One really nice side effect of homeschooling Niamh and Philly has been a substantial increase in my own learning over the past year. I did not anticipate this, but looking back over the last months, my life has been punctuated by increases in learning...mostly in places where I never recognized in myself a high level of interest in that area.
Which is actually kind of cool.
I assumed my own learning curve would flatten out as I grew older. After I graduated college, I was burnt out and not very interested in studying a single thing for the rest of my life. By that point, I already had a family and a life~ so learning more 'stuff' just didn't fit well on my plate.
About half way into last year, I started reading a LOT of books on science and creation. At first, my whole point was to be able to teach the kids science from a non-christian text book while pointing out the "holes" in evolution.
I believed in an old earth.
But not in evolution.
Because only evil people believe in that.
Two books in, I was devastated.
Because evolution eloquently explained the world around me
(in ways I had never been taught in a Christian school),
But seemed in huge contradiction to the very first chapter of my Bible.
I read more books on evolution.
Then I read books on Genesis.
I read books on how to read my Bible.
Most of my reading didn't come from the shelves of Barnes and Noble either.
It was stuff I trudged through.
Googling three words per sentence sometimes.
Writing definitions in the margins.
I found some really good 'mentor' type writers that I found challenging to my fortified doctrine walls.
Sometimes I even emailed them.
Asking for further explanations.
(And they wrote me back~ which was awesome and kind of surprising.)
I think I averaged one tearful breakdown a month. Just crying my eyes out to Phil.
Because I had never really pressed into places of why I believed certain things.
All of the "What I Believe" was just kind of inherited from people I liked or loved or respected.
So when I started figuring things out in an authentic way-- for myself-- lots of struggle and uncertainty ensued...
But a ton of learning, too.
The desire to read Genesis in a more informed way led me to learn about the culture and context of when the Bible was written. And in that place I saw a God on mission-- always meeting humanity on our playing field. This intersected with another huge passion of our family~ living on mission.
It is seriously the most awesome thing ever to look back over a year and see God leading me in what I've read and learned. Even the order of the books I've picked up (often on a whim) seem perfectly placed. And then to have two seemingly separate roads collide (creation and mission)~ just assume I cried all over again.
This time, tears of thanksgiving.
(same ugly crying face, though;)
We are in a weekly bible study moving through (ironically enough) Genesis and creation with our former (old church's) associate pastor. This week, when he prayed, I loved his words.
'God, give our thoughts edges.'
That is what learning does.
It crystalizes the fuzzy places.
Sometimes you have to walk through a ton of mud to get there~
And maybe you will cry your eyes out about cavemen and Neanderthals to your bewildered husband.
And you will believe in the very thing you were trying to disprove to your kids.
Maybe you will go on tangents.
And have trouble remembering the path you started on.
God knows, I've lost my bearings quite a few times.
I've learned that my learning about God~ even though the more I learn, the more He is shrouded in mystery~ is a way of worshipping Him. I didn't think of it that way when I started this process last year. But it is. And through it, my faith (while at times rocked to its core) has been substantially deepened and widened. And so I continue to press into it more. Because it is a lifelong way to love and worship my King.
Meanwhile, being an adult who is passionate about learning~ so it is never a flatline area, but always on an increasing trend-- shows my kids that life should never feel unimpressive or stagnant. Learning new and beautiful things often sparks new dreams and leads us down paths God intends for us to walk (but that we would never have found otherwise). And honestly, how can we teach our children well if we have never become good learners in the first place?
So pick up the book that interests you.
Or the book that lands on the other side of the line you've drawn in the sand.
Read about something that makes you feel alive.
Or even the thing that pisses you off.
(The books I have felt the most hostile towards are often the ones I end up learning the most from.)
LIVE AS IF YOU WERE TO DIE TOMORROW;
LEARN AS IF YOU WERE TO LIVE FOREVER.
PS, Kaylee Snyder~ you won the rubber stamp giveaway!! Congrats!!