Fruits of the Spirit for the Homeschool Mom – Joy
Joy has always been of my favorite words. It just looks cheerful. But as homeschooling moms, it can be difficult to understand joy and even harder to find it on a consistent basis. We get too stuck on works and forget to rest in grace. Then the busyness of life steals our happiness, and our joy often follows soon thereafter.
Why does finding, and keeping, joy matter so much? Because it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and because joy comes from God, not from our circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
How can we always be joyful? It takes a while to learn exactly what joy is and what it is not. It always takes our willingness to rest in God despite what our circumstances might be. The apostle Paul said he had learned to be content whatever his circumstances (See Ephesians 4). Contentment and Joy are often used as synonyms. They are not exactly the same thing, but they’re close.
How could Paul, who had regularly suffered physical harm because of his message about Jesus Christ, find contentment in all circumstances? How can we as homeschool mamas find joy in our daily lives? By turning to God, who orchestrates our lives for His glory and our good (Romans 8).
When we are looking for the Fruit of the Spirit in our homeschools and in our lives, we always have to go back to our relationship with God. The joy of the Lord is our strength. It’s not just a song for Sunday mornings; it is a lifetime of choosing to trust in His plan over our own plan. Knowing that God sees the beginning and the end and we see only a small part of what is going on around us each day, we should be willing to trust Him.
I’ve written about joy several times over the years. One of the longest and most direct times – dare I say revealing? – is when I wrote about the Dangerous Comparison Game. Oh Mama, this is not a game you want to play! As a working and homeschooling mom, I had even more outside attacks trying to steal my joy. Hold fast to your joy. Then about a year ago, as we were nearing the end of our homeschooling journey, I wrote about finding joy – actively pursuing it. No one gets it all right the first time, or even the thirtieth time. That does not allow you to stop seeking after real joy – it should just motivate you to turn even deeper into your relationship with God for a deeper understanding of what joy really is.
God wants you to find joy and contentment right where He has placed you – IN all your circumstances. If you are still struggling to find your joy, turn to Him, the author and perfecter of our faith and the source of true, deep, abiding joy.
A veteran with 16 years of experience, Carol writes with a practical look at the whole journey of home education. She spent the years with her daughters focused on experience-based education and frugal ways to teach and learn well. Her writing offers encouragement that anyone, even working moms, can homeschool successfully. Carol writes for her local newspaper, the Homeschooling with Heart Blog, and other outlets. You can find her love of nature, field trips, and lifelong learners on her blog: Home Sweet Life. Follow along on their adventures on Instagram.