"So, how have you been?" I asked the vendor at the curriculum fair, as I flipped through the sample of the sixth grade history book.
"Pretty good," he replied, having recognized me from years past.
"And your children? Any married since I last saw you?" I felt comfortable asking such a prying question since two years previous we had exchanged glimpses of family pictures, having discovered that we each had the same number of children, even some similar in age.
"Yep, I have one just married, one about to be married, and one engaged to be married next year." His face lit up with pride.
"That's wonderful!" I quickly congratulated him and earnestly shared in his happiness. Memories swiftly flooded my mind of how he had endeavored to match up my oldest daughter with one of his sons after having seen her picture. He had expressed much concern that at 25 years of age, his first born still did not have any romantic involvement. And he made no qualms of his desire, as a concerned father, to move things along.
"Did you have a part in any of them meeting their future spouses?" I asked with genuine interest. He hesitated a moment as if my question had jolted his memory. Then he smiled slightly.
"No", he replied slowly, his grin getting a little bigger.
"You weren't responsible for any of them meeting? You didn't make any introductions? The Lord didn't bring any of them across your path first before your son or daughter met them?" I simply could not resist this form of questioning.
"It's not that I didn't try," he quickly interjected, still smiling. Now it was my turn to grin.
"But none of your efforts paid off, did it?" He shook his head twice, slowly, back and forth, never leaving my gaze.
"So all three marriages are totally of the Lord and completely His doing? Each one is wholly in God's timing?" I now found myself inquiring out of my own need for reassurance and encouragement.
"Yep", came the reply. His eyes suddenly glistened as if he was experiencing this revelation for the first time. To see God's thumbprint in one's life is truly an awesome thing, even for the spectator.
Interfering in God's Plan is dangerous business. Lack of patience and absence of trust in the Lord can have devastating results. One need only to look at Sarah's determination to have children in her timing instead of waiting on God's Promise to Abraham of an heir "out of thine own bowels" (Gen. 15:4). Her hastiness with Hagar resulted in a rival nation for her Promised son, Isaac.
Abraham's daughter-in-law, Rebecca, had been told that "the elder [of her twins] shall serve the younger" (Gen. 25:23), yet she also took matters into her own hands. Fear for her husband in not heeding God's command concerning the birthright, was a driving force in her intersession. The result was her son's need to flee.
Saul's feelings of abandonment by, and his unmet expectations of, Samuel caused him to step into territory reserved only for God's prophets (I Sam. 13:5-14). The consequence of his hastiness was that the kingdom was taken away from him (I Sam. 13:14) and given to another.
When we run ahead of God in any situation, due to lack of patience and absence of trust, when fear is allowed to cloud our judgment, and when unmet expectations and feelings of abandonment interfere with Godly living and our walk of faith, then we miss out on God's Perfect Will and the abundance of blessings. "The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness, but of everyone that is hasty only to want" (Prov. 21:5).
Patience is a virtue much to be aspired to. But it is also a direct result of faith. The more we believe in God's Sovereign power, the greater our ability to wait on His timing. "He that believeth shall not make haste" (Is. 28:16).
As Christian homeschooling mothers our job is to educate our children with a Godly foundation and to the best of our ability. As we do our part, we can rest in faith that God will do His. His Perfect Plan for each of our children will be accomplished if we leave the results in His Hands.
*This article published March 23, 2007.
Maribeth Spangenberg is wife to Steve, homeschooling mother of nine children, and happy, new grandmother to one granddaughter. She considers it a blessing and a ministry to be able to encourage other mothers and homeschoolers to "stay the course"!
This article was originally published in Eclectic Homeschool Online (www.eho.org) to which Maribeth is a regular contributor to the Home and Family Department. Maribeth also writes weekly devotionals for Homeschool Enrichment newsletter and website (www.homeschoolenrichment.com).