It is always amazing to me how many shade of gray there are. Growing up in and around Scotland and Seattle you would think I would have "seen them all". But living by the sea creates so many more shades of color. The tide in front of our house exposes over 100 feet of beach at low tide and at high tide, the waves actually crash over the wall at the end of our garden. Every day when the tide goes out the beach looks different. This creates unique problems for Joy. The tide pool that yesterday went up to her ankle, might today be waist deep. She is now programmed to come straight up from the beach to the bath, both to clean her off but also to "denumb" her. As Anna in Frozen says "cold, cold, cold, cold."
Gray. For some reason it fits right now. The sun rises at 8 and sets at 3:40pm. There is a lot of gray light. The monotony of teaching four kids at home, taking care of all the other house stuff can leave me feeling gray. Not necessarily depressed. But I find myself researching new recipes, lighting candles, having music playing all day long--all to shift the gray. I wonder sometimes if "gray" is an atmosphere. So much of life in Scotland feels like survival against the elements and the cold. Yet the people around us are incredibly "warm". We have been welcomed into our little village by some amazing friendly, caring people. It isn't the individuals, but more the greater whole that seems gray.
Gray. As I homeschool my kids I am reminded how much gray there is in parenting. I have friends who are adamantly for school. I have friends who are adamantly for homeschool. I have friends who strongly believe in "unschooling." I have friends who spank their kids, some who won't. We have gluten free, sugar free friends, and we have meals on the go friends. Some of my kids peers are accomplished musicians, good at 3 or more sports, speak different languages. While my kids are none of the above. They've been to school, been homeschooled and been "unschooled" (due to the sheer business of moving). They have had more sugar than anyone should and been off of sugar. It is easy for me to get really anxious. I start to loose my bearings--am I doing the right thing? Are they learning what they should? Am I equipping them to be all they are supposed to be?
Frankly it is exhausting. It is too much. On a run last week, I spent the time talking with Jesus about each of my kids. "You know them Jesus. You created them. What do they need to know, or be doing? Where should my focus be? What should I be teaching them, signing them up for?" I know I see in part and hear in part, but it is so helpful for me to remember who God created them to be and to hear from their Creator about them. Not who I want them to be but who God wants them to be. And then to parent them towards that end. As I ran I was also reminded that while opinions are aplenty, Truth is a Person. Jesus is Truth. So in the midst of all the debates, evidence, opinions, I am grounded to a Person, to Truth. And that Person is who I want my kids to be connected to. That way they can learn to navigate all the shade of gray and continue to keep their eyes focused on the person who is leading them through it. That person is the person who I want to be connected to because that person makes all the gray disappear and creates color like I've never seen before. In Jesus and Jesus alone am I victorious.
Ali Millikan, Author
I love Father, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit. I love my husband and kids. I believe that God is in the room with us; that hearing God's voice is for everyone and that it will change your day to day reality.