I sat beside him with a ruler and showed him how small a millimeter is, and how many of them it takes to make a centimeter. I thought about what it means for me, and for him, to know this, and why? I called out spelling words for a test, reviewed vocabulary flashcards, assisted with math problems, and drove to the library, all parts of a typical day.
But each day was similar, only with different books and different lessons. After a few years, I began to struggle. I proceeded straight from being a stay-at-home mom with young kids to homeschooling full-time. Without family nearby to call upon, or a regular reprieve from the schedule, I felt depleted. The lack of respite took its toll on me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
I would hear voices, real and imagined, saying remarks like, “You’re a failure.” Or, “I can’t believe you are doing this.” I heard the voices from those who eyed me curiously. I heard the voices from inside my own head.
I took a break from homeschooling for a year, to spend time thinking, writing, healing, and praying. I also talked to a Christian counselor.
Through that year, God reminded me it wasn’t the magnitude of the task ahead of me, or what the world counted as success; it was my heart. That is what mattered. I needed to find it— that place of significance in knowing that I, and what I did, mattered to God.
I emerged from that dark season stronger and ready to press on. This was the good work He had provided for me — the good work of being with my kids as we learned about Him through the order of mathematics, through the beauty of spoken and written language, through the complexities of science, and through the vastness of this earth with its diverse people and places.
It’s been a few years since then, and I am walking on a shinier side of that struggle. Because the enemy still lurks and those voices still occasionally call out, it is important to regularly remind myself of the one voice that matters, the one that I want to hear say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Here on earth, trapped in time and space, God reminds me that he can divide the smallest unit of matter into pieces I cannot see. He gets closer than a millimeter, in units that are immeasurable. He pierces the soul, permeates marrow, and reaches the heart in places nothing else can. This is the God of the universe, mightier than we can fathom, coming closer than we can measure.
The work of teaching the size of a millimeter? I learned that it matters — it matters greatly to God.
“God’s love is meteoric,
his loyalty astronomic,
His purpose titanic,
his verdicts oceanic.
Yet in his largeness
nothing gets lost;
Not a man, not a mouse,
slips through the cracks.”
Psalm 36:5-6 (The Message)