Confessions of a Homeschooling Mom

You’ve heard it said, “Confession is good for the soul”, and today reader, I want to confess to you for my own good, and perhaps for yours. It’s nothing sordid – like, teaching Darwinism is supported by the fossil record ;-) – no, nothing like that. But it is scandalous, none-the-less.

In Front of God and Everybody

I flirted and messed around…right in front of my children. It wasn’t with another man. It was worse. I flirted with a false god, an idol I embraced as the savior of my children. And its name was…

Homeschooling

You heard me right. When my children were little, I went into homeschooling believing that it would save my children from the evils of this world (as embodied in the “godless” public school system) and make them really awesome Christians. My idol, homeschooling, would safely shepherd my childrens’ spiritual lives and would save me from worries about bad influences and rebellious stages.

The Belief Behind the Belief

Now, if you had asked me if I really believed that, I would have denied it on the spot. I knew that no training or parenting technique could replace Christ’s finished work on the cross, or the Holy Spirit’s contemporary work to show my children their need of Christ. But deep in my heart, I secretly (and idolatrously) believed that homeschooling would somehow help the Holy Spirit along a little. Yeah, I know how that sounds.

Reality Check

Eventually, we did place our children in public school for their middle- and high-school years. And guess what? We soon saw rebellion, anxiety, depression, etc, etc. Was it the public school’s fault? Would it have been different if we homeschooled, or homecolleged (is there such a thing?) our kids all the way through adulthood?

Who Is to Blame?

No. Public schools weren’t to blame for these behavior issues; my kids’ own hearts were to blame. The Bible teaches that we are all born with broken, depraved hearts that drive us to seek our own will apart from God. Public school was just the avenue God chose to reveal this to my kids. Those years were difficult as they wrestled with God and their need for Christ in their hearts. But there in public school, they saw their own inner darkness, and their complete inability to save themselves from it.

Christ Alone

Me? I have this darkness in my own soul, too. While homeschooling can be a wonderful option for educating children, it can’t save them from their sin. I had secretly hoped it would and I needed to confess that hope to Christ as the idolatry that it was. Only He can save my children. Christ, plus nothing.

What do you secretly hope will save your children? Leave me a comment if you like.

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Being Angry With God

You know what amazes me? – that God loves me.

Darkness

As readers of Average Us know, I experience recurring cycles between what I call “feeling good” and depression. During the depression cycles, I feel all sorts of dark, awful things. I lose control of my normal thought processes. I feel pain inside and out. And the only thing that anchors me is the hope of future freedom because of what God did for me in Christ.

I want to tell you about one particular cycle. I had all the same pangs of depression, but this time there was also something else:

Anger

I was angry with God – not a loud, in your face kind of anger – but a tired, brooding anger that was so buried inside that I couldn’t even admit it to myself. But I knew it was there. The anger and tiredness led to despondency. I was to the point of not caring. My soul was so thirsty for Him, but He felt trillions of miles away and was very, very silent.

And Worship

One night during this time I awoke with a start. I was filled with fear and panic. On the edge of losing it, I cried out to God for help. Then, alongside the fear came worship. Worship songs started to fill my mind. I should have been thankful – but I wasn’t. I was still angry. Angry that I woke up (AGAIN) with panic. The next morning I awoke with my mind again filled with music…worship. This pattern of waking up to worship songs went on. It was beautiful. My tired soul welcomed it. But I was still angry. And because of that anger, I did not “see” God in this experience. He was still miles away. Trying to pray and read the Bible was a disaster because my troubled mind still could not concentrate. That made me even angrier. But, the music went on…every morning and now throughout the day.

And Love

Do you see it? Do you see the love? Despite my anger toward Him and despondency toward the life He has given me, He sang over me. He sang over me every day and I ignored Him. I weep. Not because I was angry, but because in my anger I missed seeing Him. The prophet Jonah wrote, “those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” I could have seen that love and rejoiced in it. But instead I clung to my idol, my anger.

And Tears

But I also weep to know of His amazing love for me. My anger did not stop Him from loving me. My anger did not change His grace. I just couldn’t or wouldn’t see it for a while. I’m amazed at such a love that forgives even as I am angry. Was my anger a sin? Probably. But His kindness moves me to repentance, and today, today I am basking in the love I don’t understand.


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HIS PAIN, my pain

Living with depression has deepened my love for Jesus.

There are times I have sat hugging my knees in my chair weeping from the intense pain of depression. (Those of you who have experienced depression know what I mean.) My soul cries out to Jesus, thinking He really doesn’t understand what I am going through.

Caravaggio's Crowning with Thorns, 1607

Caravaggio’s Crowning with Thorns, 1607

Then the Holy Spirit turns my mind to the Cross. I think of the excruciating physical pain of having a crown of thorns smashed on your head, and spikes driven through your feet and wrists. Then I remember His misery as He felt the deathly blows of God’s punishment for sin and the terror of abandonment by His Father.

Jesus volunteered for His pain, and not merely to be an example of sacrificial love, but to redeem me from my sin, my brokenness, my pain.

I am silenced and awed.

As my mind fills with the huge truth of it, my heart fills with humbled gratitude. Is the depression gone? No. But as I feel my pain, I realize His pain was much more than mine is, or ever will be. I see the truth that He truly is a God who can sympathize with me. Jesus understands pain. And because He understands pain, He understands me.

And I love Him the more for it.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows , and familiar with suffering… – Isaiah 53:3


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