There are those who question why a Protestant believer – for that matter, a Baptist! – would read the blogs of Catholic believers. I question myself on that point at times, but then I once again come across something particularly thought-provoking and I remember why. Just this morning, one such post spoke to me.
I wish I had known how important patience is, and how meaningless outside appearances are.
There is an awful lot of outside pressure to get things right the first time. From the secular world, “getting things right” may look like having a super duper body, and fireworks in the bedroom every night, and maybe having one or two perfectly timed children who nicely complement your career. From the religious world, “getting things right” may look like being visibly joyful all the time, and having a respectful, decorous flock of children who just lurve to pray and volunteer and do their chores. Either way, you’re supposed to be a catalogue-ready example of that lifestyle within six weeks, and hold that pose indefinitely. And this is nuts. Dangerously nuts.
The above paragraphs summarize my struggle – as a woman, as a parent, as a Christian, as a writer, as a human – because it’s all fine, well and good to say I will not conform to the world’s view of me, but too often we are replacing that with conforming to other Christians’ view on how I should look, dress, act, raise my children, et cetera, instead of looking to God and His grace to cover us. Replacing secular man’s standards with religious man’s standards will result in guilt, shame, and stumbling, because whether it’s secular or religious, you’re still following the standards of fallen man.
So when I spend time mulling over the right educational choice for my child, that pressure pushes in on my peripheral vision. It’s one of the points that didn’t make it into yesterday’s post, because let’s face it: when I write a few paragraphs one day, add a bit the next day, and finally finish a post a few days later, the end result usually misses about half of what I intended when I first started. But, that’s what happens when you write around the needs of your littles. That’s what happens with life. All that to say, I didn’t even touch upon the topic of pressure from those around me regarding the choices for my child’s education.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I did mention the concept of grace at the end of my post, but I only touched on it. I didn’t dive deep. And you know what? This is one of those situations where I need to dive deep.
Because this isn’t about what my friends who educate at home think about me.
This isn’t about what my friends who educate via the public school system or a private school think about me.
This isn’t about what my family at church thinks about me, nor what my family by blood or marriage thinks about me.
In fact, it’s not about me at all.
I can do everything “right” when it comes to my child’s education, whether by secular or religious standards, and he still may take a different path. I can do everything “right” when it comes to my child’s health, whether by mainstream or alternative standards, and he might face chronic or acute health problems anyway. I can do everything “right” when it comes to the discipleship of my child, whether by Dobson’s, Pearl’s, Sears’, or Kimmel’s standards, but they still may walk away from family and from God.
It’s not about doing things right. It’s about trusting in His grace to cover the choices made, and acknowledging that ultimately, He is in control.