“You can trust me with your children.
You can trust me.”
This message was loud and clear over the months and weeks as Bill and I watched and waited for direction. We have homeschooled with a desire to keep it up through middle school. But, through my own weariness this spring and through Bill’s urging, I began to unclench my fists and be willing to accept that God might lead us in a different direction. I began to see that homeschooling had become an idol for me. Homeschooling wasn’t and isn’t bad. Holding onto it … that’s what is bad.
God has proven himself trustworthy time and time again, leading and even more preciously, accompanying us on adventure after adventure…
Seminary – We left family and friends for the great unknown of Massachusetts
Babies – Six within seven years, I surrendered my body, my career, and my identity to his care
Church planting – We chose to move to Charlottesville to start a church without job or housing while pregnant with our fourth child.
Homeschooling – Eleven years ago, when the only person that I knew who homeschooled was Sue, my sister-in-law, who lived hours from me, we said, “Yes.”
Ukraine – We said , “Let’s go!” when invited on a ministry trip not having any idea that this would lead to Katya, our 7th child, joining our family 20 months later.
So, it really doesn’t surprise me that God showed himself so trustworthy, so faithful, so absolutely gentle, tender and intimate when I slowly…
Opened my fist
Lifted my gaze
and loosely held homeschooling out to him, like a little child
I held it out to him and asked him, “What do you want ?“
Day after day asking, praying, journaling … “What you want, Jesus. What you want is what I want.”
He didn’t tell us right away. He didn’t tell us with a lightning bolt. But he tenderly, gently, personally he did speak.
Through his word
Through friends and family
And in circumstance after circumstance.
Years ago, Anne Lotz counseled Bill and I on our decision to move to MA for seminary. As we shared with her what we were considering she asked us,
“How is God speaking to your heart as you read his word?
How is he leading your heart as you pray?
What do your family and close friends say?
What are the circumstances that lead you to think this could be God’s will?”
She led us through the “Landing Lights” of knowing God’s will. Picture a plane descending through inky darkness. One by one the landing lights along the runway line up and give direction and the pilot can bring that plane down safely. Nineteen years later, I still use these landing lights to make decisions, and I share them with other gals who are trying to discern God’s will.
These four runway lights are not equal. The Bible is absolutely primary, foundational, essential. I cannot emphasize this enough. God will never, never, never lead you into anything that contradicts his word. If you are not in the habit of reading God’s word, get into the habit today. When young women come to me with questions about life, relationships, decisions, as I listen to them talk, I am first listening to hear whether or not they are reading the Bible regularly, methodically, and prayerfully. If they’re not reading the Bible, my counsel means little, their circumstances mean little, the inclination of their hearts mean little. If you want to know God’s will, first and foremost, get in the word. You can always, always, always trust God’s word. (Psalm 119, 2 Timothy 3:16)
Next is the direction your heart is leaning, your personal conviction, as you pray both intentionally and as you talk with God through your day. Of course, you have to be careful of trusting your heart, but, IF you are reading the Bible, purposely seeking God, and asking the Spirit to give you understanding he will incline your heart toward what he desires. He will teach you, lead you, direct your path. If your heart truly is directed toward him, he promises to even hold your feet to his path. (Proverbs 2, 1 Samuel 2:9, John 16) You can trust, along with Augustine, “Love God and do what you want.”
What do your friends and family say? This should carry less weight that the inclination of your heart and any counsel that contradicts the Bible should be totally ignored and tossed out. But, pick a few friends and, if possible, family members who love the Lord, love you, and truly desire God’s best for you. Ask them what they think. Listen, really listen. And then take their counsel before the Lord. (Proverbs 12:15 and 15:22)
And lastly, and I mean lastly, what circumstances are lining up? This is the least trustworthy, because sometimes God uses challenging situations to increase our resolve to follow his path. As a young Christian, a Bible study teacher told me, “Be sure your motivation is behind you. God doesn’t want you to be a donkey chasing a carrot. When he gives you marching orders, don’t look for a carrot, just obey.” When you’re following God, you should anticipate that you’ll face roadblocks, pitfalls, and even get waylaid by bandits. But, in addition to the hindrances most likely the Lord will give you encouragement that you really are on the right path. Doors that should be closed will open. God will provide in miraculous ways.
As we read the word, prayed, sought the counsel of a few friends and family, we saw the runway lights blink on beneath our plane. One by one they came on, and stayed on.
God gave us assurance again and again through his word in so many passages that he personally would never leave us or forsake us. And then, one Thursday as Josiah and Cameron visited Buford, and then on Friday as Adelyn visited Charlottesville High School, I sat at Panera with my Bible and my journal. My scheduled reading that day was Psalm 102 …
Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people YET TO BE CREATED may praise the LOrd
that he looked down from his holy height;
from heaven the LORD looked at the earth
to HEAR …
to SET FREE …
that they may declare … the name of the Lord …
The children of your servants SHALL DWELL SECURE;
Their offspring SHALL BE ESTABLISHED before you.
As Adelyn visited a public school, an urban school that reflects the diversity of our city, a school for which we will have to pay tuition for her to attend, God spoke to me through his word…
and giving us VISION beyond the safety of our children. Not only do I need help, not only do I need rest, not only will the kids benefit from structure, sports, classes, orchestra, and more, but we gain a platform for impacting our city. This decision isn’t just for me. It’s not even just for our children. It’s for kids and parents we don’t even know yet.
When I picked Adelyn up, I was so excited to share what God had spoken to me, what I had journaled as I prayed and read, but I asked, “So, how was it?”
“I love it! I love the environment, the diversity. I love it!” she answered.
And I smiled and share.
“Cool!” she said.
Through the Bible, through the inclination of our hearts, through words of encouragement from friends and family (Thank you!) and through circumstances, the Lord directed our decision making, and we’re excited.
Next year Sara Maria will be a senior at Covenant, the school she has attended since 10th grade.
Grace will also be a senior, taking classes at our local community college.
Adelyn will be in 9th grade at Charlottesville High School.
Josiah (8th grade) and Cameron (7th grade) will both be at Buford Middle School.
Piper (5th grade) will be home with me. This chick-a-dee thrives on time with me and I’m looking forward to giving it to her.
We’re still waiting for the landing lights to line up for Katya. After ESL testing last week, we’re considering having her go to a local school where a dear friend of ours is the principal. I’ll keep you posted on this!
God changed my “Not this!” to “Yes this! Take it. Take it all. Take anything that would hinder me from anything that would keep me from you!” He’s so faithful. And he will never leave you or forsake you. (Joshua 1)
What about you? Is there something you’re holding onto? Is there a decision you’re asking him about? Leave me a comment and I’ll pray for you!