Balancing Acts

"Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it" (Proverbs 3:27).

I'm sure that if others had peeked through my windows during my first years of homeschooling, they would have laughed at my antics. Many days, I felt like the circus performer who balances the spinning plates on top of a pole as I attempted to balance the needs of each person in my family. On any given day, I tried to spin my husband's plate with affection and undivided attention as he came through the doorway after work. I also worked hard to spin my creative son's plate with assistance in science experiments and projects that held his interest. I knew I needed to stop the wobbling of my oldest daughter's plate and run to the kitchen to help her as she learned how to cook. Finally, to top it all off, there were always toddlers fussing and needing their plates spun with a clean diaper and companionship for playtime. I knew that at some point I was going to run out of energy trying to keep each of their plates turning and wondered, "Who's going to spin my plate to keep this whole homeschool act going?"

Praise God, the plates never did crash, but I did learn how to keep them spinning with someone else's energy other than my own. That someone was Jesus, and it was to Him that I ran each morning for the power to keep my own plate spinning. Knowing I only had so much strength, He showed me when and how to spin the plates of the family members who needed it most. I realized, too, that as much as I loved and wanted to help each member of my family, I was not responsible for making everyone happy or fulfilling each need. The power was simply not in my hands! Just as I had gone to the Lord for strength, they also needed to learn to cast their cares on Him. "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee" (Psalm 55:22a).

Do you feel like you're teetering on the edge of disaster in homeschooling your children? If so, you may need to hand off those spinning plates into the hands of the One who can balance them much better than you. "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 1:24).

Jesus, I'm so tired from trying to make our homeschooling successful in my own strength. Help me to find the balance I need this new year to meet the unique needs of each family member with Your wisdom and strength. In Your name, Amen.

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Comments(20 comments)

LISA C 01/13/2009 02:15:22

I felt this exact way yesterday when I was starting a new curriculum. My 7yo was doing her best to concentrate on what I was reading and asking, while my almost 5yo was bobbing in and out of participating, and 2yo was busy using his new found skill of acting silly and making faces and noises.

This is my first year homeschooling and so often I feel I am failing. Thank you for these passages that I can turn to for strength and encouragement!!

MISTY F 01/13/2009 10:38:24

thank you so much for this encouragement. i woke up today to all kinds of requests from my kiddos "list" of what they wanted to do today. as i told them we had a whole long day ahead of us, i wanted to cry. how will i get through another whole day after the day we had yesterday? of course, i know the answer to that and this was the encouragement i needed.

i jut signed up for this devotional yesterday and am so thankful i did.

MARIA G 01/13/2009 17:43:12

Part of today's devotional; "balancing," immediately caught my attention.These last few weeks have been particularly "scary," because I cherish homeschooling. It is such a beautiful priviledge from the Lord. But I am also a single mother. And so I have to go back to work. I have tried to figure out how I will ever be able to homeschool and work full time at the same time.

I am so thankful for this passage, and for the encouragement it brought.

TREVA S 01/08/2010 09:18:07

All who know the words of prayer please pray for me! Treva S

MAUREEN B 01/13/2010 16:55:50

Hi my name is Michelle I have 6 children and home school them, I have a 10yr--gr.5---------8yr--gr.3---------6yr--gr.1-----a 3yr old--------a 2yr old------and a 10 week old baby boy. Many times I have wanted to just give up, wandering how I am going to do this.. Thank goodness for my husbands comforting words and the Lord., and the encouragement this blog just gave finding it today. Thankyou and God Bless.

TERE G 01/13/2011 01:40:58

"if others had peeked through my window"


my prayers lately have been thanking God for being able to homeschool at the time when i can..lately i started having a very unusual sleeping pattern where i cannot sleep through the night so i am sleeping at all times of the day and all times of the night...and i feel like its causing such a mess in our homeschool....

I have also gotten my feelings hurt when i hear whispers in my own home of when im schooling my kids....

My husband is so encouraging though....but i still feel terrible

im surrendering it to the Lord..

Thank you AOP..for the blog

JUDY P 01/13/2011 05:41:41

Elizabeth Eloit read the poem, "Do the Next Thing", years ago on her radio program. That became a motto that I still use today in times of intense pressure. For instance, we planned to start school Jan.3rd. Everything was slowing picking up whenwe had a problem with SOS and I had to upgrade. So we plannned for the next Mon. An older child starts getting sick Sunday morn. Sunday night we have 9 inches of snow! (A rarity here!) We call Monday a snow day since Dad is home. Monday evening, two more children get sick, Tue., two more and the Doc's office is closed because of ice and snow. Wednesday morning we finally get to the doctors, and we have 5 active cases of the flu, and are treating the others also.

SO....we do the next thing. Get the children well, think about the rescheduling of assignments, and keep walking. Having homeschooled now for 14 years, with a few successes and many failures, "Do the Next Thing" is a motto that has helped me thru many things and issues. Praying, asking God to show us what the next most needful thing was, carried us a long way also. Do the next thing helps keep those plates spinning, and sometimes shows you which ones have to be put away.

May you seek God's favor in all you do, and may He bless you all.

CHRISTINE V 01/13/2011 07:07:40

Thanks, I really needed that today!

DAWN W 01/13/2011 07:21:46

I am so enjoying getting my morning devotion. This has been such an encouragement. Thank you for doing this.

LISA T 01/13/2011 07:24:36

Wow! What a right-on-Word for me today!! thank you so much

ELISA C 01/13/2011 11:30:23

I'm in complete agreement with Lisa C. I also have a 7yr old, 5yr old, and 2yr old and just starting to homeschool. This morning before I read this devotional I just wondered how is this all going to work!? But thank God for this devotional! Just the perfect encouragement.

CHRISTA T 01/13/2011 14:14:09

Treva...I will pray for you. I have started a date night with Jesus on Thursday nights where I've schedule out 2 uninterrupted hours alone with the Lord through Bible reading and prayer. It's a time that my family knows I will be in my closet with the doors closed. I've had to guard that time because many things can try to take this time. I've simply had to say "no" to anything else so I can be sure to keep my "date" with Jesus. :) It's so important to make time to be like Mary..sittting at His feet.. and take time off from being Martha. This has helped me keep my "spinning plates" in perspective. We can do all things through Christ! God bless!

GAYLE C 01/19/2011 10:34:14

Fantastic! A word in season, truly. Thanks!

CARLA W 01/13/2012 05:38:07

The devotions and comments shared have been encouraging as I am walking through a trial right now. Please pray for our family to make the right choices this year in each step we take. My husband is very encouraging but unless you are the plate spinner you don't understand. So grateful to have you ladies in my life for knowing exactly what each of us face as we answer the call to homeschool our children. You are mighty in the Lord!

MICHELLE B 01/13/2012 05:38:09

Thank you for this devotional. Daily I am keeping the plates spinning of homeschooling, working full time as a nurse, keeping a small farm running and finishing my Bachelor's degree. Many people have asked me how I do it. My answer is "I don't know. Only by the grace of God." I do ask for your prayers of strength and descernment to help me continue to make decions on what needs to be done next and what will not be done at all. I have 4 children, 2 of which I am homeschooling. The oldest is a junior in public school and the youngest is 4. I have not started school with him yet. I finish my program in July and am anxiously awaitng its end. Thank you for this encouragement. I don't read the Daily Focus everyday but today I must have needed it. Thank you Lord for getting involved.

CHERYL L 01/13/2012 06:04:10

I am just starting to homeschool my 8th grader. Thank you so much for the daily uplifting words! They are a blessing to us as we start this wonderful journey together!!

SARA C 01/13/2012 07:33:51

I can only say that this devotional has come as a glass of cold, icy water on a steamy, hot, thirsty, strengthless desert day. I have been going through this for a little while and longing to find relief and here I am lead once more, thankfully, to the one who can hold all things together including homeschool, family, kids and husband, not to mention my own life in his hand and keep it spinning as it should. Thank you for this devotional. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Mathew 11:28.

HEATHER M 01/13/2012 09:01:55

Wow, I have never read one of these from Alpha and Omega before. I was steered to this particular one this morning to open and read. It is just confirmation for what the Lord was already working in my heart. You can't do it alone and it is futile to try. Cast ALL of your cares on Him! Thank you Jesus for helping me understand that I can bring all things to you and let you be in control of every aspect of my life!

DEEDEE A 01/13/2012 15:43:23

Thank you!

Maria Baker 01/21/2015 18:43:13

"A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame". One should not leave their children alone. When you are homeschooling your children--make sure they are all where you can see them. Also, keep your children safe from harm. If you are watching multiple children, you need to have a good plan to keep all of them safe from injuring themselves or injuring others. In order to homeschool successfully, you need to have a good plan for all that you do.

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