Updated: Apr 4, 2019
God's plans don't always match up with ours, but Cara was able to learn about the goodness of God enduring her confusion, isolation, and feelings of inadequacy.
I can’t help but sometimes wonder why God put us on this path when it doesn’t look anything like what I thought it would.
When I committed to the idea of homeschooling I envisioned what our experience would be like. I thought we would meet new friends and my son would have a lot of opportunities to meet other homeschool kids. Hopefully I would also make some friends with other moms who could understand the journey we were on. We would be able to share our struggles, and advice and we would plan field trips and activities that get the kids out of the “classroom” to learn.
What I didn’t anticipate was the extreme feeling of loneliness and isolation that comes with spending almost all of our time at home. In our four years of homeschool we haven’t met many people and we haven’t created the sense of community that I first anticipated. I knew homeschool was the right choice for our family when it came time to start kindergarten. God had clearly commanded us that our responsibility was to take on the teaching and instruction of the children He gave us in every facet. They are our first ministry and our job is to train them up in His ways. So we committed to the challenge and jumped in with two feet.
I can’t help but sometimes wonder why God put us on this path when it doesn’t look anything like what I thought it would. While my kids have some opportunities to meet other kids through sports classes, teams and other outlets, the time they spend with other kids is very minimal. We rarely get to make connections with other families and we haven’t formed any long lasting friendships with others. So why has God put us in this position where we are always on our own?
The first two years of homeschool were really difficult. We were still trying figure out a good routine and a balance between “classroom” time and outside activities. We moved in with my in-laws and we had a little baby who was growing into a toddler that also wanted to be engaged in what was going on every day. I was feeling overwhelmed with the lack of adult interaction and friendships. I was seriously questioning if we were on the right path and wondering if maybe it was time to put our son into public school. As I prayed about the confusion I was feeling and the discontentment I had with our situation, the answer came in a very unexpected way.
God had created a schedule that was free of restrictions for the most part so that we could be wherever we were needed.
My dad became sick and while he didn’t need someone to take care of him everyday, there were times when he needed help and really, just needed someone around to make sure he was okay. With everyone else in our family working regular day jobs, Brandon, myself, and our kids were able to step in and spend a lot of time with my dad. We were able to help run errands for him and my mom, take care of things around the house and just spend time with him making sure he wasn’t in need of anything. I soon realized that the freedom of our homeschool schedule allowed us to pack up our work for the day and be at my parent’s house. Often times he would sleep during the day while we were at his house and we would just sit in the kitchen doing school work. Not being tied to a drop off and pick up schedule allowed us to spend as much time at my parent’s house as they needed. Not being stuck in an office until 5 pm allowed me to be available whenever my parents called and needed help with something.
God had created a schedule that was free of restrictions for the most part so that we could be wherever we were needed. If we had been committed to park days, field trips, and other groups, we would have had to cancel those commitments or be unavailable when family needed help. If God hadn’t delivered my dad from his illness, we would have had the privilege to spend a lot of time with him before the end of his life. Thankfully God brought my dad through his illness and we are still able to enjoy even more time with him.
One of our jobs as Christians is to serve the needs of God’s people. We were only able to do that in this instance because God had placed in a position that allowed us to be free from constraints that a regular work and public school schedule would have allowed.
Over the years, I have seen how God’s plan for us to homeschool has allowed us to be used in other ways as well. As a family that serves in ministry, we have the freedom in our day to spend time with our kids in bible study and prayer. Our kids have been able to come along with us when we are needed to serve the needs of other families through discipleship or prayer meetings. We can incorporate the teaching of God’s Word into their school days and talk about the patterns of His work that we see even through world history.
While the education of our kids is very important to us and we want to make sure that they are doing the best that they can in their schoolwork, there is a much bigger learning experience going on in our home. Our kids need to learn how to serve the Lord instead of themselves. They need to learn what it means to be obedient to the Lord even when it means denying ourselves of what we desire or hope for in this life, and learn to be content with whatever the Lord provides.
While our lives are not perfect and we certainly have our days when we fail more than succeed, our kids are along for the ride everyday. They are able to see our successes as well as our failures, and most importantly they are able to see how God works through all of it. God is able to achieve His eternal purposes regardless of our performance. This doesn’t mean that we give up and decide that since we aren’t perfect we might as well not even try. We don’t look at our difficulties and trials as a reason to turn away from serving God. Instead we embrace these things as part of the sanctification process that God is doing in us to prepare us for an eternity with Him. We should look at each of these failures, trials, and disappointments as a chance to learn more about who God is and what He wants from us, and most importantly what He is capable and willing to do through all of it. If our hope and faith is in the fact that at the end of our life here on earth we will spend eternity with God, then we should embrace the opportunities we have to serve Him while we are here. Looking for the patterns of His work in everything in order to be prepared when we meet Him face to face.