Second Starts

"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Homeschooling was even harder during the 1980s than it is today. Starting out strong, I was determined to be the best homeschooling parent, but that was before I faced opposition. Some days, my relatives attacked with hurtful comments highlighting my inability to teach. Other days, public school officials sent threatening notes of truancy. Daily, strangers challenged me with infamous questions like, "Why aren't your kids in school?" Without the benefit of experienced homeschoolers and organizations to help me through these confrontations, I vacillated in my homeschooling commitment. Succumbing to the pressure and ignoring God's call, I stopped teaching my children and said, "God, I can't do this. This is too hard!"

In Acts 12:25, John Mark started out strong, too, as he accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. Near the city of Pamphylia, however, the pressures of the trip became too great, and he turned around and headed back home to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13). Perhaps it was the angry Jewish leaders trying to imprison the followers of Jesus or the long days and short nights with little food and comfort. Whatever the reason, John Mark quit, and Paul had nothing good to say about him (Acts 15:37-38). When Barnabas wanted to take him on their second missionary journey, a conflict arose and Paul "thought not good to take him with them" (vs.38b).

Fortunately, God was gentler with me than Paul was with John Mark. Reminding me why I was homeschooling, He gave me another chance. As He confirmed the burden originally put on my heart, I went on in His strength to teach my children through high school. Like John Mark, I rejoiced in God's loving patience and the opportunity to start again.

What about you? If you've ever failed at homeschooling or living the Christian life, God is waiting to help you begin anew. Just pray right now and ask Him for the help you need. Whether it's strength to keep homeschooling or strength to find victory over a particular sin, God wants to show you grace, mercy, and love. He truly is the God of the second chance. "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him" (Psalm 103:13).

Father, thank You for Your great mercy. Please, show me how to start again and be obedient to what You've asked. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Comments(15 comments)

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CYNTHIA P 05/06/2010 05:46:17

I believe I have commented one other time, but I must say that your morning exhortations really do help. I was so comforted by yesterday's on Who gets the credit that it is still in my inbox. Now, after Second Starts, I'm wondering how you are going to top yourself again! Thank you from a not-very-diligent-and-wondering-about-my-sanity grandmother. In Him, Cyndi

MIRIAM C 05/06/2010 07:38:01

Thank you !

LAURA R 05/06/2010 08:29:12

I have to say, these devotions always seem to have perfect timing ! It is the perfect message for whatever it is I am going through and i appreciate them so much. Thank you !!

ELAINE P 05/06/2011 05:59:08

once again perfect are no longer interested in lessons at this point in the game. Spring fever has taken over .

PAULA K 05/06/2011 06:09:34

I am encouraged every day by your devotions for homeschoolers. They are right on target and speak to me wherever I'm at. I homeschooled for 3.5 years, then put my kids in public school. I am now homeschooling one and the other two will be in the fall. I am stepping out in faith in Him. Thank you!

CARIN M 05/06/2011 06:34:06

Thank you for being one of the women who followed God's call so closely that it allows me to home school today. I have the blessing of home schooling without the public school sending threats my way, and without the public commenting when i am in a store in the middle of the day. It is women of your generation that has made this possible for our family. It makes me think that one day Jesus will look at you and say well done good and faithful servant. Thank you!

BETSY S 05/06/2011 07:18:42

This is my first year Homs boiling my 13 year old 7th grade son. Some days I'm ready to quite because my son misses public school and does not want to do the work I give him and now he doesn't even want to read on his own. I pray for God to give the strength I need if this is his will. I just feel in my heart that homeschooling is the right decision. These devotionals help keep me going. Thank you all for sharing and encouraging others!

KAREN L 05/06/2011 07:34:17

Yes, we too are struggling with Spring Fever among other health issues. Strength for the road ahead is required and I'm almost out of gas (physically). And that's not a good thing if you live in California (gasoline $4.23/gal..another story) Please keep us in prayer. It's my goal to finish strong this year. I'm also in the process of changing PSP programs the decision has been a bit challenging. Thank you for your daily devotions, I also keep the ones I need handy in a folder on my computer but I also own a copy of the book. It's fabulous! Love and hugs to all in HIM.

PATRICIA H 05/06/2011 09:50:47

Thank you for the encouragement from the wisdom of God's truths. I recently had a bad time of homeschooling and was at the point of being overwhelmed and feeling like I was not made for homeschooling my children. I can only pray to God for strength at that time and know that if this is where He wants me, He will enable me. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2Cor 12:6

SAMUEL C 05/06/2011 10:26:17

Thank you to all those who came before us when homeschooling was so difficult. God bless you for your service. I want to encourage each of you who posted to this devotional. My wife and I made the decision to home school when my daughter came home in the 2nd grade(1995) and said that 2nd grade boys were on the play ground looking up girls dresses. We were shocked and appalled and moved to a decision. The HS pressures have been great and my wife and I have had to make decisions financially that were difficult at the time but now they are rewarding. The greatest challenge is that "the system" states we can't/shouldn't make these decisions. We know we are making a decision to affect our children's eternity. Someone trained the Daniel and the 3 Hebrew children correctly for them to be able to function where and when they did as teenagers. My Pastor taught us to pray a specific prayer over/about our children. "Lord if you give me their heart I will give them to you to serve you all the days of their lives. I need them to trust me as their parent." " ... No good thing will he with hold from them that walk uprightly... " Keep the faith! Sam and Pam

PAMELA REITENBACH 05/06/2013 13:18:10

Thank you for this encouragement today. My daughter is a struggling learner. I started out homeschooling her in kindergarten, but we were having many frustrations and I ended up putting her in our Christian school. Halfway into the year, I knew I had to bring her home again. Although I don't have the opposition about homeschooling, I get discouraged when she just can't 'get' something. I feel like I am not an adequate teacher. Then the frustrations come. School was going fairly smooth for two years, and then this year we hit a wall in some areas. I really believe homeschooling is the best way of educating her and the Lord has directed me to people who are trying to help, because of her dyslexia, among other areas of need. Even through the frustrations, I am committed to not giving in and quitting, even when my patience runs thin. Even if my daughter does not go far academically, I know the Lord has given this opportunity for me to teach her His Word and to help build character in her life as she grows into a young lady. I am thankful that He gave me wisdom in deciding to bring her back home and have that 'second start'.

TAMMY HALL 05/06/2013 13:24:11

Thank you for these devotionals! I am in the first year of homeschooling my 3 children, kinder, first & 4th. While I know God called me to this I did wrestle with it for 3 years before acknowledging this path. The first year has been wonderful. It's been fulfilling but also it has been extremely difficult. To learn a new balance, picking a curriculum that works for each of my kids, then teaching 3 kids, keeping up with regular tasks like cleaning the house, appointments and grocery shopping. I have 3 different people who learn 3 different ways. I sat back the other day and thought maybe I am doing it wrong and they would learn better in pubic school. Maybe i made a mistake. We didnt find the "right" curriculum for them until Oct so our year is a little off and that is frustrating as well. I just wanted to say how very much I appreciate your devotionals. They give hope and experience letting us know we are not alone in our struggles. I hear God speak through you and that helps so many so much! Thank you for not giving up when it was difficult. Your example really does give others hope!

ESTHER KISS 05/06/2013 13:27:18

Dear fellow homeschooling parents, First, I wanted to thank you for being honest about how things are... The homeschooling experience is a major learning experience...but I believe we the parents might be doing most of the learning! I don't know how many times I placed rigid demands on my children to do things a certain way or at a certain time, and they, (predictably!) rebelled. The problem, as I eventually acknowledged, was usually in my approach. I now work to find out what their interests and learning styles are, and go about using these important insights to select appropriate courses. I also encourage them into completing their assigned work by remarking what a good time we will have after they are finished. The occasional joyful moments away from book learning can go a long way to help our days be brighter! I'm so thankful for the insights I've gained by persevering on this will be our fourth year completed this summer. Another tip for those who could use can help to follow the natural course of things by working to finish school by the end of April. After spring hits, it is just natural to want to get out into the sunshine and think about outdoor things! This could also be used as a tremendous opportunity to learn hands-on skills like organic gardening, baking, or developing a summer service business built to fill a local need. They could learn, earn, and more importantly, gain experience and confidence in their growing set of unique and God-given abilities. In short, this strategy could serve as a very motivating reason for getting book-learning done as quickly as possible in the year. All the best, everyone! For more ideas, you can e-mail me at (Vitamin L for Love) Love makes everything better! Love Esther

RAEGAN PHILLIPS 05/07/2013 13:20:24

This is my first year homeschooling, and it has been far from easy. My family does not approve, a lot of people in my community do not understand, and worst of all, my daughter would rather be anywhere else, most days. I often find myself having to lean on God's calling me to do this.... His strength is what gets me through each and every day. These morning devotions are just what I need! I read them as a part of my quiet time early each day, and I continue to pray His Scripture as I go along. Thanks for the encouragement. Keep it up!

MARITZA SANCHEZ 05/06/2014 16:35:47

Thank you!! God Bless

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