October 12, 2020

Surrender or See: Our Choice

Fiona Schneider-Johnson

I was going to title this blog “10 hiding spots in your home your kids will never find!” But then, as parents we know there are no hiding spots from children (I mean they even come into the toilet). And during the “Coronacoaster” we know this is more so the case!

So here we find ourselves almost seven months into lockdown with kids who aren’t even tall enough to ride a roller coaster, let alone endure a Coronacoaster! 

In this seven months we have been eaten out of house and home, had 24 dance parties, built over ten thousand pieces of LEGO, cleaned the kitchen 630 times, washed 4 loads of clothes a week, pondered 50 times how we have 20 dirty glasses a day, taught the letters of the alphabet and numbers, also division, multiplication, area, length, capacity, inference, reading, forehand strike, art, Indonesian and performing arts……..*breathe*, all while balancing work, small business and our own wellbeing.

Is anyone else tired or pressured just from reading that!?

Thankfully this week sees the end of homeschooling 2.0. I look back over the past seven weeks and I’ll be honest; I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I never thought we would have to be teachers! I struggled in this season to balance everything on my plate. How was I supposed to work in my nursing, which was so mentally and physically draining, then come home to teach, clean, cook, organise? Where was the time for rest? Where was the time to enjoy my relationships? At times I felt like I was in a vice of guilt. There simply wasn’t enough time or enough of me to go around. And there I was in the lowest part of my valley.

This season has seen each one of us collectively go through our individual hard journeys. 

Over the years I have learnt a few things about the hard journeys; you either surrender to it and let it get you down, or you allow yourself to embrace the growth and silver linings throughout. God will always use a situation/season to reveal things to us and bring growth, knowing that God, the perfect gentleman, never leaves our side throughout.

 The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV)
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I was faithful to this scripture 100% of the time. Some days were easy, others were not. Some days we conquered and some days Cadbury was my best friend. Even Paul speaks in Romans 7 about this battle of the will. So when days are more of a struggle I had a choice: surrender or see. But how? 

I asked myself four questions:

What does God want me to see through this season?

How does God want me to grow through this season?

What is a non-negotiable and what can be set aside for later?

When I look back at this season, what do I want to have produced in myself/family?

After asking these questions, I started to see my parenting in a new light.

Teaching opened up a window to see our children like I hadn’t before as a mother. I got to see how their brains worked and I discovered a great engineer and a creative artist! Things I would have missed if they were still at school. I got to sit one-on-one and encourage them over their hurdles by shaping their thought processes when they are telling themselves they can’t. I celebrated all the little wins.

God was showing me things to help shape their foundations for life. 

These questions gave me permission to find balance between the negotiable and non-negotiables, to value rest, self care and to nurture relationships with my husband and friends and family. I have thrown away the need to be perfect and get everything done and found contentment in a new routine. It didn’t matter that the washing wasn’t done or if the kids knew colours in another language. My non-negotiable was the relationships with my family and our health.

I asked some friends the other day if they had the ability to time travel would they skip 2020?

While this year has been hard, devastating and unprecedented I wouldn’t skip it. COVID threw our routine out the window and I’m quite thankful for that. Each one of us has grown through adversity and found joy in each others’ presence in new ways. 

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