Thursday, August 21, 2014

how one ends up doing all the things they swore they'd never do.

You know, trusting and following God drives me crazy, if I'm honest.

It messes up "my" life.

So often I buy into this illusion that I have control. I make plans, great plans, and they all just sort of crumble every. single. time.

Right now I find myself in a position that I never would have chosen if it were all up to me; and yet somehow, I have this intense peace that it is God's perfect plan.

Three things I swore I'd never do:

1. Have less than three kids.
2. Work(as in -employment-) in ministry.
3. Homeschool.

Two kids? THAT'S IT? I wanted like 4-5. 3 minimum. When we didn't feel led to have more of our own (which was a battle to reconcile in itself, and still is, to be honest), we thoughtfully and prayerfully signed up for foster care. In one of the more bizarre turns of events in my life, God clearly, clearly wanted us to stop the process after we finished licensing. I can't even try to explain it- all I can say is, out of nowhere, after 3 years of wanting to do it and 6 months of a licensing process, we both totally and completely knew we weren't supposed to, like the flip of a switch- and that is not like us at all. I have been confused about that since it happened... until now.

Work? Yes, I want to work. In fact, if it were all up to me, I'd be registering for my Master's classes right now with my sights set on a Ph.D in family systems. When my position became available at church, at my husband's place of work, in my husband's department, I just knew I was supposed to do it. It was the only thing that made sense. And this, my friends, is definitely not like me- I want to be independent and do my own thing.

I grew up in public school, and it was hard. Academically, socially, you name it. But it shaped who I am, and taught me about ALL people, not just the ones like me, and it taught me how to handle myself in difficult situations. I wanted my kids to experience this- I wanted them to know people who were different from them. I was anti charter school, anti private school (especially the "sheltered" Christian schools), and above all else, anti home schooling. I used to think, we can't make the system better if we take all the "good" students out of it and put them in safe little "good student" bubbles- we are a community! Solidarity! Don't take the salt of the earth OUT of the earth, keep great kids in schools and the schools will be great too!

A year ago, my stigmas against homeschooling began to falter one by one, until they were gone. There are so many AMAZING, well rounded, committed leaders in our youth group who were home schooled. Their families are solid. They love AND like their parents. They are close with their siblings. They have a heart for their communities. They are healthier than I was at their age. It has changed my entire perspective.

Enter: my beautiful, kind-spirited, light-hearted, differently-abled daughter :) She has been in preschool for two years in a public school setting and has thrived, until the last six months.  The more she moved up in the ranks at school, the more edged out of her education I became. The more of my voice I lost. And because I know her needs better than anyone else, what that meant was she was losing her voice too.

Three weeks ago, I hadn't dreamt of homeschooling- only my master's degree. But then kindergarten happened.

My daughter's unique mind was lost in a sea of 30 other students in her class room. She was getting half or more of her worksheets wrong-- material that she has had mastered for over a year. It's not because she didn't know it, it's because no one could take the time to explain how to do the worksheet or what it meant or why. An arbitrary worksheet that doesn't matter to the mind of a child with autism is going to be treated as just that- arbitrary. Here at home she gets every answer right almost every time. She learns here, because she gets the one on one instruction, repetition, and reward that her brain requires to make stuff stick. I won't go into the details of her IEP and the technicalities behind everything, all I will say is - it wasn't working.

My daughter is a social butterfly who doesn't know she's any different than others- she loves everyone and isn't afraid to be herself. But on the day we withdrew her from school she still didn't know anyone's name in her class. She hadn't met any new friends. In a crowd of 30 other students, she spent her time on the playground alone, she played in class alone, she ate lunch by her teacher instead of with friends. The longer she acclamated to this environment of being alone in a crowd of people, the more it would reinforce that that was her role in a group of peers- the loner.

The social interactions she did have were negative; someone stole the splint off of her broken finger during the school day and she was in tears when I picked her up. We kept the splint at home the next day to avoid a similar situation, and someone ended up stepping on her broken finger to the point of making it bleed- she was sent to the nurse's office, they put a bandaid on it, and NO ONE EVER TOLD ME. I had to find out about it from her.

And you know what?


She has had way too much academic and social success and has way too much untapped potential to waste on a broken system that won't accommodate her.  She has worked too hard. In a sink or swim environment, she is not being provided the tools she needs to swim. AND SHE CAN SWIM.

I am finally beginning to see: all things to work together for God when you love God and honor Him and seek His will.

He has orchestrated this beautiful life for me: this amazing chance to educate my child and give her the future she deserves, the opportunity to grow as a leader and as a lover of people in my new job position, and in contentment and satisfaction with the perfect and whole family He has blessed me with.

I could have done all the other stuff anyway. We could have done foster care anyway, or had more of our own kids anyway, but then I wouldn't have had the time or resources to teach Maddy at home, and she'd be left in public school on a high stakes gamble. I didn't know homeschooling was coming, but He did.

1 comment:

  1. Emily, I'm curious about what your and your husband's positions are in the church :)