"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." Ephesians 1:7-8

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Reality

I'm pretty sure that there are homeschooling moms out there who do it with ease. It just comes naturally to them. They have fully cooperative and teachable kids because they (the moms) have trained them to be this way. The children listen and obey and are eager to do what mom has carefully planned. When they don't, they are quick to repent. These homeschooling moms create the perfect learning environment. They use soft and gentle, but firm words with their children. They are never impatient, frustrated or irritated. They select the perfect curriculum for their kids and love every minute of homeschooling.  They are thoughtful and deliberate in the care of their children. They are passionate about their calling to be a mom and teacher. They never doubt God's plan.

I desperately wish this described me. But in reality, I'm sad and embarrassed to say I fall far short of this. If this paragraph describes you, please don't judge me in my weakness but instead pray for me.

Today we had a TERRIBLE school day. The kind of day that brings with it so many questions. The kind of day that makes me want to call the school board and enroll the kids in school right now. The kind of day that makes me want to be alone and cry. I'm tempted to despair and whine and complain. But I keep hearing this irritating scripture running through my head and I cry some more. "Do all things without complaining or arguing." Philippians 2:14

It all feels so impossible and then I remember what I was reading last night before I went to bed. I'm reading "The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom. This is the story of her time in a concentration camp. She and her sister were sent there after they were caught helping Jews. Last night I was reading about a time when Corrie and Betsie had been moved to a new barracks. The conditions were horrible and filthy. The stench permeated the air. There were 9 in a bed meant for 4. They had just lay down on their bed when they realized it was swarming with fleas biting and stinging them. There were asking the Lord to show them how they could survive in these wretched conditions. They began reviewing what they had read in 1st Thessalonians that morning. Here is their reaction:
     "Oh yes: '. . . to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus ---"
     "That's it, Corrie! That's His answer. 'Give thanks in all circumstances!' That's what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!"
     I stared at her, then around me in the dark foul aired room.
     "Such as?" I said.
     "Such as being assigned here together."
     I bit my lip. "Oh yes, Lord Jesus!"
     "Such as what you're holding in your hands."
     I looked down at the Bible. "Yes! Thank You, dear Lord that there was no inspection when we entered here! Thank You for all these women, here in this room, who will meet You in these pages."
     "Yes," said Betsie. "Thank You for the very crowding here. Since we're packed so close, that many more will hear!" She looked at me expectantly. "Corrie!" she prodded.
     "Oh, all right. Thank You for the jammed, crammed, stuffed, packed, suffocating crowds."
     "Thank You," Betsie went on serenely, "for the fleas and for ---"
     The fleas! This was too much. "Betsie, there's no way even God can make me grateful for a flea." 
     "'Give thanks in all circumstances,'" she quoted. "It doesn't say, 'in pleasant circumstances.' Fleas are part of this place where God has put us."

My situation is NOTHING like their situation. I live in a great house that is pretty clean (ahem!). I have SO much to be grateful for and I'm convicted by my desire to complain and feel sorry for myself. I need to give thanks in ALL circumstances. Even a really terrible day.
     Lord, thank you that it's not raining today so we can go outside and play.
     Lord, thank you that my children are playing nicely together so I can process all this now.
     Lord, thank you that my kids get quite a picture of sin and the need for repentance.
     Lord, thank you for my organized school room.
     Lord, thank you that my kids are healthy and well.
     Lord, thank you for the support from my husband.
     Lord, thank you that we can afford for me to stay home and not work.
     Lord, thank you that your mercies are new every morning.

What else does God want from me in this situation? Do I stuff down my worries, fears, disappointments and confusion? Do I just buck up and move forward with a fake smile on my face? What is the faithful way to respond to this?

I'm learning from my summer study of Psalms that God wants me to be honest with Him. To come to Him in my despair. To come to Him with my disappointments. To remember His promises. He is faithful. He will never disappoint me or fail me. He will give me strength. To look back at the stories of His faithfulness to His people. If He has called me to homeschool then somehow He will equip me to do this.

Which brings me back to homeschooling. I love so many things about it but in reality, I feel like I'm failing in so many ways. How do I know if this is the right choice for our family? Should we keep moving forward or is it time to make some changes? If you are a veteran homeschooler, I'd love some encouragement and wisdom!

This is my prayer ... (using Colossians 3, Psalm 38 and Proverbs 3)
     Lord Jesus give me the strength to do everything I do for your glory and with thanksgiving. Lord help me to please you and not seek after man's approval. Please do not be far from me, O my God. Help me Lord, my rock and my Savior. Help me to trust in You with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. I pray that I would acknowledge You in all my ways and that You would make my paths straight. Amen


  1. Oh, you have encouraged me! I am certainly NOT the veteran homeschooler you are looking for, but knowing that you've been doing this for longer than I, and have the same kinds of feelings I do when I've been going just a couple weeks, lets me know that my fears and doubts and justifications and misgivings are not mine alone. And when my Matthew prays, after a particularly difficult day, that he's thankful he was taught the bible in "school" today, he shows me glimmers of the real "why" of homeschooling, even in the midst of all my shortcomings! May I be mindful of what to be thankful for, even if it does feel terribly difficult.

  2. When we are weak, He is strong. It may be painful and we may try to escape, but needing Him is such a better place than not needing him.
    I don't know what it's like to home school, but I do know what it's like to doubt whether we have made the best decision. God is showing me that He is everywhere. He is with Owen at school even when I am not. God is with you and your boys in your home. He has not forgotten you.
    It sounds to me like you are right where He wants you. In His word and humbled at His feet.

  3. Thanks for your encouragement Megan and Ali!

  4. SO wish we had a chance for a (long!) visit, friend. I connect with much of what you share- have many thoughts about all this, too- but don't even have time tonight for a complete email. Sigh. Just know I'm with you and praying for us!