See...He didn't change homeschooling in February. He changed me.

<<< Sidenote: The children were beside themselves with excitement when I told them we would be spending an entire month at the beach. “Cool! You’re so awesome, Mom!”

“Let me be clear. The only reason we are going to the beach is because I am not awesome.” >>>

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