This post may contain affiliate links to products. As an affiliate, I earn money from qualifying purchases. Please read my full disclosure here.
Finding your way…
making difficult decisions…
someone else’s life depending on your actions…
All of those overwhelming things. I’d like to share my “finding your way in an unlikely place” experience with you. It’s one that I know changed my life and how I look at things today.
Graveyards–the connotation is most always negative. They speak of lives gone by, days we can never have back. Sometimes, they bring back memories better forgotten. And sometimes, they just creep us out. One particular cemetery near our house flanks a beautiful old church, Spanish moss dangles from the old oaks, and the road just kind of drops off. It’s a quiet beauty to me, but to my kids, it’s creepy. Perspective is a funny thing. How weird it would seem to be finding your way in the graveyard. But that’s exactly what I did.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
~ Jeremiah 29:13
Finding your way in the most UNLIKELY places…
For years my husband had wanted me to homeschool our kids. I wanted no part of it. Honestly, it was purely a prideful reason: I didn’t want my kids to fall into the “stereotypical” homeschool kid bucket. I was, however, truly excited about coming home from work to be with my kids. I’d just take them to school, pick them up, enjoy them in the afternoon, while baking cookies, of course! 😉 The little one and I would have us a grand ole time while the big kids were at school.
That was not what the Lord had planned for us. My husband knew my resistance to teaching our kids at home, so he became silent on the matter and began to pray that the Lord would change my heart. We decided that I would resign my teaching position to be home with the kids, and we began to work on getting out of debt so that it was financially possible.
He took me to the graveyard…
The Christmas before I resigned, I decided I wanted a “Charlie Brown” Christmas tree to display all the kids’ handmade ornaments. I knew just where to look, too, because my family had cut down trees there many times when I was a kid. We loaded the kids and went to the cemetery where my mom and step-dad, granny and grandpa, aunts and uncles, and cousins had been laid to rest. I love that place. For me, it’s full of sadness, yes, but a peaceful sadness and so many fond memories.
The church being an old Primitive Baptist church, so no indoor plumbing. One such memory was my first and probably only experience with an outhouse! Another memory is of an old hand pump. My mom would always take water in a jar for us to prime the pump because my sister and I found complete delight in that old pump. Something that warms my heart to this day is the memory of her lovingly wiping sand and paw prints from my step-dad’s grave and clearing grass from it’s edges.
That evening, our family walked to my mom’s graveside and allowed ourselves a few moments, then we walked the tree line looking for a little tree. As we walked, we noticed the old graves and found ourselves reading tombstones, pondering names and noticing dates. We walked a little farther and came to a cluster of graves. There were two large slabs, and four little slabs…the next one smaller than the last. As we paused at this family, we realized that the parents lost all four children before each child reached age 5.
It was in that moment that I found my way. In that moment, I was deeply and strongly reminded, “You are not promised tomorrow with them.” I knew from experience that days can end all too quickly, and all I could think was, “Okay, God.”
That was my surrender to the path He had laid out for me. It was my way, the one I had been searching for. It was an answer to all my questions. Whatever it took, I would stay with my children, and I would teach them, and I would love and cherish them.
What my way looks like today…
I’d love to tell you that my path remains as clear as it was that chilly fall evening. I often doubt my calling, wonder what the heck I am doing here, and convince myself that someone else could do a better job. But the fact is, even on days when I tell my husband to “just take them up to the schoolhouse and sign them up,” I know when I have time to breathe and pray because I was called to this. I am supposed to be here, doing exactly what I am doing.
It’s not easy…this mom thing, this homeschooling thing, this living on one income thing, this opening my heart to you thing…but it is a finding-your-way-in-the-graveyard kind of thing.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
~ Proverbs 3:5