On the Backside of 180 {lessons from the lunchroom}

The sound of Nerf guns blare from the living room – background noise to accompany my thoughts this afternoon.

Make it stop! That’s what I’m thinking. Goodness, mercy me! How in the world have we survived this experiment, this year-long foray into the world of homeschooling? Month upon month, day-in-day-out of intentional bonding with my kids. Three days more and we’ll cross the finish line . . . and we still like one another, this lunchroom lady and her pupils. Some days it’s been too much; some days a good fit with family routine.

All days . . . yes, each one of them grounded and founded in prayer. It’s the only reasonable explanation for our being able to reach this milestone with any measure of grace and tangible accomplishment. Early on, God impressed into my spirit a daily requirement: Feed your soul, Elaine, before feeding others. And so I have. So we have. A collective, morning requirement.

We start the day with prayer, followed by individual Bible lessons. Jadon in the kitchen. Amelia in the living room. Me in the bedroom. Each one of us opening up the Word of the God and allowing him a moment or two or thirty at the lectern of our hearts. For my children, perhaps, it’s a practice that’s felt a bit perfunctory at times. I suppose the same could be said for me. But I know something they have yet to fully grasp: Faithful obligation yields a firm foundation. A daily dose of truth roots us deeper within the everlasting soil that is touched and tended by the loving Gardener of our souls. He is where we must start – each day, each thought, each hope – anchored within the eternal.

To God belongs the success. He’s been the key to our learning – a schooling that has far exceeded any information contained on the pages of textbooks. Yes, God has required more of us this year than what can be calculated and quantified by end-of-grade testing. He’s required heart growth, a garden of Spirit-led expansion that includes fruit like patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, and a love without limits.

Oh the lessons we’ve learned! Some through tears. Some through wounding. Some through joy. Some through laughter. I imagine we’ll spend this next season discovering the fullness of what this means for us as a family. But today, as I stand on the backside of something I was sure I wouldn’t be able to accomplish of the front side of its unfolding, there is one thing I know for certain.

I’ve given my all for my students. I’ve not always given them my best, but I have willingly surrendered my heart to the process so that their hearts might grow in a right and good direction. In years to come, I don’t know how my kids will remember this time. If they take nothing else away from these last 180 days spent together, my hope is that they will remember our morning prayers and their daily digs into truth.

Faithful obligation yields a firm foundation. From here, God can grow a kingdom . . .

In Jadon. In Amelia. And in the one they call the “lunchroom lady.”

It’s been my joy and privilege to serve you, sweet ones.

Peace for your journeys of grace and beyond. I love being your mom.

21 Responses to On the Backside of 180 {lessons from the lunchroom}

  1. You certainly got the MAIN thing right, Elaine! Good for you. You gave God something to work with every day of it! The result should be good, FIRM foundations – just as you prayed for, planned for & labored for. Go ahead. Give yourself a pat on the back, Lunchroom Lady (and so much more)!

    • It really is unbelievable, Rebecca. This is something I never really wanted to do. Necessity dictated my participation. Now I’m praying for discernment about next year’s classroom.

  2. “Faithful obligation yields a firm foundation. From here, God can grow a kingdom…” This is a lesson we all need to learn, friend. How wonderful that you have had this year to plant these seeds of God’s truth into your children’s hearts. Such precious knowledge – lovingly cultivated and watered – they will carry with them always.

    Congratulations on making it through the school year! I know it was a challenge, at times, but you persevered. I had confidence in you! Only three more days…piece of cake, right?

    Great pictures of Jadon and Amelia. I know I’ve said it a lot lately, but it’s amazing to me how much they’ve grown and matured. I see a lot of you in your precious daughter. Beautiful, inside and out.

    Wish I were there to celebrate with all of you. Give everyone hugs from me!

    Love you dearly…

    • Believe me when I tell you they are hugging themselves constantly over this particular ending of school. Jadon commented to me the other day, “Mom, usually the last week of school is full of fun. What went wrong here?”

  3. Elaine, I rejoice with you and your family as you complete this year of schooling at home! There’s more to it than meets the eye of one who’s never walked that road. ( I know from my seventeen years of homeschooling our three children.) There’s more work to it than meets the eye. But there’s also more reward to it than meets the eye. A lot of it is only seen with the heart.
    You’ve done a tremendous job my friend! It’s a school year that you’ll never regret.

    Love you much my Faith-ful friend!


    • Marilyn, I’ve appreciated your year-long support and prayers. Undoubtedly they’ve seen me through some rough days. Love you back, friend!

  4. I love this, Elaine! Many years ago, as a much younger mom, I home schooled my boys. What a joy, privilege and honor it was, how many times I nearly pulled all my hair out:) You are glowing this side of 180 and I honor you, as a mom, as a friend, as a sister in the Lord, You Radiate Jesus!!!

    • It’s been a long year, Cindy. I’ve often wondered if homeschooling was too great a cost at many different levels. There are definitely trade-offs. I’ll be sorting this one out for awhile. Thank you for the words of strong encouragement.

  5. Cheers of congratulations from me to you, sweet sister and friend, along with Jadon & Amelia! Only 3 more days!? Wow. It seems as though the school year just started! Can’t begin to imagine the various investments this journey has required of you, yet the dividends will undoubtedly yield for untold seasons. I am amazed as I look at the photos of the kids by how much they have grown and matured this year. (And that is to say nothing of the changes that are unseen by human eyes.) God has undoubtedly blessed your faithfulness, lunch lady and we (along with Jadon & Amelia) are so much . Jadon, Amelia and all of us are the richer for it. Thank you for keeping it real. Love & continued prayers for what’s ahead.

    • **sorry…should have read “God has undoubtedly blessed your faithfulness, lunch lady and we (along with Jadon & Amelia) are so much the richer for it.”

  6. Precious, Elaine. How fortunate Jadon and Amelia have been – because the Lunchroom Lady sounds like a wonderful teacher. And I can say that because I know how consistently and diligently and devotedly the Lunchroom Lady follows The Teacher.


  7. Love, love, love how you all started each school day spending time with the Lord. Such a great example and training for your kids, Elaine. And what gorgeous pics of Jadon and Amelia! You all enjoy your break!

  8. Dear Elaine,
    From the first day I “landed” on your blog, I have already admired you. No, you are not seeking to be admired by anyone, I know that. But your passion for righteousness and for pursuing God’s heart. You are not one to cut corners, or shove dust under the rug. You look at life straight in the eyes. You are one determined lady. And this year, with homeschooling on top of everything else, you did it again. I can’t believe 180 days have gone by… but I can definitely relate. I praise God for you. Someday, I pray God will give us a chance to meet face to face. In heaven, definitely. But hopefully, while still on this side of eternity. That would be a real treat for me.

    Much love

  9. Yay!!! I know God has cemented some ‘lessons’ deeply into the hearts of your children through these 180 days….into your heart as well. Praise Him for that and praise Him for your faithfulness to walk out what He was calling you to do. I can’t believe how your kiddos have changed and grown up. The pictures are great.

  10. This is something I look back on sometimes and wished I had maybe given it a whirl. And I KNOW you and your kids will look back on this time someday, and be soo glad you were obedient and faithful in doing it. Love the pictures of both of them btw. What a sense of satisfaction the close of this year must bring you. And if they remember nothing else but “Faithful obligation yields a firm foundation” it will make every moment worthwhile. Well done Elaine!

  11. “Faithful obligation yields a firm foundation” I love that so much. In my own life right now I feel in a bit of a dry spell. But the act of doing my devotions, however rote and empty they may feel, is being rewarded, I know it. And I hope to set a good example for my young son.

  12. Elaine, Congratulations! Homeschooling is a wonderful, crazy adventure. We are just finishing 11th and 9th grades respectively. I love the line,”Feed your soul…before feeding others.” I am so glad that God is faithful to us in the journey He has given us to walk. Blessings to you!

    • Oh Amy, this gives me hope. We’ve yet to make a decision about next year’s homeschooling. So much to consider. I’d love to hear more about your experience and what curriculum you’re using! Thanks for being here.

  13. wifeforthejourney:

    For all that you have given of yourself these last 180 days, I am so thankful. It might be easy to lump you in with the many Christian moms who do and give and love their children…..certainly we are blessed with knowing a lot of remarkable people who have modeled the best of parenting. BUT, lest their be any doubt in anyone’s mind, I want to put it in print and say what a gift you have given each of our four children in your willingness to take the lead in their education. Your commitment does not diminish the efforts of the parents who are not homeschoolers; my intention here is just to shine the limelight that you want to run and hide from. Fellow blog readers, my wife deserves all the accolades you have offered and more. One of the things that I also loved to see on our last day of 5th and 6th grade this week was the recognition on the parts of “the student body” at our house of what a good school year this has been. Jadon and Amelia can’t say it all, but they know they have got it good having you for a mom.

    Its difficult to count all the things good parents do for their children, and harder still for us to sometimes see the “payoff” for the hard work of parenting BUT around our house I know that day is coming. Our children know they have an awesome mom, superintendent, principal, teacher, lunch lady, janitor, PE teacher, tutor, field trip chaperone, PTA president and loads of other roles that I’m sure I’m forgetting.

    You are the best honey! Love,
    ~ Billy

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