The last week of September, we took a short family vacation up to the north shore of Lake Superior - a favorite place of ours. Life had seemed much more stressful than usual leading up to the trip. Many things had descended upon us calling for time and energies that we felt were already near the breaking point. We had eagerly looked forward to this brief break of travel to cooler weather and beautiful nature surroundings.

Indeed, we thoroughly enjoyed a wonderful time of hiking and soaking up the beauty of the Minnesota northwoods, and quietly sitting on the rocks by the lake together as a family, watching the waves roll in and crash thunderously against the shoreline. We even got to spend three nights in a little cabin right on the shoreline! The sunrises over the lake were some of the most spectacular that we have ever witnessed, and we enjoyed them out on the rocky shore, cameras in hand. One cold morning, as a misty rain showered down over our tiny cabin, we gathered around the breakfast table and watched the sunrise through the big picture window overlooking the lake. The clouds had not yet reached to the east side of the lake and the sunrise was beautiful, even though it was raining on our cabin. The cool evenings were spent at the cabin, eating, talking and playing games - covered up in soft quilts.

On our return trip, driving home through northern Wisconsin, the leaves seemed to be at their absolute, most gorgeous peak of color. Quaint farms were nestled in seemingly endless rolling green and gold hills surrounded by a myriad of colors from flaming reds, vivid oranges and vibrant yellows, to the more muted shades of brown, mauve, burnt orange and rust - all interspersed with the contrasting darker greens of the evergreen trees. It was almost breathtakingly beautiful! I'm not sure we have ever seen a more magnificent array of fall color in our entire lives. The sweeping countryside, as far as our eyes could see, looked like a wonderfully huge, brilliant, picture postcard!

On the trip up to Lake Superior, we had been a little disappointed as we drove through Wisconsin making our way up to the shore. There seemed to be very little color and we thought we would miss the peak for sure, which was something we had not counted on. However, during those few intervening days while we were at the lake, “the fullness of the time” was accomplished for the Wisconsin leaves, and the beauty of the season became apparent for all to see, much to our delight. Driving home we were awed, blessed and refreshed just looking at the scenery God had created! We became deeply aware, once again, that our God is awesomely creative, and our hearts were truly stirred.

As homeschooling parents ourselves, it wouldn't surprise us one little bit if you, another homeschooling parent, know just “how” the leaves change color in the fall. We enjoyed some extremely interesting studies about it in our homeschool over the years. But the fact of the matter is that, although there are scientific processes involved, God is the One who put the processes in place, and the leaves change color in HIS “fullness of the time.” Our desire to speed up the process, or to see the outcome early, has no bearing whatsoever on when the leaves will actually change color.

It is the same in life. So often our timetable has not matched up with God's timetable. Sometimes we have been disappointed or anxious over what we saw as a delay in an answer, solution, or provision from God. We have worried and fretted, time and again, and sometimes almost wondered if “this time” God either was not listening to us, was unconcerned, or just simply was being too slow to act on our behalf. It seemed to us that we HAD to have this or that answer or help . . . right NOW. Finally, however, when the fullness of time had been accomplished, according to God's will and timing, the answer or provision would come, and looking back we could see that, indeed, God had known best (again)!

This is a very helpful principle to remember as a homeschooling parent. While there are some things along the way that we can do to facilitate the process, quite truthfully, life and learning are time-intensive. It is a fact of life that simply cannot be escaped. It takes time to raise Godly children. It takes time to build solid family relationships. It takes time to acquire skills. It takes time to break bad habits and replace them with good habits. It takes time to learn academic information. But, we're so thankful that homeschooling allows us to have that time with our children to accomplish these things. Thankfully, it is all very important to the Lord too, and if we will have patience and faith in God as we live in obedience to His leading and commands, we will see the fruit of our labors in His fullness of the time!

As the leaves are turning, the harvest is being gathered in, and our hearts and minds are preparing for Thanksgiving Day, we have many things for which to be thankful. First of all, while trying not to sound trite, we are thankful for God. We're thankful that He is so wise, powerful and loving (and even more thankful that He is so patient). We're thankful that though we may feel pressure, or sense an urgency for something right now, God does not. He is not stressed out about our problems, though He does care deeply and intimately about us. We can count on God and rest in His care. We can be thankful that He does not sleep or slumber. We can be thankful that He is not strapped to earthly time. We can be thankful that He is not bound by the realm of human possibilities. He is never frazzled, He is never worried and He is never panicked about our situation. He has it all under control, and the beauty of His plan will be revealed to us in the fullness of His time! And that's something to be truly thankful for!

Kari Lewis and her husband, Frank, homeschooled their two sons through their highschool graduations. The Lewis' now publish Home School Enrichment Magazine, a bi-monthly print publication dedicated to encouraging and inspiring Christian homeschoolers.

Kari Lewis is the "mom" here at Home School Enrichment. She and Frank have been married since 1977 and homeschooled their two sons, Matthew and Jonathan, from their early elementary years through their high school graduations. Together, the four of them started Home School Enrichment Magazine in late 2002. More recently, she's been enjoying her new role of mother-in-law and grandma! You can reach her at kari@HomeSchoolEnrichment.com.