Encouragement for Rough Starts and Hard Days


I’ve been off the grid for a few days. The days have been nearly perfect, weather-wise, and we’ve been taking walks, swimming, riding bikes and enjoying the beauty of this season. When it’s this nice outside, the computer can wait.

We’ve been busy living life. We wrapped up summer vacation and started another year of homeschool. It’s been an emotional mixture of bittersweet, tragedy and excitement. Bittersweet because it’s another reminder of how fast the time is going and how quickly these “happy golden years” will be over. Tragedy because we love summer so much and starting school forces us to accept that fall is coming soon. And excitement because we have another awesome school year set before us. Generally my kids love learning and I love being able to guide them as they “explore” a new book, a new place, a new science discovery or a new way to express their thoughts.

In the middle of all of this, our water heater decided to burst and soak our basement utility closet. Now, I don’t know how you handle it when your “modern conveniences” up and die on you, but I don’t handle it well. Last year our washing machine broke and it took almost two weeks until it was replaced. I was in complete despair over not being able to do my laundry. Not having hot water is really bumming me out.

I’ve been homeschooling for three years and every year we have some slightly traumatic “thing” happen to us during the first weeks that really tests me and threatens to throw us off schedule. Just when we’re trying to get our footing on the school year, it feels like someone is shifting the ground beneath us. I feel like it’s life’s way of telling me that homeschooling is a bit too much for me to handle. I have to push those thoughts aside though. We’ve persevered in the past and we will again. But, gosh, I would really like to start one school year strong and in charge.

Yet, as I sit here in my highly decorated pity party, I’m reminded of other people in my life that are embarking on new journeys and are already facing obstacles and challenges. This is the way it is. All things worth doing won’t come easy. But, here’s the thing I’m finally realizing, there’s something even better than that logic.

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

It’s so tempting to start off on my own strength, but it doesn’t take long to realize my strength alone isn’t going to cut it. It’s a lonely, hard and disappointing road when I do it on my strength alone. But I don’t have to keep trudging on by myself and God doesn’t want me to either. The plain truth is, I’m only going to make it when I’m relying and resting on His strength. And I’m so thankful when He gently reminds me of that fact.

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