The Master Chef
- Monday, November 05, 2007
One day my seven-year-old daughter decided that she wanted to make cookies "all by herself." I said that would be fine, but that she could ask me for help whenever she needed it. She needed help reading the recipe. She needed help knowing where the ingredients and supplies were, how to use the mixer, and how to measure correctly. Each time I answered her questions, I offered to help again, but she kept refusing. "I want to do it myself," she kept repeating. Each time I graciously stepped out of the kitchen I thought to myself, "I can make cookies faster, easier, and better."
I realized that day that I have done the very same thing to God. Our children are the cookie batters. God is our Master Chef. He knows what kind of people He wants to make. He has all the ingredients and supplies. He knows how to do it faster, easier, and better. But I am like a seven-year-old who thinks I have to educate them "all by myself."
I know that God called me to teach my children at home. However, for many years I felt burdened by the responsibility. I felt disheartened by the repetition of homeschooling. I became worried for my children's futures. I felt that I needed the right curriculum and the right teaching methods. I had to provide my children with the motivation to learn. I had to provide proper discipline, character training, and goals for my children. I knew that God wanted me to do this, and I thought I had to do it "all by myself."
Almost daily I would run to my room and fall on my knees and beg God to take the burden of homeschooling away. Through tears I tried to convince Him that He had picked the wrong woman for the job. Each time God would give me the strength to continue one more day.
After three years of crying, changing curriculum, reading every book on homeschooling I could find, and trying every new idea I could think of, I came to a breaking point.
Then I finally prayed the prayer God had been waiting to hear. I said, "Lord, what you have given me to do is beyond my human ability. I do not have the energy, the knowledge, the resources, the patience, or the will to do this on my own. But, You, Lord, are the one who has called me, and You are faithful. From now on, I give You my children's schooling, their character training, and their futures. You have to do it, Lord, because I cannot."
I remember every word of that prayer because it was a turning point in my life and in my home. I stopped focusing on my deficiencies and onto His sufficiency (II Corinthians 3:5). I stopped focusing on my lack of knowledge and focused on His perfect knowledge. I stopped using my recipe of success, and started using His recipe (His word). I began to submit my will His will.
I stopped "homeschooling" my children and began giving them loving guidance. Now we try to focus on what God is doing and what He is trying to teach us. God has become our private tutor putting opportunities to learn and grow before us. He has become our way maker, providing us with people and resources that I knew nothing about. He provides motivation to learn. He has replaced my burden and sorrows with strength, joy, peace, and total healing.
God is also teaching me to honor and appreciate the unique souls He has placed in my care. He has given each of my children different abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Each of my children has been called to different walks, and therefore has different goals.
God is teaching me that my first job description is to teach my children to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then they can claim the promise of I Corinthians 2:9, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him."
I am not called to home educate "all by myself" and hope the cookies turn out. I don't want to limit God's influence on my children's lives by clutching them or only calling Him when I have made a mess of the kitchen. Just like Hannah, I want to give my children and their futures to God. He is our Master Chef.
Lori M. Henry is married to a very supportive husband and is mom to three terrific teenagers. She has homeschooled her children since kindergarten and graduated her eldest in May 2004. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education and has taught in many settings from public and private school classrooms, to homeschool co-ops, to one-on-one instruction at home. Her articles can be found in Christian Woman, The Gospel Advocate and Guideposts for Kids on the Web. You can reach Lori at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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