New International Version (NIV)
Have you ever noticed the minute you think things are "calm" or you get an unexpected break in your normal busy routine, all sorts of other things you'd been neglecting, whether physical or spiritual pop up to the surface? It's been like that around here lately. Calm-ER with homeschool out for the summer, but lots of other things the Lord has us pondering. Foremost:
1. Do we continue to homeschool for another year or send the kids to our local public elementary school? This is such a huge decision for any parents; how to best educate your children? And I know many parents would never consider not homeschooling, and certainly not public school as an alternative. I myself have never set foot in a public school classroom, and Gabe only through 3rd grade. So we are not considering this lightly. The Lord has spoken a few things to us while praying through this that we'd like to share, and we covet your prayers that we will see His will clearly and obey!
One thing He's encouraged us to remember is that they are His children first, entrusted to us to raise. And they are blessings to us, not burdens!
New King James Version (NKJV)
So are the children of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them
(I think our quiver is full with 3!)
His plan for them is bigger than whatever plans we might make. We may want to "protect" them through homeschooling, but He may have plans for them to shine His light in the public school. He may have teachers there who can encourage our kids in ways we can't. He may want to use our family in the community by getting us involved in what is the center of this little town. Or He may simply want us to submit the decision to Him, to confirm that we really are called by Him to homeschooling, not just deciding on our own.
I have to admit, it was a tremendous amount of work for us this year, and challenging to our relationships with the kids, since "school" had always been separate from "parents" for them before. If we do it again, we need to be more led by the Spirit and less in our own strength. And if we send them to public school, there will be spiritual battles waged there daily that we need to cover in prayer. There will also undoubtedly be educational gaps and difficulties with other kids to overcome.
Another thing we are praying about that is related: what ministry does He have specifically for me? I have an idea on this one, but will save that until it's more out of its infancy :-) It would use my professional skills as well as my ministry gifts well, I think. I have no idea where to begin and it would take a lot more time...so again, is my time needed and best used by homeschooling or does God have something else for me and the kids this year? I don't think I could do both, but He may have that for me too!
Then we add to that: should we purchase a second car? We've gotten along fine with one this year, but the backseat is a bit tight for three kids, two in car seats, and it prevents us from being able to drive anyone else to play dates, VBS, etc. And I may need another vehicle for ministry separate from what Gabe is doing. So we're looking at used minivans, but the "right" one hasn't come along yet, if we need one at all.
Just the regular stuff of life, decisions like everyone else has to make...yet since we took this leap of faith, it seems there are no small decisions anymore. We both feel the need to pray everything through now and know that we are Spirit-led before making a decision. It's a crazy way to live, but it's the only way that has brought us peace.