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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Better Part

Long ago, the homeschooling mother had time to read novels to her children. Dinner was unhurried and filled with laughter and rich conversation—often about the latest learning adventure. Playing games together in the evening, the family drew close to one another and the children knew peace and unity. In contrast, today’s homeschool mom rushes through the day’s curricula, grabs lunch in the car on the way to lessons and activities, then rushes home to complete the task for the committee on which she serves. She hastily prepares a quick dinner so the children are not late for the evening’s activities, then jumps back in the car to get everyone where they need to be. Finally at home for the night, she falls into bed, completely exhausted, resenting her husband’s pleas for affection.

Isn’t it wonderful that homeschooling offers so many opportunities, so many great field trips, fabulous clubs, and exciting activities designed to enrich our lives? Isn’t it relieving to know our children will not miss out on these great experiences? But the question we must ask is, “Does this hurried lifestyle really make their lives better?” “Does it truly contribute to a better future for them?” “Does it enhance our lives so that we are the mothers they need us to be?”

With all of these wonderful events and happenings comes a great many not so wonderful eventualities; continuous phone calls, full calendars, hours in the car, hurried lessons, harassed mothers, and totally worn out, depleted of all energy wives in the evening. Isn’t a rich life one where there is joy, peaceful conversations, and time for family play and fun in the evenings? Could it be that our involvement in so many activities, with moms working over-time to make it all happen, actually hinders us from experiencing the abundant life God has for us?

There are certainly times when God calls our children and us to activities outside of our homes, but in those cases, He provides the stamina we need to do all He has called us to do. If the activity is from Him, it does not rob us of joy. If, however, it’s not part of His purpose and plans for us, we will forfeit joy and peace when we do participate. We’ll find ourselves trying to make things work, trying to keep it all together.

It’s difficult to say no when we are called upon to do work for the church or homeschool community. It’s hard to turn down an amazing opportunity. Yet before we say yes, we should discern whether it might hinder God’s primary purpose for us, seeking the Lord’s will in prayer. There may be someone else He has chosen to meet that need, or it might be that the program offered is not His will to begin with—thus, no one is really meant for the position. We must not allow guilt or fear of man to keep us from obedience to God’s plan for our lives.
 For without God’s blessing upon our choices, life becomes impossible to live and we are weighed down and burdened. Romance with our husband is lost, laughter with our children is lost, and peace is lost. Burnout soon follows.

I learned from experience that if I allow the Lord to lead in the planning of our schedule, we will all be doing exactly what He desires for us to do, and He will give us the energy we need to accomplish all His purposes for us. We’ve learned to say “yes” only when we know and have that strong sense of peace that this is the correct path to take. God has an incredible plan for our lives and for our children’s lives and future. Adding excessive activities does not enhance God’s plan or improve their lives. We will not do them any favors if we fill our children’s lives with busyness. Their souls yearn for the peace and joy that come with a family gathered at dinner enjoying unhurried discussions that draw them into a satisfying relationship with their parents.

As we are told in Ephesians, let us redeem the time, for the days are evil. Consider the plans you have made for next year. Will you allow yourself to take a year off of one of those activities? Could you take even a semester off? Wean yourself from the busy schedule, and you will be astonished at the incredible gift that days at home are to your spirit, soul, and your family. As Jesus once said to Martha, "Mary has chosen the better part." Let us also do the same.


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