I am certainly looking forward to the summer: we have plans and are still making some. I intend to enjoy my time with all four of my children home! However, thinking back over this school year truly brings a smile to my face and warms my heart. God is so faithful to answer our prayers...in His timing. What I realize is that when we see the answer--or the culmination of answered prayers, in His timing--it is so sweet. Praying about a new home, a new community, and very specifically about a new school district for my children was in the forefront of my prayers for several years. I have spent almost every day of this school year being so grateful for His answers. As the current school year comes to a close, I am grateful (to tears) that He heard all of my prayers and answered them beyond what I could have asked or even imagined!
From teachers, to classmates, to opportunities, to parent conferences, to art shows and consumer fairs, to father-daughter dances, to agricultural day (complete with pictures of my children on local farmers' tractors), to community volunteers that my children know by name....this has been a fantastic school year! You see, I home schooled for 2 years. Yes, I loved many aspects of homeschooling. Yes, I truly believe it was the best decision for our family at the time. No, I would not trade that time or experience for anything in this world. But, 2 years was plenty long enough for me! Whether it's my DNA, my kids' very strong-willed personalities, God's specific will for our children's lives, or all of the above...2 years was long enough!
I prayed and prayed for our new property and home; for our new community; and for our new school district. I was and still am aware that on my own I did not know what was best for our family. There were times over the almost 4 years that we wanted to move and put bids on different houses; tried to sell our home; attempted to rent it and then retracted, that I thought we knew what would be best. Certain houses or areas charmed me in certain ways and I dreamed; I often felt we had found "the one" or "the perfect area"...but God knew best! I know that now--fully and completely without any hesitation! But I did not always know that along the journey of faith. At times, I even intensely doubted that God was listening to a single one of my prayers. And, during times of struggle with homeschooling, I feared that I would have to take on another year. (Disclaimer: if you are a very committed homeschooling for the entirety of your children's school life kind of mom, I have immense respect for you! I am also aware that you might be shaking your head at my admission. But I am fully comfortable in admitting that it isn't for me and my children for the long haul.)
Two days ago Ella, who is in kindergarten, and Luke, who is in first grade, told me that Ms. Marty needed me to call the library right away! Marty is one of our community's librarians. My preschooler and I see her weekly at story time. My other children see her almost weekly at school as she helps with student reading. We've seen her at monthly school events such as "Science Night" and a Christmas theatrical program. We know her. She knows us. At first I thought that I must have neglected reading a notice sent home or forgot to sign something for the end of the year, although I had no idea what that could have been. Then I realized it was probably about the Summer Reading Program. My suspicion was confirmed when I spoke with Ms. Marty later that afternoon. You see, she knows our family and knew that we would enjoy taking part in that program. She didn't want it to fill to capacity before we had the chance to sign-up. To me, this typifies our community!
We see our bus drivers at school functions; our teachers at holiday parades; our kids wave at our farmer-neighbor as he plows the field....and he returns the wave, or stops to talk; and our children color pictures for the owner of the local pizza store, who loves our kids and always chats with us when we stop in. This is the community of our prayers. Our kids are at a fabulous school. As I said before, I am so grateful! What blesses me the very most is the lesson in all of this: God's answers to prayer, along with patience in His timing, allow for the very best outcome. Sure, we could have jumped ahead of him. I'm sure that we could have had other homes and our kids could have done well at other schools. But, what I know is how I feel...and I can't deny the immense gratitude at the beauty of His answers and His timing. Everything about where we are (our property, home, school, community, and church) is better than we imagined! We are excited for the journey ahead as it continues to develop and grow. The lesson I have learned (or re-learned) can be applied to any area of need, desire, or prayer! God knows best...He really does! And His answers to prayer, in His timing, are better than we can imagine! Don't forget to pray! Give everything to Him in prayer, with thanksgiving, and watch the Master at work!