Skip to main content

When the Hard Road is the Best Road

The book is closed on another school year. Actually half of the pages are thrown away and the other half is saved carefully in a gigantic notebook to present to our homeschool evaluator. We have to prove that we did indeed complete third grade during the last nine months!

I don’t write about homeschooling often. There are hundreds of articles and entire websites devoted to the art of education and curriculum choices. I don’t have much insight to add to the conversation.

Like most other families, we wrestled with our schooling decision when our oldest was still a toddler. Because we live in a small community, our options are limited. We chose the public school initially as a way to get to know others outside of the church context. My son did well, learned to read quickly, and loved his teachers. During that time, my husband became the only pastor at our church. This brought with it a new complexity with our schedules. Between late-night meetings and hospital visits, he and my son were virtually two ships passing in the night. So we became a homeschooling family.

Homeschooling offers a flexibility to our family calendar that we cherish and it scratches the teaching itch that I have had since leaving the classroom ten years ago. Overall, we have found it to be a good fit for our situation.

So, here I am reflecting on two years of educating my children within the walls of our home (and on family vacations, of course) and I have to say, it is the hardest thing I have ever done. I had visions of my sons sitting with their hands folded, eagerly awaiting the next pearl of wisdom I would offer. I imagined memorizing entire chapters of Scripture to recite as a family. I hoped we would spend our afternoons cuddled on the couch reading the classics.

While there have been some special bonding moments, most of my days are filled with sibling squabbles, a toddler who finds her joy in tearing pages out of library books, and complaints about math worksheets. The laundry pile doesn’t take care of itself and the monotonous cycle of household chores seems to scream at me from every corner of every room! I researched other schooling options at various points throughout the year. Surely there must be an easier road!

It is the hardest, most repetitious, most beautiful, most rewarding thing I have ever done. Homeschooling has knocked me to my knees like nothing else ever has. I have come face to face with my weaknesses and sin on a daily basis. The waves of failure and anger have driven me to my Strong Tower over and over again.

Homeschooling (like motherhood in general) has been both refining and sanctifying in my life. It is more than countries and capitals or multiplication tables. It is an opportunity for the Spirit to reveal areas of self-dependence and pride that I have covered with the illusion of having it all together. Homeschooling makes it obvious that I don’t.

Maybe you have made a different educational choice for your children. Maybe you don’t have any kids yet. Maybe you’re facing waves much higher than third grade spelling lists. Could it be that the hardest thing in your life right now is actually the best thing? The thing that makes you wake up with dread or fills you with fear can leave you weak and vulnerable to depression or can move you closer to the Rock of your salvation.

Someday, I won’t be a homeschooling mom anymore. It could be in the middle of next year or when all of my children are in college. Until then, God has seen fit to conform me to the image of his Son through my own sons. He has proven Himself faithful in my unfaithfulness and offered His power in the most fatiguing of days. As I reflect and rejoice in another completed school year, I give Him all the glory for my survival!
My heart sings with David,

The Lord is my rock,
my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock where I seek refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold.
I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I was saved from my enemies…………
God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord is pure.
He is a shield to all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is a rock? Only our God.
God—he clothes me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer
and sets me securely on the heights.
He trains my hands for war;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You have given me the shield of your salvation;
your right hand upholds me,
and your humility exalts me.
You make a spacious place beneath me for my steps,
and my ankles do not give way.

My Story…

I am extremely blessed to have grown up in a home where the Bible was a priority. From as early as I can remember, my parents taught me about my sin problem and the Savior who came to rescue me from the punishment from that sin. When I was only 5 years old, I asked God to forgive me and cleanse my sinful heart so I could live forever with Him. I put all my childhood faith and dependence in the work of Jesus on my behalf.

And then I got older………

DDpostgraphic (3)

Don’t get me wrong. I still loved Jesus and wanted to serve Him with my life. I didn’t lose my salvation, but I started to lean on my own strength instead of His to live this Christian life. If I failed, I needed to try harder next time to not be such a disappointment to God. If I succeeded, I thought I had somehow made God proud of me. I compared myself to other Christians based on my own set of standards instead of immeasurable standards of Scripture. I was doing this Christian walk all on my own!

That way of living is virtually unsustainable. We burn out from sheer spiritual exhaustion or depression from never being enough! We can never live in true community with other believers because to share a sin or shortcoming would look weak in their eyes. We minister out of duty not delight. We essentially cheapen the gift that Christ gave us through His death and resurrection.

Enter: the gospel!

A few years ago, God started opening my eyes to the fact that the gospel – “good news” – isn’t just a ticket to everlasting life in heaven. In the same way that I am helpless to earn salvation, I am helpless in my sanctification. There is nothing that I will ever do that will make God love me any more or less. In His eyes, through Christ’s sacrifice, I am complete, whole, PERFECT!

This plays out on a daily basis when I am confronted with my constant failures and gross sin. Parenthood and marriage have pointed out areas of my life that aren’t even close to “measuring up”. It is in those moments of weakness, brokenness, and failure that I am learning to preach the gospel to myself. Yes, I am a wicked sinner, but Christ has already lived a perfect life for me. I can serve and give out of a heart that is overwhelmed with His goodness and grace. I can confess my shortcomings while knowing that my identity is secure in Christ.

Friends, the gospel has turned my life upside down! I have a true joy and desire to dig deeper into the treasure of God’s grace and redemptive work in my life! I hope that your eyes are pointed to Christ and what He’s done for YOU as you read my words here at my new online home!