“It will be one of the most sanctifying things you will ever do,” were the words my mentor spoke to me a year ago when I told her my plans were to homeschool our kids for the upcoming school year. Sanctifying? That’s a good thing, right? Sanctification is the process of becoming more and more like Christ, so of course I wanted to enter into something that would be sanctifying. At least I thought I did!
When I felt like God was asking me to homeschool my girls this past year, I had a very idyllic vision of how our year was going to look. Like I said in my first blog post, “2020, you’ve been good to me…” I expected the year to be fun, engaging and full of science experiments and crafts and field trips. And I expected that I would be able to maintain and excel in all of my duties as a wife, mom, friend, and leader. I also expected to be able to take on a new role, a writer. As you might have read in that first post, I had to majorly adjust my expectations.
That was the first half of the year. I began to learn (again and again) the daily process of surrendering to God and what He had for me that day and not drowning in my own unrealistic expectations of myself. God used that place of surrender as a springboard to propel me into deeper sanctifying work.
Our homeschooling year is coming to a close. Hallelujah! There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am thrilled, to say the least, but not just because we survived. I am thrilled because when I look back on this year, in all of it’s guts and glory, I see that my mentor was right. God did some work on me!
Sanctification isn’t always a pretty process and it’s not a quick process. It is a lifelong process. God is always working on you but there are seasons in your life when you grow faster than others. This past year was that for me. Sanctification often exposes your weaknesses and your sin and quite frankly, it’s not pretty! There were moments when every ounce of patience had left me, moments when my anger got so intense that I had to leave the room, moments when I spoke harshly to my kids, moments when I slammed my fist on the desk because they weren’t listening, there was even a moment when I threw a pencil because I couldn’t figure out a stinking multiplication question! These are moments that I look back on and cringe. I wish I could do them over again, but it was all part of the process.
In those moments, where my sin was front and center, I felt the Lord drawing me to Himself, reminding me of the grace and forgiveness that He gives in abundance. More than I’d like to admit, I had to leave the room to confess my sin before the Lord. I was always met with forgiveness. And more than I’d like to admit, I had to walk back into that room and apologize to my children. Thankfully, I was always met with forgiveness in that space, too.
Another sanctifying work that God has been doing on me this year and is still doing is helping me to not compare. Goodness, not comparing yourself to others is ridiculously hard! Whether you are comparing your body, your beauty, your spouse, your house, your kids, your finances, your intellect, your homeschooling abilities, you will always come out feeling down on yourself. Even if you think you are better than everyone else, the very act of comparing is wounding to your soul. I was looking to see what other moms were doing in homeschooling and asking questions about how they were doing it, but instead of using their ideas to supplement my own, I found myself thinking, “I’m not doing enough,” and “Why can’t I be that creative?” which equated to, “I’m not good enough.”
That’s a big fat lie!
God reminded me that He didn’t put anyone else as my kid’s mom or my husband’s wife, he put me in that position. I was the one He created for that role, no one else. I wasn’t going anywhere but spiraling down when I let comparison rule my mind, but when I let God remind me of who I am in Him – a chosen, fully loved and known daughter of the King – then my mind shifted up, to Him. Comparison fell to the side, and pleasing Him became my heart’s desire.
Don’t think for a second, though that I still don’t have to fight the urge to compare. It’s still there. I just recognize it a whole lot sooner and I know the remedy for it – Him.
One more area that I will write about (because there are too many to write them all down!) is that in all of the process of learning to surrender to God daily, learning to take my sin to Him and accept the forgiveness He offers, and learning to not compare, God also led me to a clearer picture of who He desires me to be.
There was a short period when I wondered if I should homeschool again, if maybe homeschooling was what God wanted me to do for the long term not just this one year. Thankfully, He answered my question quickly and clearly! Nope, I was not supposed to continue on homeschooling and that was ok! In fact, it was more than ok, it was what God wanted for me!
I recognized that I may not continue as a homeschool mom but that didn’t mean my job was over. God was still calling me to continue being their mom, leading them and training them in the ways of the Lord, but He was also calling me to continue pursuing what I feel like He has created me for, outside of being mom, and that is teaching and leading others in their pursuit of the Lord. To quote the “About” section of this blog, my hope is that God will use me to “inspire you to not settle for good-enough in your relationship with Jesus, but to move towards being truly solid in who you are in Christ.”
So, for you, the one who is reading this, what are you walking through right now that you can see the light at the end of the tunnel? Instead of racing full steam ahead to the end, even if that’s what you want to do more than anything, take some time to ask yourself what you have learned during the tunnel. What has God brought to your attention that you can only address with Him? Where have you seen growth? Don’t move on until you’ve reflected.
Or maybe the light at the end is so far away that you feel like you will never get out. Take heart, God is with you, even in the dark. And you can trust Him to keep working on you! The light will get brighter, the tunnel will get shorter, but in the meantime, keep your eyes focused on Him, the true Light.
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
God, thank you that you never stop working on us and that you will never leave us.