Death of a Vision
The Birth of a Vision
God has given all of us desires, ambitions, talents, and special interests that can spark a vision for what we can do and be. The realization of desires or goals in a person’s heart is the “birth of a vision.”*
In the spring of 2003, after fifteen years of operating Hope Christian Academy in our home, we moved the school office and library to a retail location in Westminster. We expanded our services to include a home educator book and country gift store. Danny’s goal was to have a ministry to the homeschool community and a business we would run together when he retired from Boeing within the first two years.
Within the first year our son, Brock, became our store manager. We discovered the lifestyle as retail business owners did not give us the flexibility we needed as home schoolers. With our youngest daughter in her last couple years of high school and three home-schooled grandchildren, we wanted the freedom to attend field trips and other school related activities. Although we were floor-to-ceiling, bursting-at-the-seams with store product, business was not booming, and we were not allowed to modify our lease to get out early. We added classes but limited the store hours in order to focus on our priority of school. After three years our lease was up and we were free to leave the secular commercial environment.
In God’s perfect timing, spring of 2006, we were blessed to move to our current location. What we affectionately call “the quaint two-story building at the front of Garden Grove Friends Church” was God’s provision in answer to our two-year prayer for a Christian environment with more space. He also provided us with wonderful landlords, beautifully spacious grounds, a playground, additional office space, room for our faculty fellowship, room for standardized testing, [did I say wonderful landlords (?)] and so much more.
The Death of a Vision
Faced with the death of a vision, a person must hold on to hope, anticipating and expecting God to work out His revealed will in one’s life, even when it seems impossible. *
Over the past year I have seriously pondered how to discern between God’s ‘closing the door’ and His character building opportunity for us ‘to persevere.’ We have been walking the path or perseverance, praying for wisdom each step of the way. We anticipated a day when the store would be a business that covered its own expenses so Danny could retire. But, as we end five years, the store continues to be a financially draining hobby that can no longer be justified or supported. Coupled with life’s other challenges, the stress has taken its toll on my health. Our little ‘Mom and Pop’ business can not compete with the Internet even if we were open six days a week. While we seek wisdom on how to liquidate the store, Brock is now pursuing other full-time employment opportunities while working his “Brock-Of-All-Trades” handyman service that he began ten years ago.
The Fulfillment of a Vision
Discouragement should not be the end of the story. God is more concerned about what happens in us than what happens to us. He wants us to be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we experience the birth, death, and fulfillment of a vision, we can learn to understand God more deeply and develop more of the character of Christ.*
The school is strong and growing. In fact, it is growing so fast that we will limit enrollment to a few less families than we have this year to give us time to implement some new procedures for better efficiency and effectiveness.
Since we recently limited our store hours to Saturdays, many of you have asked, “Why?” Often I could not muster the words to say that it was a step towards having to close the store. For at least the past two years we anticipated this as an inevitable end, but we are having a hard time accepting this death of a vision. Danny, Brock, and I are overwhelmed with grief and now find ourselves facing the burial process of lots of stuff.
Several weeks ago Brock began the process of moving the many boxes of books and products into the South Room. As he and I moved everything back into the side rooms in preparation to use the room for SAT testing, with humorous exasperation I said that he and Dad could just through it all away if I died before we got everything sorted out. Brock said they would bury it all with me. To that I told him they’d have to buy an entire cemetery to fit it all. He reminded me about cremation. I am thankful for our family’s sense of humor and the good laugh Brock and I shared in spite of the circumstance.
Although I feel 'confined to the grave' at this moment, I am reminded that Jesus' body was left in the tomb for three days, pending His resurrection.
It is a very difficult season but I know the Lord is bringing about this death in order that He might bring forth a resurrection. We will wait on Him, trust in Him, and walk in obedience to His direction. Even though times of waiting are for this moment painful, we must not give in to the temptation to give up on God’s vision for our lives.
I am HOPEful for the future and look forward to focusing energy on the great plans our staff has for the new school year. “2008 is going to be great!” And yes, as my grandson remarked when I told him I read this good news, “Grandma, you probably wrote that.”
Classes will continue to be held upstairs. Art (artist/teacher Susan Lee), Science (Science2U Wilcox/Klingsporn), and Spanish (Sarah Hamilton) classes are already confirmed for 2008-2009. We will joyously utilize the downstairs for Hope Christian Academy offices, records room, library, reading comprehension computer lab, classroom space for ACSI event practices, club meetings, and staff meetings.
We are grateful to God for our wonderful HOPE families. Please know our heartfelt appreciation for your continued prayers on our behalf during this transition time and as we seek God for wisdom as administrators at Hope Christian Academy.
After the painfully healing process of not only coming to terms with this death, but also putting it down in writing, Danny and I decided to sleep on these thoughts before including this article in the newsletter.
The next morning I woke up with a few questions on my mind. When asked about curriculum, where will I refer prospective members to peruse school books while waiting for the annual CHEA convention and local end of the year used curriculum sales? Will the alternative of web stores be too overwhelming for those who don’t know where to begin and prefer to touch and look through materials? Would it be possible to bless our members and other homeschoolers if we down-size to an itsy-bitsy-mini-store? What if we ask our members what books they would like to see available, and then carry those items? But then, would they even buy from us? Would God provide a way for us to sell new books at a discount? What if we turned the current Hope library space into a mini-store well packed with a spattering of the most popular new items, the best condition/popular consignment items and offer our full line for catalog sales? What if we were open during the times of classes on Thursdays and Fridays? What if a few homeschooling moms with the time, talent, and interest to minister to homeschoolers by overseeing the mini-store operations came alongside to help?
Is this a distraction from the suffering of a death or potentially a fulfillment of the vision?
We invite you, our members and readers, to share with us your insight and answers to the above questions. We value your friendships, loyalty to the home education community and will be so grateful to receive your input. As we continue to wait upon the Lord, we will spend the next several weeks minimizing our inventory with the idea to create a mini store with catalog sales.
With over 200 boxes of used books still in need of being brought downstairs, priced and shelved, it is a daunting undertaking. As we prepare for the end of the year activities, we are planning to move forward in HOPES of all the changes and improvements to be accomplished by the end of the summer.
May you be encouraged as I am with this goal: “That I may know him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death…” - Philippians 3:10
*IBLP Basic Seminar Textbook