When the Sacrifice Becomes Too Much
When you first start homeschooling you are usually so excited, nervous and/or scared. You get your new curriculum in the mail and it is like Christmas day all over again. Opening the box in anticipation for what is to come. Bravely knowing that this season in your life will be a sacrifice. When homeschooling starts to cost us money, time, patience, and so much more, that is when we want to quit. Yet Jesus gave us the ultimate sacrifice; His life.
When You Don’t Understand
If God asked you to homeschool, then our whole goal is to bring glory to Him. Even if you are still not sure if God wants you to homeschool, each day we are to raise our kids as if we are doing it for God.
When problems arise, it is to mold us and correct us.
There have been so many times that I have wanted to lose my cool with my kids. I watch them be snippy and snotty to each other and even to me. As I scold them again for their tone of voice, I realize that my voice had a harsh tone to it. Here I am trying to make them realize how much their tone shows disrespect, yet I am the one modeling the bad behavior myself.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know
that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may
be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~ James 1:2-4
I find myself repeating this verse over and over again as I homeschool. How do I find JOY in the midst of pulling my hair out? It is only when I see my kids through God’s eyes that I begin to understand.
Perseverance means the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult. Instead of being called homeschooling, it should be called persevering.
Matthew Henry puts it as: “These outward afflictions (pain) and troubles are temptations to them. The devil endeavours (continually try) by sufferings and crosses to draw men to sin and to deter (pull away) them from duty, or unfit them for it; but, as our afflictions are in God’s hand, they are intended for the trial and improvement of our graces. The gold is put into the furnace, that it may be purified. One Christian grace to be exercised is joy. We must not sink into a sad and disconsolate (unhappy) frame of mind, which would make us faint under our trials; but must endeavour to keep our spirits dilated (expanded) and enlarged, the better to take in a true sense of our case, and with greater advantage to set ourselves to make the best of it. Philosophy may instruct men to be calm under their troubles; but Christianity teaches them to be joyful, because such exercises proceed from love and not fury of God. There must be a sound believing of the great truths of Christianity, and a resolute (determination) cleaving (adhere) to them, in times of trial. The trying of one grace produces another; and the more suffering graces of a Christian are exercised the stronger they grow. Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience and not passion, be set at work in us; whatever is said or done, let patience have the saying and doing of it: let us not allow the indulging (to have pleasure) of our passions to hinder (to make slow) the operation and noble effects of patience; let us give it leave to work, and it will work wonders in a time of trouble.”
It’s hard to understand how to have patience in the midst of a trial, when we do not have a strong, renewed faith each day. When our eyes are fixed on our passions and pleasures being met, more than bringing God glory. For true Christianity will bring us joy during our afflictions. As patience drives us to wait, and allow God to bring forth the fruit, which we seek.
We do Not See The Big Picture
I started homeschooling my kids because God asked me to. It wasn’t something that I wanted to do. But when I took one step down the homeschooling path, God whisked me away, to a world that was so foreign and unknown to me that I panicked. Not knowing what to expect brought on a lot of anxiety. I wanted to know what I was getting myself into. Was this path better than the one we were on? Why would God want me to homeschool?
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles
from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha
heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even
now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;
and whoever live by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” She replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world,”
After she said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you,”
When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where
Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went
out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been
here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and
troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
“Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has
been there four days.” ~ John 11:17-39
Martha is like the rest of us. In the midst of our trials we are pointing our finger at God asking him, “Where were you?” “If only you had been there, none of this would be happening!”
Trials are hard. They cause physical, emotional and even spiritual pain. Most of us would do anything to get rid of the pain. But in our pain we can become more like Jesus.
In the middle of our hard times all we see is the pain. The darkness that seems like a fog that suffocates us. We try to run. To even just catch our breath. Wanting nothing more than for all of it to be over.
Once it ends, we usually are grateful that it is over. Not really understanding why it happened. The bigger picture remains fuzzy. But as we continue to focus on God, that bigger picture also tends to come into focus. Showing us why God put us through what we went through.
Though my life at times has been really hard, I wouldn’t change a single day of it. I would not be who I am today if I hadn’t gone through those trials. My eyes have been open to what God wants me to see and it is beautiful. Showing me what he had in mind for me all along. It is breath taking. Keeping me in awe that a God who doesn’t need me, cares so much about me, that he has turned my ashes into beauty for His glory, and I love every minute of it.
When the Sacrifice Seems Too Big
We all knew that homeschooling our children would be a sacrifice. But, did we know that the sacrifice would be this great?
I knew that I would be giving up my job that provided a good income, retirement, amazing insurance and it was a job that I liked. I didn’t see how God would grow and push me to become a better mom. A more unselfish parent. That my house would never be clean, a problem that drove me nuts for years. That cooking would become a minor profession to me. And that my self worth would take a major hit.
There are times that I just want to cry. Am I doing this right? Am I messing my kids up? Look at how organized and put together this homeschool mom is. Why can’t I be more like her?
But even through all of the mess, beauty arises.
Jesus was asked to do so much more than we could ever imagine.
As he stood before a crowd, being falsely accused, he did not open his mouth and defend himself. He was a lamb led to the slaughter for our sins.
They beat him with a whip that had metal prongs on the end. Each time it hit his back it would rip off a chunk of skin. Leaving him to be pulled apart. Spitting, hitting and mocking him repeatedly till he was forced to carry the cross for them to kill him on.
After trudging through the streets in front of people that hated him. Bearing a cross that would kill him. To allow him to be nailed to it forcing him to slowly suffocate to death.
In the midst of two criminals, Jesus died from pain we can only imagine. We know nothing of this kind of physical, emotional or even spiritual death. His father was God himself. He could have saved him at anytime. Yet, he was forced to endure pain to save us.
God is asking you to homeschool through all of the trials. To pick up that cross and carry it no matter how heavy it gets. For he is God.
A Helper in Our Trials
God is not going to make us suffer alone. Everything he has ever done has been for us.
When Jesus died and rose again, he left an Advocate, a Counselor, a Comforter, and an Encourager to hold us up when things become too hard.
An advocate is someone who publicly supports you. To be there for you when things fall apart, especially in face of society.
A counselor is a person that has been trained to give you guidance. To show you which way is the right way to go.
An encourager is someone who gives support, confidence and hope to someone else. They hold you up when everything else around you seems to be crumbling.
A comforter is a person who provides ease or alleviation to someone in a time of distress and/or need.
All of things were given to us when we accepted Jesus as our Savior and recieved His gift of the Holy Spirit. This gift lives within you. If only we would accept all of the help that it is trying to give us. Instead of pursuing our own path.
I so often need someone who supports me, gives me truthful guidance, lifts me up with confidence and hope, and helps to ease my pain when I am suffering. Daily I find myself looking to the Holy Spirit to provide what my weak body can not. It wasn’t until I started to pay attention to the Holy Spirit within me, that this super natural power became an over riding force in my life. I started to live by the Spirit and not my flesh.
The sacrifices that I made before, don’t seem so hard anymore. The feel more like blessings in disguise. Showing me how God sees the world. It is so beautiful, even in the midst of chaos, dirty dishes, yelling, arguing, laundry piling up on the couch, and school work that needs to be done. All of that is worth every second of sacrifice that God has asked me to give. Because, in the end, it is all for His glory, not mine.
So if you ever think of quiting homeshooling remember who you are homeschooling for. That what we are going through is nothing compared to what Jesus Christ did for us. Keep looking for the Holy Spirit to guide you, support you, lift you up and ease your pain in the midst of any trial. For in the midst of our troubles we will find great JOY.