Four More Years

daughter faith family homeschool homeschooling Inspiration jeannie fulbright motherhood raising children with God

The post below was written during the time when I was entering the homestretch of homeschooling my oldest. These heart reflections and questions were born out of the startling realization I had only four more years with my daughter in the home.

Lately, the thought of having only four more years of homeschooling my oldest has been with me constantly. Four more years! Can you imagine? After it’s all said and done, what will have been the most important thing I did as a homeschool mother? What will benefit her the most? Will it be completing every course with an A+? That’s not a bad thing, but will the effort be the best use of her time? Will it be scoring top honors on the PSAT or the SAT? That’s a nice thought, but will the preparation for perfect scores be the best use of our precious hours over the next four years? What is our goal with this child with whom God has so mercifully blessed us? What is His goal for this child?

Four More Years

I know that nurturing her walk with God must be number one.

We must be the kind of parents that she can trust, parents that respect her and treat her the way all teenagers hope to be treated; this will increase her receptive heart toward the things of God.

Without neglecting academics, but not allowing them to interfere with our relationship or dominate every moment of her time, these years should be focused on leading her into a closer walk with God, a genuine dependence on the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. This should be more important than academics, for only the Lord knows what her path will be. Her whole life is written in His book—every single day. If she learns to genuinely walk with Him, she will stay on His perfect, narrow path. She will not make drastic mistakes. Without a true walk with God (if straight A’s were her focus instead of the Lord) life would be very difficult. Neither an Ivy League education nor a PhD can provide her all that God promises.

When a young man proposes to her, how will she know if he is the right person? Only if she has developed a lifestyle of walking closely in the counsel of God will she know how to discern His will for her life. I want her to learn to recognize the Holy Spirit; I don’t want to be her Holy Spirit. If I spend these next four years taking the place of the Holy Spirit, she’s in danger of mistaking His voice for mine, thinking it’s my voice in her head nagging at her! She is a Christian, after all, and the same Spirit dwells in her that dwells in me. He is capable of leading her just as certainly as He is capable of leading me. Before she leaves this house, nothing will benefit her more (not perfect grades or SAT scores) than knowing how to be led by the Spirit. Nothing can compare.

I might be tempted to worry about my own lack of sanctification, fearing I’ve not done all I should have done, been all I should have been, or taught all that I should have taught. I could easily fall into the well of despair, considering all my regrets and what I’ve done wrong over the years. Honestly, I don’t want to spend these next four years wallowing in that pit.

If I give in to worry, dwelling on the hypotheticals, listening to the terrifying, catastrophic voice of fear, it will drive me to spend these next four years in angst, striving with her over uncompleted assignments, messy rooms, and undone chores. Instead of dealing with the inevitable attitudes with grace, mercy, and loving talks (and sometimes gently instituted consequences) I might explode with angry words and harsh penalties.

Love always produces better fruit than a fear-based reaction.

With fear as my guide, I would find myself rapidly fast-forwarding into the future, visualizing the ultimate destruction that every imperfection and unsanctified character trait could possibly bring. Fear has a tendency to show us worst possible case scenarios and insist they will happen. Faith tells us differently.

No. I do not want to waste these last four years walking in a spirit of fear. I so desire to walk in the Spirit of Truth.

If I, as her mother, walk in the Spirit, staying close to God and not forsaking a genuine relationship with Him in favor of principles, philosophies, teachings, and guidelines. If I continue listening to His still, small voice in my heart, quieting my soul, and allowing Him to impart a gentleness, mercy, and hope unknown to my fleshly nature, He will guide me as I guide her; He will give me fruitful wisdom with my words and decisions; He will show me how to deal with the issues that occur with merciful discernment.

If I stay close to Jesus, abiding in the vine, gathering manna daily, tuning my heart to the Shepherd who gently leads those who have young, I know for certain that I will spend these next four years without regret. Oh! May it be so!

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25

“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4:6

Read on for more homeschool inspiration.

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