A little over two years ago, my husband was an elder in our church and I was active in any ministry I could get my hands on and fit into our schedule. We were very busy doing a lot of works. There was always something to do. I didn’t have a lot of peace and I certainly didn’t have a lot of spare time to spend with the Lord. My oldest daughter was and is actively seeking the Lord and fruit of that journey is evident in her life.
Bells, alarms and whistles sounded the day I found out that my youngest daughter didn’t know Jesus as well as I thought she did. We were just having a casual conversation about Jesus and, in that conversation, it became abundantly clear to me that we were leaving her behind. My heart stopped and then broke. Not only that, she was at a place where her faith was not strong enough to fight off the worldly things she was being exposed to in public schools. I was guilty of being so busy maintaining my identity in the church and community (works), that I was sacrificing one of my children on the altar of idolatry. A tough thing to say but true nonetheless and, I would venture to say that I’m not the only one doing that. I will talk more about identity in future posts but for now, check yourself. If you aren’t sacrificing your children for works, then maybe it’s your spouse or maybe even a relationship with THE ONE you are trying to impress with all your works…unless of course you are only interested in impressing people. Oh we can be a sad bunch, can’t we?
- I never thought I would be a homeschool mom and, until this school year, I have not been a very good one.
- The very reason we pulled our youngest daughter out of public school is the very reason God pulled me out of church for a season.
For five years, I signed my emails with the Scripture found in Mark 12:30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Why? Because Jesus said this is the most important commandment. But this past year…God revealed to me that I read it something like this: Love the Lord your God with all your works, teaching and discipling many others outside of my home, being involved in as many ministries as possible, keeping as many people as pleased as you can at all times and giving the church every ounce of strength you can so, when you come home, you can give your family what crumbs you have left…with a big dose of anger. Oh yes…I loved my family but my identity was in the church and what I could be DOING in the church. It made me feel important, needed, even loved somehow.
After making the decision to homeschool…we decided that I would only work at the church one day a week and the rest of the week I would focus on homeschooling my daughter. That lasted about two weeks. After that, I began easing back in to working 3-4 days a week. I went from delegating my responsibilities to others to taking them all back for myself.
So my first year of homeschooling…I flew by the seat of my pants, taking her to work with me…It is all a blur to me really but, by God’s grace…she was doing so well and we had managed to develop a devotional time with the Lord into her day…she started learning to pray. In the meantime, I was a stressed-out mess, way too busy for all of this and also feeling extremely guilty that the end of the year had come and this was not the plan we had in mind for the homeschool year. So I made my promise…I will do better next year Lord.
Second year of homeschool…a crisis hit our family which completely took me out of church altogether for a season. I stood and watched as I lost my complete identity. I found myself in a season where I had no control of anything. By the way, this is NOT a good thing for a control freak. I could barely focus on anything as a deep depression fell over me. Homeschool? We kept it going but I again felt it was all a blur. By God’s grace, Rachel was thriving and has become quite the prayer warrior. I am thankful.
The first thing God told me in this season was YOU WILL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME. I AM A JEALOUS GOD. He began to show me the hard truths of the way I had been living. He stepped in and, out of his deep mercy and grace, He stripped me bare before Him and He has been teaching me who I really am IN HIM. I am a hard-headed one…so this is only a job that God can do.
The second thing God told me was YOU HAVE NEVER ONCE RESTED IN ME. Rest? You want me to rest? What does that even mean?
I’m still learning that one…I am a person that so desperately wants to DO something.
So homeschool year #3…at the beginning of this I stated why we pulled Rachel out of public school. I now know that this wasn’t just about Rachel. Recently, I read a statement that hit me really hard…”Our children learn by our example. They know when we’re trying to force feed them from food we don’t eat ourselves.”
I was broken. I was not practicing what I was preaching. My foundation was not built on the Rock…it was built on sand…the storms came and my foundation was washed away.
But God turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:1-2)
So this year will be different…I’m already seeing the fruit…please pray for me…as we sit together as a family and eat of the same food…learning for ourselves and teaching our children out of the overflow of our own relationship with the Lord God Almighty.
I want to love the Lord with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind and all my strength and, by his grace, I will and so will my children.