This will be, I'm afraid, a rather long and rambling post. Unfortunately, I don't know of any other way to tell the story. Sorry. :-p
I have been fascinated with homeschooling for a very long time now. I was in college when I first had the strange, random thought that homeschooling any children I might have one day was something I wanted to consider. God had to have been the One Who put that thought in my head, because homeschooling was not even on my personal radar at the time (I was in school studying education so that I could become a public school teacher!).
When Nelson and I were first married, we spent a lot of time with a small Reform Presbyterian church in Bristol. We didn't attend there on Sunday mornings, but we went on Sunday evenings and to many of their social events. Every single family in this church homeschooled. It was a matter they felt very strongly about, and it was here where I first began to hear the biblical arguments for teaching and training one's own.
The pastor's wife gave me a homeschooling curriculum catalog from the Elijah Company. It wasn't a huge catalog, but it was absolutely chock-full of information. It contained not only summaries and reviews of various curricula the company offered but also articles on various homeschooling philosophies and methodologies. I went through that catalog from cover to cover, many times. I made notes. The pages became worn and marked up, but I still have this catalog. It is such a wealth of information. (Later on, because of the high demand for their catalog, the Elijah Company actually started charging a $5 fee to receive it. You could then get a $5 rebate on your first order. But the catalog was that good--people were willing to pay just for the privilege of getting it!)
The Elijah Company no longer sells homeschooling curricula and no longer publishes this amazing catalog. However, in 2004, they compiled some of their best articles and essays from their catalogs into a book called I Saw the Angel in the Marble. Recently, I read this book, and I enjoyed just as much as my tattered old catalog.
One of the essays covered why they chose the name Elijah Company for their business. It is a reference to Luke 1:17, which says, "And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Chis Davis, the father of this homeschooling family, had left his job as a pastor to come home and raise his sons. His heart had been "turned toward [his] children", and he saw training them to be wise, godly men as his most important vocation. The main philosophy of this family was that homeschooling isn't so much about schooling as it is about home and family. He encouraged readers to pray for this spirit of Elijah to fall in their own homes and for the hearts of fathers to be turned toward children all over the nation.
I was intrigued by this idea; who wouldn't want the spirit and power of Elijah? Who wouldn't want fathers' hearts turned toward their children and disobedient hearts turned toward righteousness? Still, I honestly had no clue what it might look like in our own family. Although we were already embarking on our homeschooling adventure as I am teaching Sarah to read, and I have had two different home-based careers, I couldn't imagine how God might bring Nelson home. Although work-at-home careers geared toward women seem to abound (hence, the term WAHM, as a variant of SAHM--work-at-home mom vs. stay-at-home mom), it seems much more rare to see men or fathers working at or from home. Men "go" to their jobs. That's how it works.
When Nelson first lost his job, I thought perhaps God was calling him toward entrepreneurship, and perhaps that will be true someday. But as the months wore on, as he continued to fill out applications and send out resumes and not so much as hint of interest came back, both of us began to grow depressed and discouraged. By the end of August we had reached a breaking point. Neither of us could encourage or lift up the other, because we were both in the same dark pit. The last weekend of August I started praying fervently for some sort of miraculous breakthrough. I prayed that the next week, something would give.
I have heard it said that God is never late, but He usually isn't early either. This was certainly true in our case. He let us hit that rock-bottom point, but on Monday, August 31, He answered those desperate weekend pleas. Just as I had prayed, Nelson got a call for an interview to take place the following day.
It would be a phone interview. The company calling was in Idaho. The position would be a telecommuting one--working from home.
Because of Nelson's previous unemployments, I have a vast collection of job search sites (seriously, if you need a job in the Tri-Cities area or in IT, you should talk to me--I will gladly share my bookmarks). One of those sites, one I had truthfully never paid much to, was called Programming from Home. I honestly do not remember where I found this link; it had just been hanging out in my bookmarks folder for years. But this particular unemployment, it suddenly became the most useful link I had. The temporary job Nelson did for a month back in May/June was found using this site. Now Nelson had a job interview lined up because of an application he had filled out there as well.
Nelson started working (from home) September 7. I am still processing a lot of the aspects and ramifications of it, but it truly seems this is something God has been orchestrating for a long time. A bunch of seemingly unrelated things, over a great many years, adding up and entwining together in ways that only God could do. It really is amazing. I think perhaps the spirit of Elijah is falling in my family. I praise God for it--and for His faithfulness and provision. :)