Tuesday, June 5, 2012
a long drive to nowhere
Note: Blogger made this post into one huge paragraph. Deal with it. Let me see...how far does this story go back? Maybe March? I was able to fit in a homeschool group gathering at our church before taking the kiddos to a friend's birthday party. I talked to several women and got some ideas of how to get the ball rolling with homeschooling. Then we circled up so that people could ask questions of the group in order to get support and encouragement. I was the only one there who wasn't officially teaching my kids at that time. There was a wealth of knowledge and experience in that room and I am thankful for the resources God has put in my path during this chapter of our lives. After a couple of questions, I had to get up to leave to head to the party. They felt badly that I didn't get a chance to ask my question (which was probably going to be something really eloquent like "how in the world do I get started?!?!?!") so I gave a little speech as I got up to leave basically introducing myself and telling everyone that now that they know me they can be my friends. :) I also told them that we were training to become foster parents and felt God wanted us to get started on homeschooling sooner rather than later. The overwhelming answer was to go to the Virginia Homeschool Convention that was coming up in June. And wouldn't you know it but parents of a preschool-aged kid as their oldest child could attend for free. So when the registration opened online I signed up to attend. During the circle time several women mentioned the curriculum (while answering other questions) that I was interested in finding out more about. Needless to say it was a very fruitful time. Brother is thriving with the program I am doing with him now and I had planned on learning more during the upcoming convention for homeschooling. So...over the next month and a half I would get periodic emails about the convention. Tedd Tripp was to be the keynote speaker and there would be many other workshops offered during the three day convention. Since we have no childcare and my husband works weekdays, I only registered for Saturday (which was to start on Thursday). The location of the convention is about an hour away from our home in good traffic. Although some from our church were planning to spend the night in town, I was going just to make a day trip out of it. One thing the ladies in the support group said several times was that the convention would be overwhelming but it is where many of them found the curriculum and ideas they needed to get started with their families. As the convention date grew nearer, I kind of started trying to convince myself that I didn't really need to go. I wasn't going to be out any money since it was free for me and Brother was doing so well in the school structure I was already doing with him. I thought overwhelming me before he is officially in school might be too much. Plus I wasn't going with anyone so I really had no accountability, except My Love who pretty much never let me back out. :) Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. We were eating lunch at our local Chick-fil-A when Bundle Boy started asking every girl nearby to leave their meals and come play with him in the play place (the same one that Babydoll Sissy peed in a month ago). Eventually two girls came and another little boy. The five of them were playing so well together which isn't always the case in those places. Another Mom was particularly chatty with me and a grandfather in the room. So much so that I learned that she was also homeschooling her preschooler, grew up in our county and then returned after serving 17 years in the CIA, her daughter was about to turn five and was having a Veggie Tales birthday party and she was also registered for the homeschool convention but was apprehensive about going. She asked for my phone number and gave me hers. The kids were playing so well and we seemed to have so much in common (except for the secret government service thing) so I thought what the heck. Maybe we could get a playdate or two out of it. Several days went by. I didn't call. She didn't call. What is the etiquette for correspondence when being picked up in a fast food play place? Somehow I decided I would go to the convention after all. My Love kept encouraging me to attend. I actually like to drive places myself because then I feel like I can leave whenever I want to. I figured I would drive into town early, take in Tripp's message and then sit in on one or two workshops that I thought applied to me before browsing the exhibit hall. My Love was planning to have a much needed Daddy Day with the kiddos (which included no set plans) and I was looking forward to a day away myself. I woke up at 5am and hit the road by 6am with all the documents printed out I needed to navigate around the convention. The traffic was empty on that early Saturday morning. The music was playing loud and there wasn't anyone in the back seat telling me not to sing. I was enjoying the time to just hear from the Lord. I made it to the capital city in great time. They suggested 16 different parking structures and I made it easily into the first one I drove into. The city was dead. I decided to sit in my car for a while before wandering next door to the convention center to register (ie. pick up badges, etc) and then make the session at 8:30. At 7:15am, I called My Love to let him know I made it in good time. I hate driving in unknown cities with one way streets. It stresses me out. There was no anxiety during this trip though. I started looking through the papers I had brought and told My Love what my plan was for the day when I first noticed it. Thursday, June 7th. My eyes skirted to the top of the page. June 7th-9th. "What is today's date?" I asked My Love, realizing my error. "June 2nd," he said slowly. "Why?" In that moment I felt like an idiot. I actually said, "I am an idiot!" My Love was gracious to not agree with me on the phone and chuckled briefly before wishing me a safe trip back home and suggested I stop for a (decaf) coffee first. I was back home with the family by 8:30am (after paying $8 to sit in the parking structure for 10 minutes) and we had a whole Saturday before us to spend together. That drive home was a long one. Not in terms of time at all. There was still no traffic. It was just full of conversation in my head between me and the Lord. So many questions rushed over me. After that first "doh!" moment I really let it go. God had so many opportunities to let me notice the date between the end of March when I registered for the convention and the morning I printed out all the papers before hitting the road. He kept me from seeing it. I didn't see it. Somehow I got it in my head that the convention was on June 2nd and I couldn't see anything else. Then I thought of the process. I had to wonder if I had called the random girl from Chick-fil-A she would have shown me the error of my ways. I didn't call her. I could have asked any number of people at church if and when they were planning to go to the convention in an effort to drive with them or meet up with them there. I didn't bring it up at all. It gave me the ability to back out that way. No accountability equals an easy escape route. But then I had to consider what God had to do to actually get me on the road that morning. I went. I got in the car and drove to the city. But in the end I wasn't fully obeying. So what is my take away from my long drive south? Sometimes God shines light on the unknown path before you and then waits to see if you are willing to walk in it with Him. Are you going to walk the path eventually but only on your own terms? I will admit I have thought a few times this week that maybe I don't actually have to go to the convention AGAIN this Saturday. I mean, I learned the lesson. Maybe the actual convention attendance wasn't part of the process. But alas that wouldn't be fully obeying yet again would it? Funny how we can sometimes justify what it looks like to obey the Lord. We followed, Lord. We did the training to become foster parents. Now what? Maybe He just wanted to see if we would follow him into the unknown... Doubtful. But perhaps we have been busy telling the Lord how we will travel this journey with Him. So I guess I will be making a phone call this week to some random Chick-fil-A girl. If for no other reason but to encourage her to go and invite her to attend with me.