I’ll never forget the day it really hit me. I had been homeschooling for a couple of years when, quite suddenly, something became crystal clear. I was missing out. Other mothers were going to lunch, doing housework or grocery shopping in solitude, getting pedicures and so on. At this particular moment, I was folding laundry on my bed and had just spent the morning doing lessons with my children. I became almost paralyzed with the realization. Fear and doubt seized me and, in that moment, I became a little less sure about my calling.
Why it took two years for the full realization of this to hit me, I’ll never know. I called a dear friend who had been homeschooling much longer than I (every mother needs a friend like this) and confessed, “This is more self-sacrificing than I thought.” Her response? She sighed a little sigh of empathetic understanding and confided, “It’s just your sin.”
My sin? My sin.
After all, what was I worried about in that moment? Whom was I trying to serve?
What about me? It’s a question every homeschooling mother asks herself at some point. As with any work that is self-sacrificing, our flesh inevitably puffs up and demands of our spirit, “What about time for me? How can you survive without investing in me?”
To be sure, it is an instrument of the enemy. He slithers up, whispers into our weary souls and tries to convince us we are missing out. We aren’t participating in daytime moms’ groups. We aren’t doing our housework without interruptions. We aren’t attending exercise classes 3 mornings per week at the local gym.
What my friend ascertained was wise and I come back to it often. At any point in our Christian walk we begin to worry more about ourselves than our children or than God’s will for our lives, we can be sure we have lost our focus and selfish sin is creeping into our hearts. It is scary to think how quickly this can happen and, before we know it, we can become self-indulgent and resentful.
What I am learning, slowly, is that true Biblical mothering (whether you homeschool or not) involves hard choices. It means choosing to wake up every day and die to ourselves. It means choosing to live sacrificially week after week. It means learning, by God’s grace, to take “every thought captive” and give them to Jesus. This means the thoughts that creep in and tell you your kids are a burden. The ones that point out the seemingly unfair discrepancies between your life and that of your friend across town. The lies that attack your spirit and strip you of your confidence in the gifts God has given you. The thoughts that cause you to doubt a call God so obviously placed on your heart years ago.
As we embrace our call wholeheartedly and choose to take our wayward thoughts captive, the ones that distract us from the course upon which God has set us, we can find ourselves able to focus on our task at hand. When we prevent these invasive thoughts from taking root in our hearts, we can walk in freedom. We can fold laundry in the afternoon and thank God for the blessings in our life. We can do lessons with our children all morning, watch their little eyes light up with new knowledge, and answer their questions about life. We can choose to live a Godly life before our children without ever feeling as though we are missing out on more enjoyable endeavors.
Sometimes I wonder what I’ll look back on and regret or cherish when my children are grown. Will I wish I would have taken more time for lunches with friends? Will I pine for those missed exercise classes or sacrificed solitude? Will I wonder what I was missing during all those hours spent with my kids? My dear friend recently graduated her two oldest children from high school…and I think she’d tell me she didn’t miss a thing.