“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,  that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.”

If you had asked me ten years ago what I’d be doing with my life in 2010, the last thing I would have answered would have been homeschooling my children.  I was graduating from residency in family medicine  after a long and grueling education, with all the hopes and dreams of building a successful practice. During those years, I already had two children and somehow survived the schedule—mostly  on big dreams and very little sleep.  I learned some things about myself—that I was strong and smart and determined.  I was decidedly  self-sufficient.  I was sure about everything back then, even the strength of my own faith.

Life seemed to me a fairly predictable equation:  I had ‘put in my time’ and was ready to reap the benefits.   And there were so many benefits to being a  professional in a field that is generally highly respected.    For several years after graduation,  I worked to establish a name for myself.  I enjoyed the interaction with my  patients and my colleagues and loved the way my  life  was unfolding.  I made a nice salary, dressed in the latest fashions,  got my nails done regularly, attended trips and meetings that I could easily justify as ‘necessary’ to my career.  Often these things took me away from my family, but I didn’t bat an eye.  Stevie, my podiatrist husband, worked across the hall—so I got to be his work wife and his home wife.

It was all kinda Mcdreamy.  

He was the hottie in green scrubs and I was his hard-working wife—his equal in nearly every way.  He looked at me different back then. Sometimes,  in the monotony of stay-at-home mothering,  I wish I could be her again.

All the things that happened to me as a result of being a doctor served to ‘polish the vessel’,  so to speak.   The vessel was shiny and perfect on the outside.

But the treasure was hidden away.

Little did I know then that God is in the business of shattering  vessels,  so that His treasure—Christ—can be poured out on others.

My perfect shiny life would soon come crashing to the ground. The perfectly polished professional woman has been long since crucified.  The process has shaken my very foundation.


Fast forward three years and here are  some of things I’ve learned about myself while homeschooling my children.

I am impatient.  I don’t have the fortitude to stick with tasks like I should.  I am weak and undisciplined and lack the courage of my convictions.  I talk about self-control but don’t have very much. I teach my girls to treat people with kindness but then I lack compassion with my own family.  I am a hypocrite and a real honest to goodness sinner.   I struggle with contentment and then get angry with them for their discontent.   I see in them my own sins and failures and then withhold mercy when they need it most.

This task of teaching my children has broken me.

They see through all my charades.

I can’t hide myself from them.

And this intimacy has exposed every frail part of me.   The selfishness.   The lies.   All my broken dreams.  Even the weakness of my faith.

They don’t see a shiny perfect vessel.   They see the real me—the shattered pieces of a life  undone.

Self-sufficiency is being put to death in my life.   I must learn to lean on Another.

And yet……

Miraculously,  they love me unconditionally.   They applaud at my meager attempts to be a ‘joyous mother of children’.   They forgive me so easily and still say that I’m their best mom.   Despite my faults,  they somehow see through to the Treasure.  They glimpse the beauty of a life broken and spilled out for another.   It’s as if they see me through the light of His cross.  In a million unspoken words,  they know.  They know and are thankful, that in my frailty—He is strong.

So when we confess our sins together at His altar every Sunday morning,  it is no small thing.

We say with surety and conviction and sometimes with tears,  ‘We have not loved God with our whole heart and we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves.”

Oh the sting of truth.  I hear their small voices  echo with mine.   The voices of my very dearest neighbors.   The neighbors against whom my gravest sins are committed.

She holds my hand and we know.

We wait eagerly for the absolution.      Those precious words of life that reconcile husband to wife.   Mother to child.  God to man.

“God in His mercy has sent His son to die for you and therefore forgives you all your sin, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

It’s the assurance of these words,  and not my own clever life and career,  that I’ve come to depend on.

It was always supposed to be this way.    And perhaps this is what it means to be ‘saved through childbearing’.

Maybe  my ‘schooling’ has only just begun.


Post-Edit:  This story is my own.  I don’t pretend to know the ways and means that God uses to work repentance in all His other children.  We are given tremendous freedom in Christ to choose our paths and I am not writing this to incite debate on working mothers vs. at home mothers, traditional schooling vs  homeschooling.   Whatever he uses to crush our self-sufficiency and self-righteousness is good for us.   The tools he uses may be different for you.  The  path is worn and the process is painful no matter the means. But take heart.   If you are drowning in what seems like the mundane,   remember that God is using you to serve your neighbor.    And it is a divine, high calling.

I thank the faithful Lutheran pastors who have helped me see the beauty of the doctrine of vocation.

I’m joining Emily at Tuesdays Unwrapped.


74 comments on “What homeschooling has taught me about myself”

  1. I was amazed with your honesty while soul searching.. gave me hope that we all can see inside ourselves and try to recognize ourselves for what we are… very nice post!

  2. I was amazed with your honesty while soul searching.. gave me hope that we all can see inside ourselves and try to recognize ourselves for what we are… very nice post!

  3. Edie…..I am listening to the most beautiful worship music right now, and I am just a big lump of mush after reading this post.

    These words that overflow from your heart this morning ring true in my own heart…

    it’s the hardest and the sweetest part of homeschooling….

    they know us. they know the deepest (most ugly) parts of us, and they love us still….

    our children are a daily reminder to us that we can’t hide….that we need Jesus in the most desperate of ways.

    it is so hard to have to look at who I really am every single day….but it is so, so, so sweet to experience God’s grace and forgiveness….

    you’re so right…God will use something in each of our lives..and this is what he’s chosen for me…schooling my children…or is it my children “schooling” me? I think it’s both. 🙂

    I just love you sweet bloggy friend!

  4. Oh, Edie. The confessions of what homeschooling has taught you so echo my own. There’s no hiding from the little eyes and ears that are always seeing and listening intently. There’s no hiding from the Father either, but I believe he puts those littles in our lives to do exactly what they do. So many of those sins you list are my own and I struggle through each and every day. But you’re so right. God IS faithful and just to forgive us our sins if we confess to Him. God bless you, girl.

  5. Oh Edie, I can so relate. While I am not homeschooling this year (as of now…) I know the professional life-turned-stay at home mom is HARD!!!! While I absolutely LOVE IT and wouldn’t trade it for the world, I remember a time when people depended on me and I was taking care of multi-million dollar companies. But now I have the job of shaping 3 beautiful souls that God gave me, and they see my ugly sinful self as well. Into God loving people, who have compassion and truly good people. There is no dollar amount that can be put on this. And I am honored to do this! Even though I fail more times than I care to admit!
    Great post! 🙂
    ps- had a health “scare” the other day (posted about it) and getting an MRI tomorrow just to rule out other things. A little freaked on the MRI (I requested an open). Please say a prayer for me! 🙂

  6. Beautiful post. It is amazing how His plans for us are not always the ones we dremamed of (or thought would be best for us) or even the ones that would be easiest, but they are for His glory in our lives. Thanks for sharing a little glimpse of how He is shaping you and using you for His glory.

  7. Tears when we see ourselves, indeed. How great to remember that He is strong for us in our weakness, and how universal to not recognize the weakness or His strength for us while we are in the mix of it. The feeling of weightlessness at being given absolution – I even love that it is called ‘absolution’ – forgiveness so absolute! (Had to look up the etymology – from roots meaning “unconditional” and “to loosen, or free”.)

    Thanks again for sharing your time, your heart, your home, your experience.

  8. Oh Edie, your heartfelt post has touched me as a mother and wife. We are all sinners and broken, and make mistakes–probably many of the same. A couple of years ago, when my two boys were in their mid 20’s I talked to each individually and laid it all out. I made mistakes, I wasn’t a prefect mother (they already knew that), and I’m sorry for anything I may have said or done that was uncalled for and hurt them. They both told me I was nuts (they take the direct route…). They said they made mistakes too, I was a good mom, and they had a great childhood–no regrets. Whew! Unconditional love and the strength of the One we lean on–a powerful combination!

  9. Edie, I needed to read this today! The mundane and the Holy are so closely connected but I quickly lose sight of this in the day to day. Right now I am truly seeing the truth in the verse…”And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” Rev. 12:11. Your testimony carries power! Thank YOU!

  10. Edie%2C%20I%20needed%20to%20read%20this%20today!%20%20The%20mundane%20and%20the%20Holy%20are%20so%20closely%20connected%20but%20I%20quickly%20lose%20sight%20of%20this%20in%20the%20day%20to%20day.%20%20Right%20now%20I%20am%20truly%20seeing%20the%20truth%20in%20the%20verse…%22And%20they%20overcame%20him%20by%20the%20blood%20of%20the%20Lamb%2C%20and%20by%20the%20word%20of%20their%20testimony%3B%20and%20they%20loved%20not%20their%20lives%20unto%20the%20death%22%20Rev.%2012%3A11.%20Your%20testimony%20carries%20power!%20%20Thank%20YOU!

  11. LIG~
    Well, I should have had my shower, spruced up the kitchen, done my Bible study, and watered the flowers, but so far, I have only read your blog! I found it over the weekend, via a blog I can’t recall, and today was the first day to go back and read older posts. I am cross-eyed and my neck hurts as well as my wrist……but I loved every minute of it!

    We share the same state, and same tastes in decorating! Blessing to you and your family. Thanks for sharing your beautiful home, and your desire for intimacy with Christ.


  12. beautiful….and wow…you are human!!! one of these days I’ll tell you how GOD grew me and continues to grow me through that experience…it is an incredible gift HE has given you to realize how HE is working in you as you speak…most often we don’t realize it until it’s over and then we have that 20/20 hindsight…thanks again for sharing your heart! Patti B.

  13. Edie, thank you for this post it’s truly something I can relate to and needed today. I appreciate your honesty and am amazed at all you have accomplished and continue to accomplish. Children and their forgiving hearts despite all the imperfections is a beautiful thing. This one really hit home for me.

  14. I asked God for so many things, but never knew that my dreams would come true through the birthing of five children, and through homeschooling year after year. I never saw myself in the place I am today, doing what I’m doing…but He did.

    Love this post and the truth found here! Thanks!

  15. Wow! So beautifully said. It is such a testimony to your faith and family devotion that you have chosen to give up the prestige of being a physician for the undervalued task of motherhood. I admire you so much, and just love your willingness to share your heart. God bless you… I know you have blessed and encouraged me and so many others today.

  16. It’s Amber once again..I come here often but today I think I was supposed to read this..I homeschool and at times my attitude/patience isn’t what I ask of others and I wonder should I just give up but all paths lead me to believe I am supposed to be doing this..teach my children the best I can,teach them about our Lord and Savior..thank you once again for your encouraging post….you really never know how much your words touch others unless your told so thanks so much. Amber(Indiana)

  17. Edie, thank you for sharing this. I’m in the process of leaving my full-time job to become a stay-at-home (although, probably also work-from-home) mom! I’m excited and scared and disappointed and anxious and thankful – and more! Your story is encouraging, and I’ve bookmarked it to read again when I can understand even better.

  18. oh girl, I just love you! God uses you so often to speak directly to me. You are my sister in Christ. I am full of joy because of that truth. I know we’ve never met face to face, (which I hope will change one day) but you are a vessel used by God to bring His knowledge, reminders of forgiveness, encouragement to be real. AND you’re so cool. 😉

    Thinking of you and calling you by name in prayer today.

  19. oh girl, I just love you! God uses you so often to speak directly to me. You are my sister in Christ. I am full of joy because of that truth. I know we’ve never met face to face, (which I hope will change one day) but you are a vessel used by God to bring His knowledge, reminders of forgiveness, encouragement to be real. AND you’re so cool. 😉

    Thinking of you and calling you by name in prayer today.

  20. Wow. This is a crazy well written post – well written in the fact that it hits the nail on the head more than I could have ever said in words. The heart of this post deals with more than working outside the home or homeschooling or whatever. It deals with our hearts and what our hearts worship and how they are shaped, and oh I so am on the exact same page with you in the whole sin exposed through mothering (for you specifically homeschooling)and the redemption that comes from Christ. My daughter is almost 2 and I have another on the way so I’m not even to the school decision yet but truely, this post hits home with me nonetheless. Thank you 🙂

  21. Thank you for this. You described me exactly. Wow. ( well, except for the whole doctor part!) Thank you. And I pray that God continues to bless and ‘school; you and your family, as I am sure he will! <

  22. Thank you. I found you through Cheryl’s post.
    I think this is the hardest thing for us all to learn – to be “dead” and have our lives “HID with Christ in God”. Hid?! I don’t want to be hid! I want to be that glorious profitable somebody. But that “glorious somebody” may be blinded from seeing what God, in His mercy, and most certainly through CHILDBEARING, shows us about the true state of our hearts (that was really there all the time). Martin Luther once said something like, “Those who only have imaginary sins only have an imaginary Savior.”
    So I think as we mothers die this death of daily serving our “little neighbors”, in whom we see our sins magnified in so many ways, we will be giving their children what is ultimately the most valuable and wonderful thing – A REAL Savior, who takes away our REAL sins.

    Thank you so much for this post. I have seen this so clearly with myself.

  23. Edie, your blog is always one of the first that I open on my reader. I’ve admired you (as a mom, cook, photographer, homeschooler) for several months but rarely leave a comment. (apologies) Today’s post was just what I needed. I had fallen into a trap of unhealthy admiration: I had put you up on a pedestal. You have so many wonderful ideas and your writing often leaves me inspired. Sometimes I would allow myself to feel guilty that I don’t do mothering and homeschooling as creatively as you. {My fault, not yours 😉 } Today was a wonderful reminder that we are all struggling … even when we are right in the center of His will. Thank you for your honesty and transparency today. You’ve blessed me — again!

  24. Oh Edie, I love this. And needed to be reminded quite frankly. I especially hung on the part about your husband looking at you differently “before”. I feel that feeling at times too….in fact I’m gonna gnaw on that for a while and try to figure out why that is even. I can’t quite make sense of it yet. What was there that isn’t now…what’s missing…why the look was different…what did he see that was different? Hmmmm.

  25. “He looked at me different back then. Sometimes, in the monotony of stay-at-home mothering, I wish I were her again. ”

    This I get. Those days when he comes home and I haven’t been able to shower because the baby needed me to hold him, the toddler ran into the wall again, the princess wouldn’t clean her room, and the oldest poured his own cereal…all over the floor. When the stench of baby spit up permeates everything I own, my makeup is on–but only because it’s from the night before–and my dress up clothes are jeans and a t-shirt. When I see the younger, slimmer, put-together neighbor girl who always has patience with my children…and I wonder how he thinks the two of us compare.

    But then I remember that although he once knew me as that girl, he also knows me now and the love is deeper and the commitment greater.

  26. I’ve lurked for a long time, but I had to let you know how much I enjoyed this post. Even before we began homeschooling I discovered how humbling it is to teach and share the Word of God with children. Suddenly they are looking into the mirror WITH you and seeing YOUR sins as well as their own . . . no possibility of hiding your fallen nature.
    Thank you!

  27. Needed this so much today. Thank you. We are new to Lutheranism and I love the confession of sin every Sunday with absolution. Whenever we have evening prayers on Wed. I can feel my soul sink into rest when the pastor sings ” I call to you come to me quickly. Hear my prayer when I call to you.”

  28. Needed%20this%20so%20much%20today.%20Thank%20you.%20We%20are%20new%20to%20Lutheranism%20and%20I%20love%20the%20confession%20of%20sin%20every%20Sunday%20with%20absolution.%20Whenever%20we%20have%20evening%20prayers%20on%20Wed.%20I%20can%20feel%20my%20soul%20sink%20into%20rest%20when%20the%20pastor%20sings%20%22%20I%20call%20to%20you%20come%20to%20me%20quickly.%20Hear%20my%20prayer%20when%20I%20call%20to%20you.%22

  29. I thank you and applaud you for your honesty. It seems we all have come to this same place of understanding God’s breaking of vessels no matter what path we take to reach it. HARD! I take some comfort in your blog, knowing that I am not the only one who wrestles with these thoughts and feelings.

    You are a very gifted writer.

  30. Edie,
    I loved your post. It resonated with my heart. And it is a blessing to hear those words from a woman who has been on this path longer than myself. Thanks for sharing.

  31. I can’t even explain how this spoke to me!!! It is no coincidence that I stumbled upon your blog right now. As a mommy of two little girls, I have been feeling like an absolute failure this past week because I havent been very good at living by example. Reading this post made it feel like you literally read my mind on what I have been thinking and feeling. You’re a blessing 🙂

  32. You are beautiful!!!! This is beautiful . . .and encouraging . . and so very true for me . . .well all of that which you said after you became a homeschooling mother. I’m so thankful for your wisdom!! Thank you for sharing! Thank you for your transparency.

  33. While I don’t know anything about homeschooling, I definitely know about being broken by Him through my child. She has frequently served as a mirror into which I’d rather not look. This was a wonderful post. Thank you!

  34. How I resonate with this post, Edie. I know. IknowIknowIknow. I’ve been home schooling for almost 20 years now, and for so many years I was able to do it in “my own strength”…until I was wrestled to the ground and my “hip put out of joint”…but I came away with a blessing…a changed identity.

    No more am I self sufficient. I am saved by grace, through faith, and I am more aware than ever in my life before, of how needy I am, every single day.

    Lovely, lovely post!

  35. OH my, I just had one of those days homeschooling where you are so frustrated with the kids that you find yourself so ugly just when you thought they were the problem. You are SOOOOOO right they are like puppy dogs that seem to love you no matter what. But I do think that our transparency with our own sins are what make us loveable to anyone. Not perfection but humility.
    Thank you for putting into words what I seem to go through on a daily basis around here.

  36. Oh my! I have never commented here, yet lurked too many times to count. So sorry:( I just wanted to shout out an “Amen sister!” When we began home-educating our kids, within the first week I remarked that we were bursting at the seams with sin and heart issues! Good gravy – this business of being so intensly contected to one another has a way of making all of our stuff just ooze on out. Yet, His grace is always sufficient and thank goodness for that! Thanks for sharing your heart and story. Our human nature so desires to know that indeed we are not alone in our struggles. We all fall short of the glory, but what strength we can find in Him!

  37. Dear Edie, Thank you so much for sharing your struggle in your former career, homeschooling and life in general. I dont even know how I came across your blog in the first place, but I think God led me here. I have been a teacher, in Chino Hills, Ca for 18 years and loved my job. My kids attended my school and we had all of our holidays off together. I worked very hard to finish up my credential after our second child was born.

    In March, a student tipped back in his chair as I was walking behind him, and the chair took me down to the tile floor, knocked me out, gave me a concussion and 3 bulging disks in my neck. I have been off work ever since. I have to be honest, Many days I praise God for taking me out of a stressful work environment. I have pain and headaches, some days of depression, and am trying to find out what the rest of my life is going to include, since I am having to retire early with disability.

    I appreciate you honesty about your struggles and have often-times wonder if it was hard for you to give up your career after working so hard to achieve it. Today I read your post with cleansing tears and truly understand the things that you are learning about yourself. Thank you for taking the time to share your delicious recipes, picts of your beautiful home on the lake, but most of all, thank you for sharing your heart today.
    Sincerely, Nanci White

  38. Oh Edie, what a lovely post. Thank you for your transparency and willingness to share your experiences. Your reflections have a way of helping us stop and examine our own lives and all of the things we have been bleesed by. Three years ago too for me the perfect glass shell I had created around myself was shattered. Thank goodness for God’s grace and wisdom to bring us to our knees when we stubbornly try to stand on our own. Blessings!

  39. Oh, what to comment that hasn’t already been commented?? I’ve been non existent in the “world of blog” for a while now, as I have been trying to settle into a rhythm with a new year of school. But you are one of those bloggers I keep high on my list to check if a minute is there. 🙂 So good to stumble on this post this evening. God is so good to humble us and encourage us and open our eyes to what we need to see, is He not?

    The accountability that homeschooling brings is a big pill to swallow at times. Praise God His mercies are new every morning! When I read your words and hear others speak of the same sort of things and think of my own life, the passage about being like a child as well as that of children are a blessing come to mind. Children are so gracious. It always amazes me the sleep I loose some nights over what I think was a failure of a mom day and yet my girls wake up with the same “Good morning Momma!” They are so forgiving! And the lessons I learn about myself via them is a blessing I never would have thought about receiving.

    You are an amazing woman!
    Thank you for your testimony … in this post and in every other one, too.
    Many blessings to you!!!

  40. I’m not a homeschooling mom but I am a mom of 3. I stayed home with my kids and have just started working part-time again now that they are in school. Those years at home were some of the best times of my life but also the most difficult in many ways. I think we were meant to live in villages with other women (moms, grandmas, aunts) raising our children (schooling our children). But our society has changed in such a way that we are isolated. Your blog and others like it are that connection that we all need to feel part of a village. Thank you for your commitment to putting down your thoughts and spiritual guidance!

  41. Thank you Edie.

    My dreams are dying. My motives are being exposed. I am trying to hang on to keeping my kids at home so we can school like we have always loved but something is so different. My husband left me. He has been lying to me for years. Nothing seems the same. When I am with the kids schooling, I feel like I have nothing to give. What was I giving really? Out of my own confidence, to do list, goals list. We are all learning something new now. But I don’t like what they see.

    I know you have gone through a life of love, grace, hurt and shame because of your authenticity in your blog.
    I look forward to being able write again, share again.
    I am just so glad I came to visit your blog this morning. I needed new words in my head.

  42. I just read this Wed at noon, and literally I just prayed last night…thankful for forgiveness, that of my savior, but also of my children. Those two little souls who were perfectly fashioned to be able to thrive in spite of me sometimes. I love them so and yet they often get to see the worst of me. And the mirror of reflection (in their actions and words) is very painful. The selfish child who won’t share or stop what he is doing to listen to his brother, or who loses it when his patience is tested. They always forgive me, they always still want me and need me, and physically want my comfort…even when I am the cause of their pain. I am so undeserving of it all. I constantly tell myself this is where I am meant to be. I am trying to raise these beautiful boys but God is using them to grow, and stretch, and break me everyday. So very thankful for that…and I am so thankful that there are mothers like you, who will tell the truth. You lift me up with your honesty, your faith, your love, and your brokeness. (this is my first comment, not even close to my first visit) You are a blessing!

  43. wonderfully put. thank you. you have put into words what I have wanted to say so often, but sometimes this is hard for people to hear because we want the easy way. Fair are the lilies that weather the storm.

  44. I just read your post on Ruth’s blog and wanted to say thank you. I have an 18-month-old son and I’m so worried he’s not going to turn out to be as hard working and dedicated a person as my parents raised their kids. Your words inspired me and rededicated me to saying no more often.

    I, too, am a former career woman (former D.C./political career) turned stay at home mom and it’s hard and I often miss my former career-woman self, too. And it’s weird to me that my kids will never know that former woman. They’ll just know the me now. And I need to work on improving her. Thanks for the motivation!

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