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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Obstacles in Our Path

When God calls us to something as immense and life transforming as homeschooling, we can be sure there will be many obstacles along our path. Whether it's opposition from the non-homeschooling community, learning challenges with our children, character issues that surface, or the many fears, anxieties, and insecurities we find within ourselves, we can be sure we will come upon many boulders and rocks as we traverse the narrow path to which God has called us.

It's vital to keep in mind that, no matter how perfect someone else's life appears to be, every homeschool family faces struggles and problems. A life well lived in the sight of God will never be challenge free. Remember, our enemy is always lurking with the intent to steal, kill, and destroy God's purposes and plans for our lives. If we are doing God's will, the enemy is sure to be after us. Thus, every one of us who is fulfilling God's call to home educate our children is a target. We can be certain this journey will not be easy. Once we accept that fact and let go of the notion that somehow our lives should be easy, homeschooling should be easy, marriage should be easy, and sanctification should be easy, we can release the temptation to complain about how hard things are and get on with the business of persevering in the strength of the Lord.

Just as Paul struggled in the Lord’s strength to fulfill the calling upon his life, we too will run into many roadblocks, which the Lord will give us strength and energy to overcome.

To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
 Colossians 1:29

God doesn't want us to struggle in our own strength. He wants us to seek His strength. The same power and strength that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us as we labor through this homeschool journey. He promises to give us all we need to fulfill His call.

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
 Ephesians 1:18-21

So often I find myself worried about a problem, searching for answers everywhere except the one place I am sure to find the answer—in the guidance and leading God offers for all that concerns me, great and small.

When my son struggled to learn to spell, after five years of buying every course available to no avail, I sought the Lord in desperation. Within a day, He revealed the answer through a "coincidental" discovery. If only I had sought Him first! I have hundreds of stories just like this one. Always, I'm reminded that He is faithful—and patient! God waits for me to seek Him and trust Him to bring the solution. Sometimes it's not an instant answer, such as with spelling. But I know He is faithful and will come through.

As we seek Him, we can rest in the fact that He has the answer for every dilemma, every obstacle we face. We can trust Him. If we truly trust in Him, we will find joy. It's the restful peace we get when we have faith in His faithfulness. He has our lives in His hands.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.
 Psalm 28:7

The Lord gives us joy because we know He is for us. He is on our side. He called us to this journey and He will fulfill His purposes for our children and our family. He will answer our prayers, and we can find peace in that. As we trust in the Lord and experience His joy, we find that joy becomes the very strength that keeps us moving forward!
Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

Every single thing we face is part of God's plan and purpose for our sanctification. As we entrust every issue to God, knowing that He will answer in His time, in His way, we can live a life of joy—even in the midst of all our struggles. We can be joyful homeschoolers because we know that our lives are in His hands. All that we face will be used by God and none of it comes as a surprise to Him. We can have joy and trust Him in the midst of the painful situation, knowing that we—though imperfect children of the Most High—are intimately loved and under the constant care of Him who delights over us with singing.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
 James 1:2-4

What are your struggles right now? What fears are keeping you from the joy the Lord has for you? What have you not entrusted to the Lord? Lay it all down, believing He has and will bring an answer to you.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7