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All Right, Lord, But I'm Sure Not Going To Like It.

by Marla Brown

I became a mother in 1990 at the age of 26. The birth of David Leland Brown in August of that year was the fulfillment of my lifelong dream. Although I'd entertained fleeting ambitions of being a hairdresser, nurse and school teacher throughout my childhood, my overwhelming desire, always, was to be a mommy. I can still hear my husband's comment in the delivery room as I held my newborn for the first time, "Marla finally has her baby." When David was 7 months old, I learned I was pregnant again. Sarah Noel joined her brother on Christmas Eve of 1991 and I was now the mother of 2 beautiful children.

Although from my earliest memories I'd always wanted to be a mother, I did little but complain the first 2 years of motherhood. I whined, inwardly and outwardly, about the trials and tribulations of motherhood....the sleepless nights, the lack of free time, constantly being on call, never having time to myself. As much as I "loved" my children, I couldn't wait until they were old enough to send off to school. I quite defiantly announced to my husband one night that I was done having children, that I wanted my life back and began making mental preparations for what I would do with my life once my children were finally in school.

During that time I learned that my brother and his wife intended to homeschool their child. The gossip spread like wildfire through my family. All of us found the notion crazy. After all, the child needed socialization and what made them think they were qualified to teach this child? I spoke my mind to my brother and received a swift, firm, yet kind response as to what he thought of my worldly position. I continued thinking he and his wife were nuts and that they were going to damage their poor son.

In August 1992, my life and the lives of my children were changed forever. Through events that forced me to realize my sinfulness and selfishness and subsequent need for salvation, God graciously and mercifully reached down and changed my heart. The life that I once lived for me and me alone, I now was given the desire to live for Christ, to learn His word and His ways and seek to obey them.

With the new life that was given to me came brand new perspectives. I no longer wanted to stop having children believing it to be God's decision how many children we should have. No longer did I refuse all calls between 1 and 2 PM so I could sit in front of my favorite soap soaking in all of the immorality which dulled my senses. No longer did I fill my head with all of the popular music with all of it's distasteful lyrics. And no longer did I believe that dumping my kids into a public school for 6 hours a day, being taught by persons who may or may not have morals, being surrounded by classmates who may or may not be taught any morals, and being taught politically correct, watered down, and dumbed down curricula was the proper way to educate them.

My husband came to the conviction, however, before I did. His desire to teach them at home mortified me. After all, my kids needed socialization....and what made me qualified to teach them?? And can I really handle being surrounded by my children day in and day out for the rest of their young lives? With no break? No free time?? All of the arguments I'd been making against homeschooling to my brother were still ringing in my ears. Who was I to think that I was equipped to teach these children adequately? What made me think that I wasn't going to do them more harm than good? After many conversations and months of consideration, I agreed that homeschooling was what we were being called to do. I believed my husband was absolutely correct that God wanted us to do this and that it was what was best for my children. It must also be said that the socialization my son was receiving at our backyard fence by the neighborhood children who would be his classmates, the socialization that everyone is always so worried about, was nothing more than an attempt on the part of these children to introduce my son to every vulgar "curse" word imaginable. This is the socialization I used to think was essential to the wellbeing of my children. "Alright, Lord", I said, "I'll do it. But, I'm sure not gonna like it" and God led me, kicking and screaming, down the road to homeschooling.

In the spring of 1994, while David was 3, I decided to attend a homeschool curriculum fair. I had met and befriended several moms who had already committed to homeschooling, and they encouraged me to attend the fair to get an idea of what was available. Within 5 minutes of arriving, I wanted to leave. I was surrounded by hundreds of tables representing hundreds of companies selling hundreds of differing curricula. I was completely overwhelmed and totally terrified. I wanted out!! Still, I persevered, sat in on some of the speakers and ordered a curriculum that required the least amount of creativity on my part.

I began teaching David that September, after he turned 4. Quite skeptical of my abilities, I decided to 'get my feet wet' and see if this homeschooling stuff worked before David was of compulsory school age. If it was a failure, I wanted to know in time to register him for kindergarten the following September.

We set up class at our dining room table with David and 2 year old Sarah, after putting one year old Faith in her crib for her morning nap. (Yes, God had already blessed us with another precious child by this time!!) Thanks to 4 years of Sesame Street and some earlier reviewing from Mommy, David already had a basic knowledge of the alphabet and numbers. I had purchased some pre-school books for Sarah, so would give her a page to color and start reviewing flash cards. I'd teach Sarah the letter and David, the phonics sound, "I says 'i' like 'indian'". We'd recite the Pledge of Allegiance, sing some songs from "Barney"...."There are 7 days, there are 7 days, there are 7 days in a week"....and review the letters. Contrary to my previous misconception, I quickly found that our homeschool sessions didn't have to last very long to be useful. I didn't have to conduct my homeschool with the rigid schedule I anticipated. It didn't have to take all morning, one hour was all that was truly necessary or practical for such wee ones.

It didn't take long for me to realize that homeschooling worked and worked amazingly well. Within weeks, as I'd review the phonics sounds with David, I found that Sarah would chyme in. I was killing two birds with one stone. She didn't have as tight of a grasp on the facts, but was learning nonetheless. By the end of our school year the following June, Sarah could identify all 26 letters of the alphabet and knew some phonics sounds and David was reading fluently both short and long vowel words. He was whizzing through the "Matt the Rat", "Wig on a Pig" and "Pet Pete" books I'd purchased. It worked!! Homeschooling really worked.

It is now 6 years later and we are set to embark on our 7th year of homeschooling. I am now the blessed mother of 6 healthy, happy and beautiful children who bring me joy I never knew existed. Joy that far surpasses any of my childhood dreams of motherhood. David enters 6th grade, Sarah will be in 4th, Faith in 2nd, Aaron begins Kindergarten and I will begin the preliminary stages with 3 yr old Rebekah. Ten month old Hope will sit on the sidelines, hopefully quietly, but I'm not holding my breath. But I'm not afraid anymore. I know I can do it. I know it's what I'm called to do and "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me", Phillipians 4:13.

I shall forever live with regret that I wasted so much of my earlier days of motherhood whining and complaining. The joy that was there but was lost on this miserable, selfish wretch. I shall forever long to have David and Sarah back as babes, to do things differently, presumably better. How I wish I had cherished my time with them more.

However I shall forever be thankful for the grace and mercy bestowed on me that August day in 1992, and for the wise and wonderful husband I have who insisted from the beginning that this was the road we were intended to travel. I am so glad that I wised up before I wasted more of my children's time with me. I consider each moment with them a gift from God and will thank Him for the privelege of being their mother and their teacher as long as there is breath in me.

One final note.....I mentioned in the beginning of my fleeting childhood ambitions. At one point in my life I had wanted to be a hairdresser. I always loved preening and primping and thought it'd be a gas to cut hair for a living. Then, after spending my teen years glued to "General Hospital", I decided I wanted to be a nurse. After all, who wouldn't want to be sitting at a nurse's station surrounded by handsome doctors all the live long day?? A lengthy hospital stay by my grandmother cured me of that desire when I witnessed the true duties of those dedicated nurses and learned that I didn't have the stomach for the job. I then purposed to be a school teacher, but wasn't supported in the college of my choice by my parents so spitefully decided not to go to college at all. I showed them!!

But in God's sovereign, wonderful way, with one fell swoop He fulfilled every one of my dreams. He made me a hairdresser as I cut my children's hair at home, He called me to be a nurse to my children's 'boo-boo's and He fulfilled my desire to be a schoolteacher by calling me to homeschool. And all of this was made possible under the umbrella of one title, my one true desire all along..... Mommy.

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