Friday, April 07, 2006

Finishing Strong

I help coordinate a prayer group for homeschool moms that meets once a month through the school year. It has been an unspeakable privilege to go before the throne for these precious ladies and their families this year, and know that they are doing the same for me. This week, one mom requested prayer that they would "finish the year strong" in their homeschool. Immediately there were nods and "mm-hm's," as if to say, "Yeah, put us down for that, too!" So we all prayed that we would "finish strong."

As I've continued to pray this for all of us, I've been wondering to myself just what "finishing" really means. So, as any good Galileo-teacher-mom would do, I looked it up:

Main Entry: 1fin·ish
Function: verb

Pronunciation: 'fi-nish
1a : to come to an end : to use or dispose of entirely 2 a : to bring to completion or issue b : to provide with a finish ; especially : to put a final coat or surface on 3a : to defeat or ruin utterly and finally b : to bring about the death of

As I read the above definition I am struck by the fact that, out of the seven "school years" I've homeschooled, I've never felt "finished." I've never gotten a sense that we've "come to the end of a course," "ended [our school year] in a specified manner," and to be quite honest, we've never "brought about the death of" any of our books. Well, I suppose my kids would say that I've "beat a dead horse" a time or two... I must admit there have been times when we were not through with a certain workbook or curriculum, but I have declared us "finished" for the purposes of moving on to the next grade, knowing that those concepts would be reviewed at the beginning of the next book. In the interest of honesty, I'll also admit that I've pronounced us "finished" midway through a novel or book in which we've felt bogged down (my apologies to Charles Dickens!). But is that being "finished?"

Then I checked my Bible. (As any good Abe Lincoln-teacher-mom would do!):

  • "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work." John 4:34
  • "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24
  • "Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means." 1 Corinthians 8:11
  • "Perseverence must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:4
  • "By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work." Genesis 2:2

And, this is especially meaningful as we go into Easter Week:

  • "When He had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit." John 19:30

I realize that as we prayed for a "strong finish" for one another the other night, we were talking in view of the short-term, not the bigger picture. Most homeschool parents I've talked to agree that what we're endeavoring to do as we educate our children is much bigger than semesters and school years. But those days, weeks, months, semesters, and school years add up to... the race. We've each been given one. It's our own. And we must run it. I've never run cross country, but I would imagine that there are checkpoints along the way... little "finishes." And all of these races, these individual tasks, are part of the bigger race "-the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."

Finishing is Biblical. Finishing is a pattern God began in Genesis, and Christ modeled on the cross.

With that in mind, my prayer is that at the end of each day, each week, each semester, each school year, upon each child's graduation, and one day as I step into the presence of my Heavenly Father, I'll be able to say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

I still have not figured out why I've never felt "finished." But feelings are not faith. My heavenly Father shall supply all that I need, even a feeling of closure if I need it. So, I'm asking in faith, and praying the same for my dear homeschooling friends.

Look to the finish!

1 comment:

Bethany said...

Hmmmm, now that is the question! lol. Luv ya.


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