Today was hard.
I had to have really hard conversations with the big girls. I’d been feeling it coming on for weeks and we’ve had various versions of the conversation over the past year but today was a conversation unlike any other we’ve had. More direct. More fragile.
I guess I should back up. When we first moved from the Dominican Republic to Las Vegas my heart was shattered. I felt as if I had lost a part of my identity. I wasn’t healed or even close to being healed from the trauma we experienced during the last year we lived on the mission field overseas. When we had first made the decision to leave the organization we had worked for, I was excited to find a new adventure and mission. I knew life would be different but the thought of not having a “job” wasn’t even on my radar. So when we found out I was pregnant it changed the entire game. We always knew if we expanded our family we would do things differently that we had with the twins and I wouldn’t work until the baby was old enough to go to school. With the imminent move to the states and all the articles I was reading on the education system a new idea began to emerge. Homeschool.
We decided to homeschool for three main reasons.
- We didn’t agree with what was being taught or the way it was being taught in public school.
- We wanted to be the primary teachers of ideas and how the world worked rather than teachers who were invested in their lives short-term.
- Our hearts needed time to heal from previous experiences and being together felt right and we could be shepherded by the true healer of broken hearts.
While it began sort of haphazardly I can honestly say I have thoroughly enjoyed homeschooling and the ups and downs that come with it. What a journey we’ve been on and privilege to learn alongside my girls.
This last season has been different. The “school work” has been relatively laid back in comparison to the struggles our relationship has endured and there has been a strain on our mother-daughter relationship for longer than I care to admit.
This last week has been particularly hard and today I finally broke. I asked the girls to sit on the couch and began sharing my heart with them. I shared how I desired friendship with them and how excited I am as another year passes, to begin designing their school year alongside of them with their interests and desires at the forefront of our planning. Unfortunately they had some big decisions to make. I no longer felt that keeping them home with me was bringing us closer together. I didn’t feel that we were living our lives in love the way Jesus asks us to. I apologized for my own poor and exhausted examples I’d lived out before them and gave them a decision to make. They could choose to go to public school beginning in September or they could choose to continue homeschooling. If they chose the latter there would be some changes for all of us. I asked them to take the day to make their decisions.
I wanted them to think about who they are becoming and who they want to become. Who would Jesus want them to be? What did they need to work on to live a life marked with love and kindness. If relationship with Jesus and each other are our top priority then what needs to change to support that goal? Are they willing to commit alongside of me to seek Jesus and ask for his help in who we become.
The hardest part of today was knowing that I needed to also ask myself these same questions. Who am I becoming? Who does Jesus want me to be? What needs to change so I can be who he calls me to be?
There were many tears today, but even so, I can’t help but be oddly encouraged by today’s talk. There was no “cracking of the whip.” No “corporal punishment.” Instead, we had a chance to come before one another, confess our sins and discuss our character, who God is and who he says we are and decide who we want to become. I sit here tonight with a letter from each of my daughters listing a few areas they each separately believe God would want them to work on. And yes, they came to me and told me they both wanted to continue their homeschooling. I have my letter of areas I desperately need Jesus to work on too. My job now is to gently lead them and myself to the foot of the cross. To model to them what humility before Jesus looks like. To show them when we feel lost and out of control and how to find out way through the one who is the way. My role is to roll with Jesus and follow his lead.
Today was a homeschool win. Today was a parenting win. Today was a discipleship win and I am reminded over and over again, no matter the circumstances that the only way out of the “hard” is with palms up.