Little Miracles

Dear Reader,

I have a number of hobbies I dabble in. Among them are gardening and baking bread. I am not necesarily good at everything I do, but I enjoy doing them. What I like particularly about these two things is the mystery involved. You plant seeds, you water them, and then maybe something sprouts. Similarly with bread, you put in the yeast and other ingredients, put it somewhere warm, and maybe it rises nicely. Now maybe for some people who garden and bake they always get the results they want, but I don’t. I can do all the right things and still sometimes it doesn’t work. But then sometimes it does, and that is really rewarding. But it is out of my control. I can give the seed or yeast all they need to do their thing but the results are not up to me. It is something in them that will either rise/grow or won’t.

These are little things. It doesn’t in the end matter if they are successful for me or not. I can buy veggies and bread if I need to. But the same principle applies to many other things in life, doesn’t it? Think about having kids. We can want them. We can try to have them. We can even count days and try to predict ovulation and try to get everything right. But there are no guarantees. It either happens or it doesn’t. It is funny to me that in this area as in many others we can do a lot more to prevent an outcome than to cause one. That is, we can be 99.9% effective in preventing pregnancy, but we often fail to cause pregnancy when we want it. It is the same with my gardening and bread. If I want plants not to grow or bread not to rise, I think I would be great at that. I bet I could kill plants really well. But making something grow is a lot harder. All our technological advances and it seems we are better at destroying than creating.

Unfortunately, there are so many things that we really, really want to control, and we can do everything right, but we still can assure the outcome we want. My daughter’s diabetes is like this. We can do all the right things and still get bad numbers. And again if I wanted bad numbers I bet I could get those really easily. But getting good results is ultimately beyond me. The result, as it is in all these areas, is in the hand of God.

Another area where we tend to really, really want a certain outcome is with our kids. Maybe we are concerned for their salvation. Or maybe we just want them to be well-behaved. There are gazillions of resources out there to tell you the right way to raise them to get the results you want. But in the end, there are no guarantees. You can do everything right and still not save your kids. Of course this is because it is not up to us to save them. That is God’s work. But we don’t want to just trust Him to do it, do we? We want to know it’s going to happen. So we buy every parenting book out there and try every approach. But even the best approaches may fail. Ultimately, all we can do is do our best, place the best things in front of them, and pray that God will produce the result in their hearts that we want, namely saving faith. It is really the same with all the people in our lives. We so often want to change them. We may see real needs and we may even go about it in the best way but we can’t change someone else.

All of this is actually why I am attracted to Charlotte Mason hoemschooling. Because Miss Mason seems to get this. That all we can do is place the best things before our kids. And it is up to them to learn it or not. Surely if we give them a bad intellectual diet, they are likely not to do well (though even then they may fool you). Once again it is easier to destroy than to create. But even with the best materials, we cannot get in there and control the results.

Maybe that’s why I like gardening and baking.Not because my success rate is great (it’s not). But because sometimes there is success. A little proof that things can work like they are supposed to. And if I fail, well, at least the stakes weren’t too high.



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