by Rebecca Kocsis

Most of us are back into the swing of things after the holidays—or we are at least trying! But that mid-year slump is just around the corner. As we enter into this season of the homeschool year, it’s important to remember to not only give ourselves grace, but to accept the grace and forgiveness that God gives us when we mess up.

Rebecca Kocsis shares some thoughts about the pressure we put ourselves under and the grace we need from ourselves and God.

I have found that as I fill out my children’s report cards, I am usually tempted to assign myself a grade as the teacher. I have a pre-planned formula using my children’s compiled school work and test scores to arrive at their final grades. For my own evaluation, though, I go about it differently.

I don’t have any written scores. I do have quite a compilation of memories to go on. I remember very clearly losing my patience during reading lessons, the mornings we didn’t get started until 10:30 because I overslept (either accidentally or on purpose), the weeks we never did art or history or anything beyond reading and math. How well I remember the stupid mistakes; the science experiments gone bad, the literature lessons nobody understood, the expensive math curriculum I didn’t use because I couldn’t figure it out—and it was only for kindergarten! Then depending on how hormonal I am at the time, I have either failed or failed miserably. I give myself a big, fat F! I know I’m not the only woman who does this.

Why are we so hard on ourselves? We are usually more than willing to extend grace to others. We go out of our way to encourage other home educators, then turn around and commit homeschool hari-kiri! We don’t get the same grace. We tell others, “It’s okay. Everybody makes mistakes. Nobody’s perfect.” Yet we still require perfection of ourselves. Now where’s the logic in that? Especially when you stop to consider that our Heavenly Father doesn’t condemn us for our lack of perfection. He sees the two conflicting natures struggling within us and declares, 

“There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 7:14-8:1) Through Jesus, He simply forgives us. 

We will always make stupid mistakes. We will continue to lose our patience. We will oversleep again—on purpose. I’ve said in the past that our failures need not be fatal. Let me say it in a different way. The pursuit of perfection is futile. If you are never satisfied with anything less than perfection, you will never be satisfied! We will always encounter personal and practical failures. We live in an imperfect world. God made us the way we are so we would see our need for Him! Perfect people don’t need God.

So remember when you fill out your children’s report card that you don’t need to give yourself a grade. Jesus already did. He gave you an F—but not for Failure. He gave you an F for Forgiven.

But he 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)