Whenever scripture repeats itself, I take it as a holy nudge to pay extra close attention to the repeated parts. God’s Word is powerful; when He repeats Himself, those words are probably extra powerful indeed. One verse repeats three times in Psalm 80, almost word for word. The year our family descended into chaos, this psalm was my heart’s cry.
We’d been homeschooling for a few months. Cami couldn’t read, she couldn’t write, and she melted down at my every attempt to “do school” with her. Most days, we both ended up crying and giving up on school by lunchtime. The next day, we tried school again, with the same result.
Restore us, O God; make Your face shine on us, that we may be saved. (Ps. 80:3)
I expected homeschooling to fix Cami. I expected my educational training and experience to be all my daughter needed. I bought the best-reviewed curriculum. I joined my church’s homeschool co-op group. I composed a daily schedule and determined to stick to it. Still, by lunchtime every day, both Cami and I dissolved into tears of frustration.
My husband and I fought a lot with each other, disagreeing about Cami’s motives, about how to discipline her, about how to help her. Those days, it felt like we didn’t agree about anything. Michael and I both got angry enough to leave the house, just walk out and drive away to try and clear our heads.
Restore us, God Almighty; make Your face shine on us, that we may be saved. (Ps. 80:7)
We yelled a lot in our house. I felt defeated because I didn’t want to yell a lot in our house. I grew up in a house like that. I didn’t want that atmosphere for my little girl. I didn’t want that atmosphere for any of us.
It would start with my asking Cami to do one thing, and then another thing, and when she was finished with that, a third thing. My request was followed by Cami shutting down because she couldn’t process all my words. Cami’s shut-down was followed by my rising frustration coupled with repeating all my instructions in mostly impatient tones. My tone of voice struck Cami’s frustration and failure place: she wanted to do what I’d asked; she just didn’t understand my instructions. By the time Michael returned home from his extremely stressful on-call-24-7 job, all of us were yelling.
There was one weekend–the weekend–when everything disintegrated. I found myself knelt down at the end of my bed, sobbing, begging Jesus to fix us, to fix all of us.
Restore us, LORD God Almighty; make Your face shine on us, that we may be saved. (Ps. 80:19)
Six years and much heart work later, God has been faithful to His Word that He repeated. He has restored my family. We’ve found a way of homeschooling that works for us. We know Cami’s sensory processing issues and how to successfully navigate them. We don’t yell much anymore, unless it’s to cheer each other on.
Yes, we’ve worked hard to change how our family interacts. Yet only God–the LORD–can take credit for the life we have now. Our restoration is His doing. Our fruitfulness comes from His Hand alone.
I am so very grateful He does indeed shine His face toward us.