I am not real sure why I have waited until now to write this post. It has been wrestling around in my head and heart for months now! I guess it was the middle of last year that both E and I got this crazy tugging at our hearts...something from God about homeschooling. What????? Us???? Why Lord? NO WAY!
Oh, Yes, that is what we said to God. End of discussion, door slammed shut...dead bolt locked, boards went up, and before long, NO one would be able to open that door again! OR, so we thought...
After a few months went by and we finished enjoying our summer, we enrolled our son in school, without a thought about the above craziness mentioned, however, once the end of fall neared, we could hear that calm and gentle, yet...CRAZY voice again. About that time, E and I were heading to a bead and breakfast to get away and rest. We were to do nothing but read, spend time together, sleep, and hear from God. This was totally out of our element and we struggled more than any of the other couples there! We ended up really enjoying the week together, but were baffled by the message God was revealing to us once again...while there....in the quiet, we could hear him so clearly this time, and although we still FELT the message was crazy, it didn't come across as so...crazy...this,time...
Once returning home, a friend of mine from out of town popped by, and I shared with here this battle...no, raging river...no, all out WAR that was going on within my heart. What would homeschooling mean for us? I would be horrible at it! I am a perfectionist and I would push that on my children! I don't have a degree...I am not qualified...Our house is too small...etc. etc. etc.
She sat across the table from me with her cup of coffee and told me her story, and a beautiful story it was...
"You see, A, if you planted a little seed for a tree outside, and allowed it to grow all on it's own, once the storms came, it would break off at ground level because it didn't have a foundation strong enough to withstand the storms. However, if you planted that seed in a green house, it would get the protection it needed from the storms while it was young, being able to grow a strong foundation, and THEN, when the time is right, be placed outside to weather the storms."
It all made sense to me...I was trying to mull it over in my mind..."So, the little tree, growing in the green house, still receives God's love, sunshine, and care as it grows, but it only gets to WATCH the outside as it develops below the earth? Well...that sounded good, and I supposed that would work, but something just didn't compute for me... I was sure she was right though...she had been doing this work in her heart far longer than I, and I was sure the same work God was doing in her heart, He wanted to do in mine!"
That is what I decided, but I never stopped wrestling with the word picture she had given me. You see...it is a beautiful word picture...a beautiful visual of how a parent is doing their job to develop that foundation for growth. That is so important! I just wasn't sure that is HOW God was calling US to do it.
The next day, I drove up to our church lot...we are a newer church, land is less than 5 years developed, and I sometimes take my dogs to run in the open stretch of grass there. As I pulled the car in the parking lot, I drove to the edge and stopped...right in front of...dare I say it...dare you believe it...a little TREE! I stared at it, took it all in. I begged God for Mercy as I often don't understand what he is trying to say to me. I noticed how the tree had been planted in the ground as a baby seed. It was small and frail, but very guided. There it stood...out in the middle of nowhere...for the whole world to see, for the whole world to touch...for the storms to toss around to and fro, all by itself. I felt sad for the little tree. Then I looked closer. The tree grew straight up towards the sunshine. It had little sticks on each side of it's frail little trunk, directing and guiding it upward. It was tied in place by two sturdy strings, and was protected around it's base. This little tree wasn't alone after all! Sure, it looked all alone out in the middle of nowhere, but it was guided to it's core. It was being held up while it grew in foundation, and it was being protected, NOT sheltered.
That was it for me! I raced inside where my husband was working and told him how I wanted to honor God with what He was asking us to do! I wanted to go outside, into the world with our little trees (kids, ha!) and help them, guide them, and teach them which way to go. I wanted to stand there with them as they weathered the storms so they could LEARN how to navigate through them while keeping their eyes on the Lord. I did want to homeschool, and obey God, but I didn't want to shelter my kids either. I had been bogged down by this fear, but now, I felt FREE! I had never been so excited to obey God in my whole life!
I know homeschooling is not for everyone! It says in Romans 14:22
Your beliefs about these things should be kept secret between you and God. People are happy if they can do what they think is right without feeling guilty. Anything that is done without believing it is right, is a sin.
Obviously, our homeschooling will be no kept secret! Everyone in town is asking what we plan to do, HOWEVER, just because God convicted US to do this, didn't mean I needed to press this on, or start judging others for doing something different! I was encouraged in reading this verse to know that God doesn't convict us of things so we will go and convict others. That is NOT our job! I believe that job can be left to the Holy Spirit! It is OUR job to hear God, obey God and do what is right for OUR calling.
Romans 12:1-3 says
Offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. Do not change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but be changed within by a new way of thinking. (E and my thinking was changed all right!) Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. Because God has given me a special gift, I have something to say to everyone among you. Do not think you are better than you are. You must decide what you really are by the amount of faith God has given you.
I had to ask myself...do I have FAITH that God will overcome all of my inadequacies, fears, and concerns? Do I believe God will protect my children in their learning, even if I mess up? Do I believe that God will honor and bless us if we chose to obey him? The answers were / are, Yes, yes, and yes.
So, I go by faith, to obey God, and may he refine me!
Always remember these commands I give you today. Teach them to your children, and talk about them when you sit at home and walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them down and tie them to your hands as a sign. Tie them to your forehead to remind you, and write them on your doors and gates.
Wading through life's storms together...