“Not this.” I just knew that God would not lead us away from homeschooling. And then I remembered …
Sara Maria, who is now 17, asked me during our Family Devotions one spring night just after she had just turned 11, “Mom, can I really pray for anything?”
“Sure, Honey. But only if you’re willing to accept that God’s answer may be yes, no, or wait.”
So, Sara Maria went on to pray, “Lord, would you open the way for me to go to Columbia.”
Now, right away, I knew exactly what God’s answer was, and it wasn’t “Yes.” A team from our church was heading to Columbia, South America that summer. Columbia … “kidnapping capital of the world.” Sara Maria was praying to go with the team to the kidnapping capital of the world. Our plan was for Bill to go, but for me to stay home with the kids … ALL the kids, including Sara Maria.
But God’s answer wasn’t “No.” And, as you would expect, Sara Maria’s 10-day trip to Columbia with Bill AND me impacted her … big time. This summer, she’ll be participating in Compass at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. And although she is so excited about La Vida, and looking forward to the seminary classes, what really has her pumped is the 10 days she’ll spend in Mexico City. Although Bill and I don’t yet see the whole picture of God’s call on Sara Maria’s life (and ultimately that will be up to her discern), we began to see glimpses when she was a little girl with a big heart, no fear, no Spanish, and loads of charisma teaching tag to 30-some kids in a barrio in Columbia.
Running around in the dusk with these Columbian cuties, we saw God’s hand on Sara Maria’s life. Later that week, we walked with our team through a troop of armed security guards into a school and left our daughter in a 5th grade classroom. We observed classes, talked with administrators, and then sat down for a school celebration of Columbian independence. As the kids danced and sang, we saw our daughter – clad in a Columbian soccer shirt, blue, yellow, and red bracelets around her wrists, beads dangling from her ears. We saw God’s pleasure over her as she laughed and sang and received. Although she still treasures the earrings, bracelets, and the soccer shirt the kids gave her that day, they are not her most valuable gift.
I thought I knew God’s mind when Sara Maria asked me that evening, “Can I really pray for anything?”
I thought I knew God’s mind when my heart clenched up and I said, “Not this.”
But God is so gracious. He didn’t pry my fingers off of homeschooling, rather He spoke to my heart gently and tenderly. He spoke to me in His Word. He didn’t do it in a magical way, but in a supernatural fatherly way as I read the Bible. I didn’t look up specific passages, or seek spiritual hocus-pocus, but rather I just read my Bible following the reading plan I had started in January.
My “Not this” changed to “Yes this, and more. Take it all. Take every devoted thing. Take everything I am withholding from you. Take every area of my heart that I guard. Take even the things you have given me, if these things are keeping me from You.”
As I read day after day through the life of Saul, Samuel, and David, and in psalm after psalm, God awakened in me one desire …to be in His presence continually, regardless of the earthly cost.
O God you are my God
earnestly I seek you
my soul thirsts for you
my flesh faints for you
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water
So I have looked upon you
in the sanctuary
beholding your power and glory
Because your steadfast love is better than life …
…For you have been my help
and in the shadow of your wings
I will sing for joy! (Psalm 63)
And then, He promised that as I pursue him wholeheartedly, he will direct my path. In verse after verse, chapter after chapter, He said to my heart, “I am your one desire. I WILL lead you. I will NOT abandon you. You can trust me with your heart. You can trust me with your children.”
(To be continued, one more time…)