My sister recently shared this picture of her new butter dish. There’s an obvious problem here. The stick of butter fits the dish but the lid is too small to cover it. It’s a lovely butter dishsimplistic in design, a good neutral colorbut it isn’t meeting the need. My sister has several options. She can try a different one, hoping it will fit her stick of butter. She could make her own butter, custom-sized to fit the dish. Or she could cut off the end of every stick she uses to make it fit the mold.

I couldn’t get the picture of this butter out of my mind. This ¼ lb stick of churned cream molded into a nice rectangular shape sitting on a dish that was seemingly so compatibleand yet so very incompatibleis representative of many homeschool parents I talk with: the homeschool father, who feels unwelcome at all the mom-gatherings, mom-talks, support groups full of moms; the single mom trying to hold it all together on her own, with never a moment for herself, afraid she can’t be enough for everyone else; the family that isn’t into nature walks, or debate club, or learning latin, as they see everyone on social media proudly sharing in their picture-perfect life; the teen that doesn’t have enough dual-enrollment credits to earn a college degree like all the others they know; the ordinary, hum-drum, nothing-special family that feels like they never quite measure up to everyone else’s standards. Everyone is trying to fit a mold that wasn’t made for them.

How about you, my reader? As you look at this butter with it’s cover resting on top instead of nestled protectively around it, does it speak to your heart? Do you ever feel this way, like you just don’t fit the mold? Like you just aren’t good enough? Like you are going to have to try another group…another curriculum…another co-op…for a better fit? Like you will have to cut off a part of yourself in order to fit the mold? Or maybe start completely fresh, a full makeover, in order to fit in somewhere? 

A good question to ask yourself is this: What is wrong with our butter picture? Is the butter the problem or is it the dish? Romans 12:2 tells us, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  God created you as a unique, hand-crafted individual, perfectly designed by THE master craftsman. Remember back in Genesis, at the creation of the world; every bird, animal, fish, flower, planet, grain of sand, and drop of water came into existence at the mere command of God. But when it came time to create humankind, God did two specifically different things. He formed Adam with His own hands. Then He breathed His breath into him to give Adam life. Just speaking His most treasured creation into existence would not suffice; our Creator got hands-on, molding and fashioning us in His own image. And then the life-giving breath of God entered into Adam, forming his soul or, in Hebrew, his nephesh. We see the ultimate purpose of our lives in Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul [nephesh} and with all your might.” That is the only mold to fit ourselves into. 

So you, my dear buttery reader, are NOT the problem. You don’t, can’t, won’t, and should not fit the mold! Instead, let God transform you by the renewing of your mind as you read His word, meditate on it, and pass its wonders on to your children. Study the scientific laws that hold together the wonderful world He placed you in. Marvel at the mathematical concepts that enable us to build, buy, create, and design as we walk in His footsteps. Learn the lessons of history that teach us how wrong man can be when he strays from God’s precepts and how wonderful it is when he follows Him. And as you do so, you will find your dish, your tribe, your people. 

There’s a song lyric that has also been on my mind a lot lately. I want to share it with you because it is so profound. 

Lie number one: You’re supposed to have it all together
And when they ask how you’re doin’, just smile and tell them, “Never better”
Lie number two: Everybody’s life is perfect except yours
So keep your messes and your wounds and your secrets safe with you behind closed doors

But truth be told
The truth is rarely told, no…

I say, “I’m fine, yeah, I’m fine, oh, I’m fine, hey, I’m fine”
But I’m not, I’m broken
And when it’s out of control I say it’s under control
But it’s not and You know it
I don’t know why it’s so hard to admit it
When bein’ honest is the only way to fix it
There’s no failure, no fall
There’s no sin You don’t already know
So let the truth be told

Don’t you just love that? The truth IS rarely told. So let’s have it be told here: If God has blessed your life with children, He will help you to be the parent they need. Not the parent your friend’s kids or your sister’s kids need, so don’t try to fit the mold He made for them. If He has called you to homeschool your children, He will equip you to fulfill that calling. Walk in the fullness of who and what He has designed you for. When the Potter fashioned you, He even gave you your very own unique set of fingerprints. Everyone leaves their mark wherever they go. You can’t leave someone else’s markonly yours. Truth be told, when He created you, He broke the mold! 

So stop trying to make yourself fit into other people’s molds. Surround yourself with those who will encourage and support who you are. NCHE is here to do just that. Our mission is to help you homeschool with confidence and joy. You don’t have to fit any mold to do that. We are just a phone call or email away. Our board members, liaisons, and volunteers come from all walks of life, a variety of backgrounds, and have our own share of messes. We come together to serve YOU, the homeschool families of North Carolina, with that one singular purpose of supporting you on your individual journey of homeschooling with confidence and joy.