One simple answer...by the grace of God!
Travis and I married young by modern society's standards, but back then we knew what we wanted and didn't want. We had this ideal life planned out and would live happily ever after with a house full of smart, wonderful, well-mannered, well-behaved kids. We were going to put God first above all else and were going to teach our children to do the same. We were going to have family meals everyday at the table. We were going to have quiet time each night for us. We were not going to be the family that ran around hauling kids here, there, and everywhere. We weren't going to let the kids' schedules run our life. We weren't going to be part of the "rat race" called modern family life.
Fast forward several years, God had given us three beautiful children which were all attending the Catholic school in which I taught. We were attending daily Mass often, praying with the kids, helping with the youth group, and growing in our faith as a family. Our rules and routines were set into place and followed. We had supper at the table each night and had quiet time for ourselves each after putting the kids to bed. We weren't "that family" that runs around in a hundred different directions living for and through our kids. Life was just dandy!
But it's hard to live in the world and not be of the world. Soon our kids became older and began wanting things and wanting to "do" things. We discussed all these "things" thoroughly. We finally agreed that just one activity couldn't hurt the life we had established, but one each was the limit. No more. As the kids got older, we began to discover their talents and skills. So, two. Two things each. No more than that. We don't want to become "that family," remember? Now, you can already see where this was heading. We didn't. With each new "thing," we reasoned why it was OK to allow it.
Three kids times two (some three) extra-curricular activities equaled over six different activities in a week. We were officially working for our kids. All our time and money were going to their extra "things." We were becoming "that family" slowly over time without really noticing it. One night after we collapsed in bed thoroughly exhausted from all the running around we had done that evening after a full day at work, we realized that we were drifting further and further from each other and from our original plan. The plan that had brought us together in the first place. Things needed to change. But where to begin?
God-of course! We had never totally abandoned our faith or God, but had just been "going through the motions" for awhile. I knew in my heart that this was a wake-up call from Him. We had grown comfortable with Him over the years and weren't putting Him first in our lives anymore. Occasionally, yes, but not always. I knew He was calling us back into a deeper relationship with Him. So, we took a step back and did a major overhaul on our lives.
We started with all the extra-curricular stuff that kept us from putting God first and kept us from living out our "plan". Sports practices & games that interfere with family meal time 3-4 nights a week? Gone. Dance costumes and music not so appropriate for my child of God? Gone. You get the picture. Then we moved on to the games, movies, toys, books, etc. that had "snuck" into our house while we were running. If it distracted us from our Heavenly goal, gone.
It felt so good! The more we simplified our house and lives, the more we desired to simplify it even more. The more time we spent as a family working, playing, and praying together, the more family time we desired. The more time we spent together as a couple, the more time we wanted to spend with each other. The closer we grew to God, the closer we wanted to be to Him. It continued to snowball like this for awhile before we took the leap of our lives---homeschooling.
It was the most difficult and scariest jump ever, but has turned out to be the most rewarding and fulfilling. He caught us just as He always had, just as He always will.