In so many aspects of life, it seems that a person has to work hard to make the right outcomes happen--and sometimes the goals are achieved and sometimes they aren't. (It reminds me of Ecclesiastes 1:15, What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted.) It's a part of daily struggles to strive to accomplish that which is set out at the start of the day--or what we would perceive to be set out. Usually God's plans, the things He has set out for me (Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them), are completely different than I have set out for myself. This makes it daunting to make long-term plans and goals, because who knows what will become of them? Still I have to aim far and high for the things I think are set out for me and give it all to God for the outcome.
And then I see grace happen in my life, and outcomes happen that I did not anticipate being so easy or so delightful. I see them these days in my two children: Katie, going to community college; though we both thought just community college would be something of a disappointment in comparison with her original plan to go to the Master's College this year, it has turned out so completely delightful that we have both remarked on it many times. Who would have thought? She's done well in her classes; she likes her instructors; she's making very many really great friends; and she's been given many opportunities to share her faith with others. Sometimes people she hardly knows will ask her a theological question, even when she doesn't realize she's impacted them in any way before that.
Then there's Tim. In previous years his homeschooling seemed to be nearly futile, a nearly vain attempt to keep him seated and indoors while I fed him all the teaching I could before it became impossible due to his lack of attention and inability to sit so long. I thought his learning to read might take a number of years more, and never be too successful. Yet this year, he's reading quite well, able to spell words better than I would have ever anticipated (even by mouth, without writing them down), and seeming to enjoy it so much more. He's also asking some really good questions about faith--sometimes during our daily Bible time and sometimes just before bed, when the day's cumulative thoughts have to be winnowed down for his nighttime prayers. When I assumed these would take so much longer to happen if they ever would, the fact that they indeed are happening is a huge gift. He even says that he loves to read, and often does some of our Bible reading. How encouraging is that?!
God is gracious. Sometimes He brings something to grow when we're looking the other way, when it really isn't so much anything we ourselves are doing or expecting--something like a beautiful wildflower in the middle of an untended field. It has encouraged me and reminded me that I'm not doing my work alone, though it often feels as if I am--I am merely a servant and He is my King, a loving King who already has it all planned out, allowing me just to do a small part of His huge work, through Him and with His help, encouragement, and support.