by Tamara Eaton
There are some things you can never do enough of--praying, studying God's Word, cleaning your house, and learning. Think about it-- if someone asks you-- "Do you pray enough?", what is your response? "Well, I could always pray more." It's true, you could always pray more, study more, clean more and learn more. So why do you allow condemnation to overwhelm you when you see your child's weak areas or your own weaknesses? You do need to work in these areas, but don't try to tackle everything at once. It will not only overwhelm you, but it will overwhelm your child and take the joy out of homeschooling and learning together!
The difference between condemnation from the enemy and conviction from the Lord is easy--when the Holy Spirit convicts, He is specific and gives hope and help for any changes necessary. He gives you confidence that if you trust Him, He will enable you to fulfil His plans, and if you stumble along the way, He will pick you up and set you once again on the right path.
God challenges us in different areas, but with the challenge comes the grace to act upon His "assignments" and overcome the trials. (1 Corinthians 10:13) Each day has its own tests which we don't always recognize. We must slow down enough to discern His voice calling us to overcome in the "small things" as much as the larger tests. Our thoughts, our words, our actions--are we glorifying Him each time? Are we sensitive to when we displease Him and quick to repent? Do we learn from our failures and allow them to make us all the more determined to yield to the Holy Spirit next time instead of to our fleshly impulses? Our whole life is a School of Faith and we're learning just as much as our children if we allow the Lord to be our Teacher and Example. He is a perfect Teacher and will give us wisdom in teaching our children, too!
The enemy, on the other hand, is a discourager, the father of all lies and never offers any hope of improvement (unless you choose his way instead of God's). He has assistants who help him along the way--sometimes inadvertently, like critical relatives and neighbors who are convinced you're going to fail if you persist in that ridiculous notion of homeschooling! The key to overcoming his lies and deception is to recognize his tactics and overcome them by the Blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11) and the Word of God!
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you....Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." --James 4:7-8,10
When Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted by the devil, He responded each time with the Word of God--"It is written..." (Matthew 4:1-11) We should respond to temptation and condemnation the same way, with the Word of God!
In our fast-paced society, we're pulled from every side....The secular media bombards us with reports from studies showing we need to eat better, exercise more, spend more time "smelling the roses", get regular check-ups, and save for our retirement years. Some in the Christian community call upon us to boycott companies, write letters, participate in marches, reach out to our community and support their ministries. Pastors encourage us to evangelize the lost, lead Bible studies, teach Sunday School classes and don't forget to help in the church nursery!
Homeschool support group leaders challenge us to lead workshops, participate in group classes, attend field trips and social events, and be diligent in our homeschooling and record keeping. Our husbands appreciate good meals (sometimes viewing light and healthy meals as "snacks"!), a clean house, fresh laundry and socks that match. Our parents and in-laws can't identify with our homeschooling lifestyle and may not always understand why we're not following their examples--their homes were spotless and the laundry was always caught up by 7 a.m. each Monday morning! (It worked for them, why doesn't it work for us?)
Even homeschooling curriculum developers and speakers often promote their philosophy or program as being absolutely necessary in order to achieve "The Successful Homeschool". Every month brings "bigger, brighter and better" and "all you ever needed to know" homeschool packages for sale. And don't forget the comparison between homeschooling families--"Did you hear about the Smiths? Harvard is actively recruiting their six year old son (homeschooled from the womb) who has completed several high school programs and speaks seven languages fluently!" It can become confusing and overwhelming if you don't keep your eyes upon the Lord!
While the Lord gives us some wonderful examples of believers we can follow as they follow Him, He never asks us to compare ourselves with others, but to look to our perfect example, His Son. Note Jesus' response when Peter questioned Him about His plans for someone else--"what is that to thee? follow thou Me." (John 21:21-22) There are no two children alike and there are no two homeschooling families exactly alike either. God has created us all to be unique, for His glory!
So instead of throwing your hands up in defeat and saying, 'It's hopeless. I can't do EVERYTHING, I'm sending my child back to school!', "lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet..." (Hebrews 12:12-13) Take it all to the Lord and He will help you discern His will so you can have a *well-balanced* life.
By no means am I encouraging laziness or irresponsibility in homeschooling, but I am encouraging you to not allow yourself to be overwhelmed and depressed by those vague feelings of failure, hopelessness, and helplessness. I have good news to offer you-- if you belong to the Lord, you have the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God of the Universe on YOUR SIDE, how can you fail if you trust Him? You have all you need in Him! He has you fully COVERED.
The Lord also has the perfect plan for your family. He knows the "end from the beginning" (Isaiah 46:10) and He is working in you "both to will and to do of His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13) Your relatives, friends and acquaintances may have opinions about which way you should go, but God has more than an opinion, He has ALL the facts and He has the plan and He has promised to provide your every need if you'll just trust in Him. One step at a time. If you have been floundering on a road paved with condemnation and fear of failure, turn it all over to Him. Recognize your enemy and run to the Lord! He will restore your joy and set you free!
"O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember Thee... Yet the Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life....Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." --Psalm 42:6a,8,11
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand." --Psalm 37:23-24
"Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." --Psalm 50:14-15
"When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul." -- Psalm 94:18-19
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:1
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." --Philippians 4:13
"... greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world." --1 John 4:4
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." --John 8:32
[Note--If you don't know the Lord in a personal, saving way--find out how you can be set free from all condemnation and receive Eternal life, as well as His daily help and guidance!Knowing God) "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life."--John 5:24 ]
© Copyright Tamara Eaton 1994-2000, all rights reserved.
Permission is given to reprint any of Tamara's articles in non-profit publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the copyright information and website address. Please send a copy of the publication to :Deeper Life Family Ministries, P.O. Box 909, Killen, AL 35645.
We have always homeschooled our six children (elementary through high school and beyond!) and enjoy encouraging other families in their homeschooling, parenting and in the Lord! For more help and information, please join us on the Christian Homeschool Fellowship Message Board.
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"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."