One of my favourite scriptures is:
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who has began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
This is a promise I often have to cling to. It is a truth which I believe in my mind, but my heart is taking a little longer to hold on to it. Too often I fall into the trap of trying to do things on my own. When the Lord puts a desire in my heart, it is my role to trust that HE will make it happen! He created me to do His good works (works which He knows!) So I believe that all I need to do is wait patiently for His guidance and learn to trust that He will answer the desire He planted in me.
A little over a year ago the only other home schoolers I knew were two other families in our church. After doing a lot of research I began to feel that I needed to find other moms who were home schooling. Initially I wanted to spend time chatting to them just to find out what they were doing and how they were doing it. Then my desire changed to finding a supportive community of home schoolers.
We live in a valley. This is not a busy city! Even though I could recognise familiar faces from regular visits to our shopping mall, not many people walk around with "we home school" T-shirts. In my mind it was not going to be easy to find other home schoolers!
Home schooling is still relatively small in SA. We don't have (to the best of my knowledge) lists of support groups which you can join. So I took advice from one of the books which I had read. I decided to create a support group of my own. My husband and I designed a poster to put up in the library. (He is a graphic designer by the way) My goal was to invite any other home schoolers to join me in the park once a month to socialise.
At our first park day there were four families. Had any of them seen the poster? No! One family my friend had met at a play centre. The other I had bumped into at the mall. We invited them to our first park day. For me, it was wonderful to meet families who were actually doing the real thing! Both of these families have four children, the majority of which are school going age.
My poster was still up in the library. I checked to see if anyone had torn off my contact numbers, some were gone, but still no phone calls.
I am not usually a person who strikes up conversations with complete strangers. I am usually quite tentative to step into new social circles. Even this the Lord has started to change in me. A year and a half ago I had a desire to meet other home schoolers in my "little" Valley. Since then the Lord has prompted me to strike up conversations with complete strangers only to discover that they were also interested in home schooling. Through the e-loop I joined I met another mom from our area whom I felt I should invite to our park days. I bumped into an old school friend again and discovered that she was also interested in home schooling. And yes, not one of these moms ever saw the poster I put up in the library. When the Lord plants a seed of desire in our hearts He will make it happen!
Although many of the moms join our park days because they are seeking a place for their children to socialise, it has been a blessing to all of us to find other's who are on the same journey. We have started to build friendships not only for our children but for ourselves. Most of us are moms of pre-schoolers. This means that we are all asking similar questions or having similar experiences. It has been amazing to see how the Lord has used these meetings.
At first we met only once a month. After a while a few of the moms were asking for more regular meetings. So we started up a small co-op group. At the co-op we baked, painted, sewed and played social games. We even had an organised outing to the Fire Station. As we met once a week this allowed for us moms to get to know one another better. Often the meetings turned into times of sharing testimonies and encouraging one another in the Lord. Because the venue we met in was small we had to limit our numbers. So after a short season of co-op I felt that the Lord was wanting us to spend time reaching out to other moms who we couldn't accommodate at the co-op. As we are entering summer our meetings have taken on more of a social aspect again. Depending on the weather we organise weekly visits to either the beach, common, forest or indoor play centre.
Relationships are important. Our Heavenly Father knows that we need others to encourage us as we learn more about Him. Because we have Christ in us, when we share what we are learning from Him, this helps to build up another's faith. There have been times of trials for me in this short season of our park days and co-ops, times when I've wondered if I should really be doing this. Most of those trials have been because I tried to take back control of what we were doing. As I learn to let the Lord be in control I am also learning that the most important relationship I have is my one with Him. If I am not seeking Him first for support and guidance, it is not easy to support or encourage others.
As I reflect on how the Lord has orchestrated this community of home schoolers I am now supported by, I am reminded of that beautiful hymn:
Truly, we serve a God of Love who cares for our every need! Sometimes my impatience causes me to want to race ahead and do things in my own strength and time. Waiting patiently for His plans to unfold is a beauty to behold!
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.