Homeschooling takes courage. It also requires discipline, vision, and faith. Perhaps that is why I love it so much. The struggles to maintain our homeschooling life style require the kind of character that I admire most. And certainly, God has used it to change me into the kind of person He wants me to be. My mother always used to say, “Nothing good comes easy,” and the longer I live the more evident this truth becomes. A lot of good can come from the struggles and demands of homeschooling.
At times, though, my wife and I have been overwhelmed with doubt. “Why did we decide to do this? Will our children become all that they should be? Are we really cut out for this job? Is there an easier way? What if we fail?” Doubt is a stifling attitude; it destroys faith, it limits vision, it weakens discipline, it steals courage. To be an effective homeschooler, one must be aware that doubt is one of Satan’s most cunning devices. To combat it, we need to understand the power of the Almighty. Satan wants you to doubt God, His Word, and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The Lord wants you to believe that with Him “all things are possible.”
To me, nothing brings encouragement or strengthens my resolve more than knowing the Lord. When I feel overwhelmed and confused He is always there to lift me up. I can’t imagine home schooling without Him. Scripture describes the Lord’s character in many, many ways, but three texts that have meant the most to me in the past few years have been Romans 15:13, 1 Peter 5:10, and 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4. These verses have renewed my thinking when I was downcast. They refreshed my spirit when I felt spent. They brought serenity when everything else in my life seemed to be in turmoil.
Our God of Hope
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. – Romans 15:13
My wife and I had hope that the Most High God could provide a way for our children to be raised and nurtured in truth. We had no confidence in any system that denied Jesus Christ and despised His Word or His followers. Although our children were not even school age when we first heard of homeschooling, we knew that if we were to find an alternative to the government’s solution it would have to be through the sovereign God who created all things. You see, Jehovah is the God of all hope. When we lack creativity and knowledge, when our resources are limited and our experience seems inadequate, we can rely on the One who has all power, all wisdom, and all wealth.
Resting in Him doesn’t mean we don’t toil but rather that we trust Him to take our humble efforts and, infusing His own measure of grace, do the miraculous. Our best days still evidence the fact that we are inadequate for any job. Yet when we turn to Him in our weakness, our insufficiency—He is always strong. Knowing who we are and the baggage we have to sort through, it should always fill us with hope to know that the God of all hope causes us to abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our God of all Grace
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. – 1 Peter 5:10
It is hard to see the grace of God while you are suffering through the mental pressures of making curriculum choices, scheduling, testing, record-keeping, addressing discipline problems, and developing accountability in your children as well as yourself. The good news is that while you are chin deep in all the concerns of homeschooling, you are learning how all those ingredients fit together to make a rewarding life.
You gain wisdom. God begins to prove to you over and over again that what He calls you to be and do, He will provide the grace to accomplish. Soon you will see how He has subtly replaced your ignorance and weakness with wisdom and strength. The world may call it “experience,” but Christians call it “grace.” The suffering, struggles, and trials are God’s gifts that shape you into a vessel that bears His own image. When all is said and done, we will see how His unmerited favor has molded and shaped us in love.
Many people desire to raise a close knit family. I did. Nevertheless, what I wanted and what I achieved could be diabolical opposites. I had to rely on the nature of a grace-filled God if anything good were to come from my efforts. There was no way that an imperfect husband and wife could produce perfect children, so the grace of God had to lead us through countless times of pruning. Neither of us saw His grace during those times, but after them we witnessed the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” that His Word promised. The God of all grace had brought us to a place of maturity, confidence, steadfastness, and contentment- a place worth living.
Our God of All Comfort
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforted us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4
Remember the time when you felt anxious or worried over all the decisions you had to make or all the problems that seemed to be looming before you? You could not find rest or peace. Eventually you got tired of being in crisis mode and found that when you trusted God to work things out He would be faithful to you and faithful to His Word. Peace flooded your soul and you couldn’t praise Him enough. His presence stilled and calmed your soul as you met with Him in prayer, and in the middle of your tribulation, He flooded you with the comfort of His peace.
The apostle Paul told his audience that the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort blesses us with His tender loving care so that we would be inspired to bless Him and, in turn, offer that same comfort to others who are distraught.
Not long ago I received an email from a young woman in Dublin, Ireland. It’s not every day that someone from a foreign country writes to me. I was intrigued, to say the least. This woman was a first-generation Christian and belonged to a newly formed fellowship consisting mainly of other first generation Christians. She had happened upon a website that featured one of my homeschool articles and was overjoyed that there were Christ- honoring alternatives for educating children. She said, “I was so encouraged by what you wrote, it gives me a lot of hope for the children that we will have and that they will have a much more godly, more loving and more assured start to life than we had.”
My wife and I were all but comfortable when we considered the ramifications of allowing a government school with all of its indoctrinated state approved teachers, godless curriculum, foolish priorities, and the peer pressure of the heathen majority to spend upwards of six hours a day with our children. We needed the comfort that a “high tower” and “buckler” could offer us. The Almighty lifted us up and placed our feet on “a rock.” He covered us with “His wings” and enabled us to find our “place of refuge” in homeschooling. Now we are able to pass that same comfort on to someone else in need of it. The solace God gives is not for hoarding but for sharing. Homeschooling has become a ministry with ever enlarging coasts. The God of all comfort intended it to work that way.
Sufficient for All Needs
When we first began homeschooling, we thought it was for the benefit of our family. Now, as time goes on and we become more familiar and confident with our homeschool, our scope has changed. In many ways, it is a form of ministry as we testify about the power of God to lead us on a new path a place we hadn’t been before. He has called us to be courageous and independent of the crowd. Oh, we have endured our share of criticisms and cold shoulders, but through it all we have witnessed the incredible, all-sufficient power of God. And following the God of all hope, grace, and comfort has made the journey a worthwhile experience.
Copyright 2008, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Winter 2007/2008 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms.