April 14, 2008
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed it. “Lord, you know our schedule for today, but I give You permission to interrupt our day.”
I’ve prayed it aloud with my five children at the breakfast table or during our morning Bible reading time. I’ve prayed it silently during my morning devotions or while taking a shower. I’ve prayed it as we are driving to the library or en route to errands.
As much of a type-A, organized Mom as I am (and those who know me best, like my husband and close friends, don’t doubt that assessment), I desire so much more for the Lord to have His way with each of our days as a homeschooling family. That desire is something Jesus has begun to really emphasize in my heart as I’ve grown and matured in Him.
I obviously know in my head that God in His omnipotence can and will do whatever He pleases. My prayer of “permission” is really about my heart. I want my heart to be willing and easily molded when God puts something in my schedule that I don’t expect.
In my early days of mothering and homeschooling, I had a rigid plan for each day. Nap times, meals to be prepared, school pages to be covered, things to do and people to see—all had a prioritized place on my to-do list. I rationalized my strict plan with the thought, “It’s the only way to efficiently run a large family.”
When an interruption prevented something from happening according to my plan, I often became frustrated and even angry. Usually that frustration was directed at the source of the interruption, like a child who wouldn’t sleep at nap time or finish her school work “on time,” or a neighbor who knocked at the door with a need during our school time. Other days I used that interruption to force myself to work harder, organize more, get up earlier, stay up later, or find a better curriculum. Oh, how I was missing God’s hand in those interruptions!
My heavenly Father has been working, chiseling away at my law-filled, grace-lacking plans. He loves me so much that He’s gently showing me His way of leading my family. I’ve learned that “interruptions” are His breathing life and direction into our days and into my heart.
I’ve learned from Jeremiah 29 that my Father really does have plans that are intended for my good. That’s not just in the long run, but in the day-to-day schedule of our homeschooling life. I’ve accepted wisdom from James, who says,
“Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” (James 4:13-15)
It all sounded good before, but my decision to pray for God’s interruptions has really made scripture’s counsel a reality in my life. We may not be running a business, but I am just as busy as any CEO. I make plans for our day, and then God in His wisdom alters them. The same sort of disruptions occur today as before I gave “permission,” but my ability to view them with Jesus’ eyes is changing.
Now when a child gets openly frustrated over math problems and needs extra time and attention from me, I see it as God’s leading to demonstrate love and patience to that child. When a friend calls with an immediate child care need, I choose to see it as God’s opportunity for us to serve in a Christlike manner, and I can comfortably postpone our regularly scheduled plans. When we are rushing out the door for a lesson or rehearsal and the car won’t start, I thankfully accept the schedule adjustment and explain to the children that it is from the Lord.
Since I’ve been regularly asking God for His “interruptions” for about two years now, He’s been regularly answering that prayer! Things around the house have broken, plans with other homeschooling friends have been canceled, siblings have had disagreements, pets have needed to see the vet, children have gotten sick, and phone calls have needed our attention. But now I view those events as God’s voice speaking to my heart, reminding me that His ways are perfect and that He is in control.
And tomorrow I’ll again pray, “Lord, I give You permission to interrupt our day.”
Melanie Hexter and her husband of 17 years, Matthew, live in Howard, Ohio, with their five children. Though the types of interruptions have changed through their 10 years of homeschooling, Jesus has been the same unchanging source of grace.
This article was originally published in the Mar/Apr ’08 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. For more information, visit http://homeschoolenrichment.com/