Homeschooling moms can find themselves feeling discouraged by the constancy of their job in the midst of what they want to be the most joyful years of their lives. Here are a couple of moms with whom we might relate:
I am failing miserably and feel awful. I am irritable, cranky, and anxious. Please pray for me that I can get thru this, that God will give me strength, and that I will not be crabby to my children. A homeschooling mom
I am feeling overwhelmed and depressed. I have 3 kiddos. First of all, my 5 and 2 year olds constantly run and make noise, noise, noise. I am always tripping over train tracks, etc., because they drag all of it out into the living room. I have tried to carve out times where they play in their room or take quiet time, but they are constantly running out. I feel like I am interrupted so many times that I can’t keep a thought in my head, or get any time alone to sort out my thoughts. It is very discouraging to me. Another mom
“ . . . In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength . . .” (Isaiah 30:15). Here we read three words that can be very meaningful to a discouraged homeschooling mother: quietness, confidence, strength. We know that we want quietness of heart and confidence in the Lord; that will be our strength. However, sometimes it appears that the circumstances of noise, disorder, and pressure rob us of any quietness or confidence.
Quietness, confidence, and strength—it all comes back to our focus. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30). God’s Word tells me that Jesus’ yoke is easy, and His burden is light. That is truth. When I feel a heavy burden or difficult yoke, then something has happened that isn’t right. I can know for sure the problem lies with me and not with the Lord!
Perhaps the starting point for moving back to quietness, confidence, and strength is, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). For my heart to remain quiet, I can’t be anxious about anything. Therefore, Philippians 4:6-7 tells me that I am to lift up my concerns in prayer. Sometimes we may feel like we are doing this, but are we really? It could be that we think about our problems, we worry about our circumstances, and we try to figure out solutions. However, do we truly and simply pray about them? When we pray, they are no longer our problems, difficult circumstances, or solutions. They belong to the Lord. He can deal with them infinitely better than we can.
Paul knew what it was to have difficulties, ones beyond what most of us have experienced. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed . . . For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16-18).
While the tasks of a homeschooling mom may at times seem mundane, wearisome, and constant, our eyes must be focused not on the temporal but on the eternal. What we are doing in our homes with our children has value that goes far beyond feeding and caring for children. We are impacting their souls for eternity. The opportunity is given to us to mold the hearts of these children for Jesus Christ. The noise, discouragement, and fatigue that may accompany this high calling of mothering are nothing in comparison with the eternal benefits we can reap. Just like Paul, if we are troubled on every side, we are not to be distressed. When we are perplexed, we don’t want to be in despair. At times of feeling cast down, we know we aren’t destroyed. Paul’s secret in this was his total, wholehearted, complete commitment to the calling Jesus had given to him—his mission. That will be our secret at well—commitment to our mission as Christian mothers.
We are being renewed day by day, 2 Corinthians tells us. This doesn’t happen apart from where our thoughts are. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). As we are seeking those things which are above and setting our affections on them, our thoughts will automatically be on Jesus. If we think about ourselves, we set ourselves up for feelings of pity, selfishness, and hopelessness. However, when our minds move to Jesus Christ, then there is joy. “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:9-11).
If we are to let quietness and confidence be our strength, then we will choose to give our anxieties to the Lord Jesus in prayer. We will set our minds on what is eternal rather than what is temporal. May we be homeschooling moms who have a greater focus on the calling we have to impact our children for eternity than on our own difficulties or discomforts.