By Raquel Laureano
“And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.” 1Chron. 28:20 KJV
I have experienced so much since I started this journey called homeschooling. I’ve had my “good days” where I have my lesson plans in place, the kids are cooperating and goals are met. Then there are those “bad” days where I haven’t a clue as to what to teach, I can’t find all my paper work, the kids are in rare form, and you can forget about reaching any objectives for the day, month or even the year for that matter. It’s in moments like these that Mr. Guilt comes knocking on my door accompanied by Mr. Doubt trying to plant their seeds in my mind. I’m left feeling like a total failure.
Warning: Feelings of guilt and failure can be very hazardous to your homeschool. You see, it’s here that many quit. I’m not talking about a little feeling of inadequacy. I’m talking about overwhelming, constant feelings of guilt and with them, doubt. Doubt in yourself and even in God.
I remember one particular moment (O.K., maybe more than one). The questions were really bombarding my mind. I mean, could it be possible I made a serious error in believing that Lord had told me to homeschool? How could I lead these people you have put in my care? (If it sounds like I was playing a Moses tune… you’re right I was). I would cry out to God with my mental list at hand ready to use as reasons why I should quit homeschooling for sure. At any given time, I may have said something like this:
Look, this homeschool stuff is just not for me. You see, these kids you gave me… I have no patience and you need lots of patience to homeschool, right? I mean after all I’m an uneducated, undisciplined, organizationally challenged mother. I wasn’t taught right myself, how am I going to teach them properly? Me, homeschool? HELLO…Are you sure we’re talking about the same person here?
When I finished verbalizing my feelings and fears of ruining my children, I decided to wait for His guidance before I officially enrolled them in the public school system.
And then, after some time, it happened. Our heavenly Father can speak to us in any way He chooses, but nothing speaks louder than His Word. He managed not only to confirm my calling to be a full-time homeschooling mother; He also encouraged me not to give up in spite of my shortcomings. Particularly when I “accidentally” bumped into this verse:
“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you” 1Chron. 28:20 NLT.
You can take this verse and pretty much apply it to whatever mountain you may be facing right now. Even laundry.
How do you overcome these overwhelming feelings of guilt and inadequacies? I have found help in two ways. The first is to regularly have your own “time-out.” Have someone you trust watch the children, and take the time out you need to hear yourself think or just go out and take a nice long walk.
The second is this: learn to receive His love for you. Sounds easy right? It’s easy to believe He loves you when all is going your way. But to receive His love when everything is not going your way – when you feel pretty rotten and when you feel as if you just cannot continue – that’s when you need to realize that He knows you better than you know yourself and He still loves you. Here’s another way to look at it. Would He love us less because we don’t have it all together all the time or because my homeschool is not like Sister Susan’s? Would He be angry at me if I didn’t follow all of my lesson plans, iron those freshly washed sheets and spend hours making a gourmet dinner for my husband right before he walks through the door? Sounds ridiculous, right? But I’ve learned that if we truly believe He loves and accepts us, as imperfect as we are, then we won’t be so hard on ourselves trying to be the perfect homeschooling mother. Yes, we need discipline and order and these things will come when we surrender our weaknesses to the only person who can help us. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a journey. With a little diligence, progress and change will happen one step at a time, one day at a time.
As far as our shortcomings, did He not also say “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”? Again, we need not worry or let guilt overwhelm us about our inabilities, lack of skills, or other areas we may still need growth in. Once we understand that this is about His purposes and not ours, we will also understand that we truly can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength and equips us for the job. If He didn’t think so, He would not have entrusted these children to our care and teaching.
Prayer: “Lord, help me to really know that you love and accept me in spite of my shortcomings. I commit my teaching and my children to your care, guidance and direction. I also surrender to you those undisciplined areas in my life that if left unchecked will only hinder the homeschool instead of develop it. Help me to remember your unconditional acceptance and love for me when I’m having a bad day. Give me the will and the power to daily fulfill your purposes in the lives of my children. May I never forget that without you I can do nothing and that you are for me and not against me. I thank you ahead of time for giving me victory in these areas of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Scripture references: 2 Corin 12:9; Phil 2:13, 4:13; Romans 8:31-39
Raquel Laureano is a homeschooling mother and freelance writer living in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and three children ages 8, 4 and 2.