I'm a bit of a researcher, a ponderer... I like to see all the steps that make up the big picture. Homeschooling can be frustrating to me because I feel like I keep taking step after step after step and I never get to see the big picture. I may never see it. My children will grow and develop and I'll never know for sure if this was the exact way they needed to be raised. So, I continue taking the daily steps and hoping that one day the big picture will reveal itself if only a little bit. It's a stretch for me to live with this tension.
I'm going to go completely off script here because the last five years of our life as a family has not so much been about homeschooling as it has been about journeying... step by step... with no clue of the bigger picture.
Step 1 -- Quit a perfectly good ministry position and do something radical in order to follow an internal passion.
Step 2 -- Put it all aside when it simply doesn't work. Begin to wander and grope.
Step 3 -- Wait (Which really means grow, stretch, cry, learn, try, serve, listen, release and tell).
Step 4 -- Stick with Step 3 for a while.
Step 5 -- Take matters into your own hands. Fail. Go ahead. Keep trying.
Step 6 -- Come to the end of yourself. This is important.
Step 7 -- Be amazed as the Big Picture unfolds.
We accomplished Step 1 and 2 pretty well, thank you very much. Step 3 drove us nearly insane. I'm not kidding you. Of course, this means that Step 4 sucked as well.
Step 5 is where it started getting interesting. We found the perfect path to finally seeing the big picture. And as the door slammed on our perfect path, the door was opening for Step 7 (though it wouldn't happen for another two years). At the same time we were hearing "no" for a ministry job that we thought was in the bag at a local university one woman stepped off the plane in Mozambique and knew she'd be going back.
Still in Step 5 we tried connecting with a brand new ministry plant on the east coast. That was exciting. But we could not get to a point of peace about it. We had to say "no." Then we tried to really stretch and pursue a local church ministry that made us hedge a bit and after that round of interviews they also said, "no." This answer was getting really old. But while we were failing at these attempts, the woman and her husband were resigning their perfectly good ministry position to do something radical -- move their family to Mozambique.
Meanwhile, we were smack in the middle of Step 6 when September hit and several things converged. First, a community I was intimately involved in building (admittedly as a part of my Step 5) came to a mysterious and abrupt impasse. And God asked, "What kind of leader do you want to be? You won't become that here. Move on." Secondly, we hit a personal milestone. It was now five years since we first took Step 1. We wondered if it was just the first five years in a journey that may take another 35 more. Turns out it was just 5 more months. Thirdly, we answered some questions for a community who happened to be looking for a new co-leader because their current one was moving to... Mozambique. To me it seemed they wanted all the skills and passions of my husband. The more we looked at them the more we felt drawn. It was, indeed, going to sting when they got around to telling us "no."
But they didn't. Last week they said, "Yes. Come."
Enter Step 7.
Next week I get to meet them. I couldn't be more excited to hear more of their story and thank them for connecting to mine. It feels good to know that the big picture is much, much bigger than me.