Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"I am not dating until I'm at least eighteen."

He crossed his arms. "So how are you going to know how to date then?"

"Now is the time to cultivate good friendships," I looked him straight in the eye, "and when the time comes I will know what I want. I don't need to "practice" dating."

A year has already passed since my discussion with the high school freshmen from a nearby academy. I didn't understand where he was coming from at the time, or how he had gotten such nonsense into his head at the age of fourteen.

It was months later when I became involved in the academy music program. Quickly I came to the realization that so great was the pressure to pursue a dating relationship that a young person would be fighting an uphill battle in order to remain "single" during the high school years. I repeatedly saw dating relationships and flirtations revolving around me, and this was a striking contrast to what I had always known.

Some dating couples looked somewhat innocent.

"Guess what?" a friendly elementary student looked up at my face, "I have a BF! He's in the locker right now."

I turned to see a stout boy attempting to free himself of the heavy locker door. A small group of kids nearby mischievously giggled as he yelled. I honestly didn't know what to say. She was so happy and joyful, and now I wonder how many tears will spill - or have already - when the boy "breaks up" with her. Some time later I overheard a conversation between her boyfriend and several others, in which they counseled him to "drop at least one of his three dating relationships." I couldn't call that an innocent little dating relationship - the feelings that young Becky experienced were real - and even if her boyfriend didn't care, she would feel pain and loss.

And then there is the opposite extreme of the "school boy/girl" relationships.

"I'm going to re-read "I Kissed Dating Good-bye" again," my homeschooled friend Amber leaned over to me at the potluck table one Sabbath day. We had just gotten back from a performance with the choir and were grabbing a bite to eat.

I smiled. "I've read it twice already."

"You read what?" Silvia, a sophomore, leaned over to hear our conversation.

Hesitating, I wondered what her reaction would be to this book that spoke so strongly against the very mistake she was making by dating at fifteen.

"I Kissed..." my voice faded, studying her face.

"...Dating Good-bye," Amber finished for me.

Silvia slightly turned away with expressionless features, and then back again. "I read the first chapter, and I think it emphasizes the negatives of dating rather than the positives," she replied.

I scooted my chair forward, sensing a lull in the table conversation and realizing that this may be an opportunity to share my convictions.

"So do you believe the positives of dating outweigh the negatives?" I asked carefully, fully aware that I was treading on a thin sheet of ice. Every young person around me at the table (excluding Amber) was either in a dating relationship or "liked" someone.

"Well I believe dating has had a great positive effect on me," Jessica, a recent high school graduate joined the conversation. Silvia willingly let the eighteen-year-old answer my question. "I've had other dating relationships before this one, and they have greatly strengthened my character," she continued.

Her sixteen-year-old boyfriend stood nearby, pushing buttons on her new iPod.

"But doesn't it hurt - when you break up?" I asked.

"Not anymore. It has greatly strengthened me."

Strengthened this girl - what about hardened her? Had she seriously come to the point in which breaking up didn't hurt anymore? How could anyone be proud of that?

People had begun to move away and clean up after the potluck, but Silvia and I kept up a conversation.

"Do you think that the majority of the relationships here at this school are serious? Do you think people really intend to marry the person that they are dating?" I asked.

"You can tell who is serious, and who isn't," she replied.

We rose from the table and sauntered to the side of the gymnasium.

"Well for myself, personally, I will wait, and when I do begin to "date," you can be sure that I'll be serious," I carefully let her know my convictions.

She nodded.

"I don't want to be like," I lowered my voice, "Jessica, for instance, who has become so calloused to her feelings that it doesn't hurt anymore."

I wished that I could tell them what a big mistake they were making, but I knew they wouldn't listen. Caught up with the endless roller coaster of crushes, flirtations, going out, and breaking up, these young people were wasting precious time that could have been used instead to bring honor and glory to God. The sad thing is one day when these people get married, they will be so accustomed (as was Jessica)to guard themselves against hurt and pain, that it may take a struggle to place their heart in the hands of their spouse - if they had much of it left at all.

God looks upon us with great love and tenderness, and His heart must hurt Him when we make the wrong choice. As much as He wants to guide our hearts, He can't if we don't let Him. The world's dating scheme doesn't have to be ours - we can stay uninvolved in the first place, and someday - in God's timing - we can approach a healthy, godly, relationship knowing that we have the Lord's blessing.

I applaud my friends who want something better than what the world offer, who choose to keep their hearts whole and pure for the person God has planned for them. I admire you for winning an “uphill battle” against the popular trends of the time by choosing God’s way and waiting for His ultimate plan to be perfected in you.

The ultimate purpose in life is to serve God and to spread the gospel. There is no loosing when it comes to following Him. Won't you trust your heart in His hands?

Monday, September 13, 2010

I heaved the huge pan from the stove top and carried it to the tub. "Foreign frontier mission-preparation," I thought to myself with a grin, scooping up water from the basin to wash my hair. Our furnace strangely stopped working the day before, and we hadn't had hot water since. "I'm so glad that my parent's trip to China was delayed after all," I thought. What would Amy and I have done when we no longer had hot water or heat? I would have had enough trouble calling the plumber, much less identifying the real problem.

It was late August when my parents received an email with the dates for their departure to China. We were all very eager to get our new brother Jonathan, and with growing excitement my parents shopped, packed, and received advice from other adoptive parents that had made the long plane trip to China and back. But then - we faced bitter disappointment. The consulate in China put us off, and instead of my parents leaving in 5 days, they were leaving at some unknown point in the future - possibly a month from then. "Why?" we wondered, "how could this be? Is this God's leading or the result of life's necessary trials?" I was comforted that the Lord indeed had a plan, and that this was just one piece of the puzzle, even though it didn't make sense.

It was days after our family's disappointment when we faced a new, emerging problem: our Quarter Horse Molly. Twice she spooked for no apparent reason as my mother and cousin rode her, and even though the mare had great ground manners, she acted resistant when ridden. I was surprised to find that she was no longer the slow poke lesson horse that I had known before - now she was sensitive, touchy, and irritable. We invited a trainer to come and try Molly out, and I was shocked to watch the horse buck, rear, and jerk her head as the trainer gently worked with her. We hadn't finished paying for the Quarter Horse, and it was providential that we found out before October when we would have to pay the rest. Was this yet another reason why my parents' trip to China was postponed?

And last but not least, a suicidal, drug addicted individual at large, is in the area running from the police. This by no means makes us feel secure, and is yet another reason why my parents are thankful that their travel date for China was delayed.

Molly was returned to her owner, the furnace was fixed, and we don't know about the criminal but we feel safe with our parents here.

God had a plan, and we trusted Him even though we did not understand. My parents are preparing again for their departure, and with the crisp breezes rippling the trees which are now turning faint colors of yellow, red, and orange, so comes the winds of change as well. Another fall has come to New England, and with it I have learned many valuable lessons. Maybe one of the most challenging to learn, is complete trust in the total unknown. It is encouraging to see how God works everything out for the good, even though it was unfortunate that my family's trip was delayed. But I am determined to trust ultimately in my Heavenly Father, even though I won't always understand. I can have faith that He holds all the pieces to the big puzzle.

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I was only two years old when I met Katie, a cute redhead at campmeeting. At first I remember us pacing the grass outside of her house when we were tiny, wistfully staring at each other and pondering in our little minds what to say. As time passed, we graduated from our shyness and got to know each other much better. Katie's younger sister Tory, and my sister Amy would suspend jump-ropes from their top bunk and we older girls slid under the bed to tie stuffed animals to the bottom handles. Together we became involved with music and everyone tackled recorder, dressing up as angels and playing a special music near Christmas time. Our golden headbands and belts were tickly and itchy, and soon we had to file out of the pew and change. Our family's took adventurous walks in the summer, vigorous sledding parties in the winter, and had camp-outs together in the fall.

As the years passed we girls emailed and chatted, living in the pure joy of true friendship. The memories will go on and on. We had so many adventures together! I remember a cold winter day and a particular slide which sent Amy and Tory right on top of each other. They were laughing so hard, they appeared to be a mass of giggles resting in a heap in the white snow. And the time when we got lost together, ran from a swarming nest of ground bees, and ended up in someone's backyard in town. We enviously passed by a woman sipping a luscious glass of lemonade on her front porch and satisfied our appetite with sour crabapples as we trudged up our road. Taking a walk, we giggled and stuck ferns and flowers in our dad's back pockets as they talked together. I remember when, more recently, we girls gave a special music at their church and the microphones screeched like I've never heard before. The memories went on and on.

Last Sabbath, we finally gathered together to say good-bye. This family - our friends for almost my entire life - were taking a journey across the country to go to academy. We took a Sabbath walk, wandering through the woods and found a winding dirt road up Tucker Mountain. When we got to the top of the hill, we rested together and refreshed ourselves with the beautiful view. Yet there was a trace of sadness as we rested together, because we knew this was the last walk we would take in a long time. At home we sang a few songs together, and my fingers lingered over the piano keys as the last strains of harmony ceased.

After saying a tearful good-bye, we watched our friends walk to their car. I could only wave and watch them leave. In a way I felt that I was saying good-bye to those past years of childhood, and that things would never be the same again. Again I faced reality: life is full of change. Some change brings us pure joy, and some brings us heartache and pain. But through it all, Christ calls me to surrender all to Him and ultimately trust in His perfect plan. Friendship is a beautiful gift that God grants us, and I have learned how precious it truly is. I want to thank each and every one of you for being my friends. Let's live next door in heaven.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

He Cares


I roused myself from the depths of "The Story of Redemption" to hear Papa's voice calling me from the other side of the basement.


There was a quick silence and I strained to hear what he was saying over the noise of his huge box fan which he kept in his window.

"Can you hear it?"

I dashed down the short hall to Papa's half of the basement.

"Can you hear it?" he repeated.



Sure enough, that troublesome cricket had escaped. I have always held a fascination for all of God's creatures, and just recently I had found myself juggling eight small-mouth bass in my fishtank, one fearsome crayfish, and two crickets. After a night where my grandfather couldn't sleep from the chirping, I decided to release the little creatures, but to my dismay, I found that they had escaped. Now somehow one of my crickets had made its way into Papa's room.

He turned on the light, and I searched frantically to find the insect, but it had stopped chirping.

Wearily I walked back to my room and waited to hear the chirping again as Papa turned off his light. Sure enough, soon the little feller was making shrill chirps echoing through my grandfather's room.

"Lord, please help me find it," I prayed, knowing that it was nearly impossible to find a cricket in his many bookcases, crevices, desks, and so on. Thankfully the chirping continued with the light on. And then I saw it, chirping away on top of Papa's desk. After several grabs, I caught the cricket in my hands. "I got it!" I announced triumphantly.

"Thank you honey," my grandfather sounded relieved as he prepared to go back to bed and turn off the lights.

I let my cricket jump out into the cool night air with a smile. He joined the many other crickets outside as I slid "The Story of Redemption" back to the usual place under my bed.

Not a day seemed to pass but that I realized all over again: God cares about the little things. He cares about the little cricket to the horse that our family is getting. He cares about the little trials just as much as the long, hard struggles. Knowing how Jesus cares about every little thing in my life cautions me to be careful even in the things that don't appear to matter. Whether I prove faithful to Him in the little trials of life determines the final outcome of this battle for my heart. To know that God cares for me and my future, inspires me, convicts me, and gives me courage. I can face whatever lies ahead when I know that He ultimately cares and will do everything in His power to take me to His kingdom.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Amy's old violin sweetly calmed me with the soothing melody of Pax, meaning "peace" in Latin. It was a warm summer evening at our little church during a musical program. Calmly I turned the pages of the sheet music, letting my fingers linger over the snow white keys.

Then - the music was gone. Somehow the last two pages were missing, and I found myself jolted from my calm reverie and facing the stark facts - I had to play by memory.

Automatically my fingers glided over the keys, and I stared at them, trying to remember what the last chord was. I was astonished to watch myself play the music that was not in front of me. Unsure, I played a chord softly, and then another, and another, until I found the right one.

Sometimes life seems so sure: you know what you want to do, what you want to be, and how things will end. The music is so beautiful, calm, and soothing, and it feels like this could go on forever. But suddenly the pages turn and you find a blank future ahead of you. Changes come quickly to your life, and only complete trust in God will lead you through.

How happy I am that I can turn to a blank page in my life and trust God to lead me through!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

He Sent the Rain

Sitting on the front of the raft, with my feet dangling in the cold river water, I marveled at the beautiful nature surrounding me. How thankful I was for life, for my friends! I could have sat there at the front of the raft for hours, just letting the cold water ripple through my toes as I pondered life in general. Grandpa let us know that he was not thrilled with this Father's Day event, spending a boring time rafting in a river with no rapids. I had offered to make it more exciting for him - like tipping the boat or something - but he didn't act very thrilled about it.

Behind me, Grandpa was straining at the oars. "I can't keep this raft straight into the wind without you rowing in the front," he said with despair.

I gingerly picked up an oar and winced as my knees scratched against some grainy bits of sand at the bottom.

As we worked against the wind (which was pulling us upstream instead of downstream) the sun beat down on our backs. I grew hot and tired and wondered what the cold water would feel like if I was dunked in. "Throw me overboard," I told Grandpa with a grin.

"Something's wrong with Mamma in her raft," Bethany pointed.

My mother had just recovered from being sick for two weeks, and she was still recuperating. I could see my mother lying down in the boat while Grandma rowed alone.

"What's wrong?" Grandpa yelled.

"Suzanne's feeling sick!" Grandma called back.

We paddled over to the boat with concern. "Are you alright Mamma?"

She nodded faintly, but I could tell that something was definitely wrong.

"She's feeling nauseous," Grandma explained.

We all decided to paddle back to where we started off and unload because of my mother's unfortunate illness. Dark, looming clouds began to form on the horizon and they grew closer, casting a silent shadow over the water. I honestly didn't feel like jumping overboard anymore. Suddenly raindrops began to patter over our heads.

We tried to win a loosing battle as we paddled as fast as we could for the boat launch. I knew we could never make it back before we were soaking wet - it was too far away.

Faster and faster the raindrops fell, pelting into the water and making tiny, beautiful impressions all over the river. I wished that I had my camera with me to both capture the scenary and my grandpa's grimacing face.

Just as it began to really downpour, we neared a muddy beach and waited for a few minutes as the rain began to slightly calm down. By that time it was too late - we were all soaking wet and I was oddly amused at the significant turn of events.

Afterwards we all talked about the adventures we had - when we missed an oar and Bethany leapt out to get it, when I jumped overboard and forgot to take off my hat, and when Grandma and I sunk our toes into the deep mud of the river shoreline, pulling the rafts behind us.

My mother was very sick, and rested for the rest of the day. We believe that she suffered from heat exhaustion that day in the Connecticut River. It took her eight days of bed rest to regain her strength and health.

"The rain," I thought, "God sent the rain to cool my mother down." Others might have considered the rain a discouraging moment in our rafting trip, but I was thankful for the rain more than ever before. The coolness of the raindrops prevented my mother from having a heat stroke...and a longer recovery!

I am determined to accept the sun or the rain as both a blessing. God ultimately knows what is best for us, and although we may not always understand, He does. The Lord cared for my mother that day by sending what we naturally thought was an inconvenience. Instead, He had granted us a special blessing. How glad I truly am that He sent the rain.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Blessed Day

Recently I've been studying about the Sabbath and the blessing that God has in store for those who keep it. I've always loved the Sabbath - and I love it for many different reasons. To have the special communion with my Creator, to enjoy sweet fellowship with other dedicated Christians, to praise God through music, and to worship at His house - this is all wonderful! But what makes the Sabbath even more meaningful, is to realize that God blessed it.

"For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." Webster's diction defines "hallowed" as "made holy or sacred; honored as holy" and "blessed" as "holy; sacred; consecrated." It is fascinating to realize that the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, contains a blessing that no other day has.

When God blesses something, it is blessed always. "For thou blessest, O Lord, and it shall be blessed for ever." (1 Chronicles 17:27) And His blessing cannot be reversed by man, for as Balaam said, "Behold, I have receieved a commandment to bless: and He [the Lord] hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it." (Numbers 23:20) God's blessing on the Sabbath will be lasting, and He also blesses those who keep it "Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." (Isaiah 58:14)

I wouldn't be who I am today without the Sabbath. I ponder what life would be like without it. I thank God for such a wonderful day where I can take a break from the week. Truly, "A world without a Sabbath...would be like a man without a smile, like a summer without flowers, and like a homestead without a garden. It is the most joyous day of the whole week." - Henry Ward Beecher.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Wonder of Redeeming Love

"In this life we can only begin to understand the wonderful theme of redemption. With our finite comprehension we may consider most earnestly the shame and the glory, the life and the death, the justice and the mercy, that meet in the cross; yet with the utmost stretch of our mental powers we fail to grasp its full significance. The length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of redeeming love are but dimly comprehended." (Great Controversy pg.651)

Years ago I struggled with feelings of emptiness. I searched for something that was not there, and struggled to feel accepted by God. At times I would experience happiness, but it wasn't lasting and I found myself confused when didn't understand what was happening. God's love was before me, but I needed to allow it to work in my heart. The Lord loved me -as a vile sinner - but if I didn't accept His love into my heart, it would do me no good.

Oh the wonders of redeeming love! No wonder we can't comprehend it; no wonder we can't understand it. Countless times we hurt our Redeemer by slipping into sin, but He ever loves us no matter what we do. His love calls us to be better people, to turn from sin, and to pursue truth. This love is unlike anything that I have ever known before.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

This evening I saw the most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen in my life. The bow extended from one side of the sky to the other, accentuated by dark clouds. It's colors were marvelous in their glory and splendor.

But what made this rainbow all the more beautiful, was when I realized that God put it there in the sky - for us. When we look at this beautiful token of His love, we can be reminded of God's promise, and that one day things will be different. No longer will we suffer pain and hardship; we will never feel the cutting edge of the results of sin."And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." Luke 21:28

"But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." I want to be His light. And I must never forget The Promise.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Behind The Door

I was exhausted and hungry, just waiting for the moment when I could rest. For the past four hours Bekah and I had been “knocking on doors” or the more updated version, “ringing doorbells.” The first time when Bekah handed me the survey and asked me if I would like to do the next house, I was nervous. But after my first try, I found that it wasn’t too bad. The worst part about “ringing doorbells” was when I had to walk up to an imposing door and wait until someone answered, not knowing who I would meet or if they happened to be in a good mood that day.

The first four hours were the most discouraging.

“Hello, my name is Abigail and this is my friend Bekah,” I would smile sweetly, “We’re going around the community doing a religious survey and were wondering….”

“No!” The door would slam.

This lack of simple courtesy and politeness never ceased to bother me. Resisting the impulse to knock on their door again and insist that they at least let me finish my sentence, I realized that I wasn’t like Bekah – able to march on from house to house like an experienced foot soldier. This part of delivering a community survey wasn’t enjoyable.

However, I met some very interesting characters in the last twelve hours of going door-to-door.

Once, a sweet Hindu lady in her early thirties, dressed in a beautiful sari, invited me into her home, and we talked about her country and its beliefs. A grandmother crooned to a tiny baby in different language down the hall, and the rain pattered down outside. This sweet woman talked to me for about fifteen minutes, and asked us to return in six months when her baby was older to go through the Bible with her.

Another lady with white hair and gold earrings answered the door and told us to wait inside until she got off the phone. So Bekah and I waited in the doorway, stroking her two beautiful cats. “Now how may I help you?” she asked us, hanging up the phone with relief.

“We’re from a local church doing community surveys and we were wondering if you could answer a few questions for us.”

This woman was prompt in her answers and fondly held a plump cat in her arms. “I think we all are gods, and we just need to know how to exercise our own power,” she told us. “Even you have power Marshmellow, don’t you?”

“Do you go to a church?” Bekah asked, ignoring the woman’s reference to fluffy animal.

“No.” She paused, “I mean, yes I do, if you consider nature to be my church. Whenever I take a walk in the woods I am worshiping….”

It was interesting to see people’s responses to our questions, and I learned a lot more about people’s thinking and what they believed. I interviewed an atheist, who used to be quite religious when he was younger, but now claimed that he had become more “educated” since then. I talked with a sweet Mormon, a lively Congregationalist, an enthusiastic Catholic, and a suspicious Methodist.

Then an older, well-dressed lady with grey hair and gold earrings answered the door, and I immediately noticed something about her that I hadn’t seen in anyone else.

“Yes?” she asked wryly.

I found myself open to her unflinching gaze. I saw a challenge, and I knew she was testing me.

“What church are you from?” she demanded.

“We’re from the Seventh-Day Adventist church down the street,” I replied, smiling inwardly. Then I turned to the survey seeing that she only nodded. “Do you believe that there has been a moral decline in America?”


“What do you believe is the cause of this moral decline?”

“What do YOU think?” she challenged. “TV, movies,” she began, watching me carefully to see if I showed any signs of being cornered or condemned.

“Lack of parental guidance, and a lot of people disregarding what the Bible has to say,” I continued easily with confidence.

“What grade are you in?” she asked, showing signs of admiration. From then on this Catholic lady seemed to accept me and I no longer sensed the challenge in her eyes as when she first opened that door.

The most surprising experience that I had was when a lady answered her door and told us firmly that she was just about to leave for an appointment, and moreover, she was “a Seventh-Day Adventist.”

Bekah and I stared at her in shock, and she calmly closed the door.

“Bekah! Why didn’t we tell her that we were Adventists too?!” I burst into a sudden torrent of words as we walked down the driveway. “I can’t believe it, that’s so amazing! I was so shocked and surprised that I couldn’t say anything.”

I completed twelve hours of going door-to-door with a new kind of boldness and courage. I wasn’t afraid of hearing someone say emphatically “no” or having a door slammed in my face. I had met many people of different religions, learned more about their beliefs, and what they thought about the world in general. Many said that the reason for America’s moral decline was the media, others said that parents weren’t bringing up their children as they used to, and one even said that it was because kids weren’t going to church anymore. I was surprised to see many people with such a lack of Bible knowledge. When I came to the question, “According to your understanding, how does someone become a Christian?” some people would answer as if reciting from a church manual, others looked at me blankly, and still others quickly replied, “I don’t know.”

Going door-to-door was a valuable experience and I pray that people were led to search their Bibles and find the true joy of living a victorious Christian life.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy to be Homeschooled

As a homeschooler I am asked questions like; “Can’t a busy household get distracting?” “What about a lack of socialization?” “How are you going to get your diploma?” and “Do you want to go to academy?” I have also heard from peers my age, “Oh I wish I was homeschooled” and “You’re so lucky!” Whether others think that we homeschoolers have the day spent leisurely doing our own pleasure, I don’t know. But what is being homeschooled like, and why am I content to be homeschooled?

One reason why I love homeschooling is because I can choose what I study. If a curriculum isn’t a good match for me, I can switch to another one that, for example, is more of a challenge. I can be creative, and explore areas that catch my interest. I can also go at my own pace, going faster – or slower according to my abilities, without being pressured by and compared to my peers.

I do not suffer from a lack of socialization, and I have many opportunities to interact with people of all ages. Best of all, I (and my parents) can choose who I want to associate with, and our families get together and we build friendships.
Because of the savings due to staying at home, my family can afford music lessons, and I love the opportunity to learn and practice music.

I also love homeschooling because I’m learning not only the academic work, but how to keep a home, take care of the animals, watch the children, clean the house, and prepare lunch. These are valuable skills that will aid me in keeping my own home someday. I have freedom to spend more time with my family, and to cultivate lasting relationships with them.

This month I will be joining a Bible Worker, and going door-to-door to plant seeds for an evangelistic series. I am very thankful I can adjust my schedule and not miss out on great opportunities like these.

Because of the busy household revolving around me, I have learned to focus with distractions of younger children, etc., going on around me. If for some reason I can’t handle the distraction, I can always go upstairs to my room and study in solitude.

As other young people are enrolled in academy, my mother asks, “Would you like to go to academy too?” but my answer is always the same. I am happy and content with my life now, I love being homeschooled, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

“[Jesus] education was gained directly from the Heaven-appointed sources; from useful work, from the study of the Scriptures and of nature, and from the experiences of life, - God’s lesson-books, full of instruction to all who bring to them the willing hand, the seeing eyes, and the understanding heart." Education pg. 77

Monday, March 15, 2010

Because I Didn't Know

Birds twittered and trilled, perched on the flimsy branches of the poplars. The brook had swelled with melting snow from our property, gushing from the culvert and eventually creating a quiet pool under the shade of a few trees. I felt like I could soar to the treetops and sing with the birds as I went skipping down the driveway. Spring was in the air, and then summer would come. There was no limit to my excitement; what would the summer hold? I didn't know, but I wished that I did.

If I could have gone forward in time, I would have experienced mixed feelings over the summer of 2009. I would have seen myself tenderly caring for a sweet little bird, fallen far from the nest. Yet later I would witness the cruel results of sin as I pitied an injured creature, dying. I would witness ten beautiful baptisms bringing inspiration and encouragement to my heart. Yet I would feel frustration and worry over the life of a friend. I would experience joy never felt before, yet feel sorrow to see others filled with hate. Our family would travel to an old country farmhouse for a family reunion - little did I know that it would be the last one. My brother and I would puzzle over a mysterious "bear" and run for our lives when we ended up in a swarm of angry yellow jackets. I would have to let go of some friends that were bringing me down, but with joy I made new friends that are very dear to me. My heart would soar to the sky as I hiked up in the White Mountains and I would learn many valuable lessons that I never wanted to forget. Even though my heart would be filled with joy, I would still experience the pain of sin.

That is why God doesn't always show us the future. How easily I could have gotten discouraged if I had seen all the trials ahead! But what would trust and faith be if there was never any uncertainty, any trial, or any situation where we couldn't exercise them?

Here I am, a year later from that spring day. I have learned much, and that is partly because I didn't know. I would have lost half of the lessons I learned if I had known in advance exactly how situations would turn out and what I had to face. I learned more about myself - how I naturally reacted to certain situations - and I learned more about God - and His grace. My faith in Him has been strengthened because no matter what happened, God never failed me, and I could say that from experience.

My future holds a lot of blanks right now, but I don't need to know what the next summer holds - or the next for that matter. I am happy to live each day with the knowledge that God is in control, no matter what happens. As the time passes, and I experience the winds of change, I know that God will strengthen me to face whatever the future holds....