Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sharing Part 2

It was Monday, May 19, 2008. I had promised to pick up my neighbor’s kid at the school. I was aware of the fact that his teacher for kindergarten was the wife of my ultimate favorite teacher in my own school years. This teacher was a wonderfully joyful Christian and he encouraged me at a time when I felt I could not meet anyone’s expectations. When I got up there, I felt a strange leading that I did not understand. I felt led to meet the teacher and visit her classroom. I stood there thinking to myself “Lord, this makes no sense, I have my whole year outlined all ready Lord, don’t you know?” I had thought a lot about school in the past year as this past year had been my hardest ever in homeschooling. However, every time I thought about it I told myself that was selfish and I really needed to pray harder and try harder.
See, the past year I have been a nut case about 70% of the time. In one way or another. Some just in absolute fatigue making me unproductive, some in emotional distraction from dad’s passing, some in mental overload issues. I have not been joyfully homeschooling. I resolved to myself that it was the method. I may be right. The school we have been in is high standard, and tedious. So, I was inspired by unit studies and still think they are a awesome. That was the road I put myself on. I was even excited about it. I only did the outline though and not the specific plan for day to day. The Lord gave me a burden about this time to focus my kids hearts on his Word. I realized that even in my homeschooling I was not taking the time for the Word. My dad’s death and realizations of eternal significance gave me a passion for my kids to gain perspective early in life. So, how does the plan of public school help that Lord? I asked myself this. He seems to be showing me the answer….but more on that later. The public plan also does not seem to go along with my whole philosophy of education (that being a Charlotte Mason meat hod) so what’s up with that Lord? Again… I was asked to trust.

I’m getting off track here. I went in to meet the teacher. I asked her lots of questions and really liked what she had to say. I left there thinking that this might actually be a possibility for Superkid. That was all I was willing to think. After all, it’s only kindergarten right? I can handle the evils of kindergarten right? That is not so scary God, I can say okay to that. Okay, were good. (he had more to do….i gave him plenty of work!:)
While I was there, I went in and spoke to my old teacher. He reminded me that one you have to pray, and two that nothing is concrete. You can try things and if they don’t work, you always have other options. That is a freeing thought. That you can go forward and trust God to show you if you need to change direction. Why are we so formula crazy!? Why do we crave solutions with guarantee outcomes? Perhaps the alternative is trusting God…..imagine that.
I went home thinking… “Okay Lord, but I know Rick is very against public school…that may be the end of that Lord!” Imagine my surprise when I began telling him all that had gone on and he said something in the affirmative that God seemed to be moving us in a different direction. We talked a lot about getting honest about our motivations.
I began to realize that I had two major fears. One was the fear of the opinion of the church, the other was my fear of the kids at the school (fear of exposing my kids). They were big fears. The Lord had to work me through them. I don’t feel them anymore but as this possibility came up, they were there, and they were huge. I started to realize that they were my major motivations for homeschooling right now anyway. There was one more big problem in my heart too. One VERY big idol- ME.

I was trying to fit in what I had defined as a godly woman mold. I am trying not to be too hard on myself for doing this (there is therefor now, no condemnation for those in Christ!), God is good to show me really. What is hard for me to realize is that I did not see myself doing this for so long. God did though. It made sense to me, to push as hard as a could to become this woman I had defined as "godly". A godly wife and mother would sacrifice her time to be home teaching her kids. That’s what godly mom’s do. What he started to show me was that what I was thinking was wisdom was actually fear, and that what I thought was self-sacrifice was actually incredible selfishness to drag everyone with me as I tried to cram into this mold not matter what. Somewhere in the last year, my motivations became sinful in homeschooling. It was so slight, I did not even see. This is where God is intimate with each of his children. It is he godly plan for many mom's to homeschool! It is his joyful, purpose and path for them. It was for me for the time he ordained it to be, and now He is moving me. This attitude of mine was my stubborn resistance to his changing will. I write it not to redefine godly motherhood, but to share how my heart had been distracted by the goal of the glory of me, not the glory of God. Intimately God deals with each one of us .....ladies, this makes him more powerful! He knows the in's and out's of each of us! HE judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. In His great love, he wants to weed out whenever we take Him off His throne and put something, even ourselves or an image, there. THAT is what I had done. That does not mean that is what each homeschool mom has done. You must understand that today. You must, it is crucial. Yes, it is a good thing to check your motivations in what you do, either way. You need to find one thing in the end, the goal being purely the Glory of God, and the Joy of the path of obedience. That joy will overwhelm you with His goodness and sovereign work. It will be your free fall into faith, and into the hands of the Heavenly Father. It will be your pathway to a closer walk with Him. It will look like only one thing.... the will He has for you. Anything else is a replacement and praise Him, HE IS A JEALOUS GOD!!!!!
More on this later as well.
Two days later, my husband and I had talked and decided we would look into public school for Lilo tool (the Lord had my hand like a mother has the hand of a toddler clinching what he/she does not want to give up... prying my fingers ever so slowly). We went up to meet all three second grade teachers. I knew the kindergarten one was a strong christian, and the third grade teacher is my old favorite (her husband) but I wanted to see who was teaching second. Rick and I decided that the only way to discover God’s will was to pray and move forward every slowly. We heard a lot of good things. Things that were great but not worthy of making a decision on. Things like the fact that the school principle is a christian and use to be a pastor, the teachers telling us that the majority of the teachers are Christians, all that sort of thing. Rick and I knew enough to know this meant nothing really. It’s not like you can ask “Yes, but how is their walk with the Lord?”. I was however, impressed at the freedom to speak about even being a Christian, and in the fact that having a bunch of leaders with even a slight judeo- chrisian (sp?) world view was not as hard as battling leaders with a strong liberal agenda. But, see, that didn’t matter…. If this was God’s doing it made no difference at all. It was just a nice bonus but not a foundation for security in the decision process.
We liked the second grade teachers. One was a little interesting as we asked our Christan questions (what kind of family issues do you discuss? What do second graders talk about? That sort of thing), she kept reminding us that this was a public school and therefore a melting pot of ideals. I was not threatened by this but wondered why she kept reminding me. My old teacher told us later that she is the leader of the union at the school and it all made sense.
Our plan from there was that the two younger ones may be supposed to go, but not Princess. Princess was to vulnerable. You can have these two God… not her. That thought was scary above all. Fifth grade and second grade are two different planets God, don't you see that! I was still dealing with fear on that one. We began to look into a Christian academy for homeschoolers for her. We went and visited and really liked what we saw. It seemed like the plan was falling into place.
I was still in shock at this point, joyful shock, but shock. We were in town one afternoon as Rick and the kids had to go into the locksmith for something. I decided to sit in the car. I took the time to pray and pull out my little bible I carry with me. I read psalm 139 which has been a great comfort to me, especially this verse:
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

I cried out to God. I wanted to be moved by His Spirit and not my own thinking. I wanted to be brave enough to do something that many I knew would think was wrong if God wanted me to do it. I reached out for the hand of my almighty God, and found it. He spoke to my heart and said to read 1 Cor.12:19. I had no idea why this reference came to mind, I had no idea what the verse was. Here it is:
“How strange a body would be if it had only one part!”

Wow, God.
More later.......

8 comments:

Kristen Borland said...

My prayer is, if you make this decision, that you will not be met with criticism from the Christian community. Like my mother-in-law always reminds us, "This is between you, your spouse, and God. Nobody else." They had 7 kids while facing so much criticism from Christian friends, and even after having a still born Christians would say, "See? It's a sign! Stop having kids!" And they had two more after that. We were faced with criticism from Christians when we had two kids 13 months apart--especially when they learned it was NOT an "Opps!"--and then when we wanted to adopt a special needs child. It always amazed me that you could tell a fellow believer that God was leading you to something and they would still second guess it. I'm sounding awfully harsh on Christians, and certainly I've been guilty myself of second guessing people, but really this is between you, Rick, and God. Period. I pray people will see that and not criticize you. Honestly, I don't see that they would. I think people get so wrapped up in homeschooling being the only way, and that really surprises me. One thing to think about, all those non-Christian kids in public school need some Christian friends in their life. And God may be asking your kids to be those friends.

tricia said...

Alicia,

Thank you for sharing this with me. I have been looking at my own motivation for homeschooling. I have prayed and continue to pray to see what God wants me to do next year. Fear is never a good reason to do anything. Trust God. "In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Psalm 56:11

I think you are on the right track. Seeking God's will and wisdom. There is no formula. God has made each of different and has give each of us different gifts. God searches each of our hearts and uses different things to grow us in our faith and grow us closer to HIM. Wow! What an awesome God we serve!

Zimms Zoo said...

My husband has been reading this with me and wanted me to tell you something that might make some people change their minds too if they do decide to criticize you.
My mil helped start the homeschooling movement here and OCHEC which helps homeschoolers all over the state. Therefore it was pretty much required that she homeschool. But things were tough for her because my fil is a FBI agent and was gone all the time, often they didn't know where or what about. She finally hit rock bottom and put the 2 oldest (husband and bil) in public schools. She was almost hated by people who were suppose to be her friends and love others like Christ does. But my husband did fine and recieved a scholarship to an art institute.
Now she still had 2 girls at home that she homeschooled all the way through. But the youngest one is a mess right now.
There are no guarantees that your child will turn out perfect just because you sacrifice everything to give them that perfect godly lifestyle. Only God knows! I think they learn far more by watching our examples, good or bad, than they do from anyone else, schools, friends, etc. All we can do is pray and point them to God's Word when there are problems.
I pray this works for you and I can completely understand the burn-out thing. I always say we take one year at a time and see where God leads.

Joan said...

Hi Alicia - This is just curiosity, and I thought since our email doesn't seem to be working with yours, that I would ask it here. Do you have a school in your town, or would they be going to the next big town? I'm enjoying reading about your journey! Joan

Alicia said...

Kristen,
thanks for sharing. your words make me think of this command from Christ "above all put on love" and all that follows that. i liked that you said you have made your own second guessing mistakes. we all have. if anything, these humbling times bring us to a place where we would not dare to hinder the work of God in peoples lives because of our human opinions. thanks for your thoughts.

Tricia,
i'm blessed that this has made you think... remember that God is good to work whatever his plan is for you, and in that, have great joy!
I'm not out to start any movement (not that you think I am:) except the movement already started by the Lord, the movement to live the justified life in Christ by obeying his leading for each of us.

Christy,
Thank you so much for sharing. I know we always seem to want an a+b=c with our kids. There is only one way this works: if a= God's soverignity and b= our obedience with the answer always the same.... His glory!
I have been touched by the love in your heart on this discussion. Thank you husband for wanting to encourage me... you are a precious couple.

Joan,
Yes! The school is like a mile away! We can easily walk in good weather there and back. It's the only school in town. Very small town feel. Half the kids speak spanish so Rick and I were tongue and cheek joking that our kids would not understand half of what anyone was saying anyway! Totally joking.
High School is another matter..... but I am taking one year at a time.

tricia said...

Alicia,

Don't worry I know you are not trying to start a movement. I typed this long comment and then deleted it would be better as a post on my blog.

Tami Rutledge said...

If your goal in your decision making is number one to please God then it should lead to unity. There is no reason pleasing God should lead to disunity in the church. Disunity should come over sin. But what delight there is when someone encourages and supports one another to love and good deeds! Loving God is the key. Thank you Alicia for sharing.
Tami

Anonymous said...

Hi Alicia,
Wow, this is huge. I'm so proud of you for obeying God. You shouldn't worry about others; you are serving the one who matters. It is so encouraging to read how God has led you and Rick step by step thru this process.

Like we talked about in Bible study tonight; putting our paths in line with God's leads to true and lasting joy.

I will be praying for you guys. Take care.

It was fun to visit with you tonight.
Love,
Charlotte