I love seeing all the beautiful photos of families starting the school year.
And I enjoy reading so many different responses to the start of school:
- Surprised that it takes such a short time each day
- Thrilled to get through a week in a calendar week
- Saddened by attitude challenges
- Satisfied with the reduced stress in the mornings
- Joyful about more family time
- Uninspired to start again, with so many depleting family circumstances
You might fit in one or more of these categories. Welcome to the world of homeschooling, where even a single day can have the lowest of lows and yet, miraculously, end pretty well.
And as I prayed about what to write about . . . hold on.
Even to say that makes me sound super spiritual. I would love to be super spiritual. I am not.
I am a mom who is desperate for more wisdom than I have, who is trying to get done more in a day than I think is actually possible.
And I had a feeling that I was supposed to write something, and then started groping for what that should be . . . that is why I pray. Because I am needy. And because I know where to go for my needs to be filled.
As I prayed about what to write, this is what came to mind. I hope you'll read it.
You are going to come to the end of yourself. That's the beginning.
You have probably heard these verses in James. "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind."
And the first half is good, that if you lack wisdom, you can ask God and he'll give you what you need. And the second half is sobering, because it is hard, in the face of need, to say, "Yes, I know you'll do this." Especially if you've prayed for healing and been denied, or had some serious setback in life, where you think, "Does prayer really work?"
And James is there saying, "You mustn't doubt, or you won't get your wisdom."
It's a bit disheartening, really. Maybe it's easier not to bother asking.
But I think perhaps that is where the cry of the desperate father in the Gospel of Mark comes in: "I believe! Help my unbelief!" (I am so thankful that the stories in the Bible are so incredibly relatable! I could be that man!)
If I can testify: ask for wisdom. Ask with whatever desperation you have, whether large or small.
Ask because there is nothing to lose.
Ask because this is a request that will be granted.
This is my journey. I have spent years not thinking to ask for wisdom.
But these last months, I have needed more wisdom than I have. And there has not been one time that I have asked and not received.
In a small example: recently, the Sonlight Marketing team had an all-day meeting to discuss what is to come for the next year. We laughed a lot (there are some funny people on the team!), and had a good time.
Late in the afternoon, we had been batting an idea around for a while, and it was like we hit a wall. No more inspiration, just total brain slump.
And we stopped and said, "We actually need more wisdom." So we asked for it.
We got done praying, and I thought, "I have absolutely nothing." But there was also a sense of expectation (and maybe a little fear): "Who will have something? (Someone, I hope!)"
And one team member said, "This is what we should do!"
And that was exactly it!
My sister and I have prayed for wisdom several times a week over the last few months, and every time, we get to the end of the prayer and know what the next step is.
Or at least start a conversation that leads to the next step.
You are going to reach the end of yourself, if you haven't already.
When that happens, ask for the wisdom that God gives, knowing that God will give it.
More to come.
John and Sarita's oldest daughter
Homeschooling mom to five
P.S. Please remember what I wrote at the beginning, this is not me having figured something out, or a formula for "getting what you want or what you need," but a real, practical aspect of my walk with God that I have seen: God does answer these prayers for wisdom. I've been surprised by some of the answers I've received--the "still small voice" which I've followed, while clear, has not always worked out the way I expected. It's still been hard. I've cried out, gotten an answer, moved forward . . . and been stumped. And cried out, and received an answer . . . and been stumped. I take encouragement, though, that when I look back over the whole season, I can see where God directed, where He led. So even though I might be mixed up, and the way is hard, and beautiful, and difficult, and lovely--overarchingly, it's about Him. And that makes me rejoice.