“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—” Joel 2:25
I remember sitting on the floor of the bathroom wondering when the morning sickness would subside. I was well into my sixth month of pregnancy and the violent vomiting still plagued my mornings. Since vomiting induces a vagal response in the body, I seize and pass out every time I gag or vomit. My morning ritual in the bathroom would wipe me out for most of the day. At this time, I was homeschooling my daughter, and my husband wasn’t working from home yet. Needless to say, not much homeschooling or learning was taking place. Well, at least that is what I thought and that is definitely how I felt. Later that year, my son was born, and I was exhausted. He never took a nap longer than 20 minutes. One morning I noticed the back of the house was unusually quiet. I rushed to see what was happening. To my surprise, my daughter was reading to my son. Big deal right? Well, it truly was a big deal for me. I attempted to teach her to read during the year while I was pregnant but to no avail. Between my exhaustion, passing out, and recovering from childbirth, we never really got much school work done. I thought I had failed. I thought we would have to catch up and work harder in the next school year. However somehow along the way, my daughter figured it out. She had learned to read. All of the “fruit” and labor I thought were eaten up and wasted by the swarm of locust that “invaded” our home and homeschooling that year were actually redeemed and replenished by the Lord. The past year was not wasted. It had not been for not. Through God’s power and grace, our school year was blessed and was fruitful.
Fast forward a few years later. My son was iron deficient, which manifested itself in some odd ways. While my daughter and I attempted to do schoolwork, my son would try to eat any chalk, marker or crayon we were trying to use. If we attempted to do schoolwork outside so my active son could run and play, he would eat the dirt instead of play in it. After realizing this was due to an iron deficiency, we treated the problem and thought now we could actually get some schoolwork done. Ha! The same baby who didn’t take naps as an infant still didn’t take naps as a toddler. We tried to do important lessons in the afternoon while my son slept but that never really happened. In the early years, we belonged to a homeschool group that required yearly standardized testing. I hated that week, and I dreaded the scores this particular year. I knew for sure the scores especially in math would come back beyond deficient. Once again, God redeemed the time and the “fruit” eaten by the locust (or should I say, literally eaten by my son). My daughter scored in the 90th percentile in just about everything. Again, the Lord not only redeemed and replenished the year and the fruit, but He supplied an over and abundant crop.
Many years later we discovered my son was dyslexic and had visual processing disorder. I wrote about God’s provisions in our March post entitled “Miracles and Manna.” While his fourth-grade year seemed to be eaten up by testing, tutoring, tantrums, toiling, and tears, the Lord gave us triumphs and a triple fold bumper crop at the end of the year. We literally did nothing but intense reading therapy. No math. No science. No history. Just read alouds and Lindamood Bell. Guess who skipped a grade in math the next year and started Algebra 1 in 7th grade? Yep, the same kid who couldn’t memorize his facts (still can’t so thank you, Jesus, for calculators), who had no idea what day of the week it was and who had no concept of time management. Where I felt like a failure, God stepped in and redeemed. While the locust may have stripped me of my confidence and joy, they did not deplete my son’s. The Lord gave back the weeks and months lost to testing and tutoring and in abundance. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful my son made huge strides in reading and somehow learned more math than I actually taught him. But I am most thankful for what God did outside of schoolwork. He redeemed my relationship with my son, restored his confidence, replenished my son’s strength to persevere, and taught him to rely on God to get him through anything.
There have been so many examples over the past eighteen years when I have ended the school year feeling like a failure, yet the year was restored by God’s grace. There have been so many times I felt the homeschooling year was a waste, yet the year was redeemed by God’s mercy. There have been so many years I believed the fruit had been destroyed, yet the year was replenished and multiplied by God’s faithfulness! This school year has not been an exception. It has been a year of loss and mourning, but God has turned “my mourning into dancing … and [He] has taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy” (Psalm 30: 11). It has been a year of betrayal and brokenness, yet the Lord has “bestowed on [me} a crown of beauty instead of ashes” (Isaiah 61:3). And yes, it has been a year of wasted hours and stolen minutes, however, God has promised me he will “restore the years that the locust has eaten… Behold [He is] sending grain, wine and oil, and [I} will be satisfied… The threshing floor shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. . . . [We} shall eat in plenty and be satisfied” (Joel 2: 18-26).
At the beginning of this school year, God commanded me to remove my sandals because my family was standing on holy ground. It was our verse for the year, and I knew this year would be consecrated to the Lord. While I didn’t understand why and did I know how, I just knew God was promising that this year would be special and set apart for His honor and His glory. As our family’s school year comes to a close, it is now obvious to me that God had bigger and better plans for my daughter, my son, my family, our homeschooling and for me. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9). My feeble, weary, and skeptical little mind and my sinful, hurting heart could not even fathom the plans God had for our year and how He would restore the lost year “eaten by locust.”
As your school year comes to an end, do you also feel this was a “locust year” (or a lost year)? Do you find yourself full of regrets? Are you full of guilt about things not done or full of shame about things said? Has this been a year you have lost a loved one either through death, divorce or betrayal? Has this been a year of rebellion and constant repetition of reprimands? Does it seem like you are dealing with the same heart issues that only seem to get worse instead of better? Or do you feel this has just been a year of waste- wasted time, wasted effort, wasted money, wasted forgiveness?
I am here to remind you that NOTHING is wasted in God’s economy. After much pain and loss, God rewarded Job’s faithfulness. “The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42: 10). Jesus’ work on the cross was not in vain. He came to give us life and life in abundance (John 10:10). If this year has been a year of plenty, rejoice and praise the Lord for His favor. If this year has been a year of loss, rejoice and praise the Lord too! Trust me, it may seem like your year, your efforts, your blood, sweat, and tears produced nothing, but I know our God is a powerful God. Nothing is impossible for Him. He will turn your mourning into dancing. He will turn your ashes into beauty. He will restore the years eaten by locust. He will turn to you at the end of this school year and your homeschooling journey and say “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25: 23).
End this year strong knowing God is ultimately in control. Then pack away the textbooks and start your summer break. Remove your sandals. Lift your hands in praise and bow on bended knee. Remember the good days and wait on the Lord to redeem the bad ones. Relish in the warmth of the summer sunshine. Sink your feet into the sands of the beach as you enjoy your much-needed and much-deserved break. Let the gritty sand rub away the hardness that developed over the course of this year and let the waves wash away your guilt, shame, and regrets. Summer is here! It is time to share in your master’s happiness for a year a faithful service.
God bless and enjoy your summer,
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