Friday, September 2, 2011

Homeschooling through the Trials of Life

By Judith
January 12th, 2005

When going through life, hymns speak to our spirit bringing the theology of His Word into the situation we are experiencing.  Early this morning, my youngest daughter was playing the piano. Although you can’t hear the music to this hymn, here are the words:

The Haven of Rest

My soul in sad exile was out on life‘s sea,
So burdened with sin and distress,
Till I heard a sweet voice saying,
“Make me your choice;” And I entered the “Haven of Rest!”

I’ve anchored my soul in the “Haven of Rest,”
I’ll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep o’er the wild, stormy deep,
In Jesus I’m safe evermore.

I yielded myself to His tender embrace,
And faith taking hold of the Word,
My fetters fell off,
 And I anchored my soul;
The “Haven of Rest” is my Lord.

The song of my soul, since the Lord made me whole,
Has been the old story so blest,
Of Jesus, who’ll save whosoever will have
A home in the “Haven of Rest!”

How precious the thought that we all may recline,
Like John the beloved and blest,
On Jesus’ strong arm, where no tempest can harm,
Secure in the “Haven of Rest!”

                           Oh, come to the Savior, He patiently waits          
To save by His power divine;
Come, anchor your soul in the “Haven of Rest,”
And say, “My Beloved is mine.”

If your family is like ours, there are times when your homeschool lifestyle will manifest blessings of either good fruit or where growth needs to occur. It is in times like these that it is so easy to feel discouraged and give up. Shaping our families into a Godly Christian family when there are few examples to follow in our generation is a difficult task.

Have you ever had trials in training your children? Maybe it is in finding the right things that will work with your newborn baby. When one of my children was two months old she had congenital hip displasia and was in a body harness. During those same weeks, my husband needed to have lithotripsy (shattering stones through sound waves) for kidney stones. Then, there were the (many) times that the children didn’t obey and life momentarily seemed to be chaotic and perhaps as a result life became noisy. There was another time when I had a serious case of hives for a month (as we continued to homeschool).

Over the years, we have had water problems in our basement…sometimes literally flooding, other times being able to catch the problem. We thought we had solved the problem when we built an attached garage onto our house, but as time went on a few cracks appeared in the foundation. Children learn an incredible amount through how we deal with each situation we encounter.

I know that each person reading this article has his or her own life situations.  How do each of us ‘keep on keeping on’ homeschooling through the trials of life?

Children can learn so much through our example. How we react to what life brings along is more often how they will choose to live when they are grown. As the saying goes, “more is caught than taught”. This idiom so aptly applies to these years we are spending in home training our children for His kingdom.

Problems that we face can be like a tumultuous sea that emotionally tosses us to and fro. Lack of enough sleep, a child up during the night, sickness in our children, spouse, or ourselves can give occasion for us to let down our guard and become more emotional as we face life head-on.  These issues affect our soul and like the song can cause sadness (or depression) within, making us like an exile on the sea where we are tossed by the waves.  

*There is an analogy about a man who had fallen into a deep, dark chasm, and was hanging onto his life by a single rope.  At any moment -if he let go- he’d fall to a terrible, smattering death hundreds of feet below.  The minutes seem like hours as he literally “hung on for dear life.”  Finally, he couldn’t hold on any longer.  In desperation, he closed his eyes tightly, and let go.  To his surprise, the bottom of the chasm was only inches beneath his feet.  …all that anguish and struggling for nothing.  The analogy is this: Stop hanging on trying in your own might.  Let go, and let our Lord do the rest!      

Most of my difficulties arise (not with the situation itself) but because instead of relying of Jesus, I have relied on my own strength. It just doesn’t work!! When I let go of the rope of self –reliance, Jesus is there, like the bottom of the pit, providing a foothold. He is the sweet voice offering us a choice to enter His “Haven of Rest!”

Often, we are so caught up in our efforts to home educate our children that the day ends before we had the time to encourage another mom or neighbor.  This past week was one of those for me!! 

Preparing our children to be adults is a formidable task that in our family often means teaching them to honor as well as obey.  Since my husband and I would like their obedience to be from their heart, this means we must vigilantly watch their facial expressions and body language, not to mention, our own relationship as husband and wife (ouch!!)

The more years roll by, I am more convinced of the true reason why God would have led us to home train our children. It wasn’t entirely so that they would be academically prepared for life (although that is important) nor that they would be Spiritually mature adults ready to be arrows for the Kingdom’s use. Mostly, it is so that “I” can be broken and molded into the woman that God would have me be. Every time I think I’m far enough along the way, I find God nudging me again and pointing out some new area that I need to grow in. It hurts.

The song talks about Jesus being our anchor, our “Haven of Rest!” Do we rest in Him? We aren’t to sail the wide seas anymore, yet, the tempest still may sweep over the wild, stormy deep.  In Jesus, we are safe forever. I know this is the key; I have experienced it throughout situations that seem to loom over me. The feeling that we have no way of escape, that hopeless feeling we can in faith, yield to Him who holds us safe.

I find comfort in God’s Word when I am going through tough waters. Lately, I have been reading the Proverb for the day (today is 01/12/05 so I read Proverb 12) and from Psalms (Ps. 1,31,61,91, and 121 on the 1st of the month). I am finding this to be comforting as well as keeping me in God’s Word. I’m not a theologian but I think that much of what is in the Bible is repeated in the themes of the Psalms.

How can we cope when the trials of life bring us to the bottom of the pit? How can we continue to home educate our children? We will sink within the stormy wave like John…and if you know me, sink right UNDER the wave!! Too many times I have come up spluttering for air, dripping wet!! Usually, the smallest of situations can bring me down the lowest. How about YOU?

Jesus is always there to hold us secure in His mighty arms. Nothing is too big for Him. Nothing. This might sound trite if your waters are deeper than mine. 

Do you know other sisters well enough to listen and hear about their load? I know some who struggle with personal health issues as they journey through the mid-to-late homeschooling years. Then there are those who have an aging parent living with them whom they care for. This has its own trials which bring those emotional issues I shared earlier. How about the mom who is allowing God to plan her family size? I know several who have had their fifth, sixth, or one who had her twelfth baby during the past year.  These women continue with the training and learning of their older children, sometimes not even having children old enough to be a great deal of help (I know several with 9 -11 boys!!). Just simple tasks can be daunting…such as folding laundry or meal preparation…let alone reading the children’s writings.

Are you leaning on Jesus through whatever your circumstances may be? Simply encouraging your dear husband in leadership through life’s trials can bring a huge lift to the family spiritually.  I have trouble doing this: but it is important to be cheerful, optimistic, and full of praise for all that the LORD has done for your family and is doing through them. Praying daily for all the members of your family (and maybe a few sisters too) will bring the power of the LORD into each trial faced. 

Through each day, having the mind of Christ, changes the turmoil that rages around us either in the world or in our homes and lives into a totally different perspective. Instead of finding ourselves in a pit, hopelessly loosing our grip on the rope, we can find our “Haven of Rest” in Him who surrounds us with His loving arms.

The problem may still exist in your life, there is no grantee that will change. What will change is where you put your trust. Your faith when placed in Jesus will absolutely turn things around. Taking the time to read and meditate in your Bible and pray each morning, taking the time to turn everything over to the LORD makes all the difference. Peace will surround you. He will live through you in patience, as you ‘fret not’ (Psalm 37) for your situation. He will lift you up out of the stormy waters and hold you fast in His “Haven of Rest” through the trials of this lifestyle of homeschooling.

And let us NOT be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. Galatians 6:9

*Tilaundia Buckingham Hale’s contribution (Alaska ☺)

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If you have gone a little way ahead, O friend, call back --
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