Which Shelf Are You Looking At?

Posted February 23, 2014 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Young Adulthood

Tags: , , ,

I’d like to tell you the story of two little girls.  Their names are Gabby and Fay, and they are twins.  One day they went to the toy store with their father, to pick out a toy because their birthday was coming.  The girls were on a quest to find the best doll ever.

Gabby immediately grabbed a doll off the nearest shelf, a very pretty doll with  a pink dress.  “This is the one I want, Daddy,” she announced.  “She’s the prettiest thing here.”

Fay looked over, and agreed.  “I like the pink dress too.  She looks like a princess.  She’s the prettiest doll I’ve ever seen.”

Their father looked down, “Are you sure?  Would you rather have those, or would you prefer that I choose for you and make it a surprise?”

Gabby piped up quickly, “Oh, no, Daddy, I want this one most.  Please, please?  Just let me have this one?”  She hugged the doll closer as if to prevent her father from taking it away.

“And what about you, Fay?  I’d like to give you the best present I can,” he continued as he met her eyes.

Fay thought for a few long moments, then looked down at the doll she held.  To Gabby’s surprise, Fay put her doll back on the shelf and quietly turned to their father.  “Daddy, you pick out my doll.  I know you’ll pick the best one.  You always give me the best presents, and you never needed my help before.”

“But Fay, this is the best doll here!” Gabby was aghast.  “Daddy, aren’t you just going to get her that same doll?  You’re being silly, Daddy!”

“Am I? Well, you’ve made your choice, so I’ll buy your doll now and we’ll put it in the spare bedroom until your birthday.  I’ll come back later to buy Fay’s doll.”

The birthday dawned a week later, and the twins were both excited to open their presents.  Each had received a few gifts from friends and relatives, which were quickly opened and exclaimed over.  Finally, they turned to their father for his gifts.  A small smile played around his face, chasing twinkles from his eyes.

Gabby’s doll was wrapped in pink with a silver ribbon.  She tore into it quickly, and pulled out her doll.  Her smile dimmed a little, and she looked over to watch Fay open her gift.  The pink princess’s glamour was already wearing off.

Fay’s doll, on the other hand, was wrapped in blue paper and tied with a white ribbon.  She tore into it carefully, and gasped at what she saw.  The doll was dressed as a queen, wearing a wonderful gold ball dress.  The queen doll was smaller, but even more beautiful than the one Gabby had picked, and she had a small trunk of accessories.

“Happy Birthday, Fay!” said her father.

Fay’s eyes shone.  “Oh, Daddy, she’s so beautiful!” she breathed.  “Thank you for picking her for me!”

“Daddy!  Where did you find this doll?!  I didn’t see it at the store.”  Gabby’s eyes were stormy and her tone upset.

“Oh, this doll was there all the time, but you couldn’t see her.  She was on the top shelf, above your head.  You chose your doll from the ones you could see, but Fay decided to let me choose from the dolls I could see.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Are you like Gabby?  So intent on finding the best present, best job, best husband that you are unwilling to step back and let God do the choosing?  So sure of yourself that you won’t relinquish control?  What if God is like this father and can see the top shelf?  What if He has bigger plans, if only you’ll let Him give you His best?  Will you be like Fay and wait?

Note: I heard a version of this story from my husband during our engagement period, and it was not original with him.  I have taken some artistic license with it, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway.  Stay tuned for the second question!


Waiting for Happily Ever After

Posted January 10, 2014 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Growing Up, Young Adulthood

Tags: , , , ,

I’m beginning to wonder if “happily ever after” doesn’t strike a discordant note with some children, since so many families do not have a happily ever after as I’ve described.  The parents do not stay together or if they do they fight.  On the other hand, those children may find their only ray of hope for their own future in the fact that stories and movies usually have a happily ever after, and in the few examples they can find in real life.  If someone can write about it, then happily ever after must be possible even if it doesn’t happen all the time.

Happily ever after is not something you find laying in the street.  It’s not something you can dig up with a treasure map.  It has to do with waiting for the right person to come along at the right time.  Many unhappily ever afters seem to be started with the wrong person or at the wrong time.  Sometimes people are in a hurry to get married because they think that will solve all their problems.  In those cases, they don’t always evaluate whether the person is a good fit, whether they have similar beliefs or hobbies, whether they like doing things with the person and whether it is the right time to get married.  Hence, sometimes couples find that their happily ever after dissolves quickly upon returning from the honeymoon, or even several years into their marriage, after the feelings of being “in love” have worn off.

I say this because I want to encourage any young readers who find my blog that it’s okay to wait for your happily ever after.  My mother met my father in college, and they were married just weeks after she graduated.  I had always hoped that would be my story too, because I didn’t want to have to go job hunting, and all that.  That’s not what God had in mind.

Although I also met my husband while I was in college, I wasn’t ready to think about marriage while carrying on with my studies, so we were just friends.  He was perfectly content to wait on God’s timing as well.  I had been out of college for 18 months and working for a year before he asked me to prayerfully consider whether God had marriage in mind for us.  I was nearly 24 at the time, and he was 28.

Because neither of us rushed into relationship with the first person we met, we were able to wait until God gave us the signal that it was the right time and the right person.  We have been blessed wonderfully these past five months, and we are very much in love.  Why do I think it will last?  Because we took the time beforehand to do our homework and make sure we saw each other clearly.  Because we were already very good friends, and enjoyed talking together, playing games together, and doing ministry together. But most importantly because we are both committed to God first, and then to each other.

You might find your happily ever after at 18, or it might be 28.  Whichever is God’s plan, are you prepared to wait for happiness?  Understand, people can make things work, even in less than ideal circumstances, and be “happy enough,” but the point is, are you willing to wait until God puts all the details in place?  Please don’t rush headlong into your future.  Just because the movies get to happily ever after in an hour or two, doesn’t mean you will, and you have a long ever after to think of.  Wait for the one you can see yourself spending the rest of your life beside.  Because that’s when you will live Happily Ever After.

Happily Ever After

Posted January 9, 2014 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Growing Up, Young Adulthood

Tags: , , , ,

As little girls playing with our dolls, my sister and I usually got to the part where the prince and princess get married, and then we ended the story.  Just like the movies – Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Robin Hood, even The Swan Princess – we got to happily ever after, and that was it.  We tried once or twice, but we didn’t think we knew what came next.

Of course, we knew that kids came next, because we saw enough young married couples around us, but we knew (or thought we knew) all about kids growing up (being a pair of them ourselves) and that wasn’t interesting enough to tell a story about.  At least, not in comparison with the part where two people met and fell in love.  Our heros and heroines were quite as talented and good as we could imagine, and sometimes they rescued each other or something, and sometimes they just met at church, which was plenty realistic, but we would get to the part where our two main characters married, and that was usually the end of it.

In a story where more than one marriage was involved, sometimes one couple got married early on, and then we had a hard time figuring out what to have them do except have a couple of kids.  Which sometimes seemed awkward, but it was all we knew.  Was that really all there was to happily ever after?

Fast forward fifteen years.  A few weeks ago, I reached the quarter century mark, and I’ve embarked on my “happily ever after” with Sir K.  So what really happens when the wedding bells stop ringing and the honeymoon is over?  Why do all the stories stop at the wedding?  One obvious reason is that the newlywed couple wants some privacy, but besides that, isn’t it boring until the next cycle of romance begins?

I can tell you this, my happily ever after is not boring!  Granted, I might still be treading clouds rather than terra firma, but I’m living a very real life.  I went back to work a week after the wedding, and so did Sir K.  There was dinner to get on the table, laundry and shopping, church activities and such.  We didn’t stop being ourselves just because we married each other.  We just had a new set of priorities.

That set of priorities has meant that I left my job to be a full time homemaker.  It has meant that Sir K has had to reevaluate some of his commitments.  We are in the process of building a new life together out of the things we were doing as single people plus perhaps some new things that we could only do together.

Happily ever after does not mean sitting around staring into each other’s eyes, although we certainly do that when the occasion arises.  Happily ever after means living with the person you love, doing things you love with or for them, and knowing that no matter how bad it seems elsewhere, there’s a home to come to and a spouse there who cares deeply about what affects you.  And we definitely have that in each other.

As children we didn’t really understand all that, which is perfectly all right.  A five or ten year old only knows that she wants to grow up to be like mommy and mommy got married, so that must be what she wants to do.   Children watch movies, read stories, and gather that happily ever after follows the wedding bells.  And then they have to figure out how to find their own Happily Ever After…

Year Break

Posted January 2, 2014 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Poetry/Writings

Tags: , , , ,

Snow on the ground, the thermometer’s cold
The ball drop is over, the party grows old

A new year is dawning, resolutions are rife
Weight loss, a new job, or to end war and strife

Plans at their brightest, shiny and new
Yet many the same ones we had last year too

So what truly is different, save a tick of the clock,
A change in the date, and a new party frock?

If the old year hasn’t taught us one single thing
No light can it shed on what the new one will bring

When the hoopla dies down what will remain
Is a world growing weary, tired, and mundane

Yet we face the world with hope in our hearts
That the story of the last holiday, Christmas, imparts

Tidings of joy and peace to the Earth
For we celebrate once more our Savior’s Birth

~Homeschool Graduate

To be like Naomi

Posted December 6, 2013 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Theological Musings

Tags: , , , , , ,

In my quiet time this week, I found myself thinking of the famous women in the Bible.  I didn’t get very far, because when I reached Ruth, it suddenly struck me that I usually skip right past her mother-in-law, Naomi.  Naomi, whose name means “my delight.”   Naomi, whose testimony is one I’d like to emulate.

Of course, I am not looking for my husband to run away to Moab to escape a famine, but Naomi followed him faithfully.  I can see her struggling when her sons married “outside the camp” and her daughters-in-law were heathens, but I also see that she had good relationships with both women.

When she heard that the famine was over, she quickly decided to return to her homeland, where she could expect to at least be cared for by the Israelite welfare system, which allowed the poor to glean in the corners and after the harvesters had done their work.

As she set out, both her daughters-in-law were ready to go with her.  That speaks volumes of Naomi’s testimony.  They recognized that she was different than they, and worth being around.  Now, Naomi also realized that she couldn’t really expect either girl to be well received on the other end of her journey, and there wasn’t much future for them either.  So she told them to stay in Moab where they had a better chance of a new life.  Of course we know Ruth, recognizing that Naomi had something she wanted, refused to stay.

Where you go, I’ll go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people will be my people; and your God, my God (Ruth 1:16b).  That statement must have been growing in Ruth as she watched Naomi’s life, leaving her home, then losing her family, and now going back to her people.  Naomi’s everyday life must have been such that Ruth not only saw that she was different, but that she wanted to be like her.  We don’t have a record of Naomi preaching at anyone, and that would have been unlikely.  All we know is Ruth did not have to follow her, but she did because she wanted to.  Wanted to so fiercely, she was willing to give up everything, including her gods, to follow Naomi’s God.

We all know that the story continues with Ruth catching the eye of Boaz, and that he becomes the Kinsman Redeemer according to the law and marries Ruth.  When their son was born, Naomi was his nurse, helping to raise a new generation.  And it dawns on me that even as Ruth is part of the genealogy of Christ, so is Naomi.  Not by direct blood, since Obed was not her blood son, but she was his grandmother through Ruth.  As such, Obed would have also seen her testimony, and if people then were like people now, he would have told stories of Ruth and Naomi to his sons, and their sons.  And you know, one of Obed’s grandsons was named David.

Because one woman lived what she believed, a second was brought to follow God.  And that second woman was an integral link in the line of Messiah.  This challenges me because I am not a street preacher.  I don’t take to overt evangelism, and am suited more to live for God and let others ask me questions because they see something different.  I see Naomi as doing that same thing.  Evangelism was not a big thing then, and the Jews rather had a sense of being better than other people because they were “chosen by God.”  They had forgotten that He chose them in His mercy and not because they had anything to boast about.

Naomi lived what she believed, and  God used her.  Am I living what I believe?  Are you living what you believe?  Are we challenging a new generation to follow God?

Do not be discouraged if you don’t see immediate fruit.  Everyday evangelism is about the long term.  It’s about building relationships which then give you a right to speak into peoples’ lives.  And God uses the lives of His children to draw others to Himself.

Many people are like Ruth, coming to God through the example of another.  But are you willing to be a Naomi?  To be the example for others to follow?  To live for God even when you don’t think anyone is watching?

Let’s be the shining testimony to a generation that faces ever darkening days.

Coming Home

Posted November 22, 2013 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Young Adulthood

Tags: , , ,

As I mentioned in a recent post, I have come home.

I’ve always known that I wanted to be a housewife, but I never realized how strong the desire would be once I had a house and husband to take care of.

Many little girls start out wanting to be “just like Mommy” when they grow up.  I was one of them.  As a little girl, I would try to imitate my mother as she cared for my younger siblings, Mom with the baby, me with my doll.  I’ve never lost the desire to one day become what my mother is, homemaker and homeschooling mom.  Now, I’ve taken the first step and become a homemaker.

I love being at home.  The relaxed pace suits me, and I’m much more of a homebody than a social butterfly, so I’m not sorry not to be dealing with people all the time.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my job and it was a wonderful two years, but the stress of working 40 hours and then trying to come home and get anything done was more than I wanted to continue.

I don’t really know how some women do it, and then add kids, activities, and such.  In any case, my tendency to do the next thing with all my energy meant that I was spending all my energy at work, and had none left to do chores many nights, let alone work on the redecorating plans Sir K and I have been talking about.  And that increasingly did not feel as if my focus was in the right place.

As a wife, my focus felt like it should be on my husband and future children, making a pleasant home haven for them.  And while I was spending the best 8 hours of my day outside the home, I didn’t seem to be able to do that.  Sir K might not have been complaining yet, but he is completely supportive of my desire to be a stay at home wife.   And two weeks in, I’m loving the change.

I’m no model housekeeper with pristine house and cookies baking, but that’s not my goal. My goal is to create a warm, inviting atmosphere for my husband and later my children.  And to make a place where Christ is welcome.  When I think about it, that’s really the most important thing in a home to me.  That Christ be welcomed in and asked to stay.  Whether in a home or a heart.

Because then it can truly feel like heaven.

Just a short year ago…

Posted November 20, 2013 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Friends, Young Adulthood

Tags: , , , , ,

I was single and didn’t want to be.  Yep.  I was getting to the end of my tether, and it felt like God had prepared me enough that I was ready.  So where was Prince Charming?  Was I doing something wrong?

It didn’t help that I knew a guy who could fit the bill.  Quiet, responsible, 5 years out of college and working, funny, and my best friend.  But nothing more than a friend.  And no sign that he wanted to be.

At this time last year, I was in a holding pattern.  Waiting to God to move.  Waiting to see what He was going to do.  Trying not to let my impatience ruin my friendship.  Waiting.

Most of you know, waiting is not a fun game most of the time.  As a human, I like to know what’s going to happen in the future.  Whether that future is tomorrow, next week, or next year.  But I had to learn to let go of that and let God work out the details.  If He wanted me to go another year, did I really want to rush in anyway?  If I’d learned anything about the Lord in my twenty odd years, it was that He has good reasons when He asks us to wait for something.

And sure enough, waiting paid off big.

This time last year, I couldn’t know that within a month, my best friend would ask me to embark on an intentional relationship exploring whether marriage was God’s plan for us.  Within four months, we would be engaged. And a year later as I write this now, we’re four months married, in a cozy little home, and very happy that God chose each of us for the other.

When God makes changes, sometimes we have to wait while He sets up the stage first, and then hang on to the handrails, because the whirlwind is coming!  With 19 weeks from engagement to the wedding, our planning was nonstop, or felt like it.  Once Sir K asked me the initial question last December, things didn’t really slow down until…well, a couple of weeks ago when I quit working.  More on that in a later post.

But we needed the waiting at the beginning.  Little did I know that Sir K had been asking God when he could propose to me for a year before he actually got to do so.  When I found out that he had faithfully waited until God gave him the green light, it meant so much more to me that he had waited for God’s timing than if he had merely asked God if it was me and then forged ahead.  And God did several things with both of us that year which never would have happened if Sir K had been courting me.

So, for all you waiters out there, whether you’re 18, 28, or 48, whether you’re waiting for a husband, a child, a job, or something else entirely, whether you see a possibility on the horizon or not, know that God is faithful to bring you the desires He has placed in your heart In His Time.  That song is still one of my favorites, and I made sure it was in my prelude music because it has become so special to me over the course of my waiting.

He does indeed make all things beautiful in His time, even me.

In His time, in His time,
He makes all things beautiful, in His time,
Lord please show me every day, as You’re teaching me Your way,
That You do just what You say, in Your time.

In Your time, in Your time,
You make all things beautiful, in Your time,
Lord my life to you I bring, may each song I have to sing,
Be to you a lovely thing, in Your time.

%d bloggers like this: