"For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).

Sometime after the third or fourth year of homeschooling, I finally gained enough confidence to believe that I was capable of teaching my children at home. I could see my children were actually learning, and I was excited to be involved in their day-to-day learning adventure. Everything was clicking with our curriculum, and we actually seemed to be in a rhythm with our daily routine and homeschooling schedule. Still, something seemed to be missing.

As I gave in to my doubt, depression began to cloud my thinking with "poor me" thoughts like "No one appreciates you," "You're just a mom," and "Everyone thinks you're nuts and could care less about what you're doing!" My self-defeating talk continued and many times was substantiated by attitudes and remarks of those in the community who didn't approve of homeschooling. Each day I seemed to take one step forward and two steps backward in recognizing my value as a homeschooling mom. Wasn't there any reward, recognition, or encouragement for faithfully loving and homeschooling my children?

Then, God's gentle rebuke spoke to my heart one morning during devotions. "Why are you still seeking the world's approval instead of mine?" He asked. Ashamed, I wondered how many times I would need to learn the lesson of Colossians 3:23-24: "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."

Feeling renewed after confessing, I walked into the kitchen to prepare breakfast. Sitting on the counter was a carefully wrapped package from my loving husband and children. Surprised, I opened the gift and found a sparkling, professionally made plaque engraved in gold. Below my beautifully scripted name read the words, "Mother of the Year — in recognition for selflessly loving your family." Tears filled my eyes as I hung the trophy on the wall. Satan was wrong! I was valuable to God and my family, and that was enough.

Father, I praise You for the constant reminder of Your love in Your Word. Teach me again to always run to You first when I feel discouraged and claim Your promises as my strength. In Jesus' name, Amen.