Lesson 1

Many years of home schooling can leave a mom perplexed with bipolar-like feelings. Once that last lesson is taught at the end of the year, its cause for celebration. You breathe a sigh of relief, one more successful year done, and you can bet the farm, tomorrow you will sleep until at least 7 a.m.!

 In the first weeks of summer, the last thing you want to do, or even think about, is school. Just about the time you’ve become relaxed and comfortable with an academically unaccountable lifestyle, you feel that gentle, though ever present gnawing at the back of your brain. It progressively grows, like the unrelenting itch of poison ivy. You have to scratch it, it even feels good to scratch, but you know the more you scratch, the more the itch will spread. 
You carefully weigh the consequences. Are you ready for this? Can your brain handle it yet? Are you really ready to go all in? You know, once you’ve scratched, the infectious thrill of imparting knowledge will slowly consume you and take over your ever present thought, so you better be sure you’re willing to dive in.
Today, as I had come to the end of the administrative duties for the 2015-2016 school year, I found myself in the final stages of introducing a bright new world of 5th grade through the simple outlining of lessons. It became real with the first entry of my lesson plan book, 
Lesson 1.
 One. An eternity from the required 180 lessons to come. 
Briefly, my enthusiasm waned. It’s like starting an entire life all over again. So daunting. It’s a triumph and a trial that flow together, mingling like the concoction of my cucumber salad of vinegar and sugar.
I’ve never been one to back away from a challenge. As I deliberately and meticulously wrote, Lesson 1, it felt like “the valley.” I thought, “So far from accomplishment, but so enticing nonetheless.”
Now THERE is a lesson!
I walked through a spiritual valley this summer. I relate to everything on a spiritual level. Everything. God is always teaching to those who will learn. How can I be a good teacher if I don’t actively embrace the concept of learning? There is a lesson in every trial, every low, AND on every high mountain top. Most people see the valley as the test. This is where you prove your faith and maturity, and rightly so. Without perseverance in our faith, we cannot grow. But lately the test of my maturity has been pressed upon the mountain top. Will I maintain faith, relationship, and fellowship with my God when I bask in His Glory and feel confident in His Will? 
Somewhere in your spirit, you know, just as a home schooling mom knows, when it’s time to move to the next level. At first, you may resist and hesitate, but the knowing that God has something greater for you …… growth, learning, knowledge ……… He draws your heart to the challenge. 
You KNOW this will require effort. You know this is starting over at ONE, on a new plane of understanding. But you can’t resist. You have to go. There is no alternative because you love God, just as I love my child and want to do the best I can by him. You know there’s more. You want it. I want it. Always. 
As I wrote the all-inclusive, “Lesson 1,” today, I knew it was the beginning of 180 days of effort. 180 days of trial, learning, growing, occasional resistance from my 10 year old son at times, but it’s GODLY instruction that He has commanded me to bestow upon my child. It HAS to be done. Just as the next spurt of growth and spiritual revelation that God intends to bless me with is coming. One and the same. 
So much rides on how we embrace His lessons. We learn so much better through a receptive heart, willing and eager to soar!
I see my spiritual growth, not like my son sees multiples or learning 4 digit division, but rather how he enjoys his favorite subjects of history and science. It’s exciting! It’s new and wondrous! It invites me to want to know more. 
This analogy has given me a new perspective of Lesson 1. It doesn’t matter how far you’ve come, there is always a situation, a subject, a personal issue, SOMETHING, that God wants to talk to you about that starts us over at Day One. One day at a time for 180 days, 9 months, 36 weeks, gains my son a year of education. Can you imagine, how far God can bring us in 180 days on a spiritual level, with all that He has grown us in already?! 
As that invasive, gnawing sensation of God’s beckoning turns into an itch, and as the itch demands to be scratched, and as your spiritual man cries out to answer the call ….. let your spirit be quickened, let your heart be encouraged, as you become aware of that which draws you towards greater strength, growth, and love for your God. Expect challenge, know there will be hard days, and embrace the longevity of strength. But know in the end, you will proceed to the next level. You will prevail …. In all your learning, perseverance, faith and growth, you will maintain the mountain top! Now that you’re aware of the itch, it’s almost impossible not to succumb. 
One more time, I will start again, with Lesson 1.
~Sandra K. Yates 

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