While I was “training up” my children, I was also being trained. I just didn’t realize it at the time. While homeschooling our two children, I would occasionally look to the future and wonder what would become of me when they graduated. After being out of the workforce for over twenty years, what would I do? What becomes of retired homeschool moms?
A few years ago that day arrived. The kids had become young adults and my homeschooling years came to an end. I became a retired homeschool mom. That had been my identity for fourteen years. Who was I now? What was I good for?
God had called me to homeschool and, feeling like I had made a commitment directly to Him, I stuck with it until both kids graduated. After taking a little time to adjust, I asked Him what was next. He pointed me towards the substance abuse treatment center that our church was ministering to.
My first thoughts reminded me of Moses’ apprehension. I didn’t have any experience with that. What did I have to offer? What did He want me to do there?
Despite my skepticism, I felt like He was sending me there, so I went.
It was definitely way out of my comfort zone. For the first several months, I was so nervous that I sweated profusely and I had to be careful about what I wore. Satan discouraged me through nightmares and negative self-talk, but I kept going anyway.
I’ve been volunteering there for over a year and a half already, and during that time I’ve met women from a wide variety of backgrounds and learned more about their problems and needs. When I think back over all the years I spent homeschooling, I’m beginning to see how maybe I was being homeschooled, too – being prepared for other purposes that God had planned for me.
Patience and Persistence
Homeschooling developed my patience. While teaching my children I saw how problems often resolved themselves with a little time and maturity. Giving up or losing my temper wouldn’t have helped. They weren’t rebelling and it wasn’t something they could control. Sometimes we’d put a challenge aside for awhile and came back to it later. Other times we kept at it until they finally got it. Either way, together we finally succeeded due to patience and persistence.
I feel like I’ve developed an eternal perspective. When we decided to homeschool, we wanted everything to be from a Christian perspective, so our curriculum was Christian and the Bible was an integral part of our school days. By using it to teach our kids, I learned more, too. We memorized passages, many of which are still hidden in my heart. When we studied history through a Christian lens, I began to see a much bigger picture of how God worked through historical events to accomplish His purposes. Now, when things don’t seem to go right, I examine them to see if maybe God is redirecting, or protecting, me. Whether in person or through my blog, I hope to help others see Him at work in their life and how He can “work all things for good.”
When I’ve taken spiritual gift assessments, prayer and encouragement are my top two. I pray for and with these women often. Even though I’m not eloquent, I hope to model approaching our Heavenly Father and show that He’s really there and accessible. I’ve also seen God answer my prayers and His hand at work in guiding our family over the years. Those experiences have strengthened my faith.
The ladies need a lot of encouragement. Just like I’ve been (and still am) my children’s cheerleader, now I try to do the same for them. Reassuring them to keep going, try again, and that with God’s help they can overcome.
Some of the women didn’t have a mother, or didn’t have an example of a good mother. Not only do I want to encourage them, but I hope to model some maternal attributes that they can use with their own children.
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
I’m learning to see them the way I think our Heavenly Father sees them – as souls worth saving. I don’t have to agree with their personal choices and beliefs to share the Good News with them. Because of bad choices, many of them have lost their family and friends. They need for someone to give them a chance. They need for someone to reassure them that God still loves them and is waiting like the Prodigal Father to forgive them as soon as they turn back towards Him.
To Train Up a Mom
I can do those things. I can listen. I can encourage. I can pray. I can tell them God loves them.
I thought I needed personal experience with the addictions that they’re battling in order to help, but that wasn’t so. The basic things that I have to offer are things that everyone needs.
God is still teaching me. He has nudged me out of my comfort zone to further develop my own spiritual gifts, and He continues to put new opportunities to serve and grow in front of me.
A Plan and a Purpose
So the moral of this story, Homeschool Mom, is that God is at work in you, too. He’s working through you now to train up your children, and at the same time, He’s preparing you for what will come next. When you’ve finished your current assignment you’ll be trained up for other special purposes.
This post was particularly hard for me to write. I hope that it encourages you in your walk with God.
One of my other “ministries” is helping new homeschoolers get started. I wrote 9 Easy Steps to Homeschooling especially for them!