Grace in the Time of Sorrow

In March, we shared with you our joy over another pregnancy and baby that was due early in November. Now we share with you our sorrow over the miscarriage we experienced this week. We have not had a miscarriage before, and each of us has had to turn to the Lord during this time of sorrow and grief. The first night we had signs of the baby’s loss Steve said, “It is pretty hard to put three little boys to bed who are all crying.” As these issues of life and death affect our family, I would like to share some thoughts that I see relate to our homeschooling.

First, the Lord has abundantly poured out His grace in my life. I think that some of my close friends have grieved our loss as much as, or more than, I have. Not that my heart hasn’t felt sorrow upon sorrow, but the Lord is comforting me through it. This reminds me that 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “. . . My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. . . .”

I imagine you have heard, or maybe even said yourself, “I could never homeschool. I am just not cut out for it!” I have had similar thoughts about a miscarriage, “I could never handle the grief of losing a baby.” When I was not facing a miscarriage myself, the Lord’s grace was not there for me. I did not need it. However, in my time of need, God’s grace was there, and it was sufficient. In the same way, when He calls us to homeschool, He is giving us the grace to do what He has called us to do, even in our weakness.

That first night when we were aware of the miscarriage beginning, it was very difficult to go to bed. I felt like I would cry all night long. As I settled down, though, my mind began to praise the Lord, just focusing on Him. In addition, I remembered another friend who had recently miscarried and was pregnant again, due soon after I would have been. I prayed for that other little baby in his mother’s womb. With my thoughts off my own sorrow, I actually fell asleep.

How like our daily homeschooling problems this should be. But is it? What is your reaction to an attitude difficulty with a child that is ongoing, or an educational hurdle that doesn’t appear to be surmountable? My reaction is often to murmur about it, to seek for an immediate solution, and to feel discouraged by it. I would be so much better off to take it to my Lord, leave it with Him, praise Him for Who He is, and focus my prayer on the need or another need altogether. My worry and my discouragement do nothing to change a situation. However, Jesus Christ can and will work on it. I wonder how often I am hindering Him by my own solutions or my anxiety over it.

Lastly, this time of grief has brought to remembrance again of the preciousness and value of each child the Lord has already given us. We watched Tim’s family walk through the final months of his battle with brain cancer. We saw Larry and Wendy love Tim through those difficult last weeks with a patience and gentleness that touched all of our hearts. They allowed us to love Tim, too, during those days. Wendy shared how special that year of homeschooling had been because of the extra time it had given her with Tim.

After a loss, it is too late to express all we would like to express to that loved one. I am grateful that I had prayed for this baby’s safety, that I had thanked and praised the Lord for giving him to us, and that I had prayed for each stage of his few weeks of development. In the same way, as we homeschool, we have the opportunity minute by minute and day by day to love, encourage, and praise our children. This is one of the greatest benefits of having them home with us all day. However, all too easily, we become caught up in, and focused on, the negatives of our children’s behavior. Sometimes we even have trouble finding anything to praise and encourage a child about. May this never be! May our heartfelt drive be as intense to thank, praise, reward, and encourage as it is to teach, instruct, train, discipline, and correct. May we make sure that when we do teach and correct, our attitudes are sweet and pleasant. We want to truly seek our child’s good, and not our own convenience!

I challenge each of us to keep our focus on our Lord and on what He has called us to do. Let’s not become so wrapped up in the educational pursuits of our homes that we forget the ministry the Lord has given each of us of loving and cherishing our family members. May we delight in the grace the Lord gives us for each mountain and valley He walks us through!