Thursday, June 4, 2009

Coincidence or Shut Up and Listen?

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I purchased the Summit Ministries Lightbearer curriculum and hinted there was a story to be told.

I like people to say it how it is. Please don't dance around and hint. I'd much rather people be direct than leave the interpretation up to me. Otherwise, I'll either over interpret or don't get the message at all. Also, as my husband has discovered, please don't tell me something unless you have my undivided attention, especially if it is a request to do something. I'll soon forget it, if I heard it at all.

Fortunately, my heavenly Father knows everything there is to know about me. He knows I have trouble with "Be Still and Know that I am". I'm often not still enough to listen, fussing about on my own. He either needs to make me still or be quite obvious...and sometimes both..when I need a "talking to". Ever since I was quite young, God has approached this little quirk of mine with a sense of humor, with either "obvious" or "shut up and listen".

My first example of this was when I was a child. I had a small stuffed eagle that I carried around everywhere. Ok, I had an unhealthy obsession with this thing. I was visiting a friend one day when I lost it somewhere on their large piece of property. It was winter. It was dark. It was time to go home...and I realized my stuffed friend was missing. We did a quick look, but it wasn't found. I was in a quiet panic and said a quick prayer as they started to pull the car out of the drive. As the car was turning around, the headlights illuminated the very spot on the ground where my eagle was sitting. Ok - it wasn't exactly a miracle. However, it was enough to get the attention of a 7-year-old and an example of an "obvious" answer.

Another example, much later in life, was when I was a working mom. The original plan, our plan, was to work until we had two children and day care costs would jump, taking a bigger chunk of my salary. About six months after returning, I heard a little voice that maybe I should quit sooner. The schedule was hectic, there were problems at the day care, new issues at work and our marriage was starting to suffer. I pretty much ignored the voice. My husband and I did take the first step and started putting all of my income in savings to see if we could live only on his salary comfortably. We could, but I continued to not act. Next, my daughter started catching every possible virus in day care. This meant missing quite a bit of work. Then she started sharing her germs with us. We own a business and my husband couldn't miss work, but should have. Ignoring. Finally, I woke up one day feeling terrible. I soon had blisters on my hands, feet and mouth and experienced my very first ear infection. Yep - hand, foot and mouth disease compliments of my daughter and all her day care friends. I was one of the 10% of adults who never developed immunity. I think that was the most miserable virus I ever had. However, it made me still and quiet. I listened - and quit the next day.

So, what does this have to do with Summit Ministries?

Recently, I was cutting some poultry while multitasking with math lessons. I don't recommend that. I ended up slicing my finger open within a millimeter of my tendon. I wrapped up my finger and headed to the walk-in urgent care clinic the next town over. The last time I was at this clinic, I thought I should maybe call the doctor's mother and let her know her son was practicing medicine. Man, I felt old.

Admittedly, I was a bit cranky. I've never had stitches -and I knew I needed some - and wasn't looking forward to being a learning experience for some young doctor.

My first surprise, after waiting for an hour, was the fact that the doctor was at least a decade older than my not-so-young self. He asked how I sliced my finger and I told him, letting the math lesson part slip. I generally don't like to announce we homeschool in medical facilities that I don't regularly attend. I've experienced very rude and probing interrogations or opinions by doctors or medical staff at the simple mention of homeschooling in the past. Somehow this slipped, but perhaps he wouldn't connect the dots that is was a weekday. At noon. In April.

Dr: "Are your kids on break from school?"

Obviously he doesn't have any listening problem.

Me: "Um, no. We homeschool and were doing lessons." I quietly anticipate the next comment...

still, quiet and reclined,

with no feeling wrist up and the doctor stitching away.

Dr. "We really considered homeschooling. All the agenda taught in schools really bothered us and we wanted them to have a quality education. However, we decided we couldn't devote the time to it full time and instead bought materials for after school."

(Note: He was not only old enough to have children, but they were grown too!)

Me: Relieved about the homeschooling, but still not thrilled about my finger too much to appreciate it and looking up instead of at the sewing work...."Uh-huh."

Dr. "We used materials from Summit Ministries."

Me: "Oh. I've never heard of them." Nice ceiling tiles...

Dr. "Summit Ministries. should look into them."

Me: Slight nod, eyes still staring at the ceiling so I don't see my finger...I wonder how long before my hand feels normal size again?

We made a bit more limited small talk, he finishes up and it is time for me to leave. He actually walks me up to the counter and says, "What denomination are you?"

Now, I've only told this man I was cutting poultry while doing math lessons. I never mentioned I was a Christian.

Me: "Uh - I go to a Baptist church."

Dr. "It's non-denominational, but evangelical. Summit Ministries. You should really look them up."

Okay then. I make a mental note to look up S-U-M-M-I-T Ministries.

So what do I do when I get home? I'd like to say I ran home and went straight to Google. I didn't. Apparently God needed both still and obvious this time.

Several days later, I decided to look at the schedule for the upcoming Midwest Homeschool Convention's Teen Track program for my daughter. I go to the convention website, start looking at the workshop topics for the teens, and click on one of the descriptions. What do I see? S-U-M-M-I-T Ministries! Summit Ministries was hosting the entire teen program. Wait...did I just feel something smack me upside the head?

Yes, I visited the website and discovered they sell curriculum about worldview. Coincidentally, after recently taking an adult worldview class at church, I had put "do a worldview study" on my mental list of things I'd like my daughter to do soon. I hadn't really done anything about it yet though or looked for materials. Enter obvious. I vowed to at least check out their booth.

We attended the convention a few days later and my daughter loved the workshops by Summit Ministries. I visited the booth and even explained how I heard about them, showing them my finger. The booth was small and in the back; I doubt I would have stopped normally. I had the pull of stitches in my index finger the days leading up to the convention to remind me to stop, so no forgetting either. The curriculum looked great, but it still took me a full day to think about it. I buy so many things and end up not using them, I wanted to make sure this was the right item.

Yes, I bought the curriculum in the end. I just previewed some of the DVDs from the program and am really excited to use it with my daughter this fall. Even so, I can't help to revert back to my interpreting tendencies. When I've told my friends this story, most don't think this chain of events is a coincidence. My husband, however, gave a questioning look when I explained to him how I found this great new curriculum and why I bought it. Maybe he wasn't listening or I wasn't being obvious of what I was implying...

Was this a situation a be-still-and-quiet-so-I-can-present-the-obvious event or just a strange coincidence that makes for an interesting blog post?

What do you think?


Penny said...

WOW, what a story! God spotlighted Summit Ministries for you so you wouldn't miss it at the convention! ;)

Steve and April said...

SOunds like God to me ... the same way I found Five In A Row when we first began homeschooling ... so glad He led me to it. :)


Diana M. said...

That's awesome! Thanks for posting it! Wow!

I have three kids, ages 22, almost 20, and 9-1/2. When the older two were 4 and 7, I lived in CO and heard about Summit Ministries. Maybe it was at the time, or maybe it was more, but I had thought it was just all about kids going away for a summer program where they would have nature challenges (rock climbing) and would also learn Biblical World View. I left CO, and never paid attention to them after that, not knowing they had more to offer than my previous perception. I'll be watching, now, for opportunities to learn about their materials. It'll be awhile before I focus on that for my 9 year old...

Annie Kate said...

OK, here I go to check out Summit Ministries. :) The name sounds familiar, somehow.

God bless that doctor, too.

Annie Kate

Jessica S. said...

Good Doctor... :)