I am a MAMA. I am a mama who wants to change the world, one child at a time from within the walls of my home.
My aching desire is to love the world around me so they too can know the love of God. I want to remain tender to my children in the gentle and gracious manner that I stretch my arms around the aching soul outside my door. I want to raise up children of honor, good integrity and good character; three men and a woman who love God and serve Him because they have seen Him ALIVE in their lives every day!
Can you hear the fierce roar of a lion? I feel it in me! This is my heartbeat. This is my daily investment.
And then…. there is me. There is this fierce, five foot two and a half, me. I roar at my children instead of the enemy. I spew harsh rebuke rather than gently guide them. I roar and pounce before I have listened to the explanation. I lead with a regal roar rather than a tame lion or a gentle shepherd. I am not always a raging lion. I don’t want to give you the impression that I am always fierce and sometimes we mama’s need to deal with hitting and hurting one another because that is not a way any of us should have to live. But I don’t always respond to my children’s behavior with grace. I know a Lion who always responds in grace. I know there is another way.
Jesus, the Great Shepherd carries the lambs in his arms and holds them close to his heart. He gently leads those who are with young. (Isaiah 40:11) Gentleness is the Father heart of God. I long for His kind of gentleness.
I educate my children at home. I am with them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, except for the nights I get out with a friend or get a date night. Home educating does not make me holy (only God can make me holy) and it certainly does not make me better than anyone. It makes me weak. It actually reveals every weakness and ugliness lying deep within this heart of mine. I am like the steeping tea bag being brewed and softened until brewed delicious or too bitter to enjoy. I am a delicate brew. All of us get softened in the steeping cup. Few of us brew beautifully and many of us spew our contents and ruin the whole cup full.
So, how do I home school my four children ages 4-10 while I wage war against the M.S. Monster?
The answer is simple: I don’t. I can’t do it. There are a lot of nasty cups of tea around here.
The real answer: I do not and cannot fight this battle on my own and I cannot educate my children well on my own! I cannot do it on my own!
When we think we can do anything on our own, we are fooling ourselves. Sick or healthy, rich or poor, Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” And a few moments later He said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (John 15:5,9)
Remain in His love.
Remain in His love.
Cling to the vine.
Stay connected to the Life Source!
That is how I battle the M.S. Monster, teach my children, love my sweet husband and serve my family. Abiding in the vine enables my “tea bag” to brew well. Staying close to Him is how to live a full life, a life of joy in the midst of suffering and content when circumstances are crummy. Jesus came so that we may have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). Abundant life isn’t dependent upon how I feel or my children’s behavior or my health or financial status. Abundant life is available to us through Jesus Christ at all times. We have to choose to go to Him and stay connected to Him. The Source is richly available!
As Christians in America, we live as though we have a Savior from sin and then we are sufficient to handle the rest of life on our own. It takes the rug getting pulled out from under our feet for us to realize we are nothing without Him. He is life. Friends, my rug is pulled out and sometimes I still try things on my own only to steep ugly and then I go back and cling to the Life Giver, Vine of all strength and when I do cling to Him I brew a flavorful, colorful, and delicious cup that can be savored by my loved ones moment by moment.
I am learning to constantly surrender to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is my guide and companion and He fills me and goes with me every step of my day. I listen to His promptings moment by moment. There are days my emotions are fragile and I am breakable and we carry a lighter load that day. We read more books together and watch learning videos. We talk and snuggle and sip tea together. Other days, we just need to get out and connect with friends. Oh, those times are so sweet. God always orchestrates beautiful days.
We also choose fun. Is math always fun? No. Is learning always fun? No. But I try to be purposeful about making our learning fun and teach them with passion so the fire spreads like wild fire to their budding minds and hearts. I try to remember that they are children. Believe it or not, I forget that often! I expect too much of them sometimes and at other times, I don’t expect enough. Oh, the life of a parent. And oh, what a privilege to walk this life with them day in a day out, working through their weaknesses and building on their strengths. What a privilege to be dipped into the hot steaming cup for my own weaknesses to be revealed and for God’s mighty strength to daily uphold me so that I may be a desirable cup for my family to sip from.
I don’t educate my children because I CAN. I educate them at home because God will enable me to do anything and this thing is the very cup He has put within my heart for my family.
May we be willing to lay down our own sufficiency and realize as Paul said, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God..”. (2 Corinthians 3:5)
Amen and Amen. I needed this reminder today. May this speak to your heart as well.