i took emma to canada’s wonderland the last tuesday before school started…
it was her first time ever to an amusement park – well, that she remembers. she went when she was a baby. and for the last 3 years that we’ve lived here we’d pass this amusement park on the highway to and from toronto and she would sit with nose smashed to the window saying every time how she hoped someday she could go!
it was priceless pulling in that day. her not having a clue we were going and telling her THIS was our destination, not ikea like i had said! though i had planned to still get there before they closed for a return, but what was i thinking!! we were having way too much fun to leave. we stayed until they closed and then until they kicked us out of the gift shop – i think we were literally one of three cars left in the parking lot! made for getting out way easier!
the most perfect part of the day was how often emma would throw her arms around my waist hard and thank me again and again, and, “oh, mom!! this is a dream come true!”
whenever i get to feeling that my kids are deprived or lacking or wishing we could afford more often what others do on a regular basis i see in moments like this there’s something to be said for not getting all you want, all the time!
you lose the wonder. the gratefulness.
entitlement and boredom set in where once childish “dreams” lived.
but as excited as i was to see her excitement. that smile that never left the entire day. i admit, the whole way down, and on every ride we stood in line for i had the thought, “what if it breaks? what if my baby’s on it and this is the one time in a millionth it malfunctions and 30 years of steel give way?”
so ya know what i did? i climbed on every one of those ding dang rides with her.
even the spinny ones that make you want to puke your brains out.
i think i’m still not walking in a straight line!
we do that though, don’t we? as moms. from the time we first know they’re inside us..
we wonder the “what if’s?” play out the maybe’s.
we rub our bellies and wait for those kicks.
hold our breath until we hear their first cry.
stand over their bed making sure they’re still breathing.
we can’t wait until they can roll over and not have their face all buried in the bed. but then they roll over and next on our minds.. “what if they get caught in the spindles?” if only they could stand then we’d worry less! but the minute we walk into their room and see them standing what do we think? “what if they flip out of their bed?” and when they do and survive, now it’s, “what if they get out of their bed open the door crawl down the hall climb up on the toilet onto the sink into the medicine cabinet and open the child proof bottle of tums!!! and, oh my word!! can tums kill you??”
so we rush right away to google it and find a whole beaucoup of other things that we never thought to worry about and now, we’re worrying about!
and so it goes.
this mothering thing.
and i don’t even consider myself someone who worries.
only all those things can pass through my mind in a matter of less than 3 minutes!!
it’s part of being a mom. wanting to protect these ones so much a part of us!!
men will never get it. it’s just different for them.
we carried these kiddos IN us! tucked right up there under our hearts!
i don’t think we ever lose that sense of connection..
that intensity of feeling for them. with them.
even knowing at times what it is they’re feeling before they even tell you!
moms just know.
i always wondered how mine did.
how she just knew. and still does.
well now i do!
but it seems the very thing that makes the mother child relationship one of the most special and unique and beautiful things can also become the ruin of it as well. if we hold on too tight! over protect. want to ride every ride and smother and make sure they’re wearing they’re helmet and life jacket and complete roll of bubble wrap just.in.case.
it’s certainly our job to protect. to make sure they are safe. that where they go is safe. and who they are with is safe. but as my kids get older this is what i’m learning – i instruct. i teach. i try to guide and gently correct. but i can’t always go! i won’t always be by their side… and hopefully, when i’m not there the instructions and teachings kick in, and they follow what they’ve been told.
but. sometimes they don’t!
it was one of my biggest fears with public school.
i don’t care what anyone says – public school is rough! especially high school.
it’s a place where the majority of kids are probably living totally opposite from how you’ve tried to train yours. there are condoms sold in the bathroom. drugs sold anywhere you like. the f-bomb dropped every other word. and God obsolete in conversation unless making fun of those who believe in Him.
it’s exactly all the things i had heard about it growing up, being homeschooled.
it’s one of the reasons we chose to homeschool our own kids.
it’s why i teetered back and forth the entire summer over homeschooling them again..
last school year was tough on one child in particular here.
i saw them veering from their relationship with Christ…there were things we went through and talked through that i thought i’d never have to deal with one of my children about. we went to therapy together. at first that reality embarrassed me. i didn’t want others to know. we were a family of therapy. it sounded so messed up to say. like we were such failures.
i blamed public school. i blamed friends. i blamed music and culture and society. even the church!
and what’s our instinct as moms when we think our kids are being threatened. jeopardized. falling away?
clear the path… push back the tidal wave and grab our babies and run! keep them safe. protected.
there was some of that.
rules and boundaries and tough love parenting.
but mainly there was grace and humbling. realizing our responsibility.
crying out to God individually and together. and learning and growing.
and… being okay if others knew we were in therapy!
accepting this as the storyline God was writing. and using.
holding on to the promise that He wastes nothing!
and over the summer there was such a transformation. a coming back!
with so much in our family.. not just this child. but yes! praise God, this child!!
but as the school year approached i feared that what had been done in their tender heart would be undone.
ah, those are the moments with your nearly grown ones where you feel like you’re standing over their crib all over again just waiting to see their chest rise and fall. are they breathing? are they okay? will they make it?
but this was thing that God was and is opening my eyes to big time~
parenting isn’t about trying to raise kids who never make mistakes.
who are never exposed to anything that might bring them some kind of hurt or harm.
we live in a fallen world. it’s inevitable they will not always make the right choices.
we can teach and instruct and guide but we cannot change hearts!
sometimes in trying to make sure we get it all right, we forget the number one thing of all we should be doing – consistently running ourselves to the Redeemer and Maker of all things new, and reminding our kids to do the same!
and if that isn’t happening it doesn’t matter where my kids go to school.
home. public. or out under a rock!
they will not know the joy of the Lord and the power of His salvation.
throughout the summer the more i cut everything away i began to see more clearly my reason for wanting to bring the kids home again for school – it was wanting some kind of “guarantee” that they were going to turn out how i thought they should. searching for how to make that happen.
my motive were rooted in fear!
and i’m not saying that’s why others homeschool. not at all.
i love homeschooling and think it’s great. if it’s what God has called you to.
it was for us for years. and then God changed our hearts and is leading in a new direction…
it’s okay if others aren’t going in the same direction.
that’s where faith comes into play – that regardless of what others are doing or saying, or how we were raised we will listen to God’s voice for ourselves and seek to follow what He directs for our lives and what is best for our family.
and when others say, “well God hasn’t led me that way!” amen!! it’s how it should be.
God is diverse and seems to like to shake things up that way..sending us all down different paths.
i have a feeling it has something to do with causing us to be able to expand and reach out and better be His channels.
and also what keeps us so desperately needing Him.
which is all it’s ever about. all of this.
when i saw my child struggling i looked for where to put the blame. where to find the answers.
i thought it was because we had put them in school.
that if we had kept them home none of that would have happened.
but i’ve seen God use public school in my children’s lives like nothing could have.
i also saw how God used homeschool in my children’s lives like nothing could have!
that’s the thing – He is not limited. and He is not restricted.
He uses it all.
not because of us. but often in spite of us!
homeschooling isn’t the answer. just as public school isn’t the answer.
neither one is any different than any other thing we can look to for relief or rescue or outcome.
the answer is Jesus.
always has been. always will be.
because He is the only one that can transform a heart and put within someone a desire to live their life for Him!
no set of rules or standards or curriculum or well meaning parent or all the therapy in the world can do that~
…the very last ride we rode on that day at wonderland was a roller coaster called thunder run. a fast jolting ride that spiraled through a mountain in the pitch black. we stood in line waiting. inching our way forward slowly. the whole way emma going back and forth on whether or not she wanted to ride. “do you know how fast it goes?” “what if i get on it and it scares me?” “what if i don’t like it?” she nervously watched one car after the other load and take off. people screaming! she clasp her hands together tight and held them under her chin looking up at me, her voice lowering to a whisper, “what… what if i change my mind and want off?”
“well,” i said bending down near her. “just get in. hold on. and keep your eyes shut really, really tight the entire time….”
ben who was standing behind us leaned down to join the huddle and said rather nonchalantly, but in a tone that held some conviction, “or. you could just remember, The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want.. and trust Him!”
i looked up at him and batted my eyes a few times in surprise. then smiled.
“yeah. or …you could just do that!”
because the Lord is my Shepherd i shall not want -
for direction. for guidance. for wisdom. for grace. for how to raise my kids.
He leads and guides and parents us all.
so on this ride of public school.
it’s no different than anything else.
i’m learning to hold on to HIM!
(¸.·´ (¸.·´ (¸.·¨¯`♥ amber