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Called to Refinement

This year has brought about many unforeseen plans and changes to people’s lives, one being homeschooling. There has been an unprecedented increase in families choosing to homeschool amid all the restrictions and regulations being put into place in the classrooms. There have been families who have considered homeschooling in the past, but never quite took the plunge, while others are choosing homeschooling out of necessity and best interest for their children during these times. Whatever the reasoning, I’m encouraged and excited for your journey ahead for I know with certainty that God has called and led you on this path. Many parents are feeling overwhelmed and nervous about travelling down this path for numerous reasons, but one of the main reasons I hear time and time again is because they feel they lack patience. Quite often, when I mention that we homeschool our children, the most common response is, “You must be a patient person.”

I will wholeheartedly admit to you all that I am not a patient person, yet it is for this exact reason that I feel the Lord has called me to homeschooling.  The Lord often works in ways that move us toward refinement. Only He knows the deepest depths of our hearts. He knows our greatest strengths but also our greatest weaknesses. He knows all the good that is in us, as well as, all the sin hidden below the surface. It is the sin hidden within us that He is most concerned about, because He desires for us to grow in righteousness. He knows the hardships and struggles that come with living with sin and He does not care for any of His children to endure these things. So, He sets forth before us a path that will help rid us of this sin. Often it requires us to deal with it head on, on a daily basis. It comes with great struggle, but this struggle leads us to righteousness, whereas sin only leads to destruction.

I believe most people who don’t live in my house would say I’m a patient person. Whenever they see me, I look put together and composed. I assert appropriate authority over my children when we are in public. I am not one to get irate in public or cause a scene. What people see on the outside is a patient person. But the Lord does not care about outward appearances, He cares about the heart, and in my heart, I am an impatient, quick to anger person.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

It has been through homeschooling, that the Lord has done some of the most transformational work in my life. It is in the day-to-day battles with my sin that I realized I could no longer neglect it. I could not keep going day after day fighting with my children. I was reacting rather than responding; berating rather than encouraging. I was not someone that my children wanted to be around and by the end of the day, I didn’t want to be around myself either.  I felt defeated and deflated and I knew our days could not continue in this manner.

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20

At first, I was trying to come up with ways to change how my children behaved, because I thought that if I could change them, then I could change myself. However, this is not the case. Of course, the Spirit gently reminded me that I can only change myself. I was reminded that we are all sinners and it was in that moment that I sort of had a light bulb moment. My expectations for my children were completely unrealistic. I was expecting my children to be sinless, which in turn would result in me not sinning. But how could I expect my children, who are still just beginning to grasp their faith and have yet to acknowledge Jesus in their hearts to live without sin. I was setting them and myself up for failure. If transformation was to happen, it needed to start with me and that’s never an easy thing to hear.

I had to realize that change starts with myself. I can only control me and no one else. If my child wakes up with a terrible attitude, or is not focused and refusing to do their school work, or chooses to bicker and fight with his siblings, then I can choose to respond with patience rather than frustration. I can exert the fruit of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It is through the transformational work of the Spirit in me that change and refinement occurs. I am always encouraged by the book of James. He starts his letter with these words,

“Consider it pure joy, dear brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

I am yet to be perfect, and highly doubt that I ever will be, but I have been refined thus far and trust that with perseverance I will be mature and complete, not lacking anything. I also know I am a work in progress and that this is marathon, not a sprint. I have many years of homeschooling ahead of me, which I’m certain will continue the refinement process. In the book of Romans, Paul reminds us,

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30

I hope you find these words as encouraging as I do, as you embark on this journey. I know the Lord has great plans for you. He desires to glorify you through this calling, transforming you into an image bearer of Christ Jesus. For when others look upon your transformation, they will know with certainty that the LORD’s hand was at work in you!

Many Blessings!

SHARE: What areas do you see the LORD refining in you?

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