Have you ever heard the phrase “homeschooling in the trenches”? Sometimes, that is how we feel. At times, the battle is purely mental as we trudge through our feelings of isolation or insecurity. Other days, we battle against our children’s struggles with learning, whether it is simply an issue on that particular day or an ever-present learning struggle.
When we feel as if we are in the trenches, our inclination is to go to friends who will commiserate with us. And sometimes, that is a good thing. It reminds us that we are not isolated. We are not alone.
But, it’s not always the best answer. We also need to go to friends and mentors who will challenge our perspective a bit.
In the middle of one of many difficult times in my life, I learned about an amazing woman by the name of Dr. Helen Roseveare. Dr. Roseveare served as a single woman on the mission field in the Congo, a central African nation known for its extreme political unrest and human rights horrors. And she was no stranger to those horrors.
As the Congo struggled for its independence in 1960, the Europeans who had once held positions of honor and authority fled for their lives. But, a handful of Protestant missionaries, including Dr. Roseveare, refused to leave. They continued to minister to the needs of the people they had left their homes to serve, and that ministry put them in the eye of the storm.
When that storm brought rebels to her door, the consequences were horrific. As she was being dragged through her house with the knowledge that she would be beaten and raped, she cried out to the Lord. His response was not in an audible voice, but the Spirit’s whisper to her heart was no less powerful. “Can you thank Me for trusting you with this experience, even if you never know why?”
It is hard to listen to the fullness of Helen Roseveare’s story without tears, both of sadness for the things she and those around her endured, but also of joy upon seeing the incredible hand of God working through her. Her submission to the will of God – even to the point of offering her very body as “a living and holy sacrifice” (Rom 12:1) – allowed her to be used in powerful ways, both immediate and long term, to bring glory to God and strengthen the lives of other believers.
Can God Trust Us?
Some of us have testimonies as painful as Dr. Helen’s. We have experienced loss and pain beyond anything we could ever have imagined. Others of us have very different stories with challenges that may seem pale in comparison to the abuse she experienced.
But, all of us have one thing in common: the Romans 12:1 command.
Can God trust us with the experiences He places before us? Can we thank Him in the midst of them, no matter how painful they may be?
This is where we come full circle back to the idea of friends and mentors who will truly challenge us. Yes, sometimes we need the consolation of friends who know what we are going through. But, more often than not, we need to be drawn out of our isolation. We need to be redirected from our own circumstances. We need to be reminded of the ways God has worked through other women, asking so very much of them as they surrendered themselves to His service.
God also asks us to be trustworthy in the challenges He has put before us. We may or may not know why He entrusts us with such a heartrending challenge. We might never grasp the lives we touch because of it. But, when we surrender ourselves to Him fully, allowing Him to use our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls for His purposes, He works through us in ways we cannot begin to fathom. And at some point, we will be the experienced women in the faith, challenging and strengthening the women coming behind us in this parenting and homeschooling journey.
Can you thank Him for trusting you with this challenge?