real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

being a joy helper


I have spent much of the last week working on valentines for my granddaughters, little rag doll ballerinas with embroidered faces and pink gossamer tutus. I am hoping to have them finished today and in the mail, knowing they will bring joy to little girls whose grandmama is far away and loves them!

I really enjoy making dolls, perhaps better than any other sort of sewing, miniature people without the pregnancy and labor! But there are tedious aspects of it, stuffing the little legs, crafting the yarn hair, hemming the slippery fabric. I like to keep a picture of the end product in front of me, reminding myself that all the work will be worth it.

When the apostle Paul wrote his second letter to the Corinthians, he was addressing his brothers and sisters in Christ who had been through perilous times as a body of believers and more than anything he wanted them to know that God is a God of comfort who brings you through the difficult times so that you may experience the joy of service to others for God’s glory alone.

But he also wanted them to know that he desired to walk that path with them, building them up in the faith, knowing that faith is what produces joy in a Christian’s life. In 2 Corinthians 1:24, Paul assures these dear believers “Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.”

Perhaps the most important aspect of being a mom is building our children’s faith and I think it comes most naturally and effectively when we share our lives with our children in word and in deed. As they see us working to complete tasks, either spiritual ones or physical ones, they see the joy that it brings to us and ultimately witness our faith in the Lord as it grows.

This is especially true during the difficult times of parenting. We are so often tempted to despair and frustration during the day, often letting the smallest of things set the tone and mood for the entire household. Our children, too, have their own struggles, physical and spiritual. By coming alongside them and sharing their problems, being sensitive to those things that genuinely trouble them, not lording it over them by lecturing or scolding them, working with them for their joy by listening to them and transparently telling them our own struggles, and by pointing them to Jesus,we will see them, little by little, standing firm in their own faith.

Puritan pastor Thomas Watson makes this observation of how Christians one another each other by being “joy helpers”: “One Christian conversing with another is a means to confirm him. As the stones in an arch help to strengthen one another, one Christian, by imparting his experiences, heats and quickens another. “Let us provoke one another to love and to good works!” (Hebrews 10:24) How does grace flourish by holy conference! A Christian by good discourse drops that oil upon another, which makes the lamp of his faith burn the brighter!”



  Kim wrote @

Thanks for this, Karen! I would like to be present when the granddaughters open their Valentine dolls. How precious!

I am inspired to clean up my sewing area and start a project today!

  Cindy K wrote @


How odd that your blog post today comes to the same conclusions that mine does from such a different starting point and through such a different landscape. I don’t understand why this happens with us so often. We seem to talk about the same things at the same time for such unrelated reasons. What sundry times and diverse manners God uses to speak to us.

  thatmom wrote @

Cindy, when I read that verse yesterday, it just jumped off the page at me. How often do Christians seek to “control” the faith of others and in the process do everything except build their faith and produce joy in their lives?

  thatmom wrote @

Kim, the dolls are done and now I think I need one of my own! Today I am working on a daughter and daughters-in-law project!

  TaunyaH wrote @


Thanks for one anothering all of us through your blog. I really appreciate your prespective knowing that you have raised and homeschooled your children into adulthood. Thank you for allowing God to use the wisdom He has given you to benefit all of us.

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