Gloom, despair, and agony on me . . .
. . . if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all . . .
Some of you aren’t old enough to remember or appreciate the humor found in Hee Haw’s Jug Band, but for those of us who are – well, the memory can brighten up any regular old bad day for sure!
Unfortunately, I’ve had more than my fair share of those bad days. I’ve even been told that those who suffer from chronic illness shouldn’t homeschool. I say we just shouldn’t homeschool without a twisted sense of humor, like the folks on Hee Haw.
Seriously, that sense of humor can come in really handy when the going gets so rough you can’t see straight. Anyone who deals with constant daily pain knows exactly what I mean when I say “can’t see straight”. It’s not a metaphor. Actually, it becomes a part of you. The process of constantly fighting the pain, constantly working to push it all to the back of your mind becomes second nature, kind of like breathing, but with sharp painful interruptions.
Along with those who have told me that folks with chronic illness aren’t capable of homeschooling their children, I’ve also had the unforgettable experience of having super uplifting people who felt the need to regale me with stories of how they, or someone they know, or of someones cousin’s uncle’s friend’s wife who was terribly damaged due to growing up with a parent who was ill. Um, no, not one of them homeschooled – just stories in general about how awful it is for a child to grow up with a parent who is sick – because that is such helpful, information for someone who has contracted an illness that will – not – go – away.
Perhaps you can begin to understand where that sense of humor could play such a critical role in the life of someone who’s very body has betrayed them.
It isn’t that I don’t see the difficulties in homeschooling my children, or the added difficulty when mommy is in pain. It isn’t that I haven’t done the research about children growing up in homes when a parent is sick. I read, I research, I know. But here’s the thing, my husband and I have taken these (and every other) concern and decision about our children straight to the One who created them. And, you know what?
Our God is BIGGER! He is strong, when you cannot be. He gives peace, when you cannot see through the storm. When you cannot go on, He WILL Carry You!!! God is faithful.
Either I believe that, or I might as well throw in the towel on parenting in general, much less homeschooling. I believe something else too. I believe that God has a powerful sense of humor. Just LOOK at the platypus and tell me He doesn’t! God invented laughter, and He made us in His image.
Now, before you leave messages about how I don’t understand, or how I’m making light of suffering – let me say, no, I’m not. I do not take lightly the suffering of others. Nor do I take my own suffering lightly. But, today, I had a terrible – awful – no good – very bad day full of the kind of pain that makes you want to claw your way out of your own skin. Tonight, just about the time I was ready to cave in and have a good cry (which is also sometimes a valuable outlet) I remembered Hee Haw. I grabbed the nearest boy child, took a deep breath . . . . . and sang . . . . the Gloom and Despair song – at the top of my lungs.
I challenge you to try it without smiling or making those around you smile too.
Parenting is hard. Homeschooling is hard. Doing both while suffering from chronic pain is no easy task. But, if you will walk with Jesus, and lean on Him – He will bring you your Hee-Haw moments and He will give you and your children what you need to not only “get by”, but to live joyfully, for Him. If you let Him, He will shine His light straight through the darkness that is your pain and despair so that others will recognize Him!
When I was tempted to feel guilty, not by something that I was being led to improve upon, but by someone who was being used by the enemy to tear me down – God gave me strength, courage, and truth.
What my children need from me, is my love.
Kelli Becton is a Jesus loving, homeschooling mama of 3 boys (biological and adoption). They are an outdoor family, living and learning on the Gulf coast of Southwest Florida. Kelli was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis over 11 years ago, and although there is pain, there is also great joy. She and her husband, Mark, have always loved the outdoors and they spend as much time as possible adventuring with their boys. Exploring God’s creation is their favorite pass-time. Jesus is their passion, and homeschooling their boys is a blessing. Kelli loves to write and speak to other homeschool families, sharing life’s lessons and what God has laid on her heart, through their adventures.