24 March 2007

A Time to Every Purpose

The picture of the freesia blooming outside my front door was taken on Thursday morning between thunder storms. No poem yet...haven’t had time to finish it, although I’ve been working on it slowly.

Speaking of time...I had an interesting interchange with an acquaintance recently. She asked what my daily school schedule looked like and I had to admit that I don’t really have one. She seemed a bit surprised by my revelation. The conversation was interrupted shortly thereafter, but it’s given me something to think about since.

I’ve read those books and manuals that instruct you to block out your day in quarter- or half-hour increments, a column for yourself and for each of your children. I’ve assembled schedules that look like something NASA could use to launch the space shuttle. They’re color-coded, carefully planned so that each minute of every day is filled with purposeful activity. I work hard to make it all come together, but I just can’t pull it off.

I don’t have the heart for it. After I put that much energy into creating these scheduling masterpieces, I fall apart when the schedule does. I know when we get off track that we’re supposed to simply jump into the activity scheduled for that particular time, but it always seems that we miss the most important things that way. I also hate for every day to be like every other day, which means that I need several schedules to get me through a typical week and I’m continually tweaking. Because of the effort I’ve invested, I hold my plans too tightly.

So, no, I don’t have a schedule per sé, but our days, weeks, months, and even years have a rhythm to them. Some days we must be somewhere at a specific time, but when we don’t have to be anywhere, I simply don’t watch the clock. (Spring Forward reinforced what I’ve been learning from George Grant’s Gileskirk Christendom and James Daniels’ workshop on leisure at last year’s CiRCE conference, helping me see time in a slower, more relaxed fashion. It wasn’t the book’s main purpose, but it underscored the arbitrary and commercial nature of our modern notions of timekeeping and clockwatching.)

There are a few activities (personal, household, and school) that I aim for each day or on certain days of the week. We don’t get to everything everyday . But the kids seem to be learning and we’re not burning out, stressing out, or flipping out. Different studies rise to the top of the heap each day. I’ve also been trying to pray through my days, asking the Lord what he wants for that day.

Ironically, in the midst of all this, I’m working on organization and time management with my kiddoes. I recently bought The Organized Student and am learning a bunch, especially when combined with Organizing from the Inside Out. I worked up an assessment to go through with each of my kidlings to figure out how and where they work best. They’re each making different choices regarding how to organize their school work (binders, poly envelopes, accordion files, etc.). Once their physical environment is more orderly, then we’ll work on time management. But it’ll be rhythmic, not according to a stopwatch.

Life is much easier when I hold my plans loosely, accepting that my Sovereign King might have something in store that wouldn’t fit on any schedule I could dream up. There truly is a time to every purpose under heaven, I just need to remember that I’ve been put on this earth for God’s purposes and not my own and that I can trust him to guide my days.


01 March 2007


I took this photo a couple of weeks ago. Our peach tree was in full bloom, with new life breaking out all over.

The Lord works subtly: the days begin to lengthen imperceptibly, the sap begins to run through the hidden veins of the tree, and then, with little warning, life breaks out on what had seemed outwardly to be a bunch of dead twigs and branches stuck in the ground.

Thus he also works in our hearts and souls. He not only offers comfort and safety in the storm, but in the fullness of time he commands the maelstrom to be still, and it obeys. The sun shines again, we begin to show signs of bearing fruit, and he is glorified.

I’m working on a couple more poems, but haven’t had much time lately.

Thank you for your prayers. They are precious to me. Dawn has come, and our path has risen out of the valley.