By guest author Yvonne Strachan
My injured back sentenced me to six months of limited mobility. After weeks of lying flat on the couch in my living room, my view became distorted and hope felt as if it was slowly fading away.
The physical pain was a fraction of my concern; quite faint, actually, when compared to the sandpaper scrubbing my heart felt as I witnessed others fold laundry, make meals, and tend to my baby. After all, as mom, wasn’t I supposed to be the person to conduct the well-orchestrated performance of homemaking and caring for my children?
Although this experience was very difficult, it allowed my heart to be scoured of bitterness, and my aspiration of becoming superwoman washed away. My newly cleaned heart allowed me to see my situation differently. Refined with humble gratitude, my eyes were opened in new ways to see the love of those surrounding me: my husband who managed his work, our home, and my care; friends and family who offered a helping hand; and my children’s willingness to tend to household maintenance while bringing toys, cuddles, and laughter to my chamber.
The refining that took place during this time was also used by God to prepare our hearts for the future. A few years after my fifth child was born, I faced daily struggles with unparalleled tiredness, fevers, and chills that typically accompany sickness. Eventually, it became common for me to wake up in tears from throbbing joints. What was happening to me? Could this be cancer…or some other illness? A blood test clued us to answers and allowed us to outline a path to relief. While treatment helps, I still experience difficulties with rheumatoid arthritis.
Christian homeschool parents work hard to provide a good education that bolsters faith and upholds values. The challenges you face with chronic illness add extra weight, and as demonstrated in my story, viewing your situation from a humanistic perspective can lead you to focus on your inabilities. Viewing your chronic illness from a biblical perspective, however, will allow God to brighten your light, enhance your impact, and bless your homeschool journey beyond imagination.
Perspective on Guilt and Resentment
As parents, we are blessed to experience what it is like to love a child. We are happy to care for every physical or emotional need, no matter the demand. These opportunities fill our hearts, but oh … how hard it is to consent to that same care ourselves!
Last year, my mom fell. Her injuries required her to be in a wheelchair. My children and I moved in with her for a few months until she healed. At first, she cried, knowing that we had to take care of her, but the smiles on my children’s faces whenever they had an opportunity to help brought her joy. Oh, the beauty of witnessing such compassion-filled servants’ hearts within young souls!
Trust that God already knew all the circumstances of your family’s future when he gifted you with children. He already knew how your children’s hearts would grow amidst the struggles you face with health. He also knows what they will learn from witnessing your perseverance, your love, and your extra effort to care for them even when you don’t feel well.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:16 ESV)
Perspective on Sacrifice
Amidst his declining health, my father-in-law can barely catch his breath to speak, much less walk across the room. During our last visit, however, he made a massive attempt to walk to his living room and speak a few words to our children. Knowing how difficult that was for him, my children still talk about the immense love he must feel for them, given that he would put such an incalculable effort into that seemingly impossible feat.
Even though your family may experience fewer outings or a less-than-ideal level of cleanliness and organization due to your chronic illness, you are truly giving more than can be measured. You are putting forth the extra effort, the extra sacrifice, and the will to persevere because you love your child.
And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:3-4 ESV)
Hope for the Future
Children learn valuable lessons through authentic experiences. I am confident that the unique experiences your children have growing up in your household will help prepare them for their future.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 ESV)
— Yvonne StrachanYvonne Strachan will be speaking at the Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference, June 16-18, 2022. Learn more and register here.