God always, ALWAYS, is with us. He provided me an opportunity to go on a private retreat the first weekend of August. At this point, only Benjamin was accepted into school. The others were on the waitlist in positions ranging from 10-27, which didn’t look too hopeful. I struggled with grabbing back the familiar and the control. It’s my default move to just take it all back and not trust in the bigger plan. But, God patiently and lovingly spoke to me: to my heart in adoration and through the books I read. I called Patrick and was so confident in God’s will for us that I was able to speak my need clearly and succinctly. We had to enroll the kids in school and UME was the right school for us. If they didn’t get in at first, then Patrick agreed to oversee the daily checklist and grading the Math and I would oversee the school during the day. Our intermediate plan was to homeschool until they were accepted. The next week a friend alerted me that the kids may not be listed as Benjamin’s siblings, which would affect the waitlist status. Sure enough, when I called the school we discovered that a change in the computer system had left them detached from Benjamin. When this error was corrected all the kids were moved up to positions ranging from 1 to 10. It was a little sliver of hope and encouragement.
Benjamin started school on August 17. I took all six kids with me to the Open House, so that in the event they were admitted they would be familiar with the school and some of the teachers. Patrick was supposed to go with us, but his dentist appointment ran long and he could no longer meet up with us. This event alone would have put me into a full panic attack just a mere 6 months ago. But, God equips us to do His will. There was no anxiety within me. We saw a few families that we knew, but mostly it felt as if we just floated from room to room in a bubble, met the teachers we needed to meet and I left feeling excited and at peace about the new possibilities. This is God’s grace in action.
By Friday, Daniel, Samuel and Sophia were enrolled. One week later Joshua began his first day of 7th grade. It only took 10 days for five of the six kids to be fully enrolled! While I was on retreat, it looked like it could be the next semester or not at all; but, God was just giving me the opportunity to put my trust in Him. He is such a loving, gentle and patient teacher.
So, we happily pack our lunches and backpacks, the kids cheerily skip off to school each morning and I sit drinking my coffee and lay by the pool soaking in the quiet. Not a all. The early mornings are a definite struggle. Patrick oversees breakfast, getting the kids awake and dressed, and takes them to Shelly’s. (We carpool with a friend, but our car is the only one big enough to carry everyone, so it’s quite the system of exchanging vehicles in order to get the kids from point A to point B; but, it is also quite a blessing). I haven’t slept well since school started, so my rising and my movement is very slow and limited. I manage to get a few tasks accomplished and then I go to pick the kids up. It is a 25 minute drive one direction. We arrive home and dig into homework, which leads directly into dinner preparation and clean up, family reading time, prayers and bedtime. This six-hour period of constant activity leaves me feeling like a wrung out washrag. At the same time, Patrick is finishing a fourteen-hour work day and isn’t in much better shape. After a week, the kids excitement and fascination with going to school has worn off and it takes a little more effort to get everyone motivated and moving. Homeschooling was actually much easier and more efficient. I won’t lie, I’ve already thought about throwing in the towel.
I was actually contemplating if we had made a huge mistake by putting them in school when I saw a video that my doctor posted on Facebook. He spoke about walking through the fire. He said things like “we always have something to learn” and “maybe it’s not about us, but about what other people see in our journey.” BAM! God lead us to this path. We are here at this moment, in this place for a reason. It is hard, brutally difficult and challenging. It is especially a struggle because I know that the hardships we are facing to make this school thing happen can be relieved by just going back to homeschooling. But, I can not–must not–look back. No, comparison and “what ifs” are the handy work of the enemy. God is calling us to go forward, to trust in Him completely. He has a plan for us and the lesson in it is not only for me. God wants to use our family and our story to show His goodness. I will not stand in His way.
I beg your prayers for us during this time of transition. We really are feeling the physical effects of this effort. Pray for strength for us, for perseverance for all, and for all to learn the lesson that God is teaching us through the experience. Thank you for journeying with me.
UPDATE: In the midst of this transition, we have a new granddaughter! Savannah Grace made her appearance at 5 am this morning. And this Saturday we will gain a son when our daughter, Lauren celebrates the Sacrament of Matrimony with Matthew Perrier. Such blessings in our lives!! All Praise and Glory to God be given.