Inner Work

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Well, it’s that time of year again. Lazy summer days are coming to a close. It’s time to buy binders and paper and pencils. It’s time to clear off our desks and wake up our brains. I am faced with thoughts like, “Wow, we are really doing this again.” I have homeschooled since 2009. This year, Ruby will be starting 9th grade, Molly will start 8th and Mack will start 6th grade. The elementary years are behind us. In some ways it has gotten easier and in other ways it has gotten quite challenging. 

When they were little we worked hard in the morning and were done by lunch time. They were usually agreeable about their work…even liking it, I dare say. The math was much more my speed and writing wasn’t so hard to evaluate. I managed their time for them, but now they are learning to manage their own time and it doesn’t always end the way I hope. There are more eye rolls and huffs than ever. But I suppose that is to be expected at some level. We just keep pressing on, keep putting one foot in front of the other and progressing through the years.

So as I have begun thinking towards the school year, I have been praying for God to get me ready. I just haven’t felt ready, and I was hoping the feelings would be overwhelming and give me the kick in the pants I need to find my “teacher” hat and get organized for our school year.

Well, box after box of curriculum has been arriving on the doorstep. I’ve bought some binders and paper and pencils. I even bought things to organize Ruby’s high school years. But still I was waiting on that certain something that was going to excite me about teaching another year here at home.

And then I heard the Spirit remind me of Isaiah 37:17. Someone at a prayer time I was attending, prayed about our roots going deeper and that’s when it washed over me. That’s when I got the kick in my pants!

Isaiah 37:31 is about Judah and it challenges the remnant of God’s people to “take root downward and bear fruit upward.” I love those words. It gives me a visual picture for each of my kids. There are many times I am looking at the external, hoping to see more fruit, more progress, more right decisions made than wrong ones. Yet, I fail to acknowledge there is a work the Spirit is doing in their hearts. I want to pray that God would be able to plant truths of His Word, seeds of righteousness, of honesty, of diligence, of kindness, of integrity deep in their hearts and that over the years, as they grow and mature, I will see the fruit of the Spirit’s inner working. 

This morning I was reading in Jeremiah where he challenges the people to “break up the fallow ground.” It reminded me that before roots can go deep, there is some tending that needs to be done. At lunch today we discussed this. The fallow ground of summer has been just that—a time of rest. Resting our minds, resting our bodies, resting our schedules. When land is at rest, weeds can creep in and take over. So we discussed what “weeds” are in our lives that we need to let Jesus tend to. I can’t, as their mother, call out their laziness and pluck it out of their heart. I can’t pluck out dishonesty and bid it to never return. The Spirit does the inner work, and I must trust Him. I do want to create a safe space to discuss our sins and our failures. I do want to be a mom that helps them see their potential in Christ. I do want to point them to The Lord in our day to day life. But I also know that The Spirit is the One who can strengthen them in their inner man.

The fruit will be evident…one day. I pray I will have eyes to see the ways God is working and growing in each of my kids. I pray that they will hear the Spirit and heed His conviction and submit themselves to His ways. I’m encouraged that this isn’t my work, this inner work. This is sacred work that I must pray about and trust God with. I pray that I will do my part as unto The Lord—day in and day out, as The Lord keeps doing His inner work in my heart as well.  

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