Raise your hand if you've been there (mine is waving frantically in the air with yours). Maybe you were in the middle of something else, like a phone call, shower, or nap. And maybe it wasn't the stink of a dirty diaper but messy hands, a sudden urge to use the bathroom, or a sudden whop from one child to another out of the blue. Whatever the case, our children seem to often be a weapon Satan uses to break us down and tear us from our Lord and Savior's promises.
As I was showering this morning, I was thinking about my friend's story. We laughed at it, but there was a truth in there that I needed to hear. My children, while oftentimes wonderfully sweet, obedient and helpful, are susceptible to the same traps Satan lays out for us. Only they are still infants in the faith, so they do not have nearly the experience and wisdom to side step those traps that we (hopefully do). They may, in fact, not even see the traps yet!
To continue following my "rabbit tracks" (as I termed them to my husband this morning), I thought of several people I know who are starting down the homeschool journey for the first time this year. I look at some of them and think, wow, she will have an easy time because her children ... <fill in the blank>. But then I think about my friend's story again. Satan does not like it when we take control of the education of our children. He has a more difficult time "getting to them," in my opinion.
So what happens? He simply uses the fact that "foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child" (Proverbs 22:15, NKJV). What does that translate to? You and your child will likely come to some impasses as you embark on this journey.
They still have a lot of growing to do. For that matter, so do I. As I was typing a few paragraphs back, the thought of babies and milk came to mind. I looked up the word "milk" on biblegateway and the following passage resonated with me:
1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. (taken from biblegateway.com, emphasis mine) 1 Peter 2:1-3 (NIV, 1984)
Hopefully, we have tasted that the Lord is good and are, therefore, more readily obedient to Him. Our children, though, have yet to "grow up" in their salvation. They are still in need of much training and guidance, no matter how "good" they can be. And because of that, they will have breakdowns, meltdowns, and ups and downs. (Think impasses.)
As I thought of this, I thought of how often and easily we throw in the towel when these "downs" occur. We might even think that this is not what the Lord wants for our family, going back to the reasons we hesitated to dive in to this homeschooling "thing."
- I won't have the patience;
- I don't know how to teach <insert subject>;
- I deserve time for myself;
- My children just learn from others better than they do myself;
- I'm not organized;
- I don't know where to start;
- My children will be isolated;
- I just can't do it;
- unfortunately the list goes on...and on...and on...
The first thing we need to do is stay in touch with the Lord. For me, it's staying in His Word daily. Hiding His Word in my heart (memorizing it) is also helpful to me and so is praying His Word. We need a constant dose of His Promises so that we don't fall for the lies all around us.
The next thing we need to do is find some "horizontal" supports, in the form of like minded people. Awhile back (several years), I prayed the following prayer for at least 6 months:
"Father, please bring strong believers into my life so that we may be mutually encouraged by one another's faith. (Romans 1:12)" Praying God's Word, by Beth Moore, emphasis mine
For a long time I really meant, "bring strong believers into my life so that I may be encouraged by their faith." But one day (months after I prayed it daily), I noticed the "mutually" that was in there. Apparently, my faith might just be used to encourage someone else. Honestly, I kind of found that truth amazing and a little unbelievable. After all, what did I have to offer someone who's faith was so much more long lived than my own? I, obviously, did not consider myself a "strong" believer at that point (okay, sometimes I still find it hard to fathom). But maybe God knew something I didn't.
As you start your own homeschool journey, I hope that you'll pray for God to surround you with those who will lift you up and encourage you to continue on the path He has laid before you. There will be days that you'll need that encouragement, and who knows, there may be days someone else will need YOUR encouragement! I'm praying for those I know to be surrounded by strong believers.
11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:11-13, NIV (1984)
Look for a way out...not of homeschooling (Satan provides plenty of those)...but of giving in to the temptation to give up (the Lord will help you there).