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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Paths (05/17/04)

TITLE: The Desert Path
By Jodie Sewall


The Desert Path

“Set it down.” These were the words that God kept speaking to my heart. “Why can’t I do both?” was the question that I formed back to the Lord. The contest in my heart was huge. My eighth grade son had asked me to home school him in the upcoming fall. He had struggled his seventh grade year with some negative peer pressure. In his battle weariness, he was asking for a reprieve, a year away from the pressures. I knew that my responsibility as a mom required me to be available to meet the spiritual need that he had but the inward struggle in my heart came because I also had a wonderful ministry teaching the women in our church. I was begging God to allow me both ministries. I wanted to meet my son’s needs, but I was reluctant to set down my teaching ministry. God’s words continued to echo in my mind, “Set it down.”

I had been a student of God’s Word long enough to know that even when we do not understand God’s ways He still expects our obedience. I Samuel 15:22 says “To obey is better than sacrifice.” I knew that this time my obedience would be the sacrifice. I scheduled an appointment to meet with the appropriate people to inform them that in September I would no longer be the Ladies Sunday School teacher. I acted in obedience to God’s leading but my heart was grieving thinking about that which I had been asked to ‘set down.’

A few weeks later in a beautiful display of God’s tender care for me, He allowed me to sit under a sermon from Acts chapter eight. In this passage, Phillip who had a vibrant exciting ministry in the city of Samaria was asked to leave the city and travel to a desert path in order to minister to one man, the Ethiopian Eunuch. As I listened to this message, God’s Word completely healed my tender heart. I understood, that the reason I couldn’t home school my son and stay involved in my teaching ministry was that if I insisted on staying in the “city” I would miss the man on the desert path. Excitement began to grow in my heart as I pondered the significance of meeting with my son on this desert path.

As God’s providence would have it, I ended up home schooling all three of our children for that year. It was a desert experience much like the children of Israel experienced. There was whining and complaining along the way, but there was also sweet times of fellowship around the oasis springs. In Acts chapter 8, when Philip’s time was complete with the Ethiopian Eunuch, God called him to another place. I know there will come a day when God will speak the words “Pick it up” to me, but until then I have my eyes focused on my children’s spiritual growth and I am excited as I watch them grow in the Lord.

Member Comments
Member Date
Marie B. Corso05/24/04
Making investments of time in our children is a great gift to them. Your reward is on the way, Mom. You wrote about your decision and obedience so well. You took the right path.
Karie Hobson05/24/04
Have you ever seen the desert bloom? God asked the same of me, and my son graduates this year! I have seen the desert in full flower and it is a sight to behold! Great path and story
B Price05/24/04
the path of a mother for her children, you will be bless in making the right decision to follow the right path.
Enjoyed reading the story.
Leticia Caroccio05/25/04
Your story was very well presented. It had great flow and a very interesting take on point of view. Your leap of faith was a great example to us new Christians. I enjoyed your article very much.
Lynne Gaunt05/25/04
Isn't it great when God rewards obedience? I'm so glad you recognized his call - I'm sure you haven't begun to see all the results yet. I'm also sure that when you "pick it up again", you'll be more effective than ever!
Mary Elder-Criss05/26/04
As a homeschooling mom of two girls, I understand the difficult decision you were faced with. My children occasionally still whine and complain, like the cihldren of Israel, but we have grown so close...it is a rewarding experience, even if there are days that I find myself standing before God with my hands in the air, asking Him "Just why am I doing this again, Lord?" The peace that floods my heart, and the times of laughter and sharing with my girls are reason enough. Blessings to you as you walk this path. Mary
L.M. Lee05/26/04
what a wonderful opportunity for God to teach you and your children!
Dian Moore05/26/04
I'm so glad you were able to experience this path and listen to the Lord's command to "set it down." Inspirational.
Melanie Kerr 05/27/04
"He allowed me to sit under a sermon". That is such a lovely phrase. You clearly outlined the choices set before you and you decision. These are the life testimonies that we all need to read.
Deborah Porter 05/28/04
Inspirational Jodie. I found myself asking what I would have done in the same circumstances. Laying down those things that make our heart sing, even if just for a short time, is really very challenging. I have a feeling that this message will hit a spot with many readers. My only critique would be to break up that first paragraph a little more. Other than that though, I was really impacted by your story. Also agree with Melanie's comment above - what a beautiful, humble way to describe it "He allowed me to sit under a sermon". I will never quite look at a heart-hitting sermon quite the same way again. With love, Deb
Gary Sims05/29/04
Jodie - Nice story but most importantly - way to listen! You should be applauded. I think it is all too rare of an event when people hear what God is saying to them. (and, in my experience, it is usually short 3 word phrases). Even if they do hear they ignore the message and continue to follow their own path. The Holy Spirit leads His people and what me a right decision such as home schooling for one person may be totally wrong for another. We are not to follow your path because it was right for you. We should follw what God is telling us to do. What a world this would be if we all would listen and follow more often. I rejoice in your willingness to follow His guidance.