Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Big "What If...?"

Somewhere in my early preparations to home school, I concocted two crazy ideas.

First, 1+1=2.
I sacrifice my time, energy, and "freedom" plus God doing His part and blessing our family which of course would equal my kids excelling, going radical for Jesus, and becoming the next Billy Grahams.

Second, 3 x 0=0.
Take three academically strong, well-adjusted kids multiplied by a poorly disciplined, often ill, inconsistent but well-intentioned mother which would equal prison sentences, skidrow and plenty of unrealized potential.

I didn't realize that I had these ambitions and fears in my heart until the Lord gently brought them to the surface one morning. That soft, piercing voice asked me questions that preferred to hide in the corners of my mind and heart. "What if" kinds of questions.
I didn't like the answers.

In the 1 + 1 scenario, what if I did "my" part but God didn't do His part? What if I didn't do my part, would God still do His? I some how expected God, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, to do my bidding, follow my "formula" for success and let me have a piece of the glory while I'm at it.
There was pride. It was ugly. It had to go.

To my small brain, that only left 3 x 0=0. What if I took these three incredible kids out of school, totally failed them and ruined their lives. What if I did everything wrong? I didn't even have God in this equation. This idea was wrongly centered on me and my abilities and my efforts. Yuck.

Ah, but there's always more pride isn't there? What if everyone thought I did a terrible job and I was the worst mother ever? What if people said or even thought, "She should have left them in school. They were doing so well you know!" Double yuck.

Isaiah 12:2-3 "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid: For the Lord is my strength and song [praise]. And He has become my salvation. Therefore, you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation."

Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail, And the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold, And there be no cattle in the stalls; Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds' feet, And makes me walk on my high places.

The Lord showed me that by His strength I would be trampling down the "high places" in my life. Those pagan altars of things I worship in place of Him. There are physical things like a home or gadget that I make more important than they are. But often the "idols" are less tangible but just as real. I mistakenly place above my relationship with God things like success, my children's "grades" or the ever popular: people's opinion of me and my family.

I needed to surrender to Him before I knew how it would all turn out.

He had to show me that home schooling our children was not a guarantee that my children will not rebel. He is a gentleman. Everyone must choose to follow Him.
He had to show me that home schooling our children was not a guarantee of "worldly" success, i.e. straight A's, perfect test scores, or high SATs.

He had to make sure I understood that even if I don't see any fruit of my efforts, I can and should take comfort that I was obedient and the Lord is still worthy to be praised.

He had to encourage me to Philippians 3:8 it- Consider it all rubbish that I gain Christ. Home schooling requires me to be on my knees in prayer.
A LOT. I have seen His faithfulness.

He reminded me of the:

Reality of the cross- my life is not my own but to be lived as part of the body in order to do the will of the Head which is Jesus.

Reason I home school or do any other activity, needs to be God directed. Home schooling isn't a formula to a blessed life or great kids.

He reminded me to:

Request-Ask the Lord to show me, "What are my high places?"

Repent of the things I put above Him.

Release the outcome to Him. I can only do my part. I can't do my husband or children's parts.

Receive the grace that He offers to me and my family.

He reminded me of my:

Responsibility- first and foremost to love the Lord with all my mind, heart, soul and strength. So that my
Response is to T.O.P.-Trust, Obey, and Pray

I am a mom. Like every mom I know, I want to see my kids do well. I don't know how my story ends much less theirs. So I have to trust Jesus. I hope their academics are strong. But more importantly I hope their character is strong. I hope they love the Lord and each other and other people. I hope they have an amazing life filled with fruitful work.

But as much as I want those things for my kids, the bottom line is: I am educating them at home because this is what the Lord has called me to do.

I don't do it perfectly.

I can't.

But God can and does do "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think."  He takes our meager offerings of faith, time, energy and effort and He does bless it. Not because we earned it but because He is a loving, generous, gracious God.

At the end of each day and at the end of each lifetime, it's just us and God. May we live for that moment when we will be face to face knowing it's His grace that gets us there.


Pauline said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I needed those reminders this morning. I wrestle with many of the same things, yet He never fails to bless. We serve an amazing God!

The Director said...

Love you Mama. <3

Jen said...

I love this! Thank you for the reminder!

Elle said...

I can relate to this. It's even harder when you have a child who will never be academically strong. People seem to feel like its your fault and its easy to go to that place of doubt when you are faced with that situation of dealing with autism or Aspergers diagnosis. However, I know my child is thriving at home..she is secure, happy, loves God, and is doing the best SHE can do. And what more can I ask for? I know its not guaranteed that she won't rebel at home, but its not guaranteed at public school either. So I gotta keep remembering that God is working in all of us through this experience.

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

Oh it is pride, isn't it?! MY pride. My life battle. I need to surrender and trust, especially in the area of our homeschool.

(I never really thought of it being my pride! Ack!)

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