Sitting on my back porch, while I enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the lake, brought a deep sense of satisfaction as I completed my “last first day” of homeschooling. As I observed this sunset I reflected on my day: a journey that I reluctantly agreed to has quickly come to an end. I thought through all the first day stresses that I have worked through for twenty years. “How will we get it all done? What gaps do I still need to address in the few weeks I have left? How do I finish this race well? Will my child be equipped for the next season of life? How did twenty years go by so fast?”
Five years into my homeschooling journey, I had to ask God to change my heart. You see, homeschooling wasn’t my dream, it was my husband’s. All he asked of me was to pray about homeschooling our children. My initial thought was, “homeschool my children! No way!” After many days of talking to the Lord, and trying to avoid this request, I realized if I wanted God to bless my family but was not willing to do what he asked me to do then I could not expect God to answer any of my prayers. I would continually say, ” I don’t know how to do this.”
When I finally got tired of wrestling day in and day out about what I was “having” to do, I willingly asked God to change my heart and give me a passion to do what He called me to do. It should be no surprise, He did it in an instant. From that moment on, I never wondered or looked for a way of escape. It became a life-style. My husband’s dream became my passion. Now twenty years later, none of my children have wanted to go away to school. We have made memories, built a close family and walked through life day in and day out together.
I have learned three things in particular along this journey that have strengthened my walk with the Lord and my family:
1) God is faithful in all things. There were many days that I wasn’t sure it would be possible to complete this journey. He gave me the wisdom I so desperately needed to do the right thing and sent people who came along side me for encouragement. It’s important who we allow to speak into our lives. I kept my focus on being a river that is powerful, rather than a flood that is often destructive. If you are not careful, you start to listen to others and not to Him who knows the plans He has for you.
2) Knowing my children’s gifts, talents and strengths was important to our family. From the time they were very young I worked to understand the way they were wired. This allowed me the opportunity to cast a vision for each child which gave them the confidence to step out into the world as adults. It further encouraged them to eagerly anticipate the upcoming year. I found by knowing them in this way helped me select the best method of teaching for them. One child may need a text book and another a unit study. I did not get frustrated like I would have, had I not known this.
3) When you take the time to invest in your children, the rewards can bring great joy. As I near the end of the homeschooling years, I have no regrets. Not because we didn’t have gaps but because they were ready for the next season of life. With all the noise out there and the multiple forms of media which have all been trying to shape my children, I have great joy knowing my 27, 26, 23, 21, and 19 year old children listen to their parents more than any other voice, besides the Lord. We are the influencers in their lives.
My desire now is to encourage younger mothers to catch the vision of what their families can look like if they trust God to work through imperfect parents to do an amazing work in their family. We have been forever blessed as a result of knowing where we were going and trusting God to get us there. This too can be a picture of your family.