Spending the summer back on the mainland reminded me of everything I gave up when we moved to Hawaii. In fact, I was feeling so sorry for myself about it that I even made a list. Indulge me here. The whining only last through the first part.
1. Friends and Family: And not just any family. Tom and I are both blessed to have the most amazingly supportive families anyone could ask for and on top of that we had a accumulated an incredibly dear set of friends. Suddenly, we were limited to seeing these wonderful people only once a year.
2. Fellowship: Life on the mainland was RICH with the fellowship of mature Christian believers, folks we really looked up to and were blessed to learn from, families that we strove to emulate, that we shared LIFE in common with. Here there just aren’t a lot of people at our same place in the Christian Walk.
3. Finances: Bargains to be exact. Living on one salary is hard enough but trying to do it without decent thrift stores, garage sales, Grocery Outlets, and Dollar Trees in one of the most expensive states in the Union leaves NO money for the little extras that every girl (and boy) loves now and then.
4. The Familiar: To transplant this mountain girl into the tropics was to move me as far out of my comfort zone as possible. I went from my beloved cabin in the woods to a third floor condo on the beach! Talk about culture shock!
5. Home: Speaking of our cabin in the woods… Even though we never owned our own place I was always able to feather our nest with my own lovely things. Except for a couple quilts, my collection of Madonna Inn anniversary glasses and my cast-iron aebelskiver pan, I had to leave all the things that made our house a home behind.
6. Hobbies: Most of the activities I enjoy most do not translate to island life–trout fishing, camping & hiking in the woods, road trips, garage sales, snow days, sitting by the fire with one of my old books, shopping at Trader Joe’s, fall… Oh how I miss fall.
7. Help: When we moved to Hawaii we had 4 little boys ages 7,6,4 and 2 and they were finally all of an age where we could leave them overnight with Oma and Opa. Tom and I had plenty of opportunity to get away by ourselves and should I need help on the homefront it was never more than a phone call away. Here in Hawaii, with Tom at work, I am very much on my own. And now we have Gideon, too! And boy could I use some help!
That completes the whining section of this post and lest you be misled into thinking what a self-sacrificing soul I am, consider the one thing that enabled me to give it all up: Naivety. The only reason I was able to leave everything familiar behind and fly blindly w/ 4 little ones to this island I’d never stepped foot on before is because I thought we’d only be here for 9 months! One school term was going to make for a great family adventure and then we’d be back on the mainland with lot’s of great island memories. Ha! Boy was I naive! Clearly, the Lord needed more time than that to accomplish His plans for us here. This season of learning has turned into 3 going on 4 years of summer. Endless, endless summer.
Which brings me to what I’ve actually learned so far.
1. God provides. For every single item on my whine list above I can pinpoint abundant ways the Lord has provided for us, perhaps differently, but most certainly abundantly.
2. God provides. Yes. I’ll say it again. And again. When Proverbs 31 describes the virtuous wife as one who “laughs at time to come,” I can totally relate. Not because I’ve personally done all she does to prepare for the future but because I know the Lord’s doing whatever He needs to prepare me and my family. I may still be completely naive about what lies ahead, but I can laugh because I KNOW that His faithful provision will be waiting when we get there.
3. God provides. And here I want to apply this knowledge to homeschool in particular. If you are a homeschooling mom, you’ve already sacrificed a lot to be so. You’ve probably given up a career or at least a second income and you’ve certainly given up every bit of personal time you have. There is no “time off.” You don’t have the luxury of mornings and afternoons to catch up on the housework, spend time at the gym or with friends over a cup of $5 coffee, or shopping just for the sake of shopping, or running errands ALONE. There is no alone. Ever. And sometimes just that makes one feel pretty lonely. But please know that for every sacrifice you make for the sake of your family the Lord is there to provide in abundance. You may have given up your time alone, but think of the value of this time with your children. There will be PLENTY of time alone in the future. But for this season, this seemingly endless summer of life, you have TIME with them that cannot ever be replaced. That time itself IS His provision.
As another school year begins, and you may be feeling overwhelmed by what lies ahead, remember the endless time with your children that can often weigh heavy upon us is His gift for this season. He will sustain you. He will provide and you need only to laugh at the time to come.