“All men’s gains are the fruit of venturing.” ~ Herodotus
Wednesday is our first day of school – a senior and a sophomore, no little ones following behind them. It’s been a summer of independence with training wheels and independence walking strong, blueberry picking, a beach holiday stuffed to its seams with family, working to earn their spending, evenings filled with a house full of young men playing the board game Risk, gardening for me, mowing for the boys, emptying junk that didn’t used to be, sweeping dust and cobwebs from the basement, all my boys walking through my door bouncing bantering sounds from one to another.
School begins and all the unhurried gait of summer holiday quickens to a trot – the schedules fill, deadlines pile up, challenges form to be taken head on, relationships flow and ebb, and the alarm clock demands much, much earlier.
New pressures stretch all of us – at home, at school, maybe even in the community – and that needs adjusting to – yet, it is these very pressures – they might be man-made, mom-and-dad made, or God-made, but each pressure has the potential to shape for goodness. They might be pressures for which our children weren’t designed to experience or from which they have been shielded – however, they are pressures that God will turn to good; pressures, if allowed, God will use to shape them, shape each into his intentional design for goodness.
“A hazard; an undertaking of chance or danger; the risking of something upon an event which cannot be foreseen with tolerable certainty.” ~ 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary
Everything worth having is a venture: marriage, black raspberries, motherhood, dream catching, independence, zinnias and tomatoes, an education, our children’s future, the beginning, middle and end of our story, and those who tell our story from their perspective.
All the good things in life happened because we ventured into unseen territory – or if not quite unseen, territory that we entered with one set of expectations which through grace, hope, faith and love were replaced with a God-modified version of those expectations.
The first day of school presents a new path to venture down. New paths are opportunities for prayer – and I’d like to start this new path with a prayer:
I pray today, the venture of not only my sons, but the other sons and daughters, starting another academic year, that they venture into God’s goodness this year. I pray that they are challenged in ways to not only give them the opportunity to strengthen their faith and talents, but to strengthen the faith and talents of those that cross their path. I pray that while God is not welcome in their buildings, that they know God sits with them in those uncomfortable chairs, that God walks with them down hallways where maybe they feel unseen or are too seen, that they hear the still small voice that prompts them to speak for what they believe in classroom discussions and peer discussions. I pray, also, that when they don’t see or feel God’s presence, they choose to live in faith and hope that he is indeed there, trust they have not been abandoned and pursue relationship with him in the quiet. I pray that God open their eyes to discernment, their hearts to compassion, that action is self-disciplined and responsible, and that kind choices over-rule inconsideration. I pray that God sends mentors to encourage them in their God-designed journey – and that in this venturing, they find themselves, despite becoming worn and frazzled at times, closer in their journey to God.
To venture with God is always to gain.
It’s in Jesus name, in whom I rely, who knows the plan, that I pray.