“Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:24
As the ice and snow struggle to melt here in the “spring” of Minnesota, the lake near us valiantly strives to resume its liquid form. That’s when our restless family piles into the minivan and takes a meandering drive all the way around the lake. Just to see what we can see.
Seeing the lake through the trees before they begin budding out — it can be fascinating. Sometimes, before the green leaves obstruct the view, sometimes, for a just short while on the open water, sometimes, we see swans.
Trumpeter swans briefly pause here every spring. For a native Minnesotan, seeing swans might not be a big deal. But for a transplant like me, seeing swans out in the wild is one of the most prized aspects of living in the Frozen Tundra. It brings back words and pictures in my head from one of my favorite books, The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White. If you’ve never read the book, stop reading this blog at the end of this sentence, find the book at your nearest library, take it home, and read the book aloud to any small person within arm’s reach. It’s a captivating story.
But back to the swan sightings. Last year, through the bare branches, we caught a glimpse of a flock of swans on the lake’s north side just as the sun was setting. We counted more than two dozen birds in that flock. Oh, I truly will never forget that glorious sight! It was surreal and dreamlike, especially the way the sunlight made their pure white bodies appear so radiant. One or two swans would have been impressive enough, but 26 swans? ‘Twas a God-sighting indeed.
Recently I had another swan-related God-sighting, but this time it wasn’t anywhere near the lake.
We were in week 20-something of our 34-week curriculum, and I found myself fighting guilty feelings for not being as far along in the curriculum as I originally planned to be. Any other homeschool moms with me on this one?
I blamed week-long trips to Oklahoma and Florida for our being behind. Even though those were educational, first-hand experiences that enriched our studies. I also blamed a week’s worth of sick days. Sickness is to be expected in life, of course. But it wasn’t in my planner. So I felt guilty and doubted my planning abilities.
God was responding to my prayers, though, because just when I was feeling glum and guilty about the timing of our school work, He sent just the lovely piece of encouragement this homeschool mom needed. He’s good like that.
In our music curriculum we were continuing our study of Tchaikovsky’s works by listening to a few pieces from the ballet Swan Lake. According to my written plans, we were supposed to do this on a Tuesday a few weeks earlier, but for whatever reason, we didn’t fit it in until this particular Wednesday. So we listened to the music and we read the story of Swan Lake — which none of us had ever before read — and then the girls dressed up in all white and danced around pretending to be swans.
Since we were going to a concert at Orchestra Hall that Thursday, I also introduced the girls to Camille Saint Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals.” They enjoyed figuring out which animal went with which music, and they also enjoyed pretending to be those animals as they danced to the music.
Then off we went the next day to Orchestra Hall, fully expecting to hear only the pieces from “Carnival of the Animals.” But to our delight the orchestra played five other classical pieces first. And, as God planned it, two of them were from Swan Lake! To top it off, Minnesota Ballet Company dancers performed on stage throughout both pieces, dressed all in white with feathers in their up-do hair. What a lovely surprise!
Some homeschool moms might have sufficiently planned the timing of such an experience. Others might say it was lucky coincidence for us. But as I sat there listening to the orchestra play “The Waltz” and watching the dancers float across the stage, I knew. I smiled. I sort of know my weakness and needs, but God really knows my weaknesses and needs. And I am certain He alone orchestrated the timing of our studies and this performance.
During that lovely moment of encouragement, God reminded me that His timing is perfect. He is sovereign and He watches over every little detail of our lives, even the tiny little details in our homeschool planners over which we can so easily fret.
During that lovely moment of encouragement, God also reminded me that when He called me to homeschool my children, He promised to be faithful and promised to do it also.
“Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (KJV)
God alone is the ultimate homeschool planner for our family. My job is to not lean on my own plans and my own understanding, which so often lead to fretting and feeling guilty. My job is to trust in Him and follow His plans. My job is to be flexible. My job is to prayerfully and daily lay my imperfect plans before the Lord and ask for His guidance and direction in rightly aligning them with His perfect plans.
If I am flexible and committed to following God’s plans for our days, I am more likely to see His hand at work in the day-to-day of family life. When I follow His plans, I can be confident that He who began this good work in me — including the work of homeschooling our children — will carry it on to completion (Philippians 1:6).
I want to follow His plans. I want to migrate to the right place at exactly the right moment. I want to be a swan on the lake, peacefully resting with others in the timing of His perfect plan for us, washed pure white and blameless, and reflecting the radiant splendor of the Son’s light.