NOTE: This is Part 10 of a 10 day series on Accidental Unschooling. If you are OCD and want to start from the introduction or Part 1, hop to the bottom of this post and use the conveniently provided links!
Fall seven times, stand up eight. ~Japanese Proverb
ON (FINALLY) FINISHING
I started this series over a year ago and for some reason, God saw to it to stop me when I was almost at the finish line. Here’s where I left all of my readers hanging:
“Next up we’re going to talk about putting the HEART over the MIND. I thought it would be a great way to end the series – on the most important topic of all!”
What I didn’t know, was that God had an object lesson or two that he wanted me to learn before I could teach anyone exactly how important this topic was.
Unfortunately, sometimes training hurts really bad. Workouts often have the temporary effect of pain and discomfort… but if we push through, the end result is usually just what we hope and dream for: a race won – a body sculpted (and in our case – to look like Christ).
GOD’S OBJECT LESSONS
A spiritual struggle which began rearing its ugly head in my family in late 2011 culminated in heartbreak in the beginning of this school year (September 2012). It came out of no-where and was almost so overwhelming that it terrified me. If you think a spiritual crisis can’t ever happen to a sweet, bread-baking, Jesus-loving, homeschooling mama or her progeny – think again. Aside from the bread-baking (and sometimes the sweet), I was there, baby. And apparently, so was the devil – right on my family’s collective shoulder.
During my family’s struggle, there were many OTHER homeschool mothers I knew well – online and in person – who were also in harm’s way. Each of us in our own very different war with evil; none of them seeming to be related in any way. Yet deep down, I could feel it in my soul that there was a very REAL attack going on… to discourage me and these other women.
I could feel it in my marrow.
I knew there was a whole lot of praying that needed to be happening… so I reached out.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ~Henry Stanley Haskins
RALLY YOUR FORCES
It was humiliating to reach out in the middle of a struggle. No one likes to be the object of gossip or the focus of someone’s pity. Fear is a tactic the devil relies on heavily when he gets someone down. When he has you in that choke-hold you NEVER dreamed you would be in, the last thing you want to do is admit it to another Christian who MIGHT point a finger, right?
Reaching out is getting off the ground and back in to the ring to fight.
For where two or more gather in my name, there I am with them. ~Matthew 18:20
Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. ~Galatians 6:2
Without the help and counsel of others who have been there, I don’t know what I would have done. It wasn’t easy to be open and vulnerable, but God can’t work with a heart that isn’t willing to admit its need. When you are laid bare before Him and you are desperate enough to want His healing for yourself or your child MORE than you want to look like a homeschool super-hero… THAT’s when the miracles can happen.
REMEMBER YOUR MISSION
The whole point of HOMESCHOOLING for a Christian family is to raise up, nurture and educate a future generation for the LORD. Let me remind you that if your whole priority is inexorably linked to academia – to getting your kids in to an ivy league college – to making them brilliant scholars… then you have FAILED in your mission as a follower of Christ. It is not wrong to desire them to be smart (academically)… and ivy league schools themselves are not necessarily a bad goal… but if you don’t put their CHARACTER before EVERYTHING else, you might just get what you are asking for.
It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. ~Edmund Hillary
MIND OVER MOST IMPORTANT
Just imagine all those really sharp ivy league politicians and scientists out there. Picture one who is particularly arrogant and loathsome.
I have my example clearly in mind now, do you?
Now imagine YOUR KID being their starstruck pupil in a college class… and imagine that your kid turns out JUST LIKE THEM as an adult.
Would they be ivy league educated? Yep.
No matter. A smart jerk who hates God is still going be a wasted life in the end.
I don’t know about you, but I would rather have my kids flipping burgers at McDonald’s, barely making paychecks rub ends each month – than turn out like the guy I just imagined.
When you get to your wits end, you will find, God lives there. ~ Author Unknown
FIRST THINGS FIRST
And so how do you put HEART before MIND and still shape the mind?
That’s the easy part – and the hard part – all at once. It means not neglecting Bible study and devotional and service projects for other subjects. It means starting your day off with God. It means being the example you want your kids to grow up to be like (ouch!) – and keeping the focus of your lives revolving around God’s purposes for each of you.
It means interlacing the Lord with every subject – which we found really easy to do using KONOS in elementary (unit studies), because the curriculum was written to include God in every topic. It means finding yourself talking about Him “when you rise and when you lie down” with your kids – naturally in every-day conversation. It means real relationship and not just head knowledge or rote recitation of a formula or creed.
This is where it gets difficult; and I’m going to step on some toes here. YOU MUST put your child’s behavior issues on your front burner. You must be diligent to deal with whatever “teachable moments” God provides as they come.
And trust me, they will come at the most inopportune moments. They will put you out. They will TIRE YOU.
If you have little ones coming up behind teenagers, they will nearly make you GIVE UP (ask me how I know this).
But you can’t give up, mama. You have to remember your purpose. Jesus never said it was going to be easy. He said He would be there to help you – and He would be there to bring you home. And he said to KEEP RUNNING THE RACE so you can win it.
That’s an order, soldier. Get back in there and FIGHT.
I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders. ~Jewish Proverb
The race isn’t to raise the smartest adult with the best job and the most money. The race is to raise the adult who is SOLD OUT for Jesus, who knows how to use his/her God-given talents to bless their savior, honor their family, and CHANGE THE WORLD for Christ. [P.S. You can change the world for Christ even if you flip burgers, mom.]
Watch God wow you as you let go of your fear that you “can’t do this” – that you “have to keep up with the Jones’ next door who’s son Timmy knows 3 languages and just got accepted to Harvard”.
Newsflash: Peter was a fisherman… and on that imperfect ROCK, God built an entire religion – and changed the world.
Let GO and let GOD do this thing. TRUST and get out of the way. All you have to do is be willing to see it through. Keep your hearts steadfast and your discipline consistent, even when the storms are rough and you are tired and afraid. You will be victorious in the end. You’ll reach the other shore because He said that’s where you were going in the first place.
Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. ~Matthew 21:21
Look yourself in the mirror tonight and say, “I WILL DO THIS FOR THE LORD. HERE I AM, LORD – SEND ME.”
Trust that He’s going to move your mountain.
If you are feeling defeated, you aren’t alone. You’d be surprised how many other homeschool moms who may appear to have things in control are actually veterans of war.
If you you are NEAR giving up because of a spiritual struggle in your home… PLEASE go read this article, written especially for you, by Christine Miller. She and I prayed diligently together about her telling their family’s story. The unthinkable happened to her children despite her desire to raise them and homeschool them for the Lord all along. She’s one of my mentors (you gotta get yourself a mentor if you don’t have one already). She’s who I ran to for prayer (among other amazing women) during my own difficult battle.
I would also highly suggest reading through Rachael Carman’s books because she has so much to say about finding victory through perseverance after her own struggles with a strong-willed child… or two. Pretty much any homeschool mother with a graduated child would be a good ear to tug on if you find yourself in a foxhole without ammunition.
Seek out some veteran homeschool mothers who have BEEN THERE and have come out on the other side with flying colors. There are so many I could list!
Do you have some suggestions? Do you know of encouraging books that might help another mom in the trench or the trial of their life?
PLEASE share them here.
I can say this from the bottom of my heart: I know what it is like to almost give up because you don’t know how to hang on. These mamas need all the help (and prayers) they can get. Please take a moment and pray for them – I am.
– – – – – –
Thanks so much for reading through my series. I wrote it every bit as much to encourage myself as I did to encourage you.
If you’re going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill
Below are links to the rest of the series so it’s easier to navigate for those that surf in after the fact. There is also a handy button on my sidebar to bring you back to this series later, should you want to read at leisure.
Introduction to this series
Day 1: Not So Super
Day 2: Morphing Methods
Day 3: Out of the Box
Day 4: Learning From Life
Day 5: Grace is for Homeschoolers
Day 6: Taste and See
Day 7: Grease and Sugar
Day 8: Carschooling and Fieldtripping
Day 9: Reading to Succeed
Day 10: Heart Over Mind
Now that the series has finally ended, please make sure and leave a comment. As I promised, I’ll be giving away a prize to a random winner in my comments section on these posts. Each comment counts as one entry. I love comments! Even if I don’t have time to answer every comment or email, I cherish them and enjoy getting to know my fellow homeschooling moms. I’m going to go back and count up all the comments from each post and pick a random number… then have my TEENS go back through and figure out which one of you was that number. If both of them do it, they can check themselves for accuracy. Sounds like a hands-on math project to me!
This post was part of the 10 Days of… Series at iHomeschoolNetwork. Check out the other amazing homeschool bloggers who participated in the writing challenge by visiting the landing page there.
Thanks again for joining me!