From the time we were married, Jason and I always discussed our desire to homeschool our children. So, you can imagine my dismay when Jason changed his mind when our oldest daughter was about to begin Kindergarten. Seemingly overnight, he flip-flopped from advocating for homeschool to believing it wasn’t a good fit for our family.
Marriage becomes harder when a husband and wife have conflicting visions for their family, and this was no exception. I fought him tooth and nail for many, many months. One night, after yet another challenging discussion, I pointed my finger at him and growled through clenched teeth,
“You are taking away the very thing God has called me to do.”
Jason immediately became the bad guy. I fervently prayed for God to change his mind and unite us with a single vision. I was sure that Jason was making a selfish choice, and I never hesitated to let him know. One morning, as I was praying, God began to ask me a series of questions regarding my desire to homeschool,
- Do you feel like you are a better mother if you homeschool? Yes.
- Do you feel like others are expecting you to homeschool? Yes.
- Do you feel like schools undermine your role as a mother? Yes.
With each question, I grew more excited believing that God was about to take up my cause. He seemed to understand my desire, and I just knew he was going to avenge me. The Lord, however, took the conversation in a different direction when He asked,
Is homeschooling an idol in your life?
For months I believed that my husband was keeping me from living the life God wanted for me when the reality was that God was using my husband to bring down an idol in my life. It was the Holy Spirit, not stubbornness, which led Jason to change the direction of our family. The Lord is a jealous God who fights for our total devotion. Misplaced identity and security is an affront to Him.
Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. ~ Exodus 34:14
I apologized to Jason and we prayerfully considered school options for our children. We chose a small private school which only offers classes a few days a week. It was the perfect balance for us. However, during the last school year, the idea of homeschool lingered in my mind. I kept these thoughts to myself because I couldn’t find an example in Scripture where God gave a person back their idol.
I examined my heart and could say with certainty that homeschooling didn’t hold the sinful weight it once had. The Lord must have agreed because, about this time last year, Jason also felt like toward homeschool.
Over the summer we transformed our playroom into a schoolroom.
And in late August Narrow Gate Academy officially began.
The inspiration for our school’s name, Narrow Gate Academy, comes from the start of our driveway (pictured above) and Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.“ Our prayer is that the truth, love, and grace taught in our school will equip and encourage our children to enter through The Narrow Gate.
That transition to homeschool has been different than I expected.
While I am excited for the opportunity to teach my children, I’ve equally been fighting discouragement. I struggled, since the beginning, feeling overwhelmed and fearing failure. It’s like I am trying to juggle eighteen balls, and am dropping every single one. The days I spend teaching leaves little to no margin for preparing dinner or doing laundry. Days I spend playing with the children and catching up on housework puts me behind on our lesson plans. In addition, homeschooling has eliminated almost all of “my time” that I used to spend relaxing, scrapbooking, or writing blog posts.
God doesn’t give us our idols back.
Instead, He allows scenarios where we can grow in holiness.
Years ago God used Jason to lead me deeper in my faith by having me forsake an idol. God knew that if I were to start teaching one child in kindergarten (when the others siblings were younger and still napping), the transition would have been easier for me rather than edifying. The Father is always stretching us.
In waiting until this year to make the transition, God is conforming me even more to His likeness by having me die to myself and my plans. As I’m trying to balance teaching third grade, first grade, and Kindergarten in addition to the two young (non-nappers), I feel unqualified on this route. And that’s where he wants us because it is in these moments of weakness we find ourselves crying out to Him rather than carrying on in our own strength. Expendable things that I have done (and loved) for years have had to descend on my “to-do” list if not fall off it all together. It has been challenging and yet at the same time rewarding. I am confident that this is the right choice for our family, but I was unprepared to die to myself in many ways big and small.
I don’t know what journey God has you on today, but His goal is not to exasperate you or leave you feeling discouraged.
God doesn’t want you relying on your own strength, but instead, He wants you to live in such a way that you are calling on him every minute to complete the impossible. The more we leave behind the patterns of this world, the more we will accurately reflect His Son. And, as wives, let’s never forget that sometimes God uses our husbands to lead our family in the opposite direction in the way we think we should go.
What faith journey does God have you on right now?