"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
(1 Jn 4:16)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Coming Up for Air

Recently, I found myself drowning, struggling with homeschooling, due in part to the behavior of some of my children.   A week ago last Monday, I was ready to throw in the towel.  Later that day, or that night, I received an email from a friend and I replied, asking her to pray for me. She stayed up late and responded with moral support and advice. She knew, without my even telling her what exactly was going on, what I needed to hear.

The next day, another friend sent me an email and, thanks in large part to Shelly's response, I was able to let her know that I was struggling.  Fortunately, this friend and home-educating mother was able to respond with concrete advice, regarding discipline and structure.  I pondered something that this mother wrote all last week.  She said (slightly paraphrased), "If you are disciplining your children and you are still experiencing problems, then you need to look at yourself.  You need to have discipline and structure in your life in order to be able to homeschool effectively."  I will add, "I need to have God, discipline, and structure in my life in order to homeschool effectively."

I went into this year thinking that it was going to be great.  I had stepped down from various volunteer positions, so that I could fully embrace my vocation as a wife and mother, and focus on my husband and children.  However, I was encountering laziness and opposition from some of my children and I was resenting the fact that "I had to homeschool."  I was relying on myself and not trusting in God.  I was ignoring all of the blessings that He has bestowed on me.

Home education is one of those blessings.  However, it is so easy for it to be seen as a burden when we forget to take time to pray, when we forget to put our trust in God and don't embrace our responsibilities.  I am reminding myself that if I don't have self-discipline, then I cannot expect my children to have self-discipline.

In Christ Speaks to Us, Fr. Hardon, S.J. stated, "Catholic home schooling is the planned and organized teaching and training of children at home, for their peaceful and effective life in this world, and for their eternal salvation in the world to come." (emphasis mine)  God is a God of order, not a God of chaos.  We are created in the image and likeness of God; therefore, we need order in our lives.

In the same talk, Fr. Hardon also shared, "Today, Catholic parents must not only endure the cross, resign themselves to living the cross, but they are to choose the cross. In case no one has told you, when you chose home schooling, you chose a cross-ridden form of education."  I know that the crosses that we are given are much lighter than the cross that Christ carried; however, in accepting and carrying our crosses, we can unite ourselves with Jesus and show our love for Him.  I am trying to embrace my cross and I am breathing again.

Do not lose your inward peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. "Commend all to God, and then lie still and be at rest in His bosom. Whatever happens, abide steadfast in a determination to cling simply to God, trusting to His eternal love for you; and if you find that you have wandered forth from this shelter, recall your heart quietly and simply. Maintain a holy simplicity of mind, and do not smother yourself with a host of cares, wishes, or longings, under any pretext."
~ St. Francis de Sales ~

Why did I share something so personal?  I have been ending some of my emails with part of the above quote.  Last Thursday, I received an email from a member of our homeschool group at large, thanking me for the quote, saying that she really needed it because her family has been struggling.  On Friday, after Mass, a home-educating mother came up to me thanking me for the quote, as she had really needed it.  On Sunday, a friend was speaking to me and shared that sometimes she needs to hear and know that others also struggle (not everything is rosy); she needs to know that she is not alone.  We are never alone.  We can turn to our husbands, our pastors, our parents, or our friends.  If we cannot turn to them, then we can simply rest in God; we can trust in and pray to Him. God will never give us more than we can handle.


  1. This is a very lovely and wise post Christine. I could have written much of the same. I am actually working on a similar blog post and I will have to link you. I LOVE Father Hardon's words on homeschooling - I have them all over my blog and house - mostly to convince myself that I can do this.

  2. Thank you, Marilyn. I look forward to reading your post.

  3. Christine,
    I know this is an older post, but I was checking out your blog and came across it at a much needed time! I really need to more disciplined myself, thank you so much!

  4. You're welcome, Cheryl!


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