A hard lump of clay is not easily pliable. A potter wants to work with clay that has the right consistency and can be shaped to his liking without using a hammer and chisel. Clay has no authority. On its own it can only sit on the potter's wheel and dry out. The craftsman shapes and designs and the clay yields. That's it. When all is said and done, the vessel will reflect the image that the designer intended. It will be valuable and serve a specific purpose.

Perhaps some of the most "quarrelsome" lumps of clay are not our children, but you and me. How many times have we cried out to God with anger on our lips and resentment in our hearts, "What are you doing, Lord? Why can't they understand this? Where am I going wrong? Why is this happening again?" . . . as if He were accountable to us!  Sometimes it's not about them, it's all about us.

Remember that you and I are lumps of clay in the same Master's hand and spinning on the same potter's wheel. He has called us to homeschool our children, not just for their good, but for our good as well. This is His way of shaping you and me into the kind of parents that exude an abundance of grace and mercy and holiness. Through homeschooling, we parents are becoming disciplined in character. We are growing in our understanding. We are being groomed for eternal rewards. The Lord is changing us as much as He is changing them.

The Extreme Makeover

"And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it." (Jeremiah 18:4)

How have our lives changed since we started homeschooling? Are you the same person you used to be? I, for one, am not. I was a vessel "spoiled in the hand of the potter" and the Master had to remake me over (and over, and over . . .) again.

Homeschooling has been an "extreme makeover" for me. I've had fears to conquer, old habits to overcome, new ones to develop, wisdom to gain, and patience to learn. Many times I've cried out, "God, let me get off of this crazy wheel and let me stand on my own two feet. I'm finished. HEL-LOOO . . . Have you forgotten about me? I don't think you know what you're doing! I don't deserve this!"

The Master has never missed a beat. He'd just splash a little more cold water on me and pinch a little harder until I finally gave in to His will. I needed to be "remade" and this is how He has chosen to do it. He called me to be a homeschooling parent so that I would learn important lessons of love, dedication, patience, and all those wonderful "fruitful" things the Holy Spirit longs to teach those He inhabits.

My Master Designer has performed some wonderful, but radical, "extreme makeovers" on me. Oh how I love His patience, mercy, and tenderness! As with my children, He is changing me from "clay with an attitude" into a "vessel of honor." May you be blessed to see Him do the same thing in your homeschool life. You'll be amazed when you see what His grace can create out of "dirt."

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Timothy Palla is the pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in the Lucasville/Minford area of southern Ohio. He and his lovely wife, Jennifer have five children; Drew, Dane, Aidan, Ethan, and Meghan. You may contact him at tpalla@rocketmail.com

This article was originally published in the Sep/Oct '05 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. For more details, visit http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com To request a free sample copy, visit http://homeschoolenrichment.com/magazine/request-sample-issue.html