Yes, there are times when we need to bend a little, to allow ourselves to be inconvenienced to help a fellow Christian homeschooler, but we need to exercise wisdom, especially when it involves the needs of our family.

God does not intend for us to always fulfill the expectations of others, nor to continually rescue them from the consequences of their own poor planning.

Although my nature is to normally please and comply, I am slowly learning the importance of putting family first and others second.  I cannot overlook the needs of those immediately under my care, and the impact that my decisions will have on them.  If a situation will cause me further stress, the effects of which will pour out onto my loved ones, then it cannot be the Lord’s Will (Isaiah 26:3).

Life is full of choices, the result of God’s gift of free-will.  And every choice needs to be examined in light of,  “Will this decision pull me nearer to the Lord, or push me further away?  Will an answer of “yes” draw my family closer or will it cause undue stress?”

Robert E. Lee, the famous Confederate Civil War General, and a recognized realist, once wrote to his son, Custis Lee, “You must be aware of one thing, that those you deal with will consider their advantage and not yours.  So while being fair and just, you must not neglect your interests.” 1

While this quote is not a spiritual statement, and was said in relation to business dealings, it is a revelation of human nature. As a result, even Christians are subjected to its temptation.

As homeschooling mothers, our interest is our family, and as such, we need to pray for discernment when decisions, however small, need to be made.  We should seek God’s wisdom as to the impact it will have on our family.  If the possibility exists for a negative effect on our ministry of mothering, then we should not be afraid to say “no”. God will give us the grace we need, to have the priority of family first and others second.  We need only to be sensitive to His leading.

Isaiah 26:3 – “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

Proverbs 16:20 – “He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good…”

Footnote – Robert E. Lee on Leadership by H.W. Crocker III, Prima Publishing, Roseville, Calif., copyright 1999, 2000:  page 43

Maribeth Spangenberg is wife to Steve, homeschooling mother of nine children, and happy, new grandmother to one granddaughter.  She considers it a blessing and a ministry to be able to encourage other mothers and homeschoolers to “stay the course”!

This article was originally published in Eclectic Homeschool Online (  to which Maribeth is a regular contributor to the Home and Family Department.  Maribeth also writes weekly devotionals for Homeschool Enrichment newsletter and website (