H ... S c H o O l R o O m ... H

Dangling With Delight

“Higher, higher! Push me higher Daddy!” Our nine-year-old daughter, Jennifer, didn’t even try to suppress her delight as she soared to the sky on the first ride of her new tree swing. Her father instructed her to straddle the rope as he lifted her up on the board. She bounced around with such enthusiasm as her feet dangled between the swing and the ground. The anticipation of Daddy’s first push sent sounds of giddy laughter echoing through the woods, serving as full compensation for his constructive effort.

This was no wimpy tree swing. Prior to building it my husband assured me that careful consideration was factored into the location of the swing on our property; as well as articulate planning to connect the perfectly sized board to the chosen tree limb with a rope that came with a guaranteed 500 pound weight limit (something our son didn't hesitate to mention (“It’ll hold you!”) when he invited the neighbor lady over for a ride).

Now when my husband build’s something, you can count on two things: 1) It’s going to be secure; and 2) It will outlast any preceding model. For this swing it was important that a rider choosing to mount and careen over the embankment do so completely secure in their method of transportation. A thrill ride without the theme park, this swing has the look and feel of something you might read about in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Twelve years later, our swing continues to thrill each rider, especially those brave enough to attempt it in the dark.

When I reminisce about Jennifer’s first tree swing ride, I am reminded of what the Bible says in Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do your will, O God.” Many times I’ve found my heart checking itself in an effort to answer the question: Do I delight in doing the will of my Father? Do my feet dangle in anticipation when I’m between the call and the commission? How does one delight during limbo season?

Homeschooling presented these questions each time we transitioned from one grade to the next. We felt the conviction to continue and knew it was God’s direction for our family. But, just about the time I thought I’d gained enough experience to secure my feet to the ground, another year would arrive, the weathered rope shrank, and I’d find myself dangling between conviction and insecurity, desperately crying out for direction.

Anticipation sometimes couples itself with anxiety when we realize that we have no control over the direction of the swing. During that time the adventure can prove itself to be a daunting task that agitates that feeling of limbo as we wait for someone to come along and push us in the right direction. One day I realized that delighting in this stage of the process was something the Lord was trying to teach me, and my evasive approach had to go. I needed that between-grade-limbo time to seek my Father's direction and put my trust in His ability to equip me for the ride.

Dangling with delight is an acquired skill. Mastering it is essential in maintaining a good attitude. Delighting yourself in the Lord and trusting His plan for your homeschool is the rope that secures you to the branch. Jennifer was able to find joy in those moments of dangling before her ride because she delighted and trusted in the security of her father and his ability to equip her with a dependable swing.

Consider what Isaiah 30:21 says, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’” Have you ever jumped on a tree swing, knowing exactly where you wanted to go, and instead of moving forward you found yourself spinning around and around? Well, that’s exactly what happens when we panic and try to control the direction of our homeschool without taking the time to wait on our Father to get behind us and push us in the right direction. Listen for the word behind you.

Your Heavenly Father knows exactly how much pressure you’re under as you attempt to juggle all your responsibilities and provide academic instruction for your children. He knows how unsure your footing feels as you wade through piles of curriculum choices. He knows that without Divine aim and a gentle push in the right direction you’ll be just as confused about Algebra as you were when you wondered how a worm can eat without a head.

Your fellow homeschooler may test earlier, start school earlier, advance earlier, promote earlier, and even graduate earlier. Remind yourself that jumping on her moving swing, in an effort to avoid dangling on your own, will only produce frustration and anxiety. Before you know it comparisons will outweigh any presupposed benefits of trying to catch a ride. Besides, have you forgotten that every swing has its weight limit?

There’s something to be said for waiting on the Lord and seeking His counsel. Take advantage of the limbo season and don’t be so quick to move forward in your own strength. Isaiah 58:14 says, “…delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth…”

The dangling process is essential for success. By taking the time to delight in your Father, and seek His plan, you may just find yourself out on a limb crying out, “Higher Daddy! Push me higher!”

© 2006 Lorie Codispoti H