More than once during this journey, we have been faced with extended periods of health limitations. For both our 3rd and 4th sons, I was confined to bed during the last half or each pregnancy, I dealt with depression, and I suffered from horrible migraine headaches. It was hard for me to accept help from others during times like that, much less ask for help. Thankfully, people helped anyway and I learned some much needed humility in the process. During these times, we did lots of read alouds, watched a ton of educational videos and literature related videos, and played lots of educational games all from my semi-permanent position on the couch or bed. Looking back, I can see so many ways that God used these times in our family. I learned to not be so pridefully independent and stubborn. My boys learned some important life skills and home related skills out of necessity…something their wives now thank us for! I learned to lean on God’s sovereignty and providence more than ever before. I learned to lean on my husband’s leadership in ways I never would have learned otherwise. And, my boys saw the spirit of a servant demonstrated by friends who helped and by a husband who demonstrated unconditional love in a trying set of circumstances.
But it wasn’t always me that experienced the health challenges. John was confined to bed for a period of time as well. He collapsed with bleeding ulcers and due to the loss of blood was unable to work for a period of time. Once again, it was a great opportunity to pull together as a family. For the boys to begin learning what it means to do the jobs of a man around the house. They learned how a family can form a team and get things done by working together. They learned to serve each other since they now had two younger brothers that we needed to help with various things each day. School was done at odd hours and even content and emphasis was readjusted during that time to take advantage of the teachable moments that were occurring due to our circumstances.
Just in the past couple of years, we experienced a serious illness of a child. Our third son was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis and with that diagnosis came an adjustment of diet, schedule, and for a time school expectations while we traveled to various doctors both in and out of state and while we allowed the time the entire family needed to adjust to the challenges we were facing. It was a very challenging time both physically and emotionally, but with a flexible approach and the beautify of homeschooling, goals were still met just in a way much different than we had envisioned. Again, it was the beauty of having a clear picture of our desired end result that allowed us to flex without breaking, to adapt to the situation and still continue to move forward towards the goal.