I went to our state homeschool convention this past weekend. I haven't gone in a couple years, so it was fun to be back there. My favorite part of the convention is running into friends and holding uninterrupted adult conversations (something that doesn't frequently happen when you have eight kids). This year, I had two long talks with friends who are struggling with "issues" with their kids.
I also tried to attend one of the speaker sessions that involved helping families where there are kids who are struggling. I couldn't get in to hear the speaker because the double ballroom was full (with a long line outside of people hoping to get in). This did not go unnoticed by me.
The observation I made from these "events" is that there are a LOT of people out there, good people, people who are doing their very best for their kids and their families who are struggling, looking for help, looking for encouragement. In my opinion, the problem is that there are NOT a lot of people around who are being honest about their struggles, particularly in the church and specifically in the homeschool community. This leaves those of us that have a less then perfect family feeling very much like we're the only ones. The "everyone else has it together, so there must be something wrong with me" attitude quickly takes up residence in our minds.
It's got to stop! It really does!
People are hurting. Their kids are hurting. They need to know that they are not alone, and that we are all in this together.
A few weeks ago, I made the decision to be real with people. I'm not helping others and I'm not helping myself by pretending we've got it all together. Now, I'm not going to go and vomit all of our family issues out on anyone who walks by, but I'm also not going to pretend that we have the perfect family either.
We have serious problems in our house...seriously. We have ADD, we have attachment issues, we have learning problems, we have anger issues, we have people seeing therapists and people on medication under this roof. We are a broken bunch...BUT (and this is a very important but)...we have an AMAZING Savior who not only specializes in saving us from our sin, he also specializes in healing us of our hurts and helping us in our trials and being strong when we are weak. He is our ever present help in times of trouble. He is more present in this house of brokenness than ever before. I have seen Him work, first-hand, in my life and in my kids' lives. I've FELT him carry me, I've WATCHED him put together broken people. I've gotten to know him in a much more intimate way in the past four months - through the intense heat of trials, grief and pain.
So, if you are struggling, I want you to know that you are not alone and there is hope!