“You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me…

This summer my organizational abilities dissipated. I entered my twenty-eighth year of homeschooling this month—the final year. When I began this marathon of blessing and character refinement, I had no idea my endeavor would span decades. I was trained by competent women—school teachers, pioneer stock. From that apprenticeship I pulled up something that was not natural to me and turned out five (soon to be six) well-educated offspring. How? Why?

Twenty-nine years ago, the Lover of our souls laid it on our hearts to do this (something I thought I would never do)—it couldn’t be escaped; he had hemmed us in. It was his imperative to us and was greatly used to shape our lives and bring us to the end of ourselves. But what I didn’t realize until this year was that in the hemming, he had also laid his hand upon me, equipping me for the task. Until I recognized this, I was so proud of my accomplishments (my kids are awesome) and gave plenty of advice to people to just pull themselves together and do it. Stupid me.

When the organizational drive evaporated and what I had thought was my own skill and ability disappeared this summer—gone now that the final lesson plans have been made, the syllabus bound, the year planned, and the student body down to one wise and well-behaved student, I recognized that he had given me something that I had never had prior and have no longer. It is gone, specifically provided for the task that is almost complete.

Earlier in the summer, I had told my husband, “It would appear that I can either be organized or I can be a writer. I cannot be both.” I cherish this final year of my first career as a home school mother and am zealously guarding my time with my daughter. But it is coming to an end; now is the time to write. He hemmed me in and gave me an impossible task; then he equipped me to do it, loving and cherishing me even though I failed often, relied on myself, did not avail myself of his grace, and was too full of myself to comprehend that he was doing the equipping.

“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high; I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:5, 6 ESV).