Summer’s over, school is starting again. And most students are hoping that their teacher won’t assign that inevitable composition: “My Summer Vacation.” Still, it’s a question well worth considering: How was your summer?
I had plans! I was going to go to the beach for a couple hours early each morning. And I had this great idea to host a summer “unschool” — a place where kids could come for a few hours each day to spend time with other kids, doing art, reading, computers, games, plus some one-on-one tutoring if they (or their parents!) wanted. While my husband was home from logging camp, our family was also going to go to Edmonton for the first two weeks of August to visit our daughter and grandson. Those were my plans. But the Lord had other ideas. “A man’s heart devises his way, but the Lord directs his steps”! (Prov 16:9)
The summer started as expected – sort of. We went to a Family Bible Camp, where I led, with some trepidation, the daily early “Morning Prayer” time. This was a big step for me, to start with. And then it turned out that almost all those who attended Morning Prayer were older than me, they were nearly all men and almost all of them were very experienced Pastors. What a recipe for fear! But a really amazing thing happened. Everything the Lord had led me to prepare lined up exactly with the messages brought by the camp speaker, the camp missionary, and even the camp youth leader! God had prepared my heart during my planning, and then expanded and confirmed by the messages of the other speakers, a new understanding of how we may grow in Christ.
I came home from camp with a strong desire to “step out” for the Lord – after my summer plans were done! But a few days later, my plans turned upside down. My husband got injured at logging camp and was suddenly home for the summer. All my plans went out the door. I needed to be at home for my husband, and even the trip to Edmonton was now out of the question. Amazingly, however, the Lord provided a free trip for my daughter and grandson to come and visit us! But God used that down time His way. I had much opportunity to read and study and spend with the Lord. I had a chat with our pastor, and he recommended a book, Soul Care. It was awesome. Soon, I was reading every church library book on the Spiritual Disciplines. My idea to lead a prayer focus group for a few weeks in the coming fall months soon expanded to God’s plan to lead a year-long focus group on the Spiritual Disciplines. Oh, and there is also a book in the works, and some other amazing things!
Just before Pastor Alan left on a sabbatical, he preached at the annual community “church in the park” service. He stressed, “Don’t do anything without the Holy Spirit!” This is something I have truly learned on this surprising summer vacation! God’s ways and thoughts are truly far above ours. He does accomplish His Word within us, by His grace, through the Holy Spirit’s work in us, as we open ourselves to His work in our lives (the purpose of the Disciplines by the way). And I do not need to fear God’s plans for me, because I have learned that God does prosper all that He purposes. (Isa 56:6,8-9). What a vacation! So how was yours?
Date: September 2004