Due to this commitment, I needed to step back from tasks in the business I had started. Loss of control is hard for me. As I stepped back from something I loved in order to step into something I said I was never doing, I brought along my familiar friend, control. As I faced the fear of the unknown, control felt safe; familiar.
That first year of homeschooling looked like checking lists and comparing my daughter to kids in public school to make sure I was keeping up. I was easily agitated and unwilling to slow down to truly understand my daughter. I pushed and pushed instead of surrendering the path to God.
As the school year came to a close, I felt I had failed. It didn’t appear she had retained anything I taught her. Homeschooling felt too hard. I had tried, but I had failed. I did everything I thought was necessary to succeed, yet I felt so out of control. I was down in the valley holding up my white flag of surrender. I was ready to march up to the school building and enroll her. Then, as God so lovingly does, He gently pulled me back up and reassured me that in fact, this path is still the path for us.
Ever so quietly I felt Him whisper, “Trust me with your kids.”
Translation–let go of control. So I opened my hands and let go (at least as best as I knew how). I let go of my check lists, my frustrations, my fears, my comparisons, and I turned my eyes onto the Creator of my children; the source of my strength and guidance. I let go of the perfectly laid out daily schedule and focused on my daughter. I decided to love her instead of trying to make her measure up.
As I laid down my control and perfect plan, her eyes lit up again. All the things I thought she had failed to retain came pouring out as we did school by simply living life. We talked about the numbers on the clock and all of the sudden she was able to tell time. She asked me to spell things for her and suddenly she was writing things on her own. She asked me what different words were and and then soon she was reading things on her own. All the things we had learned that year began pouring out as I lifted my finger of control. Without the pressure I had put on her she began freely running in the beauty of learning.
Control is an illusion that builds prison walls around us. It whispers, “I will help you get the outcome you desire. I will guarantee success”. But the thing about prison walls is they are cold. They don’t let much light in. Trust is like a garden with a picturesque white gate. Yes, there are boundaries, but the sun’s rays warm the inhabitants and beckon them to stay and enjoy.
As we homeschool, we do need boundaries. Our children do need to learn. However, we can do it in the garden, not in a prison. Letting go of control can seem scary. But the truth is control was never ours in the first place. Letting go of control is simply acknowledging that God knows best, and He is the one in control of the results. It means realizing that while we are a tool to shape our kids, God is the sculptor. It means allowing His Spirit to be the light that guides our path. It is in letting His warm love be the undertone of all we do.
There will be days that control and fear bubble back up. There will be days we forget to trust the nudges and direction of the Spirit. But He will convict us. We will feel the warmth of His love on us, directing us to step out of the prison and into the garden. Letting go of control and looking to God is scary, but He is the One who knows infinitely more than we do. He is trustworthy of our homeschooling journey.