As I have had the opportunity of meeting many home school families across America over the past 15 years I have seen a trend. Families are getting involved in more and more activities and the simplicity of home schooling for many families is quickly vanishing. The result is that many parents are getting more and more weary. Unfortunately, I have seen this same trend in my own family. The merry-go-round of our home schooling experience is increasing in speed each year. At first the increase was barely perceptible. However, the accumulative affect is quite significant.
When we first began to home school, our children were young (and we were younger too!). As the years go on we have felt an increasing burden to prepare our children for life. Lesson planning ... teaching ... driving to co-op classes ... preparing dinner ... washing the clothes ... correcting papers ... cleaning the house... the piles seem to be every where! Our older children want to talk with us sometimes late into the night seeking wisdom and counsel for their lives while our younger children awake before sunrise ready for the day. We don’t want to lose the joy of our family by letting these pressures overwhelm us or the increasing busyness rob us of our peace.
Rested and Refreshed
Jesus knows how we feel and He has provided just exactly what we need - Himself. He says, “Come to me...” How often we substitute activities for Christ Himself. We come to this or that activity hoping to find rest only to find that we are running out of strength. Jesus is tenderly calling “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened.” This invitation is accompanied with a wonderful prom- ise, “and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He desires to refresh and restore our lives amidst the difficulties of home schooling. He of course never tires. All we have to do is to come to Him mo- ment by moment during the day. He refreshes our lives.
Jesus goes on to further explain, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me...” Surrender your life to me He says just as I surrendered My life to the Father. He then reassures us that our surrender is not to some evil tyrant but rather He adds “I am gentle and humble in heart ...” Why would we resist such an invitation?
I am reminded of times that our little ones are exhausted from their daily activities and how Shirley holds them in her arms to read them a wonderful story. Shortly they are refreshed as they find their rest. Their energy and joy are restored and they are off to play again. To make sure we understood the promise Jesus restates that “you will find rest [inner peace and deep refreshment] for your souls” (Matthew11:29). That is the promise of our coming to Christ moment by moment. Do you hear Him calling?
Jesus says come to me and I will satisfy and refresh you from within. “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified” (John 7:37-39).
As we come to Christ not only are we personally refreshed but our home school is refreshed. We become like streams of living water refreshing others. Our husband or wife, and our children will be blessed and refreshed by our coming moment-by-moment to Christ! What joy it is to come to Him and to remain in Him. This is what it means to “Abide in Me...” ( John 15).
Joy Comes in the Morning
Often when the words rest or refreshed are used in Scripture, the little word joy is found there too. If you have been facing times of discouragement, confusion or tiredness in your home school, come to Him to find rest, refreshment, and joy. David says, “I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou hast lifted me up ...Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.... For His anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning....” (Psalm 30:1, 5).
Is it night right now in your life? If you are teaching two or three children and you have one or two toddlers, it may seem like endless night, but remember! “Joy cometh in the morning!”
Henry van Dyke, professor of literature at Princeton University and Presbyterian minister penned this wonderful hymn.
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (1911) by Henry van Dyke
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love; Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, Opening to the sun above. Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; Drive the dark of doubt away; Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day!
All Thy works with joy surround Thee, Earth and heavn’ reflect Thy rays, Stars and angels sing around Thee, Center of unbroken praise;
Field and forest, vale and mountain, Flowery meadow, flashing sea. Chanting bird and flowing fountain, Call us to rejoice in Thee.
Thou art giving and forgiving, Ever blessing, ever blest, Wellspring of the joy of living, Ocean depth of happy rest! Thou our Father, Christ our brother, all who live in love are Thine’ Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine. Mortal join the mighty chorus, Which the morning stars began; Father love is reigning o’er us, Brother love binds man to man. Ever singing, march we onward, Victors in the midst of strife; Joyful music leads us sunward In the triumph song of life.
Sing to the Lord! ... Come to Him today with your whole family and find joy amidst the activity of your lives. Substitute nothing for Christ.