Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.”
This proverb is quoted by Miss Stacy in the movie version of Anne of Green Gables. I often repeat it to my children. At the start of this new year, I am thinking of painting it over the doorway to our home or maybe screen printing it on a t-shirt or perhaps tattooing it on my forehead.
It is ever present in my mind because this fall has been a difficult one for our home school. There have been no earth-shattering tragedies in our home, but we have struggled to find a peaceful rhythm to our days. The pace of our lives has been too frantic and stressful. We have not found enough time to fellowship with one another.
So, as we approach the new year, I am grateful for fresh tomorrows with no mistakes in them (yet). I am thankful that God promises me new mercies each morning:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'”
– Lamentations 3:22-24
Homeschooling: Expectations vs. Reality
Personality tests have labeled me as a firstborn, type A, driver. This means that I always struggle to wait for the Lord. It is too comfortable to seize the reins myself. After all, there is so much to do every day. Surely I had better get started crafting each day according to my plans and ideals.
Many times as homeschool parents, and even as Christians, our idealized visions lead us into disappointment. So many times, a new Christian will experience the high of being a new creature in Christ, soaring on the excitement of intimacy with Him, only to crash into despair when they fall into the first sin and begin the battle in earnest.
I would imagine many of us had an idealized vision of homeschooling. If you are at all like me, you probably envisioned neatly groomed children sitting at your feet in an immaculately clean house listening with rapt attention while you spellbound them with literary classics or exposed the wonders of nature to them or thrilled them with stories from history (possibly for hours on end). These sweet children would jump in obedience at the gentlest sound of mother’s voice and would always address each other with kindness, respect, and a total lack of selfishness.
Then, at some point, everyone realized that they were living in a house full of sinners, parents included. Suddenly, you faced messes and illnesses and endless interruptions. Some days the children did not want to open their books. Tempers flared when an algebra problem just would not make sense or when the science project was spread out through five rooms. On one morning, four children all needed mom’s help in four different subjects—immediately. Some days the new treadmill became a folding shelf for the endless laundry instead of an exercise machine.
In those moments, I need to recite another verse which is posted prominently on my kitchen wall: “Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10, NIV). In our busyness and our schedules and plans which give us an illusion of control, we become comical. We are like hamsters running on the wheel in our cage, forgetting that a giant God stands outside the cage with food, water, shelter, and rest.
Let God Lead Your Fresh Start
So, in the stillness of the days after the holidays, I have had time to remember that God is ever-present and in control. I have spent some time pouring out my heart to Him, seeking forgiveness for my mistakes, particularly for my impatience and my repeated attempts to lead instead of being led by Him. I have made a few resolutions for our family for the New Year, rearranging some of our schedules and realigning our priorities.
This winter, we will make time to be still so that we can reflect on who He is and pour forth praise to Him. We will make time for sharing great books and great conversation together. We will invite grace and mercy into our home by slowing down enough to speak gently to one another. We will find some breathing space so that we can struggle through the difficult academics calmly and thoughtfully, knowing that the struggle will lead us to a new understanding of the inner workings of His beautifully designed world.
We will honor Him for His faithfulness by resting in Him, in His sacrifice for us, in His goodness, and in His mercy and grace. These are the best resolutions we can offer.
This article was originally written by Jennifer Courtney on January 7, 2013.