I saw the expression on my youngest son's face as the last of his older siblings packed to leave for college. Saying "goodbye" to his sister was going to be very difficult. As the remaining two children left at home in our homeschooling family, they had shared so much together, but our family was transitioning once again. My son was starting to realize that with all his classmates gone, he would have to homeschool alone.
Being the last child to leave a homeschool family is probably more difficult than being the first. Although the benefits of receiving one-on-one instruction, more curriculum, and additional extracurricular options seem desirable, the last child also assumes the negative aspects of homeschooling alone — all the chores, the experienced, watchful eye of parents, and the lack of the "family fan club" at games and activities in which they are involved. Separation from homeschool siblings can add to a sense of isolation and loneliness, or it can propel the youngest child to grow in his walk with the Lord.
David was the youngest brother in his family. He, too, probably watched as each of his three older brothers left to fight in the war against the Philistines. He probably felt the family transitioning pains and bore more responsibility as he cared for his father's flocks of sheep. Fortunately, the years of being schooled by God alone, where he faced the dangers of lions, bears, and a cursing giant (1 Samuel 17), prepared him adequately to become king.
Whom do you run to when life gets tough and you need help? Although spouses, parents, and extended family are great resources to find encouragement and strength, the first place we should turn is into the arms of our loving God. With His perspective, strength, and guidance, we can face whatever comes into our life and accomplish His perfect will. After all, life changes in a blink, and sometimes the family we love and depend on will not be there. Go to prayer in God's school and let Him teach you lessons on following Him and being His disciple. "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:37-38).
Jesus, I know I've been depending too much on my family for the help and answers I should be seeking from You. Today, I come to You in prayer to seek Your perfect will for the decisions I need to make. Help me to follow You alone. In Your name, Amen.