When God Gives Us What We Need, Not What We Want
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Fifteen years ago, on the night of our engagement, I remember my then-future husband and I talking about our upcoming lives together. There were so many things we talked about and dreamed of. We talked about how we both wanted me to be able to stay home and raise our children (homeschooling had not yet entered our minds!), how we wanted to put spiritual things above material things, and how we wanted our family to give glory to God and lead others to know Him. We had no idea at that time how God would bless our lives. Although, to be quite honest, there have been many times in our lives when we haven't felt very blessed by God.
“Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
We had no idea that night of what the next fifteen years would hold. We had no idea that within a few months I would be bedridden for the better part of the next couple of years with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, sleeping sometimes 18-20 hours a day, and that we would have to face the fact that we may never have children or be able to lead “normal” lives. I was not feeling very blessed. But eventually God softened my heart to see that just having a relationship with Him was blessing enough and that “not my will, but yours” was all I needed to be happy.
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth: for he hath not another to help him up.”
God did have in mind to bless us though even more. As the years went by my health improved and we had a beautiful son. A few years later, we decided to adopt our second son. We went through several years of family upheaval with him due to the frustration of his undiagnosed autism. My husband and I got more and more distant as we each dealt with our family problems in our own way. Again, I didn't feel blessed by God, but was drowning in loneliness and bitterness, feeling like nobody, especially my husband or even God, understood my pain. Eventually though, in desperation, I opened up to the godly women around me and allowed them to see me at my absolute worst and to disciple my heart. God blessed me by allowing me to repent of the bitterness and mend my relationship with my husband, and I was blessed to gain some true lifelong friends.
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
As the years went on, our older son began having some health challenges. We were forced to take him out of public school and homeschool him since he was unable to attend classes regularly. At about the same time, our second son was diagnosed with autism and we realized the tough road we faced in the years ahead. Homeschooling was a hard decision because I didn't want to give up “my” time and energy, and I didn't want to put on hold all the things I had planned for the times when the kids were both in school. I was also fearful that I couldn't do a good job and I would ruin their future. I was having a hard time figuring out why God had to make things so hard for me and felt like it wasn't fair. But now because of homeschooling, God has blessed me with relationships with my children that I could never have had otherwise. I love them and love to spend time with them. It's changed my faith too, since every day I need my relationship with Him like never before. I couldn't imagine any other lifestyle.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Looking back on that night fifteen years ago, we really didn't have any idea of what God had in store for us. We thought we knew what we wanted and made plans to get there. I feel so blessed that God didn't give us what we thought we wanted, but he gave us just what we needed.
Lori Clemmons and her husband have been homeschooling since 1999. Their children are Alex, Jesse, and Tevy. They live in the San Francisco Bay Area.