By Pauline Abello
Last semester we all started a journey together. The Lord led us to this moment, together, to climb this mountain called HOMESCHOOL. For many of us, we never thought we would climb this mountain. It was a surprise to be at the foot of it. Even looking up at it seemed daunting. So high…. Others didn’t feel qualified to climb the mountain. And yet here they stand too. All of us, from all walks of life. The Lord has called us to climb “Homeschool Mountain” together.
So we began. And how lovely and easy it began, it started as a nice shallow hill. We were waving at the crowds in the bleachers, smiling. But then the shallow hill took a steep turn. I want to say it was about October, right? The newness wore off and the climb got steep. This is like marriage too (there is a separate mountain for that one!) Anything that is worth doing has hard moments. It requires effort. Together we made our way up, at times helping each other, pointing out jagged rocks, even carrying each other when needed, because that’s what friends do.
And then, just when we needed it, there appeared a lovely flat ledge called “winter break”. There we stood, with our hands on our knees, panting and getting a breather. We even sat down and enjoyed a meal or two. But we knew we still had the rest of the hill to climb. We took a moment to look back at journey we travelled. We saw the paths we chose to take. I looked back and saw where where I gotten my leg all caught up in a vine called “comprehension questions” (the frustration of that one held me back for quite awhile, like a rope tied to my ankle, but then I released that to the Lord and now we fill in the blanks if it suits my purposes). Maybe there was a giant rock you stumbled on called “nosy friend or well meaning MIL”. We learned to find a way to honor the rock…but also not to let it cause us to falter. Oh…and don’t forget the escalator we kept seeing. Who puts an escalator on a mountain?! But there it was….so shiny, glistening, and tempting…. on one of the dark gloomy days we might have walked over to read the plaque which says in large letters “PUBLIC SCHOOL: EASY RIDE TO THE END”. How tempting to hop on and skip the climb! But that was not the road we were called to.
As we climbed higher we saw the escalator wasn’t all we thought it would be. Some of the steps were missing and many people fell from the escalator to their destruction. Those that managed to hang on were left scraped and bruised when the steps started to fall apart. It didn’t deliver all that it promised.
And in the midst of a mountain, with another half yet still to climb, it is easy to forget all that we accomplished. Too often we wait until it is too late to enjoy and celebrate. So let us take a moment and remember. Remember the path we took called “laughter.” Remember the moments of joy that we shared with our children. Let us also remember the Reading Tree, where we sat and read beautiful things with our children. And best was when we discovered the Cave of Knowledge. It was a great day when there we realized that so much of what we knew was so valuable and yet it was not written in any books —and we had the opportunity to impart that knowledge to our children. Inside we found rocks with the words written, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. These stones we take with us. We give them to our children. They are weightless as we carry them on our journey, and they never run out.
As we head into this second semester I want to encourage us to take the best path. This will make the climb easier and filled with joy. We can climb as with carrying a burden or we can release those burdens to the Lord and enjoy the thrill of the climb. The choice is always our own.
To be sure, the climb this semester is no less steep than last year, but the reward is great. The prize is worth far more than a simple medal. We will make it—together. But there will be things to stumble on and wrong paths to take. So I wanted to start us on the right path. This path comes with a map. And the map is a simple one, no matter which way your turn it, it always points to just one way….to Him. There may be problems that assail you, things that worry you, but the solution is always the same. Seek Him first. The map simply says:
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
All these “things” will be added unto you. What are the things? We all know too well “all the things.” All those things are the things we probably worry about, right? How often do we seek first “all the things” and then if there is time, we secondly seek God. But He gives us this beautiful, simple promise. Seek first His 1) Kingdom and 2) Righteousness and then all the things shall be added unto us. All the things we worry about – that yes, are important – but they give us undue stress and worry.
These burdens lay all over the mountain, heavy packs that we were not meant to carry. We choose to lift up a burden and carry it up the mountain. But all the while the Lord was telling us that we could release that burden to Him. That He already knew our needs and He would take care of them. “All these things will be added unto you.” Seek Him first. Lay the burdens down and enjoy the climb. Walk freely with the Lord.
When you see the angry trolls that live on the mountain who remind you of your failings, just ignore them and keep your eyes on God. We allow the stress and anxiety to get to us. The solution is still the same. Seek Him first. Seek the Lord together as a family. Make time to be in His presence. Make Him a priority. And you’ll see, all your homeschooling efforts are not in vain. If your children are called to go to college or a vocation- the Lord knows. He sees you homeschooling. He sees you climbing the mountain that He called you to. He will honor that. You cannot thwart the Will of God. Rest in His presence and seek Him first.
We may be climbing, and doing everything we think is right, and then we look over at our children and see them stumbling. There are difficult things going on. That can be really hard. But still—all the more—-Seek Him First. Our children will learn by watching us love the Lord. The most important thing we can do is bring our children to the feet of Jesus. He knows our needs. He knows them. Love the Lord with all your heart and mind and soul. And let your children see that love pour out of you. The Lord loves our children more than we could (and we love them a lot). Seek Him first and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. He knows your needs and he knows your “things”. And yet now and always – seek Him first.
Some of us are going through financial, health, or marriage problems. We are crossing a bridge that feels like it is shaking. Or perhaps it is dark, and we cannot see our feet in front of us, and we are following the path blind. It is scary. This makes homeschooling hard (as does any crisis makes really just about everything harder). God knows. He is there with you. He knows your needs and He loves you. He will see you through. Still, now and more than ever – Seek Him first. All these things will be added unto you.
When things get hard it is so easy to go elsewhere. But always start with the Lord. Offer up the thing that is troubling you to the Lord. Pray daily. Pray without ceasing. And then watch Him do a mighty work. We serve a mighty God and nothing is too hard for Him.
See you at the top of the Mountain – we WILL make it …together!
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