Today was the first day I stepped into the role as president of our local homeschool group. It was a smooth transition full of hope and future promise; it was a difficult transition without my friend and confidante there.
I will never forget the day we met. It was in the exact place I stood today where Kristen introduced herself to me over six years ago. As she told me the names of her children, she suddenly held out her spiral notebook, saying, "In case you are a visual learner . . . " and proceeded to draw stick figures of her children complete with the oldest being a girl with the triangular skirt all the way to her fourth, a baby boy with a diaper. I laughed delightedly, knowing that only a homeschooler would think like that. I think like that. We instantly liked each other. There was a connection.
Now, she always shook her head at me with a smile saying that's not really the first time we met, but that we had already talked on the phone and through email. She remembered how the leader of our homeschool group had contacted her after my first visit and asked her to call and email me before the next meeting. Kristen remembered doing that and then looking specifically for me at the meeting. Thank you, Shawna, for connecting us!
As our casual friendship grew at the monthly meetings, I recognized her vitality and strength. It was also obvious that Kristen truly cared for others and believed in homeschooling. First chance, I nominated her for the upcoming president's position. At the same time, I accepted the field trip coordinator position. Little did I know where this connection would lead.
As officers together, we began to bond closely. This was such a growing and stretching time. This was also a time of testing. As Kristen led the group that first year, there was such turmoil. Everything was questioned including whether the group was even a Christian group or should allow a prayer. Kristen felt strongly that Christ must be acknowledged and stood for Him in the fray. She researched the beginnings of our local group and stood on those. Even in the heat of personal attacks, she lived true to her name which is "Christ-bearer."
At the end of that first year, we were left with only three officers to do it all, but we had peace in our group again. The building began. It became important to put things in writing for the future of the homeschool group. We focused on the budding homeschool group and ministering to the families. Our work and support and stand for one another forged a life-long friendship of trust.
As I look at the future of our local homeschool group, I wonder how in the world I can lead it without the love and prayers and creativity and cheering that Kristen always gave. Who will understand my heart to share the joys and excitements with? I will have to lean so heavily on the Lord. Maybe that is just what the Lord is wanting me to do during this time of sorrow--truthfully depend on Him completely, aware that He is my Comfort, my Strength and my Guide. My connection to my Lord is most important.
I will always remember my connection with my closest friend, and miss her terribly.
With the grief still fresh, I looked at the families gathered in the heat today at our homeschool group meeting and hoped that they, too, could be so blessed as to make such a wonderful connection in this life.
It is as Kristen wrote, "I believe that we each have a special and distinct purpose on this earth, and this blog is part of my effort to fulfill God's purpose for my life. I also believe that life is worth living well and that life is a precious gift to be shared joyfully with others. Thank you for letting me share my life with you. I pray it encourages you."
Through love and grace,
P.S. The first work that we ever wrote together is this free mini-course for you.
This blog came to be as a way to connect homeschool leaders together. Read about it here.
It's happening even now on our facebook group, I am a Homeschool Group Leader.