I Corinthians 15:1-2 “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you…”
Homeschooling is hard. Yes, it is fun and rewarding and interesting and I am so thankful for this calling upon my life. But honestly, it is hard work. Though I love hanging out with my kids every day and they bring smiles and delight to my heart, it can be challenging to have them underfoot all the time. There are moments when I want to scream, tear my hair out, or break down and sob. It isn’t just homeschooling that is hard. This whole parenting thing is a monumentally challenging endeavor.
One morning a few weeks ago when I was trying to begin school for the day, and so had a book in hand and my two older children settled on the couch and ready, I heard a suspicious sound from my kitchen. When I arrived there, I had to pull my toddler out of the pantry where he was chugging down decorating sprinkles, then back in the living room I discovered that I needed to change the baby’s diaper and on the way I stepped on a lego (seriously… ouch). I returned to find my toddler back in that pantry. After cleaning up that mess, my older two had to be dragged out of what they had begun to do back to the couch to start our reading.
Little episodes like this happen every day. Sometimes several times in a day. Closets I just cleaned and reorganized get dismantled by my two year old. My four year old tracks mud throughout my freshly mopped kitchen. My six year old has no thought whatsoever to clean up one game before getting out the next. Then there are days full of disobedient, rebellious, selfish, angry hearts (and I’m not just talking about the kids here!) that are full of misery, tears, and frustration.
There are days when I feel like giving up.
Two months ago, at the local homeschool convention, I went to a seminar “Preschoolers and Peace,” taught by Kendra Fletcher. She asked a very good question that I have been pondering ever since: “How would your day be different if you lived out of the grace of the gospel?”
This question reminds me of the book A Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent a friend gave me a few years ago. In it, the author exhorts believers to preach the gospel to themselves every day. He wrote a poem that beautifully and powerfully lays out the truths of the gospel and every time I read it, I am blessed.
Milton Vincent says, “Over the course of time, preaching the gospel to myself every day has made more of a difference in my life than any other discipline I have every practiced” (p 6).
So how can being daily reminded of the gospel and living out of its grace make a difference in the day of a homeschool mom?
1. Instead of blowing up at my children who complain, spill, and/or destroy, I am reminded of the power that is available to me through the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the grave and is able to grant me the patience to relate to my children with kindness and peace.
II Peter 1:3-4 “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”
2. Rather than being internally impatient and frustrated with my children’s repeated sins, I am humbled by the reminder of my own condition and then can fully sympathize with my children’s struggles.
II Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
3. Instead of too much focus on all the seemingly more urgent academic demands, rehearsing the gospel to myself reminds me of what is really important and leads me to want to share these amazing truths with my children. Thus I will look for opportunities throughout my day- and in every subject- to tell them about Jesus.
I Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
4. Rather than being grumpy, irritable, or anxious, I rejoice in thanksgiving toward Jesus who gave His life for me. A thankful heart is a very happy heart. A happy-hearted mom fills her home with gladness and fun.
I Peter 1:8-9 “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
5. Instead of being discouraged by the feeling that my life seems to be filled with meaningless mundane details, I can rejoice in my renewed sense of purpose the gospel gives me. It reminds me that as I faithfully execute my daily tasks and pour into my children every day, I am ministering to them and thus to the Lord every day.
Matthew 25:34-40 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink… Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? …And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
My new habit to work on this summer is to read the gospel poem or gospel Scriptures every morning so that instead of trying to do all things through my own feeble, failing strength, I can live daily out of the grace of the gospel.
I Peter 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”