Disclaimer: This post is about my being obedient to what God is calling me to do for my children’s education. I do not mean to imply that everyone else should make the same decision that we are with regard to schools. Even if you live near me and are weighing the same options, I do not know what God is calling you to do or what is best for your family. I do not think it is wrong or unwise or selfish for other families to choose public school for their kids if that is where God calls them to be. In fact, I don’t think it would be good for all Christian families to flee from public schools. So as long as you promise not to take it the wrong way, read on . . .
Ever since Christopher hit the terrible twos, I have been looking forward to kindergarten. I imagined I would not be one of those weepy moms on the first day of kindergarten–I would be the one giving high-fives on the way to my minivan, embracing the well-deserved time I would have during the school day. Over a year ago, I learned about an educational option in our area that threatened that dream . . . a classical Christian academy that operates on the university model, which means the students attend school two days a week and do school at home the other three days. When I first heard about it, I thought, “no way–I am NOT a homeschooling mom!” After talking with other moms and hearing more about it, even before we moved here, I reluctantly prayed (just once) that God would change my heart if this was what He wanted us to do.
As the months passed, I was horrified to see that God did change my heart. I’ve always loved the classical education concept but continued to struggle with the two-day-a-week issue. But I started to see the many advantages of having my kids home those additional days–leisurely mornings, bonding time with their siblings, time for family worship, Scripture memory and the other things we want to teach them, etc. God even brought another family into our lives–now they are our close friends–who live in our neighborhood and are planning to send their children there as well (hooray for carpooling!). But in my flesh, I was not willing to commit.
Last Tuesday, after another “snow” (meaning there’s a little bit on the grass and the roads are a little slick) day at home and a frustrating attempt to teach Christopher handwriting, I sat Noel down for a little chat. Actually, it was more like a tirade. I told him that I needed those 5 days to myself. I’m just not cut out for homeschooling. I don’t know if it is a personality difference or if those moms who can do it are just more godly than me, but I’m in the Word and praying every day and just don’t know what else I can do! Basically, I told him that I knew it is what’s best for our kids, but I didn’t know if I could do it.
Then I went to BSF on Wednesday. (You see where this is going, right?) We were studying Matthew 19, talking about marriage, little children, and the rich young ruler. I settled in for a lecture that would make me feel really good about being married for 9 years and being certain I’ll never be divorced. The first words out of the teaching leader’s mouth were, “God will not tolerate selfishness. He will call you to give up yourself . . .” I’m sure there was more to that sentence, but I can’t remember. That was all it took for me to realize that God intended that message for me and for our school decision. Because I have known for months now what God wants me to do. I just didn’t want to give up something that has become an idol in my life: my time alone to do what I want to do. God is calling me to give that up for a season of my life to help educate my kids.
The rest of the lecture consisted of God making sure I hadn’t missed His message. Our teaching leader talked about bringing children to Christ, and how God will probably ask you to give something up in order to bring children to Him. She talked about the rich young ruler who was following all the rules, but in order to truly follow Christ, he had to give up that which was the most important to him. He wasn’t willing to do it, and he went away sad (and most importantly, without a relationship with Christ which leads to eternal life). I saw how much I am like the rich young ruler–I live a moral, religious life, but I want to hold on to certain aspects of my life and my selfish desires. Then after the lecture, I heard two moms of school-age children talking about how there’s just not time in their day for their family to worship or read the Bible together. By the time it was over, I wanted to shout, “Okay, Lord! I get it!”
So I have decided to obey. I have decided to trust God to provide what I need to follow this call and will ask for continued wisdom to make sure it is the right decision. It still hurts a little to sacrifice some things I want and to do something that most of society will find strange, but there is relief, peace and freedom in obedience.
As I continue to contemplate what happened last week, it occurred to me that I cannot think of another instance where I made a conscious decision to obey God in spite of my own selfish desires–just for the sake of obedience, not out of fear of disappointing others or some other consequence. I’m a little scared that for the past 31 years, I’ve been ignoring what He wants me to do and doing whatever I want to do. I’m enough of a rule-follower that my external behavior looks obedient, but I want to make sure I’m being obedient in the gray areas, the tough decisions, the more private heart matters. I encourage you to examine your heart for areas of disobedience. Ask God to show you areas in your life where you are following your own selfish desires . . . but make sure you’re ready, because if you ask Him, He’ll do it!Share
Thought I would comment on your blog since you left a wonderful one on mine. I’m trying to find the balance in being a working full time mom without the guilt of not being at home to raise my son. It’s difficult needing to live on 2 incomes and some days (like today when he’s not feeling well) I just can’t handle it! I’m hoping to get some perspective and encouragement from other Christian mommies like you.
Oh how I wish there were something like that close to us! I want to home school but I also would really REALLY love for the kids to have a day or 2 a week of social interaction and exposure to views consistent with mine but taught from a different person. You’re blessed to have this option!!!!
I enjoy your blog tremendously!
Blessings from nashville,