A few months ago, my husband took a class from a local artisan and learned how to build custom picture frames. He enrolled in the workshop for two reasons: (1) He enjoys woodworking. (2) He had a specific framing project in mind—the beautiful canvas print that sat untouched in the corner of our office, in its cardboard mailing tube, for almost two years.
The Good Part
The painting, Mary Heard His Word by Walter Rane, shows Jesus visiting the sisters Mary and Martha. Martha is surrounded by her work—earthen pots, cloth, a broom—and is busy pouring wine for her honored guest. Mary sits listening at Jesus’ feet, her attention solely on Him. Martha asks Jesus to bid Mary help her serve. But Jesus gently tells her, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part.”
This painting speaks to my homeschooling mama’s heart.
Tina, Tina, thou art careful and troubled about many things—fractions for the fourth grader and simple addition for the first grader. Science lessons about stuff you don’t even really understand yourself. Fixing that pencil grip,and finding a way to motivate your reluctant reader, and organizing your kids’ portfolios, and trying to find the best books for your book club.
But one thing is needful: and YOU can choose that good part.
A Simple Reminder
Homeschooling my children often feels like a monumental task. I am easily excited by the many things I want to learn with my kids, the many resources I want to use, and the many projects I want to do. I dream. I collect. I buy. I organize. I plan. We do. But I usually end up feeling exhausted by the effort. Confused that I don’t seem any farther along the path toward any truly meaningful destination, and frustrated with my homeschool.
My husband did our whole family a favor, and rescued this powerful piece of art from the clutter of my office. He helped me (and us) refocus on the Savior, act, and learn to prioritize hearing His word. Now beautifully framed and hung near my bed, the peaceful scene reminds me daily that in my homeschool I am not called to do everything.
What I Am Not Called to Do
I am not called to do the same thing as my homeschooling neighbor or the picture-perfect homeschool blogger or the other moms in my co-op. I am not called to implement every good idea I come across.
What I Am Called to Do
I am called to act and ask God what He wants me to do for my family, and then do it. I am called to act and teach and train my kids in a way that suits me and that suits them. I am called to act and seek answers, find revelation, and act on my knowledge. If I do that, God will bless and direct and magnify my action.
If we will approach the Lord regularly in humble and thoughtful prayer, He will show us what “one thing is needful” for our homeschool. He can show us that for the year, for the week, for the day—event for the moment. Our needful thing likely won’t look like the needful thing in other homeschools.
It might not even look like the needful thing we did last year in our homeschool, but if it comes from the Lord—and it will come if we ask—it will be the needful thing for our homeschool right now. And in doing it, we can be confident that we have “chosen that good part.”