“for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
(Matthew 6:8b)”

I’m out at work a lot when my wife is teaching the “academic” part of our homeschool curriculum. But, part of homeschooling our children is simply being on mission to spot teachable moments and helping them connect the dots between what they observe and what God has already said in the word. You can’t schedule that. You have to wait for it… patiently.

Sometimes, strategy and execution get out of line with vision and we need to course correct. Other times, God frustrates our plans to give us a broader or more detailed look at the vision He’s crafted for us. He changes the map, yet keeps us on course with His planned destination; or zooms out to reveal that our timing and His timing are two different things… God calls us to connect the dots. But not at the expense of the bigger picture.

Long Day, Weary Driver?

We’re driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains on our way to Tennessee – it’s a stretch of winding, mountain road of tree tunnel, speckled with pull offs where gaggles of tourists like us stop to take selfies in front of God’s majestic mountain scenery. A 7 year old mind behind me, Presleigh, breaks my concentration: “Daddy, when are we going to see deer or elk or moose?”

What exactly do you tell that child when you want to give them every little desire of their heart wrapped up in a bow… but, you’re snowblind?

Cell service is proving spotty in these parts, eyes on the road, a little distracted by the beauty around and the wonder if Waze is going to faithfully lead us to our destination alive. A ton of unplanned stops along the way, turning a 3.5 hour drive into nearly 8 hours. Frustration has mounted… thinking “Traffic? I really don’t need one more interruption. What I said, instead was, “Not sure, honey. I’m sure we’ll see something soon.”

I can get a little too focused on outcomes from time to time. A friend of mine sometimes catches himself by saying “be fully present with grace and significance.” It’s a reboot from the mind we all need when the mud of reality obscures our windshield. Yes, I teach this stuff – “always let vision realign strategy and execution.” That doesn’t mean I’m immune to the wiles of excellent, efficient results. “Get to Pigeon Forge in record time!” Nor does it mean God is unaware of or unconcerned with my tunnel vision.

I’m not kidding when I guess it was 8 seconds later that we turned the next corner to see a slew of cars pulled over on both sides of the road, giving us our favorite connect the dots moment of the ride: elk.

Not 15 minutes earlier a bull elk wandered into a pasture on the side of the road, leading a heard of about 30 others to create a mini-traffic jam of tourists, eager to catch them on film in the wild.

God knew her need… before she asked Him.

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These animals have all been tagged by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, making them look less “wild” than they really are, but I can’t say I wasn’t half terrified I’d wind up as some viral video: “Man photographs elk, then THIS happened“. I inched closer to the big daddy in the middle of the herd. Once I got about 8-10 feet in front of him, I steadied my Canon and took my shot. He kindly lifted his head and posed for a full frontal “What you talkin’ bout, Willis?!” shot and a gorgeous profile pic. Lost my breath just a little in that moment.

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Didn’t realize I needed that until after God gave it to me. Dots… connected. Fully present with grace and significance. We’ll get to Pigeon Forge when we get there and enjoy the ride.