When I was twelve years old my arms and legs shot out like elastigirl, dwarfed only by the growth of my feet. I felt like I was wearing skis and my hands were attached to my shoulders by noodles.
About this same time I discovered I had a large astigmatism in each eye. After I got glasses I could see the chalkboard a lot easier at school, but as I learned to negotiate the differences in depth perception with my new lenses, I got skinned knees from many close encounters with stairs and sidewalks.
I was pretty sure at this point that God must have a sense of humor. Thankfully, I had a nice family who loved gangly me. And, over the next decade I learned to walk without tripping- most of the time. But it wasn’t until I was a mother that I began to recognize my freakishly long limbs and four eyes as gifts from God.
No, really. They are!
I can magically make my house look cleaner by taking off my glasses. It’s amazing! I can stretch my arms around three kids on the church bench to tweak the noisy one on the end of the row. I can reach “tippy high” things for my husband. My lap is so long I can fit several kids on it at a time. (And, in a pinch it makes a very efficient changing table.) Choosing shoes at the store is easy since the selection is much smaller in size giant and a half. I can cover more surface area when I mop the kitchen floor with my feet. I can even fit more people in a group hug. Lucky, right?!
What I thought were imperfections in my adolescence were really gifts I hadn’t learned to use and appreciate yet.
In the grand scheme of things I think our spirits may be in an adolescent stage here on earth. We are given spiritual gifts that may make us feel more clumsy than godly until we learn to use them. For example, I joke that I am learning to speak English as a first language. Whenever I am in a crowd of more than two I lose the ability to speak coherently. Which makes for some seriously awkward moments. (I think Moses could relate.)
As I have taken on the call to homeschool I am finding that spiritual gifts that I was promised in my patriarchal blessing are starting to finally take shape. And in ways I never expected. Faults that I found in myself in my youth are being turned into strengths as I follow the spiritual promptings I receive. As I learn to teach my children (who are surprisingly forgiving and patient audience) I am slowly developing my English speaking skills (right along with my two year old.)
When I was asked to teach a workshop at the recent LDSNHA homeschool conference I warned the directors I write because I can’t speak. It turned out to be a total gangly youth moment for me (ugh), BUT I feel like if I ever have the opportunity to do it again, I am going to be a lot better at it for having stumbled through it once before. And the insight I gained while researching the topic was just the instruction I needed for my little family this year. Definitely not how I thought my prayers would be answered, but answered they were.
It would be nice if every time we tried something new we were already great at it. But where is the growth in that? And we are here to grow. So, if you are just starting out with homeschool and you aren’t feeling that great at it. That’s wonderful! Get ready to grow! Just like the primary song says, ‘God gave us families, to help us become who He wants us to be.” The Lord gave you the kids He did for you to grow and He gave them you so they could grow. And together you will grow into the Godly spirits He knows you can be. The Lord can truly turn our weaknesses into strengths as we turn them over to Him. It is the greatest miracle!
So, long-distance high-fives all around to you homeschool mamas and papas. (I can do that with my awesomely long arms.) As you begin this next school year be patient with your imperfections and be glad for those growing pains. Its all part of the plan! With God’s help we have TOTALLY got this.