The Savior called me to run a marathon. He asked me to educate my own children. This isn’t his agenda for everyone; but it was his agenda for our family (see End of an Era). When he called, I was flummoxed. It was the 1980s. People went to jail for educating their own children.
“Who me?” I said to him. “I’m not one of those people.”
He was patiently persistent.
Rather than a mere twenty-six-mile race, my marathon spanned decades, gobbled up my youth, and took the middle years, too, a full two-thirds of my life. When I started, I had no idea how many years the Lord had in mind for this race. It’s a good thing he didn’t tell me. I would have fainted cold away before I even got started, if he had.
Today I wrap up twenty-eight years of homeschooling, and I am grateful, exultant, fulfilled, and blessed to have been able to do it. I’m also completely at the end of myself. Besides giving my children a good Christian education, my own brokenness and need for Christ seemed to be the personal point of the race.
The difficulty of the task and the length I was called to do it showed me my weakness and was part of the broken road that God used to bring me closer to himself. The Lord taught me to rely on him, rather than on my own puny self. It was a school of hard knocks, and it took me too long to learn the lesson. I wish I’d gotten the point sooner. I’m glad I finally listened. I want my life to glorify God, to show that I am nothing and he is much.
This part of the lesson is now complete. Tomorrow I move on to the next tutorial.
Here’s what I’m experiencing as I launch my last homeschooled child:
1) Bittersweet sadness at being forced into retirement from a beloved career spent with the most precious people on the planet, enjoying all of their most sacred moments. There is no better way I could have spent my days.
2) Joy in the fulfillment of this part of the lifelong spiritual vocation to which God called me: Motherhood.
3) Exaltation that Christ held me up and kept me on the course he’d set before me and that I actually did it. Wow! When I began, I was not the kind of girl who could do this sort of thing.
4) Looming empty-nest syndrome for a mother who has been at home taking care of my children for thirty-four-and-a-half years. Any other career pales in comparison, but I prepare myself to take all the lessons learned into the next phase: my fledgling start as a writer.
I am thoroughly depleted. But it has been worth it. By the grace of God and his grace alone, the impossible mission has been accomplished. To God alone be the glory.