Monday, February 18, 2008

Will Homeschooling Make Me a Better Christian?

I have been often asked by women who have participated in Christian forums or e-mail lists if they have to do XXX to be a good Christian or mother. "Will breastfeeding make me a better mother?" "Does homeschooling make you a stronger Christian?"

They see the signature lines proclaiming "attachment parenting, noncircumcising, organic veggie-only eating, cosleeping, baby wearing, breastfeeding, head covering, nonvaccinating, full quivering, stay at home, homechurching, home birthing, homeschooling mother of 25."

Some women see these signature lines as ways to find like minded friends. Others see them and feel heavily burdened. While it is wonderful to seek out like minded friends to encourage us on the path God has led us to, we need to be careful to not become legalistic or boastful. We also need to make sure that we encourage other mothers even if they do differently than what we prefer. God is not limited to our ideals when He does His marvelous work in and through our lives.

What is going to make us an effective ("good") mother is the same thing that will make us an effective Christian: a humble, obedient heart open to the Lord's leading and correction with a strong will to make right what is revealed as wrong; not only doing, but doing with the right heart with the right goals.

If we are doing anything because we feel it makes us better than someone who does differently, we have a pride issue. There are plenty of fantastic, loving Christian mothers who do a terrific job of raising their child in public school, with formula, using a stroller, while working, etc.

If we are doing anything because we want to fit in with a group, we are doing them to please man. We have substituted a false god (of friendship, popularity, self worship, etc) for the One Living True God.

If we are doing them because God led us to it, we are an obedient Christian mother.

I recently read an article in a Christian magazine aimed at encouraging mothers. The young author was extolling the virtues of her way of mothering, but in doing so, she tore down those who did differently by making disparaging remarks towards their style of mothering. As I read it, I could just feel the discouragement of young women who were trying the best they could but were unable to follow this woman's model of "good mothering." We are to build each other up, not tear each other down. We do not have to tear down the house of another to build our own.

We should be shining the light on what Christ is doing in and through us, but not on the method.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3

Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. I Peter 5:5

Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off. Psalm 138:6 (my note: notice He stays far away from the proud.)

My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
Psalm 34:2 (emphasis mine)