Has anyone ever looked at the difficulties in your life and said, “wow, God must be preparing you for the mission field!” Well, since I’ve been homeschooling I would have to say just the opposite is true in my own life. I honestly believe that my experiences on the mission field prepared me for the life that I live now as a homeschooling mom! Here are a few lessons learned while I spent some time on the mission field, right before I got married, had kids and entered the homeschooling world.
I had to become an early riser.
I never was an early riser growing up, unless I had to be. If I had a choice, I would linger in bed as long as I could get away with, hitting the snooze button one too many times. While on the mission field, I did not have this luxury. Days were hot and we had to get started early, which meant I had to be up, ready and outside by five in the morning. Now, I must admit, I do not regularly get up that early now, but that experience prepared me for the days of having to sacrificially tend to a newborn, or unexpected days that I might need to get things around before the kids get up. It certainly trained me to be alert and ready earlier than I was used to now that I have children to feed, dress and tend to on a regular basis!
Showers were few and far between.
If you have a toddler, or remember when your older child was one, then you understand what I am talking about. Sneaking a hot shower in, especially in the middle of the day is a challenge, okay, usually impossible. I remember a time that a shower was a relaxing form of therapy, but now it is simply a necessity that I get done when I can. While overseas, the electricity was hit or miss. We would have it on some days, and not on others. You never knew when it would be working. On the days that it was, I was blessed to be able to get a nice cold shower (which actually was a blessing since the heat was hotter than I have experienced here in America). But, on the days that we did not have electricity, I would receive a bucket of cold water and that would be what I could use that day to bathe. It was a good experience though challenging at times that has helped me be thankful to at least have hot water when my toddler is crying at the bathroom door to come in while I am trying to enjoy a shower!
I was unable to “get away” on my own, at the drop of a hat.
Most homeschool moms don’t always feel “trapped” in their home since they are often bringing their kids around town to extracurricular activities. But, when you have little ones that need to be at home for their naps, a newborn, a sickness in the home, or other unexpected circumstances that prevent you from leaving the home, it is easy to feel that “trapped” feeling. Of course you love your kids and want to be there for them but coming to grips with the loss of independence can take time for some moms. It can certainly be a shock at first if you are used to running out the door whenever you want to get something, and then you remember that you have four kids to get dressed, ready and buckled and you realize that now probably isn’t the best time. While overseas, I was basically confined to the children’s home I was at for the four months I was there. I left maybe a total of four or five times! Since in America I always had my own car from the time I was old enough to drive and went wherever I wanted, when I wanted, this was a challenge for me. But, again, this was excellent preparation for the homeschooling life. It taught me discipline and helped me not get so frustrated when I just wanted to leave the house and go for a jog or pick up a burger at a fast food joint. It helped me to think through my actions and not act impulsively,which is important when you are training up little ones alongside you.
I had to rely solely on god.
More than anything, my experience on the mission field taught me to rely solely on God. Though I feel like I have a long way to go in this area, I know that being thousands of miles away from home, from other Americans, from high speed internet and the comforts that I was used to, I had to pray earnestly each day that I would remember the reason God had brought me to that part of the world. It wasn’t about me, but about Him and what He wanted to accomplish. I often need to remind myself of this in my homeschooling. God has placed these children in my husband’s care and my care for only a short while. I need to remember that each day is about accomplishing His purpose and not worrying about me and if I am comfortable. I am thankful for these experiences that I had and that they were able to prep me for the days that I am living in now!