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Current Issue

He is Faithful

by Rachael Carman

God’s faithfulness on this journey continues to overwhelm me. We have just started our twentieth year of homeschooling, and I continue to marvel at the many ways God has shown Himself mighty in our lives. He truly has blessed our family beyond anything I could have asked or imagined.

In retrospect, I can clearly see His hand at work in four ways: in the planning, in the preparation, in the provision, and in the perseverance. I could not have anticipated His intervention in these areas before we stepped into this adventure. But He invited us to trust Him, and He grew our faith and glorified Himself each step of the way.

In the Planning

I am a planner. I had a plan. It was not like we didn’t know what we wanted to do. We bought a house in the highest-rated school district so that our son could attend the “best” school. We paid more than we wanted for a home as a sacrifice for our child’s education. We thought we were doing what was best for him.

The long and short of our decision to homeschool is that God had a radically different plan from ours. He interrupted our plan and interjected His. He brought about circumstances that we couldn’t have anticipated. Suddenly, with our backs against the wall and no other choices, we took our son out of the system and brought him home.

When we started homeschooling, all I really wanted was to survive. Charles was a very strong-willed child. When we started, all I could imagine was days of frustration and boredom and discouragement. We told ourselves and others that it was only for this one year, to get our son through kindergarten. Surely, I told myself, I couldn’t mess up kindergarten.

But God had a plan to bless our family in ways we couldn’t anticipate. He knew what Charles needed, and He knew that Charles’s needs could be best met at home. While we had planned to be involved in the PTA, God had planned for us to grow as a family.

In the beginning of our journey I dreamed too small, simply hoping to teach my kids to read. But as we continued, God granted me bigger and greater dreams. He began to show me His plan. He began to show me the relationships He wanted us to prioritize before the academics. Slowly but surely He directed our steps and brought about His plans in our lives.

In the Preparation

My college degree is in secondary education, history, and English. That’s right. I’m a trained professional educator. Now most people’s response to this is, “No wonder you homeschool. You’re qualified!” But I have found my degree to be more of a hindrance than a help. I was taught to aim for the middle of the bell curve and hope for the ends. However, as a homeschooling mom, I have the opportunity to individualize each child’s education.

So I didn’t find my training as helpful as my passion. I loved the classroom. I loved helping the students, discussing the information, and seeing them grow. In fact, as a young mother, I was already looking forward to getting back to teaching in a classroom.

The irony isn’t lost on me. God used my love of teaching and my longing to get back into the classroom to draw my heart towards my own children. As I was dreaming about going back to teach in the system, God was preparing my heart to teach my own children.

God prepared us in advance to homeschool our children. He had a plan and had made preparations for us to follow His will.

As we continued to homeschool, one day at a time, simply walking by faith, I could see how He had prepared my heart to teach my children. I could see how He was knitting our hearts together and how He was growing our relationships with each other and with Him.

In the Provision

All along the way God met our every need. He did not do this in lavish or extravagant ways, but He always provided what we needed. And we grew dependent on Him for direction and wisdom.

For example, we thought we had purchased our chosen house so that our children could attend the best school in the district. When we began homeschooling, it seemed that we had made a mistake. But God knew what He was doing. An extra room over the garage would become our “school room.” We hadn’t known we needed it, but there it was.

God provided support groups and mentors to help us navigate the journey. We didn’t know we needed them, but He did. We attended conferences and went to workshops where God provided encouragement through speakers who pointed us back to Him. Over and over we were reminded to focus on Him and Him alone.

I am grateful that God doesn’t show us His whole plan. I know that I couldn’t have handled the whole plan initially. He has continued to send us opportunities to grow and trust Him. He has never failed us, providing us everything we need every step along the way.

In the Perseverance

In the early days of homeschooling, I thought I would eventually reach a point in the journey where I would have it all figured out. I still have the huge spreadsheets I originally made that show my detailed plans. (Funny how along the way, I would occasionally slip back into my plan, even in the middle of His perfect plan.)

I kept thinking that if I could just figure it out, then I could hit some kind of “coast” button that would allow me to sit back and relax. No more having to walk by faith. Instead I could work the formula. I liked the sound of that. But cruising on automatic pilot is never God’s will for our lives.

He wants us to soar! He wants to grow us and our faith. So He is constantly providing opportunities for us to serve others while developing a deeper relationship with Him. He knows that in order for us to grow, we must be challenged.

There have been hundreds of times I’ve wanted to quit homeschooling. There have been days when I wanted to run from our house screaming, “I give up! This is too hard!” Those are usually days when I’ve tried to do it without Him. Those are days when I wanted to do what I wanted to do—days when I was inflexible, selfish, and not focused on Him.

Prayer and perseverance are the keys to homeschooling. Praying constantly, throughout the day—not just a few moments in the morning, but an ongoing conversation that permeates each moment. Praying continually grants us peace and strength and wisdom for each step. It allows for

the needed pause. It grants some kindness, gentleness, and grace.

Perseverance means taking the nextstep as we walk in the footsteps of Christ. It means remembering that He goes before us, walks alongside us, and comes behind us. Persevering means that we keep on going when we don’t know how. Persevering means we can trust that He knows the future. It means standing firm and allowing Him to fight on our behalf. It means that we rely on Him for the results.

One of my favorite Bible verses, one that has encouraged me on this journey, is the admonition to “not grow weary in doing good” (Galatians 6:9). It’s so easy to grow weary, to allow the cares of the world—the exhaustion, the demands, and the judgments—to wear us down. The old hymn is a perfect reminder:

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

Throughout our journey, God has proven faithful in His plan, preparation, provision, and perseverance. Would you allow Him to show you His faithfulness by stepping out in faith and homeschooling? He will not disappoint you. He is the Lord of glory, and He is Able. You can trust Him.

Rachael enjoys laughing with her husband Davis of twenty- nine years and their seven kids. She is the author of two books: Soundbites from Heaven and How to Have a HEART for Your Kids. Rachael is passionate about God’s Word and encouraging

moms to pursue Him whole heartedly. She and Davis own Apologia Educational Ministries. You
can find Rachael on: HisSunflower.com

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