21 Jan 2015

“This feels just like what I’ve done all my life!” wailed my eighteen-year-old son. He was working on an assignment for an online college history course that he was taking the fall after high school graduation.

I could only sigh and pray for God to give me some words to encourage this disgruntled young man sitting before me.

“Well, yes, I can see it may look similar to homeschooling—but it isn’t. It is college, and you are accomplishing work that will earn you a degree. And it is only for this year. Next year you get to go to school, but you know you can’t afford it yet, and God will bless your efforts here. This is just a season, a stepping stone, to what is next in your life. It will be worth the wait and the work here. You’ll see.”

“I just feel like I’m always waiting, working and wasting my time and life somehow—I just want out! I just want to feel like I’m living life! It feels like no matter what I’ve done, I’m not going anywhere…,” and his voice trailed off in his frustration.

Seasons. Stepping stones. Waiting. Working.

I knew how my son felt. I could remember so many years of homeschooling him, and my other children, and thinking I was getting nowhere. The time seemed to stretch endlessly in front of me with no real promise of success for my efforts.

The laundry was never done. The daily grind of math and reading bled from one day to the next with no real apparent change in ability. We confronted the same multiplication tables, the same vowels and consonants, the same parts of speech. Nothing seemed to ever change.

These are the ways of life. This is the homeschool life. There have been many despairing moments in this life when I have cried out to God just as my son cried out to me—wondering if I would ever see the fruits of my labor. Could all this mundane monotony bring about the amazing, eternal, supernatural outcomes I had so hoped and believed it would? Sometimes I just wanted out. Sometimes in the midst of the next diaper change and the next sink of dishes, I just wanted to feel like I was living life. There were many days I felt like I was going nowhere and getting nothing of lasting value done.

But then God would answer me in my cries of despair. He whispered a deeper truth to me than my circumstances were shouting.

It matters. Those precious little people that He entrusted to me are worth it. The value is there—in them and in me. In Him! I would rise with the early rising of that eastern sun, and I would read from the ancient history book that was unchanging but somehow breathed life change into my heart. It was alive and reading it made me alive also. The truth of the Word permeated into the depths of my heart and mind and spoke fresh hope. The light would pierce the darkness of my despair as the sun broke fresh mercy onto this anointed day of grace. I would find my joy in Jesus and His finished work on the cross. I found my strength there. I found the love and purpose God had for me, and I believed He was going to finish His work in me—and my children.

Another day would come and go in grace, in love for the ones God placed in my life, in hope for the future generations that would come after them, in joy knowing that eternity was set into my heart and theirs. I set my face towards the prize in Christ Jesus calling me homeward, and I learned God was good. Grace was enough. Life was abundant.

I had no way of expressing that lifetime of truth into my son’s moment of despair, but I didn’t need to. Where I had spent a life teaching him, God had been teaching me. I knew God wasn’t done with him yet. Just as God had gently led me and proven faithful to me, He would do so for my son. And this schooling that we had both undergone was going to continue—no matter the season. His Word and promises were true, and the waiting and the working were worth it. This lifetime of learning to live was worth it. The love and grace poured out from heaven into our hearts was worth it.

Seeing my son there, finished with homeschooling, full of energy and hope for a future he couldn’t yet grasp, I was able to see the fulfillment of all my toil and time invested. And just as God could see beyond my limited scope of vision in that earlier season of my own life, I could see beyond this stepping stone for my son. Life was here and now, and yet, the unseen that stretched out before him was full of abundance and promise.

I took his Bible from under the history book on the desk and gently laid it across the computer keyboard in front of him.

“This is the history book you need to study from, I think,” I smiled encouragingly and left him to his studies, knowing his Teacher would not fail to instruct him well.