When God Gives You Change

When God Gives Us Change

I homeschooled my three kids for five years straight. Like any endeavor, it had its pros and cons, but overall, homeschooling fit our family well.

Then God opened the door for my kids to attend a small Christian school.

In the weeks before their first day, we ambled through store aisles, armed with much excitement and three separate school supply lists. At home, they eagerly scrawled their names with black Sharpies across each glue stick, crayon box, and pair of scissors.

They were ready.

The first day of school arrived, and a mix of emotions swirled with the acid in my stomach. I saw them to their lockers, made sure they had everything they needed, and kissed them goodbye.

Then I drove away in an empty minivan. Alone.

I walked through the back door of our house, and didn’t quite know what to do with myself. It was only 8:15 in the morning, and it was so quiet. I looked around, and the only company I found were the guppies and sword tail swimming around in the fish tank.

It took me weeks to adjust to the after school rush of three sets of homework, permission slips, reading records, and book orders. I wasn’t prepared for the spelling lists, the memory verses, and the math problems.

I was shocked that of all of us, I was the one struggling most with the transition. I was talking to the fish, for crying out loud.

My cheeks flushed with embarrassment when I realized that sending my kids to school took such a toll on me – both physically and emotionally. Millions of people have done it every day for decades. Why was it such a big deal?

Eventually, I got used to the new routine. I came to enjoy it, actually. I began to savor my free hours and made the most of the unique season. I spent more time writing, tackling house projects, helping with school parties, and meeting with friends.

Then the tide shifted. Unforeseen circumstances led to our return to homeschooling after just one school year.

I was surprised by how sad I was about the change, given my sense of disorientation at the beginning of the school year. I had really grown to love the Christian school community, and there were so many people and other aspects that we would dearly miss.

As the year drew to a close, I found myself grieving over the coming loss. Spontaneous tears threatened to fall at any given moment.

In the days when I felt most fragile, I resolved to blink back the sadness and consider the year as a gift. That’s really what it was – a precious gift from the Giver of all good things.

Rather than being consumed with lament, I asked God to give me a deep gratitude for the gift of that school year.

In her book, Girl Meets Change, Kristen Strong writes, “When we spend all our energy wishing things were different, we have no strength to revel in the glory of the blessings right in front of us.”

This was so true for me.

When I sent my kids to school, I missed them at home during the day. I felt like I had lost my job.

When we switched back to homeschooling, I mourned the fact that I would never go to the grocery store alone again. My daytime writing hours were over. The house would no longer be tidy. My social calendar was about to be amputated.

Yet with the Lord’s help, I learned to embrace the change. I can now purposefully look at the past and the present as a gift.

Yes, there is still a tinge of sadness when I think about our absence from the school community, and days when I feel overwhelmed by homeschooling. But God has helped me to see that not only is He present in change – He always uses it for my good.

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Kate Motaung grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan before spending ten years in Cape Town, South Africa. She is married to a South African and together they have three children. Kate is the author of the e-book, Letters to Grief, hosts the Five Minute Friday blog link-up, and has contributed to several other online publications. She blogs at Heading Home and can be found on Twitter @k8motaung.

  • Briana

    Excellent article. Excellent thoughts. I love the shift in perspective and need this reminder often!

    • Kate

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Briana! I need to be reminded often, too. :-)

  • Anna Smit

    Kate, what a full and varied life the Lord is leading you through. And I love to see how He has used these changes to open your heart further. The key in your message, that my heart is slowly being opened to, is I believe this: “I asked God to give me a deep gratitude for the gift of that school year”. Too often we blink back the tears and carry on in our own strength, while it is the Spirit within us who has the power to unburden us from the grief that is truly present in change. Thank you for sharing your story…looking forward to Five Minute Friday!

    • Kate

      Thank you for being so faithful to read and comment, Anna! I always appreciate hearing from you. And yes, I love the expression “unburden us from the grief.” God certainly can (and does) carry all of our burdens if we let Him.

  • Karen Brown

    I’ve gone through much change in the last few years, also. Kate, your words are such an encouragement. Thanks~

    • Kate

      Pleasure, Karen! So glad you were encouraged. Blessings to you.

  • Really enjoyed this Kate. We are in our first year of Homeschooling and “being together all the time” and the change continues to make me pause and regroup. But God is every with us and as you reminded me, using this for all our good. Thank you for your words!

    • Kate

      I’m glad you could relate, Cynthia! Thanks for stopping to read! Keep pressing on with your homeschooling, friend. You are doing a good work! I pray that your family is blessed by it.

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    I do understand; my life, in the past few years, has become something that would not have been recognizable to me-then. The dreams were eviscerated; pain and a hopeless cancer took their place, along with humiliation (spelled i-n-c-o-n-t-i-n-e-n-c-e, and I am no longer ashamed).

    Only an idiot would have welcomed this, but I was taught early (and expensively) by an entity I won’t name that circumstances are nothing; the mission is everything, and I am expected to adapt, improvise, and overcome, and there are NO excuses for failure.


    • Kate

      Interesting how our circumstances do affect our view and outlook, though, don’t you think? The mission of Christ is everything, yet I believe He uses our circumstances to help shape our contribution and understanding of Him and our shared mission for Him. Thanks for reading and commenting, Andrew. May God continue to strengthen you as you adapt, improvise, and overcome through Him.

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When God Gives You Change

by Kate Motaung time to read: 3 min