Failure

Ever feel like a failure as a home schooling mom? Yeah, I know you do. I know because I see it as the most common post in homeschooling FB sites I’m part of. I know because I feel it too. Almost everyday. Some days more than others. This week has been one of those weeks. Everyday there has been something to knock me down.

Something telling me, “you aren’t cut out for this. You are not smart enough. Your kids will never make it if you teach them at home.”

This week it’s been coming at me from every side. Bad grades being exposed. Kids not telling me they are struggling so I think everything is fine only to find out it’s utter disaster. One prayed for God to help them get caught up to the other kids in band. I thought said child was doing fine. I look at ACT tests, colleges, tech schools, and think we’ll never get there. They will never do well enough to get in. And if they do get in, they’ll struggle so much they’ll want to quit. And it’s all because of me and my shortcomings.

I don’t really know the answer to this feeling. I know that part of it is a lie from the devil. He wants me to believe I’m not capable. He wants me to believe I should give up now before it’s too late. He wants me to believe that if we just had more money to put the kids into all sorts of activities then they’d be fine. He wants me to believe that a different curriculum or a different method will be better. He wants me to keep chasing the next best thing. I know that he’s trying to get me to believe his lies and, thankfully, I know how to fight him. But even still, it’s hard.

It’s so hard not to get caught up in it, thinking this is the end of the world and because there’s a bad grade or even a failed class my kids will never be successful. It’s hard to not compare to others around me.

But I wonder if part of it is conviction too. Not the lie that I’m not capable, but the feeling that maybe I’m not doing enough. Is there, somewhere in there, some conviction from the Lord? Is he trying to wake me up out of my apathy and remind me to keep on keeping on? Is there a still, small whisper in the midst of the screaming lies that’s telling me to push a little harder than I did before?

I don’t know, maybe. I know I waste time sitting on FB on the couch. I know I am uninterested sometimes in getting to school, again, for the umpteenth day. So maybe He is trying to nudge me just a little.

I also know that in the midst of the loud, consistent lie that I’m not enough and not doing enough, Jesus whispers truth. If I would just stop to listen, I’d hear it. And I have heard it this week. He has been reminding me that he loves me and He loves my children more than even I do.

I saw this quote on FB today:

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I felt like Jesus was speaking loud and clear in that moment. And because I read that quote, reminders of how great my kids are came rushing at me. I was reminded how much they love others and how hard they work. I was reminded of how one of them knows just when I need a hug. I thought about how they can make me laugh, how they love to learn new things and are willing to be daring. They are extraordinary people with gifts and talents that are just beginning to emerge.

We’ve been reading through Matthew as a family. The image of Jesus walking, talking, teaching, loving is so vivid as you read His words. I think about what He did while He was on earth and how He impacted people around Him. It wasn’t all about academics and good test grades. It was about love.

Does that make the feeling go away completely? No. It doesn’t. Let’s be real. I will probably still feel like a failure. I will probably still question what I’m doing and if it’s good enough. I will probably want to give up, sometimes daily. I’ll probably still get all worked up over bad grades and missed assignments.

Yesterday I had to wait a few hours to have a talk with one of our kids. I think the Lord gave me those few hours as a gift. I started out really upset and I know I wouldn’t have handled the situation in that moment well. As the time went on, thoughts came to me of how great said child is and how far they’ve come. There were times not too far in that past that were so much worse than this moment. In those few hours, being able to think and ponder on that changed my heart immensely. Suddenly the bad grade wasn’t the end-all, it was just a moment in a series of moments. I was able to see more clearly that getting angry really wasn’t even worth it.

By the time I had the chance to talk it out with this child, it was a calm conversation. A conversation filled with love and with me being able to tell this child all the amazing traits I see in him/her. I was able to tell said child how important he/she was to me and how the grades are so much less important than our relationship.

Did I just let it all slide? No, there was plan put in action with work to be done. There was a consequence of less friend time, but it was all done in love and calm discussion. I can’t say it always happens that way. I thank God for those few hours He gave me so I could calm down and see long term.

Maybe some of my kids won’t get into college. Maybe some will be C students all their school years. Maybe some will graduate top of their class. Who knows? The reminder this week, for me, is that it’s not everything. School, classes, grades, colleges, scholarships…they aren’t everything. Are they important? Sure, of course. But they aren’t everything.

Am I good enough? Is what I’m doing enough? I guess in that I just need to keep bringing it back to the Lord and asking Him what my kids need, instead of asking the world or trying to keep up or compare. Easier said than done, I know. But we’ve got to start somewhere. Maybe I need to do more, maybe not. I’m going to try to trust that the Lord will sort that one out for me. I’m going to say, right now, “Devil, not today. I’m not going to get sucked into your lies. I’m not going to be knocked down by you. I’m going to believe Jesus when He says He loves me and my kids.” He knows just what we need, each and every one of us.