"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Homeschooling was even harder during the 1980s than it is today. Starting out strong, I was determined to be the best homeschooling parent, but that was before I faced opposition. Some days, my relatives attacked with hurtful comments highlighting my inability to teach. Other days, public school officials sent threatening notes of truancy. Daily, strangers challenged me with infamous questions like, "Why aren't your kids in school?" Without the benefit of experienced homeschoolers and organizations to help me through these confrontations, I vacillated in my homeschooling commitment. Succumbing to the pressure and ignoring God's call, I stopped teaching my children and said, "God, I can't do this. This is too hard!"

In Acts 12:25, John Mark started out strong, too, as he accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. Near the city of Pamphylia, however, the pressures of the trip became too great, and he turned around and headed back home to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13). Perhaps it was the angry Jewish leaders trying to imprison the followers of Jesus or the long days and short nights with little food and comfort. Whatever the reason, John Mark quit, and Paul had nothing good to say about him (Acts 15:37-38). When Barnabas wanted to take him on their second missionary journey, a conflict arose and Paul "thought not good to take him with them" (vs.38b).

Fortunately, God was gentler with me than Paul was with John Mark. Reminding me why I was homeschooling, He gave me another chance. As He confirmed the burden originally put on my heart, I went on in His strength to teach my children through high school. Like John Mark, I rejoiced in God's loving patience and the opportunity to start again.

What about you? If you've ever failed at homeschooling or living the Christian life, God is waiting to help you begin anew. Just pray right now and ask Him for the help you need. Whether it's strength to keep homeschooling or strength to find victory over a particular sin, God wants to show you grace, mercy, and love. He truly is the God of the second chance. "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him" (Psalm 103:13).

Father, thank You for Your great mercy. Please, show me how to start again and be obedient to what You've asked. In the name of Jesus, Amen.