Most homeschool moms wouldn't quickly admit to being broken. We all like to reflect on our achievements in public and our defects in private. Modern culture is at odds with us in more ways than one. For a homeschool mother, keeping up with the Jones' mentality will always have you second guessing your curriculum choices and wondering if you are doing enough. It will make you compare yourself to other homeschoolers who "seem to have it all together". The Nike "Just Do It" mentality will make you buy stuff you won't use, force the kids to use every page in the workbook, and push yourself to do school all summer without a break. You are no quitter, right?! Take any modern catch phrase and you can turn it in to a disaster if applied to homeschooling. You don't even need to add water.
Already the homeschool mom is saddled with the work of three women or more. She must cook. She must clean. She must educate. Anything else and you have a saint in the making. The easy thing for a homeschool mom to do is to think that it isn't OK to be less than perfect. We cook and grumble at ourselves when the day comes that we give in to the children's whines for McDonald's. We clean and feel less than productive when the laundry pile multiplies and the clean clothes are unfolded on the bed. We educate and yet feel like a failure when the math books aren't finished in June. We feel behind and useless when the day was spent talking to one of the kids about their behavior issues rather than on science projects, Latin and watercoloring. Our standards of what we MUST be and do are unrealistic and much more flawed than we are.
My goal has always been to have a clean house, cook gourmet meals, take care of the children well, teach them to be Christian leaders and worldview thinkers, watch them excel in their academics each year, have a rich and deeply loving marriage, get out of debt and be happy and thankful for what the Lord has blessed me with. None of those things are bad goals. However reaching all of them in some sort of Utopian state without challenge or trail is unrealistic when we know the modern world is bent on chaos and all things are moving away from an orderly state. Life is messy; but we somehow forget that when we see the cover of Better Homes and Gardens.
Here's a news flash (one I often have to remind myself of when I start feeling like a flop):
Your house will get dirty.
You won't always want to cook.
Your kids won't always behave - no matter how well you train them.
Sometimes they will surprise you by sinning (just like you did).
One of them might fail for a time in a school subject.
You will go through ups and downs in your relationships.
Getting out of debt doesn't happen over night.
Even the best Christian people complain about their trivial problems.
That's why you should realize that your goals are something to MOVE TOWARDS. They aren't a magic place that you arrive at without much striving and tribulation. It is OK to be broken and recognize that you need the Lord's help. Taking a positive step towards each of your individual goals each day and recognizing that you aren't ever going to be perfect is all you can ask of yourself. We shouldn't compare ourselves, either. Looking at yourself realistically and being able to appreciate that YOU have made progress in some area is vital to continuing on with a positive attitude. Jesus calls us to accept our weakness and pray for His strength. Being broken is one of the best gifts God could have given us... because it offers us the chance to be used by Him - to show His power in our less-than-perfect lives.
I love what Bob Hudson, author of "Humble Yourself" (a contemporary Christian hymn), says about being broken....
The image of God is broken in us and it is by God's presence in our lives that He restores to us the image of Christ within. How does this take place? As Bob oftentimes says, "If God deemed it necessary to come to us through Christ, broken on the cross, how is it possible that we should come to Him in any other way?" We must come to God in our brokenness just as he comes to us through Christ. So many of our struggles in life have to do with our resistance to living in the reality of our need before God and others. As we choose to identify how we have turned our hearts away from God's provision, we are then able to come to Him and truly discover His abundant grace.
So let us come to Him with the reality of our need and expect that He will do a miracle in our lives and our hearts. I think all of us need "His abundant grace". My prayer is that we will stop being so critical of ourselves (and each other) and start reaching for His strength.
Thank you, Jesus, that I am broken.
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