jars of clayby Pam Geib

Have you ever wondered if you are the only homeschooling family who has problems that seem catastrophic and insurmountable? Have you wondered why no one else ever mentions that they too have problems and how they have overcome them? I have wondered this myself.

Having been in a position of leadership, I also know that many families face all kinds of “odds” to their homeschooling experience. Let me begin by sharing with you a glimpse one of our “odds” years and perhaps it will comfort you to know that you are not the only one out there.

In 1989 we moved three times. My father passed away very suddenly. My younger sister was diagnosed with leukemia and passed away within three months of the diagnosis, and in February my nephew committed suicide. We became the primary caretaker of my mother who had cancer. She was on chemotherapy from August until April, which required many hospital stays and weekly doctor visits.

As we finished another school year, I stood amazed that in the face of our tragedies and devastation we could actually homeschool a third and ninth grader. I share these intimate tragedies with you not for a pat on the back or for your sympathy, but rather to encourage you in whatever “odds” you faced this year.

I am not unusually strong or courageous. The desire of my heart is to climb into bed, cover my head, and stay there for an eternity. But I am not my own, I was bought with a price and my Lord does see me through. The words of Job had very little relevance until recently and now they are such a comfort. Especially this one: “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:14).

Paul refers to us as jars of clay and, believe me, I feel very much like clay.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to how that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry wound in our body the death of Jesus, so that this life of Jesus my also be revealed in our body (2 Cor. 4:7-10).

Your ‘odds” may not be personal sorrows but: you may be a single mother; you may have a multi-aged family with children’s ages from infant or preschooler to high schooler, you may have a husband that does not help at all, or you may be homeschooling in a very hostile area of the state. Whatever your situation, let me encourage you in the Lord. He is the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2).

Homeschooling is just an area of obedience in our walk with the Lord so if we look at each year as an extension of that walk, we know where to receive the strength and wisdom we need to carry on. Paul says:

But he [Jesus] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor. 12:9-10).

Whatever our “odds” may be, do not let them get in the way of our doing what is best for our children. Our outer circumstances are not what determine our successes and failures, but it is measured by what is within us. How do we overcome catastrophes and what appears to be insurmountable problems? We become overcomers with Jesus. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Copyright 1990. Used by permission of the author. Originally published in the Parent Educator Newsletter, July 1990.

Chuck and Pam Geib have been involved in home education since 1985. Their first involvement was by homeschooling their two youngest sons. They also served on many home education leadership boards throughout California. They are now grandparents to six spectacular grandchildren whose parents are homeschooling them. Chuck and Pam are always honored to speak to groups and/or individuals when requested. Currently they serve on CHEA’s Regional Advisory Board.