Friday, October 5, 2012

One Less Thing

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. ~Anatole France

My aunt has always been the all-or-nothing type of person and she has lived her life as though she believed that anything she had not mastered was just something she had not yet tried. She also has always been quite discerning about matching her desires and talents, but no job was beneath her. In times of necessity, she just does what is necessary. She has always been one to get by with what she had, learn about what she did not know how to do, and then just make it work. She loved music so she took piano and voice lessons. Then she formed two singing groups: one large one with about 50 teens and another small one that started as a soft Christian rock band and evolved into the country gospel one I was in. Even though she is in her seventies now, she is still leading a choir for two productions each year. She always scheduled time to read, play an instrument, do art, and rest, because even she believed she worked hard enough to earn time for those pleasures. She still milks goats twice a day and works in the gardens. From the time I can remember she could out work most men and always took on more than most people would do. In fact, she worked at a technical college after having graduated from there with a business degree in her forties and when she retired in her sixties, they hired three full-time people to replace her and still begged her to come back to work part-time.

Needless to say, my aunt is one of the people I admire and strive to be like. Actually, we have some similarities in that when I do something, I give it all I have and try to it better than it was done before or do more than would be expected. I throw myself into whatever I do, until I am completely exhausted and unable or quite roughly tossed back out, because I just see complications and difficulties as expected in life's course, rather than signs. There must be a way that I can make it work!

Obviously, there is a downside to being this type of person:

There is always more things I can take on
...and once I have committed myself to a long term task,
I have difficulty ending it.

This leads to sometimes having too much to do
...and not enough of me to do them.

Sadly, I rarely take hints, even from my Lord, that I need to back out politely and gracefully at times, so He usually has to be very direct and leave no doubt in my mind and even back me into corners so that I have only one choice, which is out. I don't like giving up or giving in, yet in my heart, I want to listen better, obey quicker, and please Him more, which sometimes requires me to do those things.

My dear readers have been reading the moanings of my heart: Time Slipping Away and Where Has My Peace Gone? My poor husband and daughter have been enduring my weekly meltdowns for weeks mostly because I now have the added task of preparing the praise and worship part of our church services. At this point, it takes hours to do this well, probably because of my inexperience with picking music to flow, preparing lyrics to be projected, and learning the songs well enough to be comfortable to lead them. I would enjoy them more if I did not feel that I have to squeeze them into a schedule that is already overloaded. Still, I feel this new task brings pleasure to my Lord.

In fact, I am sure it pleases Him, because this week my Lord healed my vocal cords. Yes, He did! I had been asking for this because I caused damage to my vocal cords when I used to lecture. Within the tight range I used for speaking, my singing voice would just be extremely weak on certain notes and I tend to go hoarse after phone conversations or speaking for just a half an hour. I felt a heaviness in my throat last week asked my Lord what was happening and felt Him tell me that He was healing my voice. Last Sunday, I sang without a crack, without weakness on any note! I ran scales on our piano and my voice range is strong and nearly as broad as it was when I was young.

I have an amazing God! Worthy of all praise!

So...the question has been: am I to keep doing everything that is the most pleasing to my Lord for He is worthy of my obedience?

A few nights ago, my husband asked me to consider a Christian private school for the Princess, because he felt I did not enjoy homeschooling anymore and we are going to be out of credit card debt before the end of this month. (YAY! to that payment being gone.) I would have time by myself every day to devote to other things that I would like to do, but we would be constrained to a school schedule and that alone is not really appealing with my husband's erratic work schedule. Worse is that we would have to rearrange everything from helping at the horse barn to piano lessons, because everything would have to be in the evening when she would have homework to keep up with a class. When would she have time to play with friends? No, I felt certain that was not a solution nor God's leading. The main reason I have not been enjoying homeschooling is because I feel I am not doing it well and I feel rushed to fit everything into three days each week, so that my only child has some time to play with friends as I feel that is important for her.

Am I to give up the classical homeschool approach? To be honest, that is not been given the full commitment necessary to make it work for us and a good part of that is that I really am only doing the core lessons on three days each week or less if my husband takes off Monday or Friday as a comp day, or gets home early on Friday (rare but it happens). What falls by the wayside is art, violin, writing, science, or history. I try to rotate which so that they are all covered some, but that is not the way I would like for it to be. She loves science, writing, violin, and art. She also seems to like history to a lesser degree, but that may be because I am not really working history the way I hoped.

I still feel called to homeschool. I feel called to lead praise and worship. I feel called to be a wife, mother, and keeper of my home. I feel my daughter's calling has something to do with art, writing, and music...and maybe the last one has something to do with why I am the praise and worship leader now?

Here's the part that hurts...I do not feel called to take care of the horse barn. I prayed before she was born that my daughter would be gifted in music and ride horses. She is gifted in music, very much so, and she has ridden horses, but she may not love riding and caring for the horses. I love it so much. I would go everyday if I could, but my daughter seems to be basically okay with it. We have been going to the horse barn since we had the second van, over a year and a half. We have been working the barn in the mornings mostly by ourselves for over a year. My daughter still does not have that knack for horses I hoped would develop and that may be in part because there are so many to care for all with their own personalities and quirks. I am thinking if she had just one or two with which she really could interact more intimately, she would feel differently. Maybe riding lessons would be a better solution...?

At this point, I feel whatever we do with horses, if we continue to do anything with horses, it would be better to do in the evening. She still wants to be a part of 4-H and that is doable for us as it works around school hours on evenings, weekends, and school breaks, but not every week. I feel at peace with this decision finally--perhaps the wake up call was my husband suggesting private school, which would have forced this change anyway--still, I am not looking forward to talking with Miss Annette to tell her. I know that it is difficult for her to care for all the horses herself with her health conditions and there are few homeschooling families in the club, who are willing to take mornings, fewer she feels are confident with the horses and trustworthy for the barn responsibilities. I know that giving it up will burden her, so I am praying that my Lord will fill her need, so that it is not a burden for her.

~ My Lord, letting go of a commitment is very difficult for me, especially one that I love to do, but I am believing that there was a reason You placed working at the 4-H horse barn in ours lives for a season and a reason that You have lead us away for another season. Please, my Lord, be kind to your servant, Miss Annette, as I know she loves you and serves you through 4-H. Provide her with help at the barn so that she is not burdened from us no longer continuing to come on Tuesday mornings. ~

2 comments:

  1. Yes. I feel this is right in my Spirit. I'm sorry as I know you love the horses but if it is not working & is not the Princess' love as it is yours then it would be the thing I would choose to ditch also. I do understand. Been here, done that. Every time I had to cut something out I agonized over the decision but at one point we were doing more extras than academics & were just too exhausted constantly to give the proper attention to our academics anyway.

    I hope you soon have more peace in your days & peace in your spirit. ♥

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  2. I think that if this is really the Lord's will, then he will either provide a replacement to do the horse barn, or will give Miss Annette all the needs to accomplish the task herself. The Lord cares for all of his children, so I believe he will care for Miss Annette just as he cares for you and for I! :)

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.