2020 has been quite a year. January 1, 2021, may be the most anticipated New Year’s Day since Y2K. Many of us are just so ready for this long year to end. We want to put the stress and the struggle behind us and start over on January 1. As relatable as this feeling may be, though, it doesn’t support the gratitude we should be giving to God for the opportunities and growth we have had this year. But how can you even begin to feel grateful for a year that seems like nothing but hard times?
Scripture for Your Homeschool Journey
I’m about to finish up my third year of homeschooling. Our homeschooling journey so far has been filled with many fun, joy-filled days along with a lot of really hard, frustrating days. But that’s not really surprising; life is like that. We all have days of blessing mixed with days of trial. But regardless of whether you are in the middle of a dark trial right now or enjoying a time of blessing, God wants to teach you something. Here are some Scriptures to meditate on wherever you are in your homeschool journey.
Scripture for being mindful of the blessings
Honestly, some days my calling as a homeschool mom doesn’t feel like a blessing. Some days it feels more like a burden. I’m overwhelmed. Discouraged. Stressed. On those days, I need to read Scripture that reminds me of the great blessing and privilege it is to raise and teach my children.
Children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.
Being a mom is a wonderful gift! These little seedlings in my home require a lot of time and care now, but someday, with the Lord’s help, they will be self-sustaining, fruit-bearing trees. I am continually amazed that I have the privilege to be a part of that growth process.
Trusting the Lord to do what you cannot
When I, as a homeschool mom, feel anxious and stressed, it is often because I am trying to control everything around me. I’m living in constant fear of failing because I’m forgetting something really important—that the one responsible for outcomes is God, not me. My only responsibilities are to trust the Lord and be faithful to what He has called me to do.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
1 Thessalonians 5:24
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
As homeschool moms, we have a calling—a calling to be our kids’ mom and our kids’ teacher. Most days, this calling feels like more than I can handle. But I am often reminded of 2 Corinthians 12:9: My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. I have always found God’s grace to be sufficient for whatever day I’m having. And I know that God’s grace will be sufficient for your day too.
Scripture for Discouraging Times
The holidays are over, school is back in session, and you’re only halfway through the school year. So you may be feeling a little down in the dumps the first week into the new year. Maybe your children are lagging behind in some of their subjects. Maybe you’re struggling with managing your school schedule. Perhaps you feel overwhelmed and stressed with everything going on in your family. Or you may be just plain worn out and tired! Whatever the case, we all face discouraging days. Platitudes such as “Hang in there,” “This too shall pass,” and “Everything will work out in the end” sound nice but fail to provide any real encouragement in the end. Only God’s Word can give us the consolation we need when we feel downcast.
Hope for Discouraging Times
I would like to share some of my favorite Scriptures—ones that I turn to whenever I face discouragement.
Psalm 61:2 “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
Psalm 94:17–19 “Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. 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 121:1–2 “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”
If you’re feeling physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually drained, 2 Corinthians 12:9–10 is an excellent passage to meditate on:
“He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
What a beautiful paradox that the weaker we are, the more powerful Christ becomes in us!
Perhaps you’re tempted to believe you have failed as a parent. Even though you’ve disciplined, exhorted, encouraged, and prayed for your children, it seems as though nothing is getting through to them and you’re not seeing any visible changes in their lives. Galatians 6:9 is a verse I have turned to many times when I have felt this way:
“Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
We can confidently claim the promises of God’s Word because we know He is true and faithful and will always keep His promises. Our circumstances or children may not change right away, but our attitude will; and then God will be able to work in our hearts and change us. The next time discouragement attacks your soul, combat it with Scripture.
“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).
• • • • •
Jennifer is a pastor’s wife and mom of two young girls and loves homeschooling them. During her own twelve years of being homeschooled, Jennifer developed a passion for reading and writing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and relishes writing during her free time.
When Homeschooling Gets Hard
Sometimes homeschooling is not fun.
Like when you’ve been up most of the night with a sick baby. Or when you have serious cabin fever after being stuck inside for days. Or when your to-do list is overwhelming you—again.
In the craziness of trying to manage a busy household, sometimes it is tempting to look for an easier way. A different schooling option. A curriculum that requires less work from me.
I’ve had moments when I’ve wanted to completely abandon this homeschooling adventure, and if you’ve homeschooled for any length of time, you’ve probably have had those moments too.
But then there are moments that remind me why I started on this homeschooling journey in the first place. For example, before Christmas, my third grader and I were reading an article in Reading 3 about astronauts and what they thought about God. After reading Gherman Titov’s remarks about how he hadn’t seen anyone out there in space so he couldn’t believe in God, my daughter stopped reading and said, “Well, of course, he couldn’t see God! God is a Spirit.”
And that wasn’t the only clue that she was beginning to see the world through a biblical worldview. One day, when we were on our way to our weekly piano lesson, she told me, “Even though I’m not very good at piano yet, maybe someday I’ll be able to play well enough to play hymns so other people can sing along to worship God.”
It’s sometimes tempting to think of homeschooling as a burden. But it’s not. Homeschooling is an investment. It’s an investment that costs me significant time and resources. But it’s worth it. My daughter is worth it. She’s getting more than just a quality education. She’s learning how to view the world around her through scriptural eyes. That’s the most important thing I could ever teach her.
Weary mom, take heart. You will never regret the investment that you make in your child. The days may be long now, but you, your children, and even your grandchildren will reap the benefits of your investment for years to come.
The Dangers of Comparison
“Homeschool moms are like bullies. They can be brutal to each other.”
Ouch. My friend’s blunt statement shocked me a bit, but I knew it was true, at least to a degree. My own heart’s wounds bore testimony, and, if I were really honest with myself, I knew I had probably inflicted wounds on other moms’ hearts too.
Sometimes my wounds came from direct hits—someone would say something that would sting, that would make me want to run and find a quiet place to weep. Sometimes the hits were more indirect as I struggled with being left out of some of the homeschool subgroups around me.
But none of those wounds compare to the ones that I continually inflict on myself. The ugly truth is that I am my own biggest bully through comparison.
Discouragement and Defeat
A lot of my heart-wounds have come from comparing myself to other people. I’m very good at uncovering the ways I come up short in comparison to others. So my thoughts are too often filled with if onlys. If only I were smarter, prettier, more in shape, had better-behaved children and so on, things would be so much better. These lies do nothing but provide fuel for my feelings of discouragement and defeat.
Of course, comparing myself with others sometimes has the opposite effect, puffing me up with so much pride that I can’t see myself clearly. Sins go unnoticed and unconfessed. My relationships suffer. The damage is awful.
Fighting Comparison with the Gospel
So how do I fight back against my inner bully? By skillfully wielding the sharp, two-edged sword given to me by my heavenly Father—His Word. I must saturate my mind with the Bible if I am to have any hope of victory at all.
My best defense when I am tempted to compare myself with others is to meditate on the gospel. The gospel reminds me that I am precious in the sight of God—so precious that He paid the ultimate price for my redemption. I may not be as pretty as Mary, as smart as Jane, or as organized as Susan, but with all my faults and failings, I am beloved by my Father in heaven.
The gospel also reminds me that without Christ, I am nothing. So what if I excel in a particular area? All those feelings of self-righteousness are filthy rags before an all-holy God.
Comparison is a dangerous business. If you struggle with this like I do, I highly recommend the book The Battle Within by J. Robin Wood. She includes scriptural battle plans for fighting off pride and other damaging emotions as well as showing how to deal biblically with the expectations that we place on ourselves. If you’re interested in learning more about how this book has helped me, check out my earlier post “Hope for a Weary Soul.”