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Do you give the best to others and the rest to your family?

She wanted to read the textbook by herself. I worked a long day and felt the time slipping away. I needed to cook dinner and just didn’t have the energy to help her do it own her own. My first instinct urged me to say no way. Instead, I told her I would be in the kitchen and unable to help at this time. I turned away discouraged, feeling guilty I had worked with several other students that day, but felt too busy and drained to help my daughter. I doubted her. I doubted me – that I had done enough with her. She often is pushed to the side because it’s time to work with a client. What does it say about me that I give so much to other kids but imperfectly mother and teach my own?

Just the fact that she wanted to read made me ecstatic, and nervous at the same time. You see, she’s a struggling learner. Most of the time, she uses an audio version of a textbook. Reading a textbook usually leads a meltdown. I didn’t have it in me to deal with one of those that night. But I bit my tongue and focussed on cooking, reminding myself what I would say to the parents of one of my students. “If they ask to read, let them. Be there to help if it gets too hard.” If only I could take my own advice. I kept cooking but after a while I peeked in to check on her.

“I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and (mumble) made; (mumble) are your works and my soul knows it very well.”  Psalm 139:14

I couldn’t believe my ears. How amazing of God to lead me to listen on to that very sentence. Tears flowed. They flow even now. I can’t remember that story without tears. It marks a monumental moment. A moment when her words touched a deep place. She is perfect in her imperfectness, just as I am perfect even as an imperfect mom. We are both fearfully and mumbly made!

She went on that night to read three pages on her own. She listened to the rest on audio. That week she aced the quiz with a 100. It still hangs on our fridge. Although I often feel like I give the best of myself to my students, the truth is that I give my time and expertise to them and while I care for them greatly, they don’t have my heart. My own kids do. And that covers over a lot of imperfectness.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

When you feel like you give your best away, look at your heart. When you give your heart to your family, they have the best – they have you.

Kimberly VogelAbout the Author: Kimberly Vogel lives in Texas with her husband, four daughters, and the household zoo, which consists of a dog, turtle, fish, and two bunnies. She is living her dream of motherhood, teacher, and author. Zookeeper was never on the list, and Kimberly realized quickly that motherhood can be rather challenging and often looks more like a zoo than a classroom. Yet she wouldn’t change a thing. Kimberly shares her heart for encouraging families on her blog. She recently went back to school to become an educational therapist, but her main students are her kids as she teaches her children at home. Kimberly’s other dream, being an author, came true with her first book, Ribbons of Rainbows. This beautiful storybook tells the story of two young Stones in search of God’s glory. Find her on her blog, Facebook, Google+, Instagram & Twitter.

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  1. Oh, Kimberly! I just love this piece. I too, am a mom to a struggling reader. I totally understand what you are talking about, there are just timed when I don’t have the energy to help her read (and the meltdown that is certain to accompany the process). My family has my heart, and that is the best part of me….such an important reminder for moms today! I will definitely be sharing this article. Thank you!

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