This morning we walked to school through the woods.
Our breaths made hot little puffs in the cold, soggy air and I kept thinking, "This is like coffee for my soul." (And soul-coffee is definitely a good thing these days.) We trekked over fallen logs and under branches and I realized that I'm never paying this much attention to anything before 9 a.m. Annika and I mostly kept pace with the neighbor's dog... Fall behind, run to catch up, fall behind, run to catch up.
I got home just now, hung up my keys, transferred a sleeping Michael from the Ergo to the couch and knew for sure: I JUST GOTTA TESTIFY.
I'll back up.
There was a time, not so very long ago, that I couldn't sleep for the weight of life choices needing to be made. We had just moved here, there were a million good things that my heart desired to be true about life here, and I knew that it was impossible to have them all. I felt like I had a handful of tiny puzzle pieces and no final picture to guide me as to how to assemble them.
I wrote this in a blog post:
I don’t know exactly how the pieces of my life might finally work and flow together in a free and less-complicated way. I don’t know what that might even look like because the pieces, all my hopes and dreams and plans, just don’t fit as separate pieces.I'm not afraid to say it out loud: I just can't do this thing by myself.Only God, the Lord of the Harvest, can see my life unfolding in all its fullness, a different and more heavenly dimension, and shape-shift my heart and my time and my relationships into something beautifully functional. Something fruitful and alive. Something for him.Where he gets the glory and I get the joy.
And then I watched as God began to make it all work.
It started with completely changing my heart towards public school. I never did write about it here, but it was almost as if he pulled back a curtain and showed me how (even though I had firmly decided against it for my many reasons) public school was actually a place where so many of my longings could be filled. With public school in the picture, so many little pieces began snapping into place and life did begin to unfold in a beautifully functional way that I never expected.
I could go on. But fast-forward to now.
Our little bus-stop recently shut down and so I've been driving Annika to school every morning. I was disappointed because I had assumed the bus-stop was my connection to neighborhood moms- I loved the idea of standing around with cups of coffee and yelling at our kids together.
Without the bus-stop, it has been rushed and isolated mornings ending with me saying a quick goodbye as Annika hops out and a parent in a yellow vest motions for me to drive away before I can even see her walk in the front door.
But Saturday night at a neighborhood dinner party, a sweet mom invited me to join their "walking bus," which is just a group that walks to school together. I didn't have high hopes for all of us being ready early enough or Annika walking that far without complaining, but figured it was worth a shot.
Not only was it a gorgeous, slow-moving morning through the woods (and I could personally walk Annika into her classroom and spy while she settled into her Morning Work) but I got to walk back home with another mom and have the conversation that has brought me here to testify.
It didn't take long to realize that we were both Christians, so we chatted about Mars Hill and life and Annika's school. And then slowly, another curtain was pulled back as I listened to her and I found myself wiping tears back as my heart prayed, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
Just the walk itself was a gift, a strong cup of soul-coffee that I desperately needed after the draining nights I've been having. And meeting another Christian mom in such a natural way was a sweet surprise. And learning that there are actually quite a few believers scattered through our neighborhood was deeply encouraging.
But the overwhelming and humbling thing was listening as she told me how this little school has a uniquely strong presence of teachers that are Christians. And this is not to say that there is anything "Christian" about the school, the classrooms or the curriculum. It is still very much a public school that is extremely diverse in how many faiths and walks-of-life are represented there.
But... But... now I know that as God was whispering and drawing me towards this decision, a decision that was tough and scary for me, he was probably smirking. Because (like always) he knew so much more than I did. He knew that in a place where we have so little physical family, a new city where I was asking him for real community outside of our church walls, this little public school was the answer to my prayers.
I feel like testifying because I am made aware, again, of this - there is always an undercurrent happening deep within our lives, sometimes totally independent of (or even contrary to) the flow of things on the surface. And God works in the surface things, but I think he kind of lives in that undercurrent.
The surface of my walk in the woods was getting Annika to class, the undercurrent was a gift of peace and, shockingly, Christian fellowship.
The surface of Annika's education is a public school intentionally and carefully separated from our personal faith. The undercurrent is a faithful presence of God's people within the very same walls.
The surface of my circumstances is lack of sleep and exhaustion. The undercurrent is a season of learning to fully rest in his goodness and super-natural joy.
The surface of our days is largely secular, but the undercurrent is constantly and completely sacred.