by Rebecca Kocsis
Pouring over the financial reports, I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. “I don’t believe it. Here we are again.” Unless something changed, I could put a big red box around a date on the calendar in the not too distant future. That was the date we would run out of money. We had been here before.
“What am I doing here? I thought we’d be on a better footing this year. What am I doing wrong? Clearly I am not being effective in this position. I need to resign.”
I do not believe I had ever been so discouraged before in my life. Why the discouragement? I was weary. Our team worked so hard. I was frustrated. The outcome of all our long hard hours was not resulting in the outcome I had expected. And then there’s the spiritual element. Our work is to facilitate home-based discipleship. Of course, the enemy would want me to feel defeated and hopeless. He does not want us to disciple our children at home. He wants them to go to hell. He wanted me to quit.
I was relaying the experience to one of my pastors—one of the resource development pastors—he said dealing with discouragement is one of the hardest parts of his job. That was enlightening and strangely comforting. At least in that I was on the right track!
The next morning the Lord woke me up with a song, “Raise a Hallelujah”. For some inexplicable reason the oppressive discouragement was lifted. The Lord replaced it with lightness and joy. I had the sense that regardless of the circumstances, it would be alright.
Later that week, I received an email from one of our long time supporters that said something to the effect of, “Rebecca, I had a dream last night that we were back at the convention in the old days. It was so real. When I woke up God told me to give CHEA $100,000.00. All of my children walk with God. Homeschooling works.” And in a few short days we received the check in the mail. That’s only happened to me once and it hasn’t happened since.
That was my validation. Needless to say, I didn’t resign. God would take care of us. He has always been true to His word.
If there’s one overarching theme I hear from leaders this fall—in their weariness and frustration—I’d say it’s discouragement.
You’re working harder than ever with very little return on your investment. The tsunami of people swelling the numbers of the private home education community are completely ignorant of how to homeschool legally. You are answering question after question after question—the same ones over and over again. And you are probably right in your summation that 90% of them will be gone as soon as their children’s schools are able to open up. All of this work, all of these hours, just for now. As you are investing in them, you know they will not be investing in your homeschool community. Most of them will take your help and then take their kids back to public school when the time is right.
How do you create community in the midst of lockdown orders, anyway? How do you minister to all of your group both virtually and in person? How do you make peace between the “maskers” and the “no-maskers”? How do you minister to the new homeschoolers who desperately need training, when they don’t want to come to live events or virtual either? No matter what you do, you feel ineffective. And it’s hard not to take it personally.
This season of long hours, hard work, and frustration will not be for nothing. God sees you. He knows you are discouraged. He’s at work even if you don’t see it yet. Don’t quit. In your faithfulness to serve you are more effective than you realize.
And don’t forget you have an enemy who wants to capitalize on your weariness and frustration. We experience it too. Katie Julius couldn’t have said it better, ”Satan is definitely not happy with the work we’ve been doing … We’ve been attacked in so many different ways this year.”
Something to think about. If we’ve caught the attention of the enemy then we are being effective for the kingdom. Maybe the outcome isn’t going to be what we had expected. Some of those families will catch the vision for home-based discipleship. I suspect that there will be souls in heaven because you are helping these new families homeschool now.
If there’s even one, won’t it be worth it? Knowing that we can all raise a hallelujah.