Home schooling. This family adventure has become a big part of our lives in the last three years. When some people learn we home school our five children, this response often follows: “Oh, I could never do that. I don’t have enough patience.” To which I sometimes respond: “Oh, I don’t have enough patience either!” It seems some assume I have a large reserve of patience, perhaps more than the average mom. But this could not be further from the truth. For. Real. My patience is often running thin by 9 a.m.–I am not the super-patient teacher-type!
Others assume I always get along beautifully with my children and they might say something like this: “Oh, my son/daughter doesn’t listen to me. We would ‘kill’ each other. It would never work.” But it’s the same over here! We have stubborn, strong-willed and selfish children just like you do.
Comments like these hit where I am weak, a reminder that I am not magically patient with or attentive to my “always obedient” children. Hearing these assumptions makes me realize anew that we home school in spite of all my failings and fears, and also in spite of the daily struggle with our children. I am not the most patient mama, our children are sometimes difficult and they don’t always listen and I am often distracted and frustrated. Yet we choose to home school in spite of these difficulties because of an greater desire to obey and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Truly, home schooling is just like any other difficult thing God might ask us to do. We don’t feel completely qualified but we do it anyway because He asked us to. We sense God leading us to home school our children in this season. So even though I am daily scared-to-death, I choose not to allow my lack of patience (or lack of many other virtues!) keep me from obeying. I school my children out of obedience, in spite of my lack, trusting the God Who will “supply all my needs according to HIS riches in glory” (Phil. 4:19, emphasis mine). God is sufficient to enable those He calls.
My home school friend Kara (visit her Instagram account here) shares beautifully about her lack and the courage God gives:
What gives me courage to keep going in spite of my shortcomings and inadequacies? First, courage comes with knowing my “why” (and constantly reminding myself of such). There are many reasons why we choose to home school, but one that always sticks with me is the reality that as parents our children are our first disciples. We want to be a part of their guiding and influencing as much as we can. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Now is the time to be that influence of Jesus for my kids—in the nitty-gritty every day.
Second, I have courage to keep going because I know there is a greater work taking place as the Holy Spirit enables me to do that which I cannot do on my own. Allowing the Lord to use us where we may feel weak is a transformative part of our walk with Jesus. There are so many things in this life we simply cannot do on our own. But I believe I can overcome the self-doubts because of the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. I can (and home schooling all but necessitates it) die to self each day (Gal. 2:20). I can have faith that what the Lord has asked of me, He will be faithful to fulfill through the work of His Spirit in me, as I learn daily dependence upon Him (1 Thess. 5:24). Home schooling takes courage. It takes sacrifice. But when I dig down deep and find my feet on the solid Rock, I know “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). This does not mean it is always going to be perfect, easy or fulfilling; but my life can be a real expression of servant-hood. It is not about me; it is about what God is doing in me AND through me for His glory.
Kara home schools her children because of the important “why” behind the calling and because of the real work God is doing within her despite her weakness. This resonates with me as well! Similarly, I home school because I am striving to be obedient, despite my shortcomings and fears, sustained by the power of the Spirit. Is God calling you to do something hard where your failings and fears feel like too much to overcome? Not true with our Emmanuel God–the God Who is with you! You too can do difficult things.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.2 Peter 1:3 (emphasis mine)
It really is a beautiful thing to press through what feels insurmountably difficult, in spite of all we lack, to a place of obedience to and dependence on God. It will take a lot of courage (from Him) and a lot of grace (also from Him and from those around us), but it’s a fulfilling and God-glorifying space to be in.