Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Feeling Overwhelmed

I feel overwhelmed today, and I feel surprised to feel overwhelmed today.

My husband and my oldest son are home safely from a trip to a very exotic location in Central Asia to drop off our daughter, Jaynie, where she will be a homeschool helper.

Jaynie called today, and she sounds so happy. She's also updated her blog (See Z). Reading her words, she seems remarkably content and fulfilled to be where she fully believes she has been called by God.

Joe, Jaynie, and their dad just before they said their final good-bye

Our daughter, Lissie, is doing very well on her trip to St. Petersburg, Russia. She left on Saturday for an 11-day trip to minister to orphans there. (See Impassioned Purity).

An orphan who attached himself to Lissie for the day

Our oldest daughter, Anna, continues to be thrilled with her new role as wife to a man she loves passionately and respects deeply.

Walking up the aisle as brand-new husband and wife
God has been so good to our family. He has been so good to me as a mother. So why do I feel overwhelmed? I think that at least part of the answer is that with Anna happily married, Lissie's trip underway and Jaynie's settling in going above and beyond all we could have hoped for, the other 11 of us can now settle into routine.

The problem is that I no longer know what routine looks like. Since October:
  • our oldest daughter has gotten engaged
  • Jim and I have traveled to Russia to go to court to petition to adopt three additional children
  • our entire family traveled to Moscow to spend time with the newbies, Daria, Alexander and Oksana and bring them home
  • our oldest daughter has gotten married and moved 15 hours away
  • our 18-year-old daughter has moved to central Asia to serve American families living there
  • our 19-year-old daughter has traveled independently to St. Petersburg to minister to orphans
My energy has been so focused on holding the family together while the preps for these huge milestones were going on that I hardly remember how to have a "typical" homeschool day.

On top of that I don't really know how to proceed with Daria, Alexander and Oksana's schooling this year. They've learned so much English in the past 10 months. Yet, their vocabulary isn't full enough to allow them to study their subjects at the level they would if they hadn't switched languages.

Age 16

Age 12

Age 7
As I process all this in writing, I know that I need to do to relieve the sense of being overwhelmed.

I need to begin this school year where I started when we began homeschooling 15 years ago. I need to cry out to God for wisdom. I need to cry out for wisdom every day. He will provide!

In fact, He already has provided the springboard of wisdom I was missing earlier today. I need to do what I did when we added our first trio of orphans to the family--I need to develop a schedule for our school days. At that point, we were doubling the number of our children from three to six. This time the change is different but no less impactful. We've added three children, two of our kiddos are in college from the home and manage their own time, and two of our children have moved to new locations. Our old schedule won't suffice.

I also need to keep doing what we've been doing since our very first day of homeschooling, way back when we lived in England. I need to keep reading aloud--a lot. This will help develop the vocabulary our newest three need while also making each school day fun.

I feel unoverwhelmed now. (And, yes, I know I just invented a word :)) I have a purpose tomorrow--create a new schedule. All the kids have enough school work to keep them busy while I work on that. From there? I'm not certain yet. but I am certain that I worship a God who will provide the wisdom. 


  1. Thankful that our families can walk through life together and marvel at the workings of our God in the midst of it all. Praying for all of you.

  2. Denise,
    Your thoughts remind me so much of the early days of homeschooling as a family. Although our class and schedule was on a much smaller scale, I too was overwhelmed. Thank you for the reminder to reflect on God's mercy and kindness in those early days. He supplied our needs then and continues to do so as we occasionally experience the overwhelming nature of life. Please know, Denise, that you are an inspiration as I see the way that you draw upon the strength of the Lord to do the work that He has called you to do. I will be praying for you.
    Love Tina

  3. Oh boy can I slightly relate! As a new Mom and Homeschool teacher of a very intelligent but English limited newly adopted teenage son! I will take the reading aloud into practice. That sounds excellent! We miss you and love you! Prayers for you all!