Is it possible that even our deficiencies as a homeschoolers are part of God’s gift to our children?
I don’t know about you, but my kids are turning out a lot like me– not that they’re carbon copies, but there are, say, family resemblances. Realistically speaking, my kids are sinners, and no amount of spit and polish, no quantity of education will change that. Although it’s painful to see my sins reflected in my children, it has historically proven to be a blessing in disguise. Deficiencies, sins, are what we all have in common. When I look at things right, familiar sins are opportunities to extend the miracle of God’s forgiveness to my kids. Sharing my own stories of failure and redemption with them, I testify in practical ways to the present and very practical reality of grace.
For example, in my role as a homeschool mom, I have often been tempted to find my identity in my work with my children. When my kids succeed, I consider myself a success. When they are failing, I call myself a failure. This performance construct has placed a burden on my kids to make me successful, setting both of us up for stress and disappointment.
I shouldn’t be surprised; this is a logical consequence of breaking the first commandment: Thou shalt have no gods before me. When I seek identity and place in anything smaller than Jesus, I turn that thing, regardless of its seeming nobility or goodness, into an idol. Idols have a way of turning on us and devouring us whole. Remembering the gospel, however, sets me free to participate in all my activities from my secure and acceptable place as the beloved of God. The gospel restores homeschooling to its proper role of activity. That’s good; it was never meant to be an identity anyway.
When viewed in light of grace, my daily sins and failures become “teachable moments” for me and my kids. What are we learning in these moments but the love of God? Because Jesus succeeded for us, we are free to fail. Because Jesus performed perfectly for us, our imperfect performance doesn’t count against us. The gospel sets us free from the law of sin and death by reminding us that we are not what we do. It declares that our identity is rooted in the person and work of Jesus Christ, who loves us and pronounces us good works of God. When Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan so long ago, the Father evaluated Him before the world: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” These words spoken to Jesus are ours as well when we trust in Christ’s performance rather than our own.
God’s pronouncement that we are acceptable in the Beloved is more than a proclamation; it’s a promise. This is because God’s word always produces what it commands. Consider the creation account: God commanded the light to shine; His word caused it to be so. God’s creative word effected what He commanded, and that’s good news for the likes of you and me.
I pray this year for gospel memory. I pray that I will remember the evaluation of the Father, and repeat it for my children: “These are my beloved children, in whom I am well pleased.” And He is pleased, because His word creates what it requires both in us and for us. May the truth of the gospel fill us with hope in the New Year and sets us free to pursue homeschooling excellence apart from the fearful curse of the law.