I sat looking at all my mismatched desks and bookshelves, faded couches, plastic bins and dust bunnies and desperately tried to figure out how to make it look "cute" or "functional" ....or maybe just "clean". I was suddenly overcome with discouragement.
No matter how many times I rearranged the desks, I couldn't get one corner to accomodate what I had in mind for my desk and not only did I feel my lack of appropriately sized furniture, I felt my lack of ability at working with 3-D space. (I'm not much of an interior designer.) I called my husband at work and much to his surprise, started sobbing... not over our lack of space or our lack of stylish furniture, but MY lack... of talent, creativity, spacial awareness, housekeeping, and decorating skills. Have you ever had one of those snow-ball days? Well, it didn't end there, the blizzard of self-doubt and self-pity had just begun. (As usual when I unload my burdens on my husband, he listened empathetically and said he would help me out however he could when he got home. Poor guy, it's hard to deal with an avalanche of feminine emotion when you are at work!)
In the past when I have had emotional meltdowns over all of my imperfections, unmet expectations and self-critical evaluations, I have eventually tried "talking to myself" using various strategies to try and crawl out of the pit. It usually sounds something like this...
"You should be thankful for the things that you do have, think of all the people you know who don't even have a school room and wish they did."
"You should be proud that you aren't like all those other people who have to have 'fancy' things to do their school - you are thrifty, a good steward of your resources."
"You shouldn't be so hard on yourself, you should just go take a bath, or eat some chocolate, or splurge at IKEA - you deserve it!"
"You should remember that it isn't about the stuff you have but the stuff you learn that makes a good homeschool."
All of these answers have a little bit of truth to them, and some of them are definitely more "spiritual sounding" than others. The problem is, none of them do anything to fix my wandering heart. I may be thankful today, but my heart is prone to wander again. Is my measure of thankfulness really the solution to the problem? Being thrifty may be a valuable quality, but don't you think I sound a little prideful about my frugality? Then there is the self-gratifying indulgence of my chocolate or buying binges - probably not a good long term solution. And how long is the last argument going to last when it comes to the end of the year and I start assessing what we have learned? I sense a whole new panic attack coming along... I'll need to get some new coping strategies...
So where is the hope for me? What do I really need? I need power to change my idolatrous heart, not just more "shoulds"... laws that I can't ever live up to. I don't need more "thankfulness", I need a Savior! It is not the measure of my thankfulness for my "stuff" that makes me acceptable to God, or that will make me more content. It is the measure of Christ's sacrifice that makes me acceptable to God and it is the power of the Holy Spirit that opens my eyes to seeing CHRIST as more beautiful and more valuable than all this world and all the best school rooms have to offer.
So, I WILL be thankful, but not in my relative abundance, or in my humble lack....
I will be thankful for the gospel... the GOOD news... will you rejoice with me?
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord, Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Thanks be to God!
As for the school room...
It's still hodgepodge, a little less dusty, a little more organized...
...and brightened by some beautiful flowers that my husband brought home for me that day.
Not a rebuke, a lecture, a quick fix, a to-do list.
Undeserved love and grace -
just like Jesus.
That's what they remind me of.