*I am exactly who I was made to be, and in just the place I am needed.*
I know, I know, it may sound a little trite and A-B-C-ish, but let me explain a bit...
I homeschooled my oldest daughter this year for first grade, and was pretty stressed about it the whole year. She has done fine, but I haven’t felt adequate in a lot of ways. I felt like I wasn’t being fair to her because I couldn’t give her the kind of school experience I want her to have, the kind that will inspire her and help her to love learning. I have never seen teaching as my strong point, I don’t have the knack for arts and crafts, and even thinking about setting up things like science experiments (and the messes that go with it all) nearly gives me ulcers!
Whether I wanted to or not, I have subconsciously done a lot of comparing - comparing myself with people I don’t know that I come across on Pinterest and homeschool forums, and people I do know that are lovely friends of mine. For instance, the several school and home teachers I know and highly respect; the friends who seem to know how to relax and just let the day roll without getting too stressed, or at least know how to handle the stress well; the ones who are wonderful moms who give so much of themselves to their children; the ones whose energy never seems to quit; the ones who are brimming with ideas and talent for things ranging from backyard farming to art and decor inside the home; the ones who just instinctively know how to make life fun for their family; the ones who are strong, Godly examples for their children. And when I look at myself alongside all these ones I admire and respect, I can tend to get discouraged sometimes because I feel like I come up so short so often. And when I see it in the light of homeschooling, I sometimes wonder if I should even be doing it, if I am right for it, if I really have what it takes, or if I should just let someone else who is more qualified and gifted in the areas I am lacking teach my kiddos.
So we come to today, and my epiphany.
It was simple, really. I was standing in the kitchen, planning what to make for lunch. Those who know me know I am a cheese freak, and I was especially looking forward to my lunch because I had a new little pile of special cheeses in the fridge that I was going to eat while the kids had their ‘regular’ cheddar cheese and crackers. My kids love to sit up on the stools at the kitchen island while I’m fixing meals so they can ask questions about what I’m making, or have ‘taste tests’ of any ingredients I’m using. Today as I was getting out all my cheeses, my daughter wanted to taste test them. So, instead of the kids eating regular cheese and crackers, we all sat around the kitchen island together while we tried different things, making it a game and deciding which combination of flavors we liked the best. Even my little 3-yr-old dude was all into it, trying toasted baguette with honey chevre (goat cheese) and strawberry jam, gorgonzola (which is like blue cheese, only stronger and tangier) on sesame crackers, and smoked blue cheese with pecans, and then washing it all down with club soda and apple juice. I was amazed that both kids loved what they called the ‘stinky cheese’. And as I stood there watching them get so excited about experiencing new flavors, it hit me - This is something that is a part of me that I can share with my kids, just one of the many little ways that I can be a part of opening new horizons for them, and not only are they learning but it’s FUN for all of us! It was so small and simple, but it made me so lighthearted.
And just like that, my peace and confidence in the decision to homeschool my kiddos went up another tiny notch. If God is leading me to do it, then I’m the right person for the job.
Comparing ourselves and our gifts to the gifts of others is such an unfair thing to do. God made us who we are, and then He strategically placed us in the lives of those who need us to just be us. So - if I may share from the little things I sometimes learn - we have so much more of a chance to be happy if we shine in the gifts and talents God gave each of us, instead of being worried about talents we don’t have. Sometimes it’s hard to see certain parts of us as God-given gifts, but maybe that can be a prayer we pray - that God show us the things about us that are unique and useful, even if WE don’t see them as all that important. He has equipped each of us with precisely what we need for what He has called us to do.
So let’s Shine today.