I don’t remember hating February until I started to homeschool. I mean, what could be bad about the year’s shortest month? It has Valentine’s Day, which is slightly irritating but tries to be lovely. And our province has “Family Day”: a random Monday off mid-month where we get to spend all day together. Just like we homeschoolers do everyday. Except with the added guilt of “Should we be doing school? No one else is doing school. But we’re all just here. At home. With our school stuff. Maybe we should do some educational games at least.”
Or maybe that’s just me.
But I digress. I never hated February until I started to homeschool. It took me a while to figure it out. Each year was the same: start strong in September; push through to Christmas break; begin again with renewed vigour in January; physically restrain myself from banging my head against the wall and/or weeping every day in February.
I could never figure it out. It shocked me every time.
I’d call my homeschooling friends. What do you think? I’d ask. Could it be my curriculum? Do I need to add more extracurricular activities? More electives? I’m a failure for not reading aloud enough, but I can’t even fathom picking up another book! And if I order in pizza one more night, the neighbours are going to get suspicious.
And I wasn’t the only one. I was fielding these exact same phone calls from my homeschool friends, too. Then suddenly, with a ray of blinding clarity, one of us would remember:
Wait. It’s February.
Right! Everyone hates February. Soon it will be March and we’ll all feel fine again. We’ll like our unit studies, we’ll have the patience to listen to our kids’ narration, and attending co-op classes will feel like a ‘nice outing’ once again. Next thing you know, it’s the end of May and we’re done! We love homeschooling! February is just a blur to me now…
But here’s the thing: I have not hated February for 2 whole years.
Shocking, but true.
You see, I have a dear friend who does not homeschool. I think this tempers her feelings about February. She is not a raving Valentine’s fan, but as far as I know she has no deep-seated angst about the second month of the year like I do. I attribute this entirely to her non-homeschoolnicity.
And I love it about her.
She is a sister-in-Christ to me in the most wonderful of ways. Not only does she encourage me in my walk, she also gives me a good trashing when I’m way out of line. Three Februaries ago, I was venting about how I hated February, and I hated homeschooling, and I was ready to pack up shop for the year already.
You know what my faithful friend did? She took me to task on that. While she did have compassion on me in the midst of my weariness and my feeling like giving up, she also called me out on my grumbling and complaining. She made me explain why it would be acceptable to kick back at what the Lord had clearly ordained. And she reminded me that our Lord is sovereign and good, and that none of this was a mistake.
That is the best kind of friend to have, let me just tell you.
He has called me to homeschool. He also calls February to come every.single.year. I saw that I needed to reconcile myself to that. Quickly. And with Joy.
It was like a switch flicked in my brain and heart and soul. God made me. God made February. Both of those are good things. He sustains me through every February even while I am kicking and hissy-fitting. Why don’t I trust that he will sustain me through that month with joy if I just submit to him? For the last 2 years, I’ve striven to do just that. And you know what?
I don’t hate February anymore.
As you are reading this, February has already passed. Why, then, am I harping on February when it is finally behind us for another year?
Well, simply this: Let me be *that friend* who calls us to task: what other seeming unpleasantness is there in my life (in your life!) today that I am (you are?) grumbling and complaining about? What other trial (big or small) am I railing against instead of resting in Him through? I did not have to hate February. Suddenly, here we are in March and I made it the whole 28 days of ‘the month of Love’ without quitting homeschool or banging my head against the table.
In fact, I made it through better than that. I made it through knowing that the Lord was present, strong, helpful, loving, going ahead of me, providing, redeeming, sustaining…..
Why would I expect him to be any different in any other circumstance?
Here’s the challenge: look at a trial in your life right now (you can practice on a small one first, if you’d like) and say to it (and to our enemy who is hoping you will say otherwise):
“I don’t hate this. I won’t hate this. The Lord means this for my good and for his glory. I can endure this trial with joy.”
Will you join me in seeking to learn to love the Februaries of life? If “love” seems like too big of a leap, can we at least agree to trust the Lord in the Februaries of life? To not grumble and complain about them? To seek to make progress toward enduring them with joy?
He will never leave us nor forsake us….even in the Februaries. Let’s trust him and thank him for that today.
Barbara Postma – Encouragement
Barbara Postma is the wife to Chris, the mom to seven (ages 15 to 5), a worship leader, and a women’s ministry leader in her church, and a freelance writer and editor (including writer and editor for HSLDA Canada). Barbara has written a book of scripture-inspired prayers for moms (available on Amazon Hear My Prayers), and is completing a book on her experience with Post-partum Depression. Between lunches and lessons, Barbara blogs at Fuel by Barbara (www.barbarapostma.com )