The Lord spoke to me so personally today through the sermon at church that I just had to share. Our Pastor read from the book of Joshua, telling the story of how God spoke to Joshua; telling him to lead the Israelites across the river Jordan and its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap. Joshua did as God told him and after everyone passed safely through the people knew that God was with them. (Obviously I paraphrased greatly. Read Joshua 3 and 4 for the entire story.)
My Pastor asked us to imagine what would have happened had Joshua decided not to do as God called him. Standing at the edge of the river, which the Bible says was in a flood stage, it must have been a daunting task for Joshua to contemplate. It would have seemed more logical, and certainly much easier for him to find another way. But he listened to God’s call, stepped out in faith, and God did as he had promised.
I’ve been homeschooling my girls for three years now. We made the decision to homeschool because we believed that was what God was calling us to do. This past year has been a real struggle for me. Such a struggle that after many, many conversations and even some arguments, my husband and I decided we were going to send them to public school in September. I struggled because I felt inadequate-with all of my responsibilities there was always something left undone. I struggled because none of my friends homeschool their kids and I was feeling left out. I wanted to fit in…to have my kids be like everyone else. I struggled because I thought about what my life would be like after my kids were grown. If I spent the next 13 years of my life home with my kids, what would I do with myself after they’re gone? I asked my husband “what about me?” I reasoned and rationalized and argued that if God was truly calling me to homeschool I wouldn’t be having these thoughts, I’d still feel the passion for it I had in the beginning.
As soon as the decision was made I started to question myself. I went to the school and picked up the kindergarten registration forms. I told my friends about our decision. But when I wasn’t excited and eagerly planning all the things I’d do with my free time, I was having doubts. Was I just being selfish? And how in the world did I know for sure what God wanted me to do? I started praying. A lot. I asked God to just tell me what He wanted me to do, and I’d do it. I was at church at bible study one night, watching Beth Moore’s DVD. I was in a lot of turmoil, just wanting some peace with the decision so I could fully enjoy the prospect of freedom. And then Beth started talking about wanting something and asking God over and over to just give her an answer. (I’m paraphrasing again. I don’t really remember the story exactly, it was what she next next that stuck with me.) She said God said to her “I’ve already given you My answer…it just wasn’t the one you wanted to hear.” I had my answer that night. God had already called me to homeschool. Just because He wasn’t speaking to me and encouraging me year after year didn’t mean His will had changed. I’d just convinced myself I’d misunderstood it.
That was in June. Everything was going along fine until last week. Last week the doubt started creeping back in. In September I will have more on my plate than I’ve ever attempted. I’m not done with my planning, and school is just around the corner. I started the same old refrain in my head. This must not be what God wants from me, if it were I’d be passionate about it; I wouldn’t want to ship them off to school every time things got rough. I am not equipped for this, I’m doing my kids a disservice keeping them home with me. And on and on it went in my head. I told my husband I’d do it one more year, but this was our last.
A few days ago I was having ice cream with a dear friend of mine, pouring my heart out to her. I gave her every reason why I don’t think I’m supposed to be homeschooling. That poor girl, I carried on for quite a while. I think God got a little tired of my whining, because I had a revelation. As revelations tend to go, it was not subtle. God said to me, in no uncertain terms, that the reason I lost my passion, the reason I didn’t feel equipped, the reason I hadn’t gotten my act together in three years is because I never submitted my will to His. Sure, I gave in. I didn’t dare not. BUT. I was stubborn. I was like the stubborn teenager who does enough to get by to be technically obeying their parent. I didn’t give Him everything. Instead of focusing on what He wanted for my life, I focused on what I wanted. I didn’t step into that river, I merely stuck my toe in.
Homeschooling is hard work. Harder than I ever could’ve imagined and much harder than anyone who doesn’t do it can understand. Like everything else in life there are mountain top moments and there are valleys. Whether it’s through the elation I feel at helping my baby read her first book or the frustration I feel when I’m overwhelmed, God is working in our lives. God is using homeschooling to further mold me into the person He meant for me to be. Through this experience He’s giving me strength. He’s teaching me patience. He’s forcing me to finally stick with something no matter how badly I want to quit. He’s showing me that I can be different, that I don’t need to be like everyone else. He’s answering my prayer to raise godly children; children that will carry on a new legacy for future generations of my family.
When God calls us to do something, He equips us with what we need to carry out His will. He called me, and He equipped me-it just took me a little while to realize it. If God calls you, be like Joshua. Step out in faith. He will keep His promise to you.