Big J and I just got back from a homeschool conference, my mind and heart full of encouragement, ideas and hope for the year to come. The vendor hall buzzed with activity and we were able to look over a few things we were thinking of adding to our curriculum. Overall, it was a wonderful time together, just the two of us (surround by a couple thousand people), as well as a time to learn from those who have gone before. Not just a conference on education, many workshops spoke about relationship. The relationship with our children, which is a big part of what home education is about. And our relationship as a couple. About our trust in a Father who has given us these amazing children, our spouse, a desire to learn together as a family.
By the last workshop of the last day, I found my introverted-self feeling exhausted and emotional after all the input. I love people, but I had spent the last few days surrounded by strangers, many of whom I’ll admit, fit the stereotype of homeschooling families. Long skirts. Long hair. Lots of children. Babies in backpacks, strollers, slings. So many pregnant bellies.
At one vendor booth I spoke with a woman who had her baby it tow. She commented about how many children she had and that she’d like to have more. Homeschoolers, generally, love children and, if possible, have many.
I sat in the last workshop, achy, tired, but looking forward to listening to Diana Waring speak, this time about Things I Wish I’d Known. One of the first slides on her powerpoint gave a job description of what it is to be a homeschool mom. It said this:
“I am the administrator/instructor of an exclusive, multi-level academy, designed for the express purpose of fostering genius in a select group of collective individuals.”
Pretty amazing when you think about it in those terms.
Then she went on to issue three challenges with the mindset of thankfulness. The first one included giving thanks for your body. After all, Psalm 139 says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, so how can I not be thankful for my body. Pretty easy, I thought. Sure, I want to lose that proverbial five to ten pounds and there are parts of my body that are easier to love than others. What woman doesn’t feel that way? But after dealing with the pain of endometriosis and knowing many people who suffer physically, I really thought this would be a cinch.
The night we got home from the conference, laundry almost done, the kids tucked in, I lay in bed in that state halfway between wakefulness and sleep. I remembered my promise to thank God daily for my body. In my mind I offered up a prayer of thanks for a body that is healthy, that works and does what it is meant to do.
And then it hit me. This is the body that refused to bear children. That wouldn’t get pregnant. That caused years of grief. This is the body that failed me. That made me feel like a failure.
Because this body wouldn’t do what it was made to do. This body wouldn’t do what all those homeschool moms (and dads) hold to so dearly. That we are to be fruitful and multiply. My body does not feel fruitful.
But this is the body, the one God fearfully and wonderfully made, that I am to be thankful for. Daily. Literally.
Not quite as simple as I thought.