The year before had been difficult. My oldest had entered middle school, and while I was excited for her to participate in drama productions, I wasn’t prepared for the drama off the stage.
She made the best of friends. Excellent! Marvelous!
And lost them. Devastating! Painful!
By the time the year was over, my heart felt battered and I needed a break from all of the drama. I felt like I was reliving my middle school years with all of the betrayals and gossip and mean girls except for the fact that my actual middle school years were pretty spectacular. So this is why people say they would never relive their middle school years, I thought.
The summer was peaceful, calm and wonderful, just like a summer should be, and then my girl started her 2nd year of middle school. I didn’t think it was possible, but the 2nd year was worse than the first. This time she was ignored by some of her former friends, she was talked about in cruel ways and friends who wanted to remain friends with her were ostracized. My heart was breaking into a million pieces. But it didn’t get better, despite my efforts to help my daughter navigate the deep and murky seas known as middle school friendships.
I can look back now, a year later and see that God orchestrated all of these difficulties to prepare my heart (and my husband’s!) for the decision He would ask us to make. I’m not sure I would have been ready to say “yes” to homeschooling my kids if the middle school years had been as good as the elementary school years had been.
I’m learning that this is the way God works. He takes us through difficulty in order for us to come to an understanding of our desperate need for Him. Suffering and struggles have a unique way of causing us to fall on our knees and cry out to the only One who can save us. These rough roads cause us to lack in nothing, because it is in our difficulties that we learn to trust in Him in even deeper ways.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”
James 1:2-4 ESV
We are half way through our first year of homeschooling our 4 children and although home school has its own challenges and difficulties, God’s goodness continues to overwhelm me.
Now I am able to look back on those middle school years and count it all joy. My daughter making wonderful friends? That is joyous. Losing the friends? There is joy even in this, because she has learned the type of friend she needs to be. The pain I experienced watching my daughter be misunderstood and mistreated? I am able to count it all joy, because it caused me to fully accept that I cannot control what happens to my children, but I can entrust them to the One who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.
When our faith in God’s goodness allows us to count even the difficult situations as joyous, we will be able to thrive, because it is God who is living out His purpose and will in our lives.
Becky Daye is a pastor’s kid, a pastor’s wife and a mom to four pastor’s kids. Her life is a series of sermon illustrations! She loves using situations in life to point her children and others to the Merciful, Loving, Sovereign God whom she serves. Becky writes infrequently at dayebydaye.com, but every day at Daye Academy as she teaches her children from home.