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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Lord Will Fulfill His Purposes for Your Children

A new chapter in my homeschooling journey began a few years back. This is a stage you also will encounter in time. I'll call it the season of the college road trip. The funny thing is, I thought I had this all figured out when my daughter was younger, just entering high school. I had decided where and how my child would complete college. It was all mapped out. What I didn't bargain for was the fact that my child would be an adult-like 17 year old, capable of making her own decisions about college—decisions that were quite unlike those I had made for her when she was 14.

The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Because homeschooling produces a more mature teen than does institutional schooling, I believed that my daughter's choice to go to a large university, entering as a freshman, was a viable and preferable option. She had shown a remarkable ability to handle worldly influences with godliness, and I felt confident she would thrive in the competition of a university environment. My heartfelt prayer was that God would lead her heart in choosing a university. I had already seen Him answer this prayer by guiding her as she narrowed down her choices, so it was easy for me to trust the Lord with her life, entrusting her to Him.

I want to encourage you to believe that God's plans for your children are in effect right now as you homeschool. He is developing them into the people He wants them to be. Do they need to be perfect and holy, without character flaws before they leave your house? Were you all this when you left your parents' home? No. Of course not. We have a tendency to panic over the reality that our children have flaws. That's ridiculous. They will never be perfect, not until they reach their heavenly home. Our job is not to hone perfect children, but to lead them to the Living Water—the Water that gives life. If they learn how to seek and follow the Lord in their imperfections, He will be faithful to lead them. They will (although imperfectly) learn to discern His voice as they make choices for their future.

As homeschoolers, let's not get confused about our primary purpose for our children. Perfection in appearance, character, and academics is not the goal. The goal is that they walk deeply with the Lord. No matter how perfect their behavior, how high their SAT scores, how impressive their transcript, or how amazing their talents, if their hearts are focused on these things rather than God, the journey into adulthood will be rocky. Yet if our children’s hearts are committed to the Lord, their wills submitted to His plan, and their choices led by His Spirit, we can rest in the truth that God will guide them as we simply pray for them and encourage them.

It's so important that as our children mature we pull back from the tendency to hover over their every decision and choice. We must allow them to grow and develop as individuals. We must give room for the Lord to work in their hearts, without prodding or over controlling their environment. By the time they are sixteen years old, we must believe they will make choices based on their upbringing and walk with God. Our children will make mistakes. So did we—and God used those mistakes in our lives. We must let go and entrust our children to Him—the One who loves them and cares for them far better than we do.

God’s word promises us that the Lord will fulfill His purposes for our children (Psalm 138:8). Let's believe Him. Let's trust Him. We can rest in peace, knowing they are His and that He will accomplish His will in their lives.