Many years ago dh* and I mastered a pithy formula for those occasions when someone suddenly says, “Come up and give us a ten-minute summary of your mission work.” We were always prepared to give a spontaneous presentation broken down into various 2-minute story segments.
Usually my husband would start by presenting the concise nuts-and-bolts module – who were are and what we do. Then I would give a thank-you module, followed by a prayer module or a miracle module. Oh, how people love to hear the amazing way God works on the field!
Toward the end of our rehearsed/impromptu talk (how's that for an oxymoron?), one of us would give a slightly longer module we call the is-it-worth-it-all module.
In that portion of our presentation, we would talk about some particular challenge we had faced or some enormous trial we had endured, and we'd conclude with a story of what God has done in our hearts and in the lives of the people we serve, causing us to marvel and say, “In spite of everything, it has certainly been worth whatever small sacrifices we have made.”
This past week I’ve been thinking about the “Is it worth it all?” part, and I still come to the indisputable conclusion that, of course, it’s been worth it to live and raise a family on the mission field. No regrets. Well, not many. Okay, I’m not altogether sure, but I think it’s worth it for me, but not so sure if the children would agree.
My one area of insecurity is home schooling. I know without a doubt that God gave me the grace and desire to teach my kids at home. In 1990 it was a no-brainer. I had to teach my own kids because we lived in remote locations without any other educational options.
In the spring I will boast (by God’s grace) of having five home school graduates. That leaves just two kids at home. Thankfully my son is attending high school in the city full-time, leaving me more time and energy to focus on my soon-to-be 14-year-old. Unfortunately, the MK school does not have the needed support to handle her language disability/ Apraxia.
Without divulging details, let me just acknowledge that I am weary. It’s one thing to home school by choice, and a whole 'nuther thing to home school by necessity. I know in my head that “God’s grace is sufficient” for each day and each challenge, but in reality, it sure doesn’t feel like it some days. Teaching has become a chore, and I don’t feel very creative, loving, or grace-filled like before.
I’m asking myself hard questions like “Is it worth it?” - but I’m not coming up with any automatic response like “Of course it is!” I’m just not convinced. Maybe this youngest daughter would have fared better in the U.S. under capable teachers more equipped to instruct her. I don’t know.
This seems to be the road God has taken us, but I’m pretty intimidated approaching four years of high school when I don’t think I’m doing such a stellar job any more. This sounds terrible, but (whispered) I'm secretly ready to move on to ministries outside the home where I don't feel so inadequate all the time.
How about you? Do you have an instant affirmative answer to the “Is it worth it all” question? Any areas of insecurity you’d change if you could? Are you ever ready to jump ahead to the next season of life?
IRL* Maybe we all need to be infused with power and hope again, especially when the cost seems high, and we're not sure it's worth the struggle.