Since a child, my life has been marked by fear. I have believed the lie that if I can plan for the worst case, then I will be fine because then I can plan a way out, all the while, praying to God for a “peace, be still” moment. The humorous part is that even though my planning has never proven useful, I still find myself bending towards these lies when I sense anxiety in my spirit.
Over the past year, I have had a hand full of experiences that have not only worked out “okay”, but been far greater than I could have ever planned for them to resolve.
I remember our fears sending our firstborn into his first year of public schooling. We considered every possible direction to take his education, from private schooling, homeschooling, to public schooling. We had different professionals observe him in a preschool setting to gauge what would be best for him. We were told that public schooling would be a wonderful option, that homeschooling would be appropriate, or that private schooling would be a direction to consider. It left us more confused, but also thankful that our son wasn’t tied to a “special” type of schooling. (The term special has come to annoy me these days, but I won’t get started on that). A woman named Julie explained to us how her school would work with our son and what his first year of education would look like. I told her “i’ll think about it”, convinced I would home school him. I’ve always had a desire to home school my children, so this felt like the perfect opportunity to go with it. It was a sign, right?! (ha!)
Long story short, we ended up sending him on the first day of Kindergarten to a public school, out of district, 20 minutes across town. I grumbled a bit at the drive, cried a bit at the reality of watching my son walk into school, and gulped down my coffee trying to subdue the anxiety I felt in my belly. I longed for the bell to ring so that I could have my boy back in my arms. For weeks on end, I dreaded the school drop off each morning.
However, as the year went on, I got to know his aide – I got to know his teacher – I got to know his buddies – I got to know the office staff all quite well. They knew to expect me each Friday for lunch, my second child made good friends with the school social worker, and I was frequently greeted by other students as “Hey, that’s Noah’s mom”. It felt comfy, safe, okay?! Was I really willing to admit that this may have been a great option? An option that I believe we fell into. I say fell into because my husband and I went back and forth, back and forth trying to decide the best thing for our boy until the last minute when we had to either enroll at the school or apply to home school. We both went into the school year with our fingers crossed… Which is silly, considering we both have faith in an ever present God. Still, we struggled.
As we finished out the school year, I cried. I bawled, a little. A lot. I’m still making sense of our year. How on earth did we receive an aide who loves my boy as much as his nana? A second nana, at school?! Unheard of. How were we given a teacher who taught my son yoga each morning? An aide and teacher who would sit with him while he was frustrated? People who believe in him, no qualifiers. Classmates who sat beside him to learn how to use his speech device. A social worker who took to my second child immediately. The kids in the hallway, addressing me as “Noah’s mom”. These may feel small, and they are, in and of themselves – but cumulatively, these are the things that drew me in, gave me comfort, and solidified to me of God’s hand in our lives.
Sure, it’s Kindergarten. All parents are nervous about this (I think). It’s easy to take a seemingly typical experience and turn it into a hyperbolic experience. But, it’s beyond that. Kindergarten has nothing to do with it, because quite frankly, does education really matter? In our temporal world, sure, but eternally, Kindergarten is not of any use or important. My son has nothing to do with it, the comfort has nothing to do with it. Those variables are important, but the heart of this entire story is that it all comes down to God using this seemingly normal experience to bend my heart to Him. To rely on his provision, His guidance, His plan. And part of the beauty is that God cares enough about us to pay heed to seemingly small situations.
Our year, our experience is an example of God showing off.