Am I doing enough?
The question that seems to haunt homeschooling moms.
I think it stems from the fact that no one actually knows what “enough” is. The worry creeps in and we begin to question everything. Will our kids have gaps in their education? Are they prepared for the next step after homeschool? Were all the people who asked “What about socialization?” on to something and now my kids won’t be able to deal with the real world? What if they never move out???
When it comes down to it, these questions are all about fear. And we seem to have quite a bit of that. We come by it naturally. Let’s face it, homeschooling our children is a big responsibility (as all parenting is).
You Aren’t the First to Fear
I’m pretty sure Timothy felt the same way. God entrusted Him with shepherding part of His early church. Can you imagine? And it must not have been easy because at one point Paul tells Timothy,
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)
Did Timothy question his own authority as others obviously did? Did he think about whether he was old enough and good enough to take on this responsibility? I wonder if he thought the same thing we do, “Am I doing enough?”
But Paul wanted to encourage Timothy in the ministry God had given him. Paul writes,
I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:3–7, emphasis added)
What is your ministry? Your true calling? It may be multifaceted, but as a homeschooling mom you can know one part for sure—to be the mom and teacher of your precious children. It is truly a big calling and responsibility, one that requires patience and perseverance and trust. And so what was true for Timothy is also true for you, Dear Mom.
God gave you a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.
You Can Do This (With Help)
The same word for power here is used at other times in the New Testament in reference to Jesus performing miracles. It is sometimes translated as the power of God or the Holy Sprit. Consider the fact that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to you!
So when you think you cannot do this homeschooling thing, when you think you are inadequate for the task—remember that the One who IS adequate is supplying you with the power to do that which he has called you to.
I love how Michelle Myers of She Works HIS Way puts it,
We can do some of the hardest things in a spirit of rest when we are allowing God to be the power source rather than trying to do it on our own.
So when you feel weak and helpless, remember the words of Paul,
But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9–10)
Dear Mom go to Him. Seek Him and pray. Fear often comes when we feel helpless, but you are not alone. Help is available to you; The Helper is available to you.
There are a few foundational truths about love you need to understand as a homeschooling mom.
- You are loved by God.
- He loves your children.
- And He loves through you.
I hope you will begin by taking care of your own heart, by digging into the Word and praying, by growing in your faith. And as you do that, to cultivate your relationship with you children as you teach them—their hearts, minds, and souls. That’s the message I want you see in this blog.
Because ultimately, it is all about love. Loving your Heavenly Father and your children because He first loved you. God has given you a spirit of love. Let it guide you in your day-to-day, moment-by-moment, in the trenches homeschooling. Not anger or frustration, not fear, but love.
The Greek word means “an admonishing or calling to soundness of mind, to moderation and self-control.” Some versions translate it as discipline.
Remember when Paul told Timothy to let no one despise his youth? He continued to admonish him to “set the believers an example.” Paul also told the church at Philippi to “… join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” (Philippians 3:17)
Our children learn by watching us.
Are you struggling?
That can seem pretty scary if you are struggling. Maybe your home—their learning environment—is a mess. Perhaps you struggle with getting out of bed at a reasonable time. And maybe you have a hard time being intentional about getting school done (in whatever form you have chosen) because it is easy to put it off.
If this is true for you, it is time to get on your knees before Him and do some real self-evaluation:
- Are these issues a sin problem in my life?
- Am I feeling overwhelmed or stressed?
- Is there a medical reason, such as a chronic illness that keeps me from doing these things? Or are am I suffering from depression?
- Am I simply in a season of life that is hard?
If there is a problem—whether medical or mental— please seek help. These aren’t problems with discipline or self-control. Whether you go to a medical doctor, nutritionist, a holistic doctor, a pastor or professional counselor—know that God has provided these people for you. Do not be ashamed to ask for help!
And know too, there are simply difficult seasons of life when our circumstances are harder than others. Please be gracious with yourself. Because I know your Abba Father is.
When you understand the root cause, though, you will be able to face the problem with Him.
If it is a sin issue:
1. Confess your sin. Repentance means “to change one’s mind.” It is to think His thoughts, to see something the way He does. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be in His Word and in prayer. You will see me say this over and over because it is that important.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
2. Change your mindset. In her book, Discipline: The Glad Surrender, Elisabeth Elliot says
Discipline is the wholehearted yes to the call of God. When I know myself called, summoned, addressed, taken possession of, known, acted upon, I have heard the Master. I put myself gladly, fully, and forever at His disposal, and to whatever He says my answer is yes.
When we think of it this way—as a wholehearted yes to the call of God—it changes how we view our calling to homeschool our children. It becomes an act of worship. To bring Him glory.
3. Come up with a plan to make practical changes. Do you need to ask a friend to help you figure out how to be more organized? Are there issues you need to talk to someone about, either a mentor or a pastor who could help you? Do you need to find an accountability partner to help cheer you on, but also to ask the hard questions?
If you are overwhelmed or stressed:
Take time to evaluate why. Have you placed unrealistic expectations on yourself? Have you said yes to too many things? Are you neglecting your health?
After you take time to evaluate, then make a plan. Ask your husband or a good friend to help you figure it out. Because I know that even though there may be difficult seasons, God does not desire a life-style of stress for you. He is a God of peace. You may need to change how you are homeschooling, or cut back on the things you are doing, even the good things, so you can focus on the best.
And know it is possible to live busy lives with a restful heart. But we have to be busy with the right things.
In all of these things:
Give yourself some grace, Dear Mom. You are not perfect and God doesn’t expect you to be. What He does ask of you is to come to Him.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28–30)
He has given you a spirit of self-control. You can live in that truth.
You Are Not Alone
This past month I took a course on productivity. Y’all it doesn’t come naturally to me. When the instructor asked us to figure out our pain points I spent some time evaluating myself. And I wrote this in response to her question:
I’ve been thinking a lot about my pain points, but I think it comes down to this: I have an issue with discipline and it is sin. I’m working through Discipline: The Glad Surrender with the study guide from swHw and I can’t get past this quote, ‘Discipline is the wholehearted yes to the call of God…’ My lack of discipline is simply disobedience. I find myself being disobedient because I’m distracted and honestly, lazy, at times. I can give you excuses. I can point to the things I have done or accomplished, but my productivity could be so much more.
I wanted to share that with you because we all need to know, as sisters in Christ, we are in this together. We all struggle in different areas. We all sin. And I’m certainly not perfect! So I hope whenever you read anything I’ve written, that you know I love you all and want to encourage you—from one messy woman to another.
Am I doing enough?
Dear Mom, when it comes to doing enough, this is what I know…
- There is no such thing as a “gapless” education. Nobody can know everything. But we can teach them how to find answers.
- Your children are unique and there is no one-size-fits-all type of education. And you know them better than anyone else. More importantly you have access to the One who created them.
- God chose you to be the mother and teacher of your children. He didn’t make a mistake. He knew exactly what they needed—and who they needed.
- He equips you to do that which He has called you to do. And all you are asked is to do is be faithful, not to be responsible for the results.
God gave you a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control. Choose to live in this truth. You have all you need to homeschool your kids. Let God guide you in this journey, and yes, it will be enough.
Because He is enough.
As homeschooling moms, we need to take care of our hearts first if we want to take care of our children’s hearts, minds, and souls. I want to give you a chance to meditate on the truth of who you are in Christ. Get your FREE 25 page devotional study and journal: Who I Am in Christ: A Scripture Writing and Prayer Journal.
Take care of your heart!
Subscribe to get Who I Am in Christ: Scripture Writing and Prayer Journal for free!
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.
STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST
Subscribe and receive 33 Mealtime Conversation Starters for free!