Moms can often feel like they are all things to all people: parent, educator, nurse, judge, mediator, nutritionist, chef, friend, confidant, counselor, cheerleader. Homeschool moms can add to that science teacher, math tutor, literature professor, preschool teacher, elementary teacher, history and geography teacher, art and music mentor, and theology professor. As moms, when it comes to our kids, we can rise to almost any challenge and do what needs to be done to give them the best opportunities in life. We love them with a fierce love and will do everything in our power to not let them down. As Charlotte Mason says, “Mothers work wonders once they are convinced that wonders are demanded of them.”
We strive to plan perfect (or almost perfect) schedules, consistently stick to our parenting plan, never sin toward our children, and generally be great at everything we do for our kids. Of course, intellectually we know that it isn’t possible to be so perfect, but our actions, which reflect the actual state of our hearts, demonstrate that with enough effort, we believe we could. And this is where it becomes a problem. We believe that we can do it.
Jen Wilkin, in her book None Like Him, explains that when we try to be in control, we are trying to usurp an aspect of God’s deity that we cannot and should not try to attain—Self-sufficiency. This comes as a shock to many in our culture because we are taught to rely on ourselves. We are taught that you can do anything you want to do if you “just believe in yourself” (wasn’t there a movie about that?). But this is a lie. We cannot do everything and we are not supposed to do everything. Only God is self-sufficient. He does not need us. He does not need anyone or anything. That is part of what makes God, God. Unlike God, as Wilkin explains, we are made to be needy. “God, in His infinite wisdom, created us to need Him.” We are the creature, He is the Creator. He is not only the creator of us, but He is also the creator of our children whom He has sovereignly and graciously given to us for a little while to be stewards over. Yet so often we can fall into the faulty thinking that we are the creator of our children. That their growth, education, and sanctification rest solely on our effort and execution. For most earnest, God-loving moms, this is not an intentional mindset. Of course, we need to take seriously the call of our vocations as mothers and homeschoolers. We cannot be idle or squander the duty of “raising a child in the way he should go.” Where it becomes a problem is when we look to ourselves as the source of our strength. When we look to ourselves for the strength we are saying, “It’s ok, God. I got this.” We, in essence, tell God, “I’ll be sovereign today, God.” Instead, when we surrender our desire to be in control, when we raise up our hands and say, “I can’t do this without You. I need You, God,” we can rest knowing that we do not need to be all things to all people. We can rest knowing that all that we have is from Him. And we can rest knowing that with our children, He is faithful.