They say that no one minds being a servant until they’re treated like one.
Homeschooling mothers face this dilemma on a regular basis. We love that we are called to be Christ-like servants to our families, but we don’t love when we are treated like servants by our husband, children, or friends. It’s discouraging to serve day in and day out without any significant recognition, appreciation, or compensation. Not to mention serving is exhausting and contrary to our natural desires.
How can we think well about our role and continue to serve day in and day out? Here are seven truths that strengthen me on a daily basis.
1. Ask God for Grace, Moment by Moment
When God tells us to love Him with our minds, perhaps He is speaking primarily about developing the servant mindset of Christ. God cares about homeschooling moms who desperately need the grace to be Christlike in the daily grind. Make this one of your personal prayer requests and God will surprise you with strength and endurance.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Women who are able to serve people day in and day out need minds of steel, the mind of Christ. God alone can give us this gift. Let us appeal to him for our great need.”Philippians 2:4-11
2. Be Honest About Your Limitations
My worst days are when I mask my limitations and keep slaving away despite my bad attitude, my need for help, or my exhaustion. When I ignore my human limits, I crash… and I usually tear down my family while I’m at it.
Conversely, my best days are when I’m honest about my need for help, when I train my children to treat me with respect, and when I speak up about my struggles to keep serving.
Here's a glimpse from my personal life. My husband doesn’t know how to help me when I grit my teeth and keep serving with a terrible attitude, but he readily embraces and helps me when I lay my head on his chest and say, “I am so worn out.”
How can you admit and share your limitations with your family?
3. Be a Faithful Steward of Your Body, Mind, and Soul
A woman who is serving other people needs to “make her arms strong” (Proverbs 31). What makes your body, mind, and soul strong? What do you have to do in order to laugh with hope, have strong relationships, and develop the gifts that God has given you?
Even though the needs around you may seem relentless, seek discernment about how you can refresh and refuel yourself so that you can continue to serve your family with strength.
4. Don’t Whine or Complain
God cares about women who have reached the end of their rope. He cares about us when we are irritated and everything’s falling apart. His advice to us in these moments is that we
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life…”Philippians 2:14-16
In our own understanding, whining and complaining feels good, but it’s not good for us. Over the years, I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to help me stop whining and complaining. When I am able to choose not to complain about difficult or unpleasant circumstances, I feel lifted up and sustained by God. A grateful attitude brings life to my family and buoys our homeschool.
Choosing not to complain is always worth the effort!
5. Don’t Expect Applause, Praise, or Payment
Too often, I serve my family as if I’m a waitress: I serve with a smile until I’ve reached my limit and need some appreciation, assistance, and compensation. My demanding irritation, anger, or grumpiness is like a waitress slapping the bill down on the table saying, “Pay up!” This ruins the gift altogether. Let’s ask God for the grace to serve our families for His approval and reward alone.
6. Use Your Imagination
You may think this one is silly, but it works for me so I’m going to share it. When I’m up at night, serving sick children, I imagine that I’m Mother Theresa, tirelessly tending to “the least of these.” When I’ve had a full day of homeschooling, and my husband needs to talk, I imagine that I’m Olivia Walton.
Thinking about the ways that other women have served inspires me. It helps me to see my family through a more compassionate and courageous lens. How can you use your imagination to inspire your serving?
7. Serve the Lord with Gladness
Nearing her deathbed, Vonette Bright (married to Bill Bright, creator of CRU), summarized the Christian life in one beautiful statement. When asked what life is about Vonette answered, “Serve the Lord with gladness!” This gem is from a woman, looking back on many years of serving her husband and children, giving up comforts, and sacrificing selfish pursuits for the Kingdom of God.
I have taken her words to heart, and they cheer me on as God calls me to serve my family and community on a daily basis. Life is all about serving the Lord with gladness. Homeschooling provides limitless opportunities to do this every day! May God bless you with a vision to serve Him with gladness today.
With great rewards, come great sacrifice... and homeschooling is no different. Boy, some days are tough, and it would be nice to have a reminder of the why behind your choice to homeschool. This guide will help.