I've been thinking a lot lately about what polar opposites faith and doubt are. I suppose it started with my spiritual wrestling with God over homeschooling our brood. I had previously let fear keep me from doing anything more than talking about researching possibly doing home school! In my mind, I was actually researching, but deep down I was hoping that the Lord would point me in a different direction and that my research would be akin to Abraham being willing to sacrifice Isaac--at the last minute, the angel would sweep in and send my kids back to school. To my amazement, the more I looked into home school, the more potential that I could see for it to truly bless my family; and yet, I was still afraid.
Anyhow, last week when I felt an undeniable impression that homeschooling our children NOW, not some non-committal day in the future, was the right thing to do, I couldn't shake the fear. I have been heard to say all the same things that so many people have said to me in the past week: "I just don't think I could do homeschool;" followed by one of the following sentences:
- "I'm not organized enough."
- "My kids and I really need a break from each other."
- "I don't have the patience for it."
- "I really need that time while they are in school."
Then yesterday morning as I was studying the scriptures, a strip of paper fell out of them. It was a quote from a lesson I had in Relief Society ages ago. It said,
"Remember, faith and doubt cannot exist in the mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other. Cast out doubt. Cultivate faith. Strive always to retain that childlike faith which can move mountains and bring heaven closer to heart and home." --Thomas S. Monson
Not only did this quote fit in with the theme of my musings of late, but I was struck with the last phrase: that faith can bring heaven closer to heart and home. Isn't that our goal as mothers (and fathers)? What better reason to cast out doubt and cultivate faith?
I love the term cultivate there, it reminds me of gardening (which is not one of my strengths, although I would love to change that.) Faith doesn't just happen. It's not that you either have it or you don't. You have to work at it, feeding it, watering it, weeding out the doubts and the other weeds that would attack your faith. It goes along with Alma's analogy in the Book of Mormon of faith being like a seed that will grow if nurtured properly.
I have felt so strengthened in the past week, since I made the commitment to follow the spiritual promptings I have been given to homeschool our children. I can feel my faith grow as I cast away doubt. And that faith is strengthening me and telling me that I, in my imperfect state, and take on this enormous challenge.
I am filled with gratitude and with the knowledge that Heavenly Father knows me, my family, our needs, my flaws, and that He is willing to work with me to help me overcome the obstacles to become the woman that He wants me to be.