We often receive curious looks and questions when people learn that we went from being fully emerged in public school to being fully emerged in our homeschool. We were in the thick of public school. Not only were our two children in public school from kindergarten on, but I was teaching public school, and loving it. I loved my students. I loved their families. I loved putting myself into helping my students succeed. I loved forming relationships with my students. I found so much fulfillment in teaching them.
“Why would you leave that?” is the question that follows the skeptical looks.
The Lord made it clear that it was time for a change. Our family followed in obedience. You can read more about that decision here: Overcoming School.
I mistakenly thought the decision to follow in obedience and begin homeschool was the lesson. I didn’t realize that with each passing week, it was me that was receiving an ongoing lesson.
I am the teacher, right? But, the Holy Spirit is my teacher. What’s on the lesson plan on a weekly basis? Humility.
Again, Lord? Humility again?
Yes. As I read through chapter 6 of Galatians, the lesson plan is clear. The application to me as my child’s instructor, is clear.
Galatians 6:3-4, For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
Since beginning homeschooling my children about 18 months ago, the lessons for me have come at a rapidfire pace. Lessons on spending less money due to going down to one income. Lessons on the importance of teaching my children the Word. Lessons on being more flexible on how our day is structured. Lessons on the unique learning styles of my children. But one consistent lesson that has remained from day one until now is humility.
Who knew that homeschooling was going to bring even more growth to me than for my children?
I love Paul’s straightforward approach. My paraphrase, “If you think you are something, you are wrong!”
Sitting down to help my husband with a tax document, these verses came alive for me and my lesson on humility glared at me straight in the face.
“We just need to create a table for these expenses. We will fill in these totals and then total these columns. The total for this row will go there,” my husband rattles off the instructions.
I stare at the document in his hand. Then back at the computer screen. A full minute must have passed before I managed to say, “What?”
Riffling through his papers, he halfway mumbles, “What? What part are you saying what to?”
“The whole thing. What do you want me to do?” my head hurts at the same time as being completely blank.
He continues on with a longer explanation and my brain slowly begins to engage enough to know how to at least begin the task.
Creating the empty columns and rows and titles begins to flow. I am doing okay until it’s time to start entering information.
“Enter this number here,” he requests.
Okay, I can do that.
“Now total this section here,” he continues.
Uh oh. The glazing over is back. What? Where did he say to put the number? What number goes there? I am hesitant to ask my questions. He’s going to groan in frustration, right? At least show a small annoyance that I am not understanding.
I am expecting that reaction because that’s what I do. When the girls are not understanding a direction or a problem on their math. It’s just about impossible to answer without showing at least some sign that I am frustrated. I just gave the direction. They couldn’t possibly need me to say it again.
Now my distraction working with my husband has nothing to do with my lack of understanding but it has everything to do with the Lord showing me my less than humble attitude when teaching my children.
Oh, Lord, you are right. I am waiting on a sharp word from my husband or a sigh of frustration, because those are behaviors I have when teaching my girls.
This prideful attitude didn’t just appear. It’s been here all along. It didn’t get exercised on a daily basis prior to homeschooling. It also didn’t get refined prior to homeschooling.
My words of disappointment or my groans of frustration are telling my children that I really think I am something.
Further down in Galatians, Paul continues, And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9.
During morning chores and Bible time, grace-filled words ring from my tongue. Warm greetings and compliments come easy at the beginning of the day.
Hours into the morning, when blood sugars are running low, the to-do list is piling up along with the dishes, and the push and pull of the world is heavy at work, weariness sets in. Where a soft tone once was, now there’s a growing volume to my voice. Where patience was once in abundance, now hastiness is creeping in. Where encouraging words once flowed, now a sharp tongue is heard.
It’s at this point in our day when my weariness in doing good has set in and my pride, my thinking I am really something, has heightened.
My futile attempts to do good at this point are just that, futile. I have turned my back on the grace the Lord so lavishly bestows on me and I am walking in my own prideful flesh.
Time for some more restoration. Mending of my brokenness. Filling of the Spirit.
Time for the incredible reminder that God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8.
If that doesn’t bring the necessary humbling, what will?
Dear Lord, thank you for your lessons. Thank you for your refinement. Thank you for never leaving me the same as I was yesterday. And, Lord, my loving Heavenly Father, thank you for your abundance of grace raining over me.