This afternoon, Hannah went outside to play for awhile. After a few minutes, she came back inside, yelling, "Mom, look what Mrs. Donna gave me!" She had gone to visit our new next door neighbors, and in her hands she held a stack of books, coloring books, and school boxes filled with crayons.
"She gave those to you?" I asked.
"Gave them to you to keep, or gave them to you to play with while you were over there?"
"Gave them to me to keep!"
Confident that Hannah had misunderstood, we walked next door to clear things up and return the stolen goods. Sure enough, Hannah knew what she was talking about. (Why do I always seem to doubt her???)
Anyway, after we determined that she really had intended for Hannah to keep the armful of treasures, Donna said, "So you homeschool her?"
Gulp. Almost immediately, my palms began to sweat, the hair on the back of my neck stood up, and the wings of a million butterflies simultaneously began to flutter inside my stomach.
"I do." I heard the words calmly and confidently come out of my mouth, but they didn't match the emotions in my heart. My heart was crying out to her, "Please, please don't judge me!" Oftentimes I feel the need to justify our decision to homeschool, but this time I didn't. In fact, I didn't say anything else. And neither did she. There was just silence.
I was trying to guess what thoughts might be going through her head. Maybe she was imagining how terribly "unsocialized" Hannah would be from not being in a room full of 20 other 5-year-olds five days a week. Maybe she was wondering if I was planning on doing this "forever." Maybe she was thinking that I was arrogant for assuming I was better qualified to teach my child than someone "with proper training," or even worse that we were in a cult or were child abusers. The silence was killing me.
Then she said, "I did, too."
"What?!" I asked, shocked.
"I did, too. I pulled my son out when he was in 3rd grade and homeschooled him all the way through graduation."
So this is how God answered my prayer! That house was vacant for over a year, and I prayed the entire time that God would send a family with young children to live there. "And God," I pleaded with Him, "I'd really love it if you could make it a homeschool family so my kids can play with their kids during the day!" But then Donna and Jay moved in, empty nest and all. "Thanks a lot, God," I thought, disappointed. "Glad to know you got my back on that one." But today, it all made sense.
I thought I knew exactly what I needed, but God knew so much better. He knew I didn't need a peer to "figure it all out" with, but rather a mentor who had already walked this path before me and could be a voice of wisdom and experience. Someone who could offer a sympathetic and understanding shoulder to cry on when I have a rotten day. Someone who could be encouraging and supportive and say, "You're doing great. Keep it up!"
I thought I knew. But He knew best.
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. ~Psalm 139
Praising God that He does know our hearts, even better than we do!