God Doesn’t Need You (but He desperately wants you)

This post is an excerpt from the eBook and Companion, Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace.

School is not about school,” Andrew Kern says, “Homeschooling is not about school. It’s about pursuing wisdom, it’s about becoming virtuous beings, it’s about soul transformation.”

We aren’t talking about products off a factory line here, we’re talking about children- made in the image and likeness of God and all that.
God Doesn't Need You, Homeschool Mama

As we near the end of the academic year, I bet you’re feeling a twinge of anxiety because you didn’t get everything done that you set out to do this school year. But think about it- who the heck cares if you checked all the boxes you meant to check when you started?

It doesn’t matter what grade level your child reads at. He reads as well as he can, so continue to work diligently at it. It doesn’t matter how far you get in the “6th grade” math book. Encounter math every day, and work diligently at it. The only time we really care about how our children compare to other children is when we’re giving into our own vanity, when we’re worrying about what other people think of us and the way we homeschool.

You are where you are (which is, quite likely, exactly where He wants you to be).

So work hard every day. Value academic work because nurturing the intellect is part of what makes us fully human, but don’t elevate it beyond its place. There are relationships to cultivate, books to read, oceans to swim in, forts to build, toilets to scrub, bills to pay, paintings to create, dinners to make. This is why we homeschool- because we want to engage in a full-to-bursting life.

We make a grave mistake when we think that the success of our homeschool hinges on whether or not we can pull together the ideal curriculum or read the best books or teach our children the nuances of long division before they’re 12. The mistake that we make is that we make it all about ourselves. Without a doubt, God loves to do great things in the lives of children through the toil of their hard-working and ever-loving mothers. But He can do it without us. And He certainly does not want us burning the candle at both ends, wearing out our souls and spending sleepless nights tossing and turning with worry about whether or not we are doing a good enough job.

God doesn’t need you. But He desperately wants you.

Take a deep breath, mama. This isn’t as dependent on you as you think it is. Give God your “Here I am. Use me.” Let Him carry the burden. The God who turned water into wine can take our smallest efforts and weave them into a glorious tapestry for His delight.

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  1. Christi {Jealous Hands} says

    Oh Sarah, what a breath of fresh air this was for me this morning! Thank you; I’ve really enjoyed this series & this post especially!

  2. says

    Homeschooling is a difficult line to walk, on one side is the joy of being at home, and on the other is the fear our children will not learn. Not all children embrace learning, seek it, at least from an overtly academic perspective (which sometimes the parent has and the child doesn’t, ahem).

    Thank you for continually encouraging “the lighter side.” As we face the end of the year, I tend to push harder, need to finish the book. My daughter is not a reader (which is so hard since I am!) and I fear she will not “learn” all summer, but she is so creative, I have to admit it is just a different learning. I have such a hard time with her very different personality. Instead of fighting it, I need to embrace it. I will work on that, Sarah. :-) Thanks.

    • Michelle says

      Hi Barbara. Fear not, my daughter was not a reader. She is gifted in the arts and oh how I wish I would have let her learn more of that. Anyway, when my husband was deployed, I read The Mitchells out loud and that was it. She took off at age 16 and let me tell you, she is reading great literature (i.e. J. Austen, etc,) that I can hardly grasp. So, this is long I know, but what good would my suffering be if I didn’t share the fruits and encourage you possibly.

  3. Elizabeth says

    I had to hide out in my room this morning to read this finally post in your series. I have loved it so much but must admit, this one is my favorite. I have really learned this this year. I’m such a perfectionist and I think if I wouldn’t have learned this early on in homeschooling, I would have quit or failed miserably in just a few short years. Anyway, you put it beautifully and succinctly and I can’t wait to buy the book! You bless, Sarah:)

  4. says

    Sarah, this was a perfect ending to a perfect series. Thank you for your words. I needed to read them. We have had a difficult year. The latest struggle was me being separated from my kids for a month while I took care of my sick parents. School has been almost non-existent since Jan. I really needed to read that we are right where God wants us. and that this is not all about me. Thank you for that reminder.
    Julia recently posted…April ReadsMy Profile

  5. says

    So true! Having been at this homeschool journey for a decade and looking at 18 or more years to go it can become easy to be overwhelmed. I cling to the verse that reminds us Jesus yoke is light. If I am struggling with the load it is usually because I have taken on more than He ever intended and am trying to do it all in my own strength.
    Tristan recently posted…Learning Ripples in HomeschoolMy Profile

  6. Betty says

    Wow! How timely this is for me! I knew all this and lived it for a long time, but now with my new challenges, I am needing to re-learn all this. I need it to seep down deep into my heart and mind. I need to get back my vision and joy for homeschooling! I can’t wait for you e-book!

  7. says

    After watching Dr. Christopher Perrin’s The Eight Essential Principles of Classical Pedagogy, reading your link to Cindy’s post Homeschooling the freeborn and now this… Would it be over dramatic to say I think God is trying to tell me something? :) Thanks for this series Sarah. I have been blessed by it.

  8. says

    There you go, touching my heart again… I wish wish wish I lived in a state with zero reporting. The times I lose my peace on this front are the times when I’m filling in the forms and sending in the paperwork to prove my child is okay measured against standards I don’t even agree with. We’ve spent the last few days on standardized tests. Because New York. Our reports have to prove that we completed a certain amount of work by the end of the year. It absolutely stinks. Being honest with the reporting while protecting your family and not sacrificing your principles…It’s a fine line to walk, I tell you. But I’m answerable to God and my family first. Thank you so much for this series and I can’t wait for the book.
    Mary recently posted…Five Things That Make the Internet GoodMy Profile

  9. says

    Sarah, that was beautifully said and straight from the heart!
    I can honestly say that this is the first time in years that I am ending the year feeling that I am resting in Him and not being overwhelmed or anxious :-) I can also say that is due in part to your series here and a few choice re-reading of my favorites here on your blog from years ago! We are slowing down, doing less, beginning to loop and it is all bearing some pretty good fruit! LOVE this so much. Now I just need to keep doing what I am doing and not mess with it, lol! Thank you, friend :-)
    Ann-Marie recently posted…Because I’m Happy!My Profile

  10. Michelle says

    I can remember once my mother saying to me in a polite tone, “Michelle, do you really think you have that much power?” It was both humbling and restorative.

    I will echo what everyone else has already. Thanks and blessings on your move.

  11. Heidi says

    I think that because of your blog, I have really been contemplating the reasons I have felt called to homeschool (and therefore the methods I use and the goals I set), and I don’t think I can sum it up any better than what you said. And I’m finally (this is our 4th year) starting to feel good about it! Your words and your example that you share so openly has really blessed and encouraged me this year. Now…if I can just figure out if my high school son should “come home” and join his younger sisters, even though he is doing well–nay, excellent–by typical society standards…..something to pray about! But posts like this have my heart saying, “Yes!”

  12. Tess says

    Thank you for these WORDS… Which followed today’s verses in the message Bible from Ephesians 2:7-10! I love the way God speaks His tender thoughts to us.

  13. Milene says

    Sarah , honey , you know what the status of homeschooling in Brazil (although this anyway ) , but I have noticed one thing that has always existed and will always exist : a comparison and competition. And , frankly, for me this is the worst part . When we are trying to train our children to God and often without realizing it, put them on a battlefield or a stage of competition , as ensuring that they are advanced in some matter , we avoiding any future effort and proving ourselves we teach better than the state and better than our neighbor . I speak here of the reality that I have experienced in a country where not yet been regulated this type of education . And I speak with sadness in my heart. Sending them to school is not the way and I am absolutely certain of this, however , we need to let God do relamente and guide us , or effective education , according to the will of God , will not happen . I leave here a quote from the imitation of Christ which was cited by St. Therese at a time when she wanted to know the mundane at any cost , but acknowledged that no more than vanity and affliction of spirit , as she put it . The citation reads: “For more study you do, for more science you have, you should always come back to me ( Jesus) as the only principle and end of all knowledge … I teach without noise of words without embarrassment of opinions , without ostentation , no arguments , no disputes . ” ( Imitation Book III Chapter XLIII ) .
    Sorry for the comment so big .

    A big hug :)