When Your Burden is a Boulder

A few years back I was one week away from having a scheduled kidney transplant. Leading up to the surgery, there were times when I would tremble with fear. I worried about the pain in recovery. I worried about the medication I would be on for life after the transplant. I worried about my body rejecting the kidney. But, what caused me to break out into an all out panic attack was thinking about how would I ever manage all of my responsibilities during recovery.

In Galatians, Paul talks about carrying our own load but also sharing in one another’s burdens.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  For each one shall bear his own load.

I don’t know about you, but it’s the whole part about allowing someone else to help bear my burden, carry my load, and share in my pain, that causes fear to set in.

But, as I lean into Jesus and experience more and more of His grace and compassion I see that He is to be trusted. Ultimately it is He who carries my burden. It is He who sees just how big my burden is even when I try to minimize it. It is Jesus who holds the burden and the solution in His all-powerful hands.

My burden…my failiing kidneys, my children’s unique needs, my husband’s health, the lies the enemy feeds me…it all compounds into a boulder too large for my shoulders.

When I find myself thinking I am something, I think I can and should bear it all. I should be able to pick up all the wounded pieces, place them neatly in my pack, and hoist them onto my back. It’s a lie from the pit of hell that I am alone and that I should be able to hold my heavy load myself.

Oh, Satan loves that lie. If he can get me to fall for it, he’s got me. He’s got me in an impossible situation trying in vain to hold up my pack, setting myself up for failure and a heavier burden.

But, Jesus….Jesus who knows pain. Jesus who knows betrayal. Jesus who knows loneliness. Jesus who knows love. Jesus who knows me. He knows the boulder I am facing. He knows what I am capable of carrying. He knows my needs.

But, Jesus…

the Boulder Taker

the Boulder Lifter

the Boulder Mover.

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What a peace it brings to my burdened soul, coming back to the reality that I am nothing. I am unable to bear this boulder. The Lord has not even asked me to bear it alone.

Thank you, Jesus. Those words seem insufficient. I have been known to utter the words, “Thank you, Jesus” about finding a good parking spot on a rainy day. But, to say “Thank you, Jesus, for carrying a boulder I am too weak and ill-equipped to carry myself” seems trite. So, I will spend my life uttering the words, “Thank you, Jesus. You are so good to me.”

 

 

 

Humbling Through Homeschool

We often receive curious looks and questions when people learn that we went from being fully emerged in public school to being fully emerged in our homeschool.  We were in the thick of public school. Not only were our two children in public school from kindergarten on, but I was teaching public school, and loving it. I loved my students.  I loved their families. I loved putting myself into helping my students succeed. I loved forming relationships with my students. I found so much fulfillment in teaching them.

“Why would you leave that?” is the question that follows the skeptical looks.

The Lord made it clear that it was time for a change. Our family followed in obedience. You can read more about that decision here: Overcoming School

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First Day of Ostreim Academy 2016

I mistakenly thought the decision to follow in obedience and begin homeschool was the lesson. I didn’t realize that with each passing week, it was me that was receiving an ongoing lesson.

I am the teacher, right? But, the Holy Spirit is my teacher. What’s on the lesson plan on a weekly basis? Humility.

Again, Lord? Humility again?

Yes. As I read through chapter 6 of Galatians, the lesson plan is clear. The application to me as my child’s instructor, is clear.

Galatians 6:3-4,  For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

Since beginning homeschooling my children about 18 months ago, the lessons for me have come at a rapidfire pace. Lessons on spending less money due to going down to one income. Lessons on the importance of teaching my children the Word. Lessons on being more flexible on how our day is structured. Lessons on the unique learning styles of my children. But one consistent lesson that has remained from day one until now is humility.

Who knew that homeschooling was going to bring even more growth to me than for my children?

I love Paul’s straightforward approach. My paraphrase, “If you think you are something, you are wrong!”

Sitting down to help my husband with a tax document, these verses came alive for me and my lesson on humility glared at me straight in the face.

“We just need to create a table for these expenses. We will fill in these totals and then total these columns. The total for this row will go there,” my husband rattles off the instructions.

I stare at the document in his hand. Then back at the computer screen. A full minute must have passed before I managed to say, “What?”

Riffling through his papers, he halfway mumbles, “What? What part are you saying what to?”

“The whole thing. What do you want me to do?” my head hurts at the same time as being completely blank.

He continues on with a longer explanation and my brain slowly begins to engage enough to know how to at least begin the task.

Creating the empty columns and rows and titles begins to flow. I am doing okay until it’s time to start entering information.

“Enter this number here,” he requests.

Okay, I can do that.

“Now total this section here,” he continues.

Uh oh. The glazing over is back. What? Where did he say to put the number? What number goes there? I am hesitant to ask my questions. He’s going to groan in frustration, right? At least show a small annoyance that I am not understanding.

I am expecting that reaction because that’s what I do. When the girls are not understanding a direction or a problem on their math. It’s just about impossible to answer without showing at least some sign that I am frustrated. I just gave the direction. They couldn’t possibly need me to say it again.

Now my distraction working with my husband has nothing to do with my lack of understanding but it has everything to do with the Lord showing me my less than humble attitude when teaching my children.

Oh, Lord, you are right. I am waiting on a sharp word from my husband or a sigh of frustration, because those are behaviors I have when teaching my girls. 

This prideful attitude didn’t just appear. It’s been here all along. It didn’t get exercised on a daily basis prior to homeschooling. It also didn’t get refined prior to homeschooling.

My words of disappointment or my groans of frustration are telling my children that I really think I am something.

Further down in Galatians, Paul continues, And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9.

During morning chores and Bible time, grace-filled words ring from my tongue. Warm greetings and compliments come easy at the beginning of the day.

Hours into the morning, when blood sugars are running low, the to-do list is piling up along with the dishes, and the push and pull of the world is heavy at work, weariness sets in. Where a soft tone once was, now there’s a growing volume to my voice. Where patience was once in abundance, now hastiness is creeping in. Where encouraging words once flowed, now a sharp tongue is heard.

It’s at this point in our day when my weariness in doing good has set in and my pride, my thinking I am really something, has heightened.

My futile attempts to do good at this point are just that, futile. I have turned my back on the grace the Lord so lavishly bestows on me and I am walking in my own prideful flesh.

Time for some more restoration. Mending of my brokenness. Filling of the Spirit.

Time for the incredible reminder that God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8.

If that doesn’t bring the necessary humbling, what will?

Dear Lord, thank you for your lessons. Thank you for your refinement. Thank you for never leaving me the same as I was yesterday. And, Lord, my loving Heavenly Father, thank you for your abundance of grace raining over me. 

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