Back-to-School Meditations

But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread?
Matthew 16:8

And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
Mark 8:21


Back to school. Those words invoke a pretty wide range of emotions, from excitement to dread and everything in between, sometimes all at once.  As a home school mom, I often suffer from a sense of insecurity at the start of each new year. Will I be able to help the children with their subject matter? Will we cover enough information? Will they be well-rounded and well-grounded? Most importantly, are they really getting it when it comes to their Bible studies and their relationships with God?

As usual, I was talking with God about my fears and insecurities before we began our school year and discussing with Him the fact that my teen and pre-teen children seemed to be further than ever from Him. I was bemoaning my failure, asking Him to show me where I had gone wrong. Have I been too legalistic? Too harsh? Too lenient?

As I poured out my heart to Him, God hushed me with the reminder that even the best Teacher the world has ever known did not always get His lesson across to His students.  If Jesus asked questions of His disciples such as, “Do you still not understand?” so frequently, do I honestly believe I can achieve better results?

No, I am not a perfect teacher. I would venture to say fairly boldly that I am not even a good one. Nor am I a perfect role model, especially to these three who have seen the irrational and bizarre moods caused by the prodromal phase of a migraine often enough to recognize and identify it with uncanny accuracy.  However, if God has truly called me to do this — and I am convinced that He has at least for now — then He is faithful and He will surely do it.

Despite my fondest, early imaginings, none of my children are super-geniuses nor are they super-spiritual. While they are all bright and have gifts in different areas, none of them are on track for college graduation before they can drive (which is a blessing since I would be on track for the funny farm if they were!). To my sorrow, not a single one of them shows the glimmerings of an astonishing faith, an especial zeal, nor of deep insight into the things of God.

However, as God  reminded me on that morning walk, the twelve disciples did not exactly show signs of being world-changers during the time of their tutelage, either.  So many times Jesus patiently and lovingly reprimanded them for their little faith or for failing to understand parables or events.  As a matter of fact, there were areas in which the group did not connect the dots until after He had been crucified and rose again:

His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.
John 12:16

It heartened me to begin the new year with a fresh perspective. This understanding does not eliminate the weight of my responsibility one whit, nor do I take my job less seriously. Indeed, it inspires me to prayerfully seek the Spirit’s help to be more patient when I repeat myself again and again and again and again…

It also makes me resolved to work at home schooling heartily,  as to the Lord and not to men. It reminds me to continue diligently to study His Word and show myself approved, to love the Lord my God with all that I am, and to encourage my children to do the same.

And perhaps most importantly, I will not judge the fruit of my little gardens before the seedlings have even produced proper buds. I will continue to plant, to water with both prayers and tears, and to ask God for the wisdom and strength to tend them well during the time I am given. Then, when I have done all that is within my ability to do, I will step back and watch to see what God will make of my little efforts.

I firmly believe that He who calls me is faithful; He will surely do it. And I pray the “it” I wait to see will be that God will bring all three of my children into a close relationship with Him, loving Him with all their hearts, souls, and with minds that are well-trained despite my inadequacies.

 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7