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Messy Blessings

Three sounds – a loud shriek, splashing, and the slamming of the toilet lid – brought me quickly from the kitchen to the hall bathroom. Greeted by a smiling, soaking wet toddler walking rapidly from the room, I knew I was in for something special. I was not to be disappointed. Toilet paper had been spun directly from the holder into the toilet and water covered the floor.

After cleaning up Asher’s bit of performance art, I walked back toward the kitchen to finish getting dinner together. I stepped into the living room to find Ian jumping on the couch and his sister, Temperance, crying. A quick word brought the jumping to an end and, just as I attempted to console our daughter, I heard another crash in the kitchen. You get the idea.

When my wife descended the stairs, having prepared pajamas and the other necessities for bedtime, she looked my way and smiled, “How’s it going?” By this point, I managed a laugh and muttered a vague comment about how fast our children are.

My wife, Shannon, is a homeschooling mom and has super-powers. Somehow, in addition to doing an excellent job teaching phonics, writing, and math to our daughter (age 6), she finds ways to fuel Ian’s (age 4) great enthusiasm for learning, and still rebuild after Asher’s (age 2) Tasmanian devil impersonations. And, what’s more, Shannon seems excited about it.

Now, I could go on bragging on my wife and gladly proclaiming to you her sterling character, but I know (deep down) she’s not (entirely) perfect. She gets tired and overwhelmed, just like every other parent and/or teacher. Yet, even in those times I have learned from her. Almost like clockwork, she reminds herself of the blessing of homeschooling. She finds strength in the souls of her children, and the knowledge that God has given her the opportunity to feed and nurture them.

In Ecclesiastes 6, Solomon describes a man who is blessed with one hundred children and two thousand years of life, but still “his soul is not satisfied with goodness.” He has “no burial” and even his long life is forgotten. Having never learned to be satisfied with the goodness given to him, he goes to the grave having lost it all. Never delighting his soul in his children, he has no one to bury him. Never having delighted himself in the years of his life, he goes to the grave forgotten.

Blessings bring responsibilities, but even those should delight our souls. Sometimes blessings are messy. They can be wet, hyperactive, emotional, loud, and overwhelming; but, for all these “troubles,” we dare not forget that they are blessings.

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