Joyful Mothering, Joyful Home Schooling
- Friday, February 01, 2002
Sometimes youre going along in life doing your PLAN A and God comes along and says, Now I want you to do plan B. Weve all had those experiences. Maybe for you it was coming home from the workforce, or going from one child to two, or from seven to eight!
Plan A for my life was to practice law and later become a judge. Many of my colleagues are now on the bench and I was headed down a similar path. I thought I really wanted the career and the money and the prestige, and God pointed me in another direction - HOME. I was stubborn and fought it, but by His grace He led me kicking and screaming into HIS Plan B, and now I can say that Im a joyful mother of children - most of the time.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 113:9: He settles the barren woman in her home as a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!" That verse is the story of our family life. We were an infertile career couple. After some heroic measures to get pregnant, we did indeed conceive, then miscarried. Two weeks later we adopted our daughter Clare on very short notice. To prove the infertility experts wrong, Caitlin was born to us 17 months later. A few years after that, we adopted Gracie from Korea, and a few years after that we adopted Daniel, also from Korea.
My life before children was just fine. I loved practicing law. I was productive; I was helping people. I was a Christian - as best as I could be. But there were parts of my heart that I couldnt give over. It was a control thing. I believed my career demanded that I always be in control. So I wouldnt let God be in control. I was productive, but I was a barren woman - literally and spiritually. My life was fine - but my heart really hadnt found a home.
And then, He settled the barren woman in her home as a joyful mother of children." When I finally listened to His direction and put aside my stubbornness and followed where He was leading, He blessed me abundantly. He filled my spiritual barrenness while He filled my home with children.
Through all of this, I have come to understand that the work we do at home with our own children is more important than anything we do in the workplace. If God blesses us with children, He has also given us the responsibility of teaching and training them. And that takes time. I really like the idea of that quality time which we are supposed to be able to give our children at convenient intervals. I found the problem was that they need a lot of it. I believe the best way to accomplish this is to spend a focused season at home with children.
One of our favorite books is E. B. Whites CHARLOTTES WEB. A pig (Wilbur) is befriended by a spider. She saves him from the slaughterhouse by spinning messages into his web. At the end, she tells Wilbur that she will be busy now with her egg sack, which she refers to as her magnum opus - her best work.
During the time when our children are in our homes, the work we do with them at home IS our magnum opus - the most significant work we probably ever will do. Its an awesome, humbling thing to think that we are raising the next generation for the kingdom of God. We need to realize the importance of this and see our children for what they really are - our magnum opus - our greatest work. And our most humbling, awesome, joyous responsibility.
So lets say youve been a homes-schooling mom for a while and the daily-ness of it has gotten to you a bit. Maybe you need a shot in the arm to look at the whole endeavor more creatively and to give it the significance it deserves. What can you do?
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