Lesson #3 from the Farm: Avoiding Discouragement

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In the last Beam, I talked about how John had just returned, tired but excited, from Virginia. Soon after he got home, it was my turn! My daughter Jonelle, her little girl and I traveled to visit Amy and her family on the farm two weeks ago. We all had a great time, got our hands dirty, put a lot of plants in the ground, and laughed a lot. It was good to spend the week with children and grandchildren.

As promised in the last Beam, I'd like to share lesson #3 of what I've learned from Amy and Phil's adventure in farming. (If you missed them last time, read lessons #1 and #2 here.)

Lesson #3: Resist a discouraging lie

Over the past few years, I've seen how easy it would be for Amy and Phil to succumb to the thought that their lives will always be as they are now. That they will always live in a tiny construction trailer. That they will always be novices at farming. That they will always feel on the verge of being overwhelmed.

And don't we all face a similar temptation? How many times have you thought my house will NEVER be clean; my children will never mature; my son will never learn to read (or multiply two-digit numbers, or ...); I will never feel like I'm doing enough in homeschooling; I will always feel overwhelmed by laundry. And on and on.

I do NOT believe such thoughts come from the Lord. I think they are lies that Satan wants us to believe. The Enemy loves to discourage us, and the lie that "life will always be like this" (especially when we're already frustrated with something) is often a pretty effective way to get us down. But remember—the Enemy is a deceiver. He does NOT know the future! Yet he so often manipulates our weaknesses and tempts us to lose hope.

Only God knows what our lives hold for us. And our God is a God of hope. He doesn't promise that our lives will get easier, but he does promise never to abandon or forsake us. And that is cause for celebration.

I believe knowledge is power here. As we identify Satan's lies in our lives, we are better equipped to resist them. So please: hope in God and resist lies! Amy has learned to remind herself that she will not always live in a trailer. After they get the land in working order, they will (God willing) have a larger, nicer dwelling. But for now, they choose to live in the trailer because of their longer-term goals for the farm and their family.

We too can choose to look at the long-view. Sure, your house may not be as clean as you want it to be now, but maybe that's a trade-off you're willing to make while the kids are young. Someday, when your house isn't full of little people, you can have it as clean as you want!

And chances are pretty good that your children will mature with age, your son will learn to read (or conquer his current academic struggle) ... and your laundry will actually slow down one day.

For now, you choose to keep your children home because of the larger picture of what you want your family to be. As homeschoolers, let us take the long view and keep pressing on.

God bless you in that worthy endeavor.

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