Christina Fox received her Master’s Degree in Counseling from Palm Beach Atlantic University. She writes for a number of Christian ministries and publications including Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition. She is the author of A Heart Set Free: A Journey Through the Psalms of Lament (Christian Focus, 2016). You can find her at www.christinafox.com, @christinarfox and www.Facebook.com/
It's that time of year again. Boxes of books have arrived at my door. The still stiff spines and crisp pages lay stacked and ready to be opened and consumed by my children's curious minds.
New books and curriculum are exciting. The beginning of a new school year is not unlike a new calendar year. It is filled with expectation and anticipation at what the future holds. A new school year means growth, maturity, and new worlds of knowledge explored.
In considering what this new school year holds, I know from past experiences that it will not be all peaches and cream. This is our fifth year of homeschool and I know there will be days where my kids will be tired, sick, and slow to learn. I know there will be bickering, distractions, and resistance to learning. And I know that I will battle my own impatience, frustration, and weariness.
As I opened my boxes of new curriculum and organized my materials and lessons, my eyes passed over the bulletin board that hangs on the school room wall. On the top corner of the board's frame rests a wooden sign hand carved by my grandfather. It is simply five letters, the name Jesus.
I've kept it in our school room as a reminder of who reigns, who rules, and by whose grace I teach my children. It's a reminder that I cannot home school apart from him. And it reminds me of to whom I want to point my children and all my lessons, for as Colossians 3:2 says, it is in Jesus "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
A Prayer for the Homeschool Mom:
Dear Father in Heaven,
I come before you with a mixture of anticipation and worry. I am excited for a new school year yet also a little nervous about the unknown. It's such a heavy responsibility to teach these children you've given me. I worry about doing it wrong, letting them down, and holding them back. I worry that I'll miss something or fail to teach them something they need to know. I also worry about my weaknesses and not being strong enough to instruct and guide them day in and day out.
Yet Father, I know from your word that you do not call us to something and then not enable us to do what you've called us to. You don't call us because we are already capable or are strong or successful within ourselves. You call us and then make us capable. You strengthen us with your strength.
Scripture is filled with examples of you defying weakness. You enter seemingly impossible situations and flip them upside down. I see how you took Moses who stumbled in speech and enabled him to lead the Israelite's out of slavery. I see how you took an uneducated fisherman and made him a foundational leader in the early church. I see how you took a poor teenage girl and made her the mother of your Son. And you took what seemed to all of Jesus' followers like the end of a dream--when your Son died on the cross--resurrected him and by doing so, ensured our own future resurrection and eternity with you.
Indeed, you do great work with the weak and weary. And weak and weary is what I am.
Forgive me for doubting and fearing. Forgive me for not trusting you. Forgive me for forgetting all you have done. Forgive me for resting in my own strength. Forgive me for all the ways I strive and work apart from your grace.
As I begin this new school year, strengthen me with your grace. Help me to rely on you and you alone. Grant me wisdom to teach my children. Help my words to be gracious, my actions to be honoring, and my thoughts to be centered on you. In everything, may I point my children to you and all they have through your Son, Jesus Christ.
I pray for my children, that you would help them to stay on task and not get distracted. Help them to enjoy learning. Help them to be diligent and hard working. Help them to desire to learn more of you. Help them to grow in their faith this year. Holy Spirit, grant them growth in the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience,kindness, gentleness, and self-control.
And throughout this year, may Christ always be at the forefront of our vision. May he be our source, our hope, our guide, and the purpose for everything we do.
In his name I pray,