Friday, August 22, 2008


My mother-in-law e-mailed this devotional to me just today. I SO need to be reminded of this throughout my day!!!

"Volunteers" by Betsy Burnett
When we were weeding the garden to plant my eagle eyed daughter called me over and said “Mom aren’t these tomato plants?” Walking over I was quite pleased to discover a couple of ‘volunteers’ in my garden. Occasionally in a garden you will be blessed with a plant that you WANT just springing up naturally. These surprises you never are quite sure what variety you are going to get but hey they are free.
Sometimes life hands us volunteers. Those things that spring up in life that might not be exactly what you planned (or how you planned it but they are good (or at least good for you!) When I first started to homeschool I was very caught up in making sure everything got done every single day. With three kids 5 and under that was sometimes a difficult task and I felt like a failure! The problem was it just wasn’t the kids that interrupted, there were the calls from a friend that needed to talk, or someone that need help with something, or even someone getting sick and needing to be taken care of. I ended up feeling guilty if I did and guilty if I didn’t.
It was shortly after this I went to my first homeschool convention. The very first workshop I attended changed my life! The workshop was put on by a mom of seven (who was pregnant with her 8th!) I figured if anyone could help me be more organized with my day she could. Surely she would have the secrets of getting everything done that I had been missing! What shocked me though was the very first thing she told us “There is no such thing as an “interruption” to you homeschool day there is only an opportunity for God to teach you something” … She paused for a moment and allowed that thought to sink into our heads and our hearts. The she went onto explain.
What I ended up learning from her is that homeschool and well life in general isn’t just about the three “r’s” it’s also about growing up into the person God wants you to be. It’s about being available to what He has in store for you that day, or even that season. She then went on to talk about how sometimes the most precious characteristics can’t be learned in books, they have to be learned in life. The only way you learn them is to as Nike is fond of telling us “Just do it” She went on to tell us about the different seasons she has experienced with her children, she talked about her kids learning to grieve when her mother died, she talked about learning compassion and caring when their brother broke a leg. On and on with different examples, the more she talked the freer I felt.
I realized that if I watched my attitude checked my heart and consulted God about these interruptions to my day we could learn a whole lot more than school books could teach. Math could be taught while helping to prepare a meal for a sick friend on top of learning to reach out as Jesus did “when I was sick and in prison you visited me.” (Matthew 25:36) Compassion could be learned (not to mention how to REST) while helping to care for a sick sibling. Patience (not to mention oral reading skills ) could be learned when your little sister wants to have Wait for Elmo read to her for the 6th time. I was also reaping the blessings of not just godly character traits in my children, but seeing the blessings of growing relationships in them as well.
As time went on I learned that the kids weren’t the only one that benefited from this new approach. I was learning too. I was learning to seek God about things that came up. I was learning to seize opportunities when they did. I was even (very ) slowly learning to recognize those things that that needed to be done vs. those that were just time wasters. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time and a season for everything under the sun. (Ecc 3: 1)
So the next time you want to get annoyed because of a seemingly interruption to your day or even life, stop and ask the Lord if he might just have something for you in what’s come up. Because you never know, that tomato plant that sprung up in your garden might not produce those great big beefy sandwich tomatoes you planted, but it does produce tasty little salad tomatoes perfect for snacking and they were just what you needed!

Made me smile that like this woman we too had tomato "volunteers". :-)

1 comment:

Paula, Bobby, Rebekah, and Sarah said...

I think it's cute that you're mother-in-law e-mails you things when she lives above you. :)