I know it’s been a while since anything has been posted—it’s been busy around here. We just celebrated our 27th anniversary with a few days on the Oregon coast. We took a whale watching trip! The boys have started some new therapy that takes several hours a week. We started our 4th year of homeschooling in late August, and they’re working hard at the 3rd grade. (And, I’m LOVING what I see this year!) They’re playing soccer this fall for the first time. I’m keeping busy too: watching extra kids on Mondays and Wednesdays, teaching preschool on Tuesdays, taking one to speech therapy every Friday, and being wife/mom/homeschool teacher every day.
The burden, though, comes in something Jim and I are doing together, and loving! We’ve been blessed with the privilege (and the responsibility!) of teaching a parenting series to the young families at church. Taking what we learned over the years through the amazing pastor who taught us when we were young parents, adding what we’ve learned through our own experience, and making sure that it flows and makes sense has been a challenge. It’s an incredible privilege to stand in front of these people every Sunday and teach from our hearts. Both of us, though, have been surprised by the overwhelming burden we feel. Families are struggling. The heartache is big. The needs are plenty. We have emailed and talked in person and on the phone with hurting people. Standing before them every Sunday, looking at their faces and knowing a tiny bit about their struggles…oh man. There aren’t enough hours in a day for me to be in prayer for these precious people! As we teach, we try to make sure that each session has laughter, hope, and encouragement included with the truth of God’s word. And yet…my heart breaks for the struggles out there. Every Sunday I come home ready for a nap because of the emotional workout. Fortunately, we have also been blessed with a very gracious audience. They are tenderhearted and gentle with us and with their fellow parents. They are encouraging and positive. We are seeing people reach out to others. We are seeing growth!
For those who know me, hearing that I’m helping teach for 3+ months is a bit of a surprise. I’m a huge introvert. I don’t like speaking in public. I don’t like putting myself out there. I don’t like big crowds or nametags or anything else that exposes me. Heavens…I’ve been known to throw up before I teach at church from the nerves! I’m a small group gal. One on one, or groups of 5 or 6? Not a problem. More than that and I’m completely out of my element. Standing in front of 40 or 50 people week after week and exposing my parenting struggles? Failures? SO not me. But this is where God has put us. Where He has equipped us to be at this time. Where He has asked us to go. So we go. And we pray—for the marriages and single parents and families. Best of all, we have a great time together up in front, teaching. The experience is fun, and the burdens we feel has drawn us together as we spend time each day praying for these people.
How’s it possible to have a heart that is both heavy and light at the same time? Well, doing what God has called us to do and seeing (in tiny amounts) the hurts of His people put us here. For now, we focus on doing what He commanded in 2 Timothy 2:2 “…the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”
Parents. Reliable people, qualified to teach others. They have a tough job. Helping to bear their burdens is the least we can do.