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!”