Friday, October 19, 2007

Faith, not Doubt


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."
Guess what? Those things were all still true about me. The only thing that had really changed was that deep down in my heart, I knew that it was the best thing for my kids. (I'm not trying to preach that it's the best for everyone, but I knew that it was the best for mine.) So, I asked the Lord to take away my fear. And I immediately remembered the principle that fear and faith cannot coexist. I determined to focus on my faith in God. I have to trust Him. If He, in His infinite wisdom, knows homeschooling to be the path for my family to take, what do I have to be afraid of? Certainly it will require change, work, more patience than I currently have, and a healthy dose of prayer, but why should I fear those things?
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.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe and have faith you will do a wonderful job. The Lord has blessed you and Jared with great talents and with a lot of prayer you can accomplish anything.
No doubt.
Love ,
Papa

Rebecca said...

Patience: Who was it who spent their day with Henry sitting in front of his breakfast well into the afternoon?
A break from the kids: That's what your favorite babysitter Rachel will be for!
Organization: Anyone who can plan excellent meals on a daily basis knows how to organize time and family. And, all those years you were Primary chorister you were exceptionally organized and taught very well.

I think you will be the perfect candidate for homeschooling and as you get started and move forward you will look back and wonder why you were so nervous in the first place. Plus, don't you already have experience with teaching in the Whittier school district, was it tutoring you did?

My mom would say, "Gird up your loins, fresh courage take!"

Rebecca said...

My friend Gina homeschools in CA. http://bartokbrood.blogspot.com/

Heidi said...

Michal, I already told you but I think you'll do a fabulous job homeschooling, in fact I can't think of anyone better to do it! And I love your Pres. Monson quote, so much that I'm using it in my intro. to our Primary program tomorrow. Thanks for the last-minute inspiration!

Mahina said...

you said you did lots of research on homeschooling. can you give me any references or recommendations? i'd be interested to learn more, just for curiosity sake!

Michal said...

dad,
it means so much to have the support of our family in this undertaking. thanks for having faith in us and in the lord.

Michal said...

rebecca,
thanks for pointing those things out. i guess we are often harder on ourselves than we need to be and are so worried about our flaws that we don't always recognize the strengths. i also appreciate the referral to your friend who homeschools. i have been emailing and talking to everyone i can who does it--i'll add her to my dream team!

Michal said...

heidi,
thanks for seeing in me what is sometimes hard to see in myself. how did your primary presentation go? ours was today, too! kimball was distracted as usual, but did ok overall. henry beamed his smile at me the entire time, sometimes forgetting to sing because he was so busy smiling! he's a big time mamma's boy!

Michal said...

mahina,
i've added some of my favorite homeschooling websites to the side links on this blog. also, i have talked to everyone i can about homeschooling and have emailed about a dozen people who i know through one to three degrees of separation! also, a great book i'm reading and would recommend is "the well trained mind" by susan wise bauer and jessie wise, a mother/daughter team who have both homeschooled. it's really a testimony to homeschool when the next generation opts to do it, and with some of the families that i've talked to, that's already happening.
don't let yourself get overwhelmed, though. there is lots of info out there.

McD said...

Homeschooling? There are few people or more importantly couples I can think of that could pull that off. You guys ( that spouse of yours could give lessons in the evenings, that is the advantage of homeschooling right?)are definetly capable of it. Let me know when you have to teach controversial stuff like Darwinism and what do they call it now. . .parenting prep 101? I'll make some home videos, wait that sounds bad, Instructional videos.
Just do it!

Michal said...

mcd,
jared will be handling much of our science curriculum. fridays are going to be our free days, when we do science experiments and take field trips or enjoy some kids and daddy time while i find my sanity! (jared recently changed his office hours and is home on fridays.) one of the great things about homeschool is that we don't have to teach everything just as they do in public school. although our children will definitely learn darwinism, since we believe in the principle--we just believe that it was a process used in god's creation. but that's another post!