And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
My tenth year of homeschooling is well underway, and I can safely say that the novelty of the thing has worn off. We are past the age of frequent, fun field trips. Gone, too, are the days of using a park day for PE or nature study.
Instead, workloads are more intense and the focus of schooling has shifted. We are now training for future college and job success, centering on such skills as meeting deadlines, developing good study skills and a good work ethic, and so on.
Top off this mixture with a dash of unavoidable adolescent upheaval and presto! A recipe for occasional student mutiny or parental discouragement. It isn’t that the children are rebellious, it’s just that they are all at an age where they are trying to find out who they are.
In her excellent book, For Parents Only, Shaunti Feldhahn likens this process to the building of a castle. Since all the growing young person has to build with are the “blocks” my husband and I have tried to instill within them (our beliefs, principles, etc.), the only way they can construct their own identity is to dismantle the parts we have provided and examine each one, trying to decide whether or not it fits into their life.
Ms. Feldhahn writes, “We know in theory that kids need to find their own identity. What we often don’t realize is that the process they go through may feel an awful lot like rejection to us.”
Yes, the Davis Academy is firmly entrenched in this process right now. Again and again, I feel deflated. Again and again, I feel like a parental failure. Again and again, I am in anguish to realize that most of my children only pick up their Bibles when they are told to; that they do not have a driving inner desire to seek out the face of our God.
Again and again, I am reminded that I am still on the front lines of a spiritual battle. Right now, it is raging most fiercely for the hearts and minds of my young man and women. The part that makes me feel most helpless is that I am at a point in this battle where I have done everything else (albeit imperfectly) and all I can do is to stand firm.
And pray. I am praying for them passionately.
I am faced with hard questions now: Does the 24/7 parenting model offered by homeschooling guarantee God-fearing children? Do morning Bible studies and Bible-based curriculum choices guarantee that each child will truly believe and choose to give their lives for Him? Does giving up my best wage-earning years in order to stay home and teach my children guarantee that I will, in fact, make disciples?
All I can do is be faithful to my own calling, be obedient to what God tells me to do, and remember not to grow weary in my work but to rely on Him for the strength to see me through. I can live in His grace and act in His love.
Seeking His face diligently, I can let Him transform me more and more into the perfect image of Christ, both allowing the process of sanctification and willingly participating in it. I can share the ever-growing love I have for my God with my children and let them see the changes He has wrought for themselves. I can pray intensely for them, pleading with God to keep them walking in His light.
But I cannot make them love Him. In the few short years when they begin to leave our little nest, I cannot make them choose wisely. With my efforts, this is not possible. However, all things are possible with God.
Today, I will remember to praise Him anyway. I will remember not to judge the fruit of the tree by its barely-formed buds, for my children are not mature but still saplings with much growing left to do.
The work I am called to do is not always easy, but it is always worth it. I will fight the good fight on behalf of my children, not giving up until the work is done, praying diligently that each one will truly love the Savior and seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness in their lives.
I pray they will some day astonish me with the depth and breadth of their love and faith. If they require a time of falling prey to the enemy’s lies in order to see the stark contrast in the ways of the prince of this world and the Prince of peace, I will not give up praying for them. I will not stop fighting for them.
In the meantime, I will keep my eyes on the Lord, allowing Him to be my strength and believing that in due season, I will reap if I do not give up.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.