As I pack to celebrate Sarah's wedding in Oxford, see Joy settled in St. Andrews, Scotland and help Joel pack for Cambridge, I have been reflecting on what brought us to this point of adventure. In many ways, it has become a norm for our family, to work hard, dream of how we will engage our lives in kingdom work and then watch God open doors. Someone said, "Sally, you all always have new adventures. How do you arrange this?
Recently, at the speaking engagement, another mom, asked, "How did you face your friends and family who didn't understand your out of the box ideals?"
I thought of this poem and of this post today because, once i gave my life and all of my rights to God, He has led me on paths beyond what I could have asked or thought.
Taking a risk to do life differently, to pursue ideals, following God's trail by faith, has changed the course of the Clarkson history--but, by taking the road less travelled, we have witnessed the miracles and provision of the hand of God in amazing ways.
This verse by Robert Frots, one of my favorite poems, (and I made all the kids memorize it) reflects the faith, following ideals, road that God led us as a family to follow..
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both, And be one traveler , long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim Because it was grassy and wanted wear; But as for that, the passing there had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I marked the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted I would ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two rods diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
Since the first year Clay and I were married, we tried each fall to go drive through the mountains to see the aspen when they changed to the golden and read and bronze. A mother is the god-ordained professor who opens the soul and mind of her children to the truths reflected in God's creation. God has provided ample evidence of His wisdom, power and beauty in each season.
Last weekend, Clay said that he thought we should take the time to go for one day to the mountains before we left to make time to see the beauty together. Though we were all busy, we are so very thankful for the way it filled our souls to marvel at His handy work and to reflect that each season has its own beauty and evidence of God's intimate involvement.
"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood." What a beautiful poem this is--and such a rich amount of wisdom to discuss and reflect upon---choices have consequences, whatever decisions you make will determine much of the rest of your life--it is so important to let God's word and truth direct your priorities and decisions. Your decisions as to what paths you will take will certainly determin where you end up. And I love the last line, "And I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
Clay and I took the homeschooling road when no one thought we should. We moved our family into ministry situations with us, all over the world when no one thought we should. We raised support when certain family members thought we shouldn't. We left a good job and security and insurance and went 5 years without a salary to start Whole Heart Ministries when it seemed crazy. We committed ourselves to idealistic discipleship grace-based parenting when others thought we would ruin our children.
Obviously we have not lived a perfect life and have made mistakes along the way. However, we made our decisions by faith, based on convictions we found in scripture. Our desire was to please God, to build foundations that could not be shaken. God has been so faithful to us each step of the way--we took the road less traveled by and that has made all the difference.
Recently, I celebrated the 93rd birthday of my oldest, sister type friend's mom's birthday. We had a chocolate party for her (brownies, cake, cookies, candy bars and mousse--it was her favorites) She has lived through two World Wars, the depression, breast cancer, the deaths of her husband and two of her three children. Yet, she has lived to see God's faithfulness.
Through our summers, fire devastated and destroyed 500 homes one time and countless others before that. Another summer we lived througha crisis of flood over our whole state. This year, 3 precious ones have committed suicide that are dear to us. Several of my friends have had cancer. We could all be tempted to panic when life feels so uncertain. Then there are the shootings, Isis, .......
Yet, taking the risky roads less taken has taught me that God is trustworthy. He is in control, He will be faithful to us as we walk roads of faith. It is an important for us to teach our children to have the courage of their convictions to take the road less taken-the road of faith, the road of ideals. Life does not always turn out as we would expect it to, but God is always faithful. We all only have one life to live in which to live by faith in God, to trust in Him and rest in His peace when we are tempted to panic. We are given one life to live for His ideals and for His convictions. Then we will see Him face to face.
Let us be bold before His throne in this challenging time. Let us be of those who do not shrink back. Let us be of those whose hearts remain steadfast even in the midst of trials.
God will be faithful to us. We will grow and be stretched and become less selfish and more mature and give our children a better model --if we stay faithful to his call upon our individual lives.
He will call each of us to different ideals, but He will call us to step out in faith, in courage and in ministry. May His goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives and may we resist fear and live by faith until we see Him face to face.
May God give each of you a special gift of His grace and peace in the midst of your trials. May He allow you to reflect on His beauty in creation as an example of His seasons and may each of you have a peaceful heart. Many blessings of His grace.
As Sarah recently wrote, "Hard realities--broken hearted facts are not ignored but faced with grace. This rises up with a lifestyle of hard work and community that, while never denying grief, yet seeks to move through life with a fragile but real hope."
Indeed, God led us to take the road less traveled, and that has indeed made all the difference.
Let us follow, by faith, the roads where HIs Spirit leads us and watch Him faithfully lead us on a life filled with His direction ever and always towards His light.
"The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn which shines brighter and brighter until the full day." Proverbs