"…and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14b

"I counted 51 homeschoolers, Mom," my 13 year-old son triumphantly announced to me, as he finished the task of searching through the church directory. Scanning the list, I saw that it encompassed approximately 14 families, a good amount for a church of 300 attendees. "Yes", I thought to myself, "a church homeschooling fellowship was definitely needed!" Although I am not the most aggressive person alive, I still felt the Lord's prodding as the most "veteran homeschooling mom" in our church!

I remembered that the greatest "fellowship" blessing to my older homeschooled children, when they were younger, and who were now attending college, was the annual homeschoolers' "Christmas Craft Fair". Back in the mid-eighties and early nineties there weren't as many homeschoolers as there are today. Initially, my husband, children, and I were the ONLY homeschooling family in a church of 1000 people. So, when I would meet another family of "likemindedness", we immediately bonded and would get together outside of church for support and encouragement. Later, while still in my early days of homeschooling, I became affiliated with a support group that represented a number of different churches, all professing to be Christians, with the common goal of homeschooling our children.
Now, homeschooling is so popular that there are many families within one church who have this same goal, who see each other every Sunday, and who do not have to battle the feeling of "aloneness". However, because of this, I have observed that "fellowshipping" for the sake of encouragement and strength is being neglected. At times, I have even detected discouragement and struggling among the younger, inexperienced families.

Thus, with The Lord's strength and prompting, I endeavored to do our own church "Christmas Craft Fair". My younger children were thrilled and promised to help in any way needed, from the 16 year old all the way down to the six year old. When my college kids found out, they started reminiscing about all the good times they had had doing it, and said it had been the most fun of their school year!

After clearing the date with the church office, and getting the enthusiastic, "Yep, we'll come" from other homeschoolers, I set about the task of finding the ideal crafts. I felt that if I could just set an example by making this event the best it could be, it would become a yearly occurrence with other mothers eventually volunteering to get involved. Our church graciously announced the event from the pulpit and even printed it in our church bulletin. A sign-up sheet was posted for attendance (to know how many crafts to prepare) and for food (a pot luck meal).

My husband was very supportive of my endeavors, even to the point of helping me shop for the needed supplies at the craft store. The children were more than willing to help me cut out and prepare the materials, and to organize everything into individual packets. Paper products, drinks, food, desserts--all seemed to fall into place. The night before the planned event my family helped me to transform our church's multi-purpose room into a Christmas Craft Fair Wonderland. Stations were set up for each project. Supplies were assembled and ready. Paints, brushes, glue, decorations and seating arrangements were made. All was ready!

The big day finally arrived. The kids and I were very excited! Then I got a phone call from a family who were unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances, completely understandable. A second phone call, however, revealed that the mother, who had planned to do the devotional, was sick. This call was the most distressful to me as I am not a public speaker and did not feel capable to fill her spot. I was more comfortable with "behind-the-scenes" jobs, not in the public light! For the first time since I felt The Lord's leading in this venture, my peace began to be shattered. We were due to leave in an hour and I felt that I had no spiritual "feeding" for this group of children and mothers.