Wednesday, July 25, 2012

By faith

We seem to be in the middle of what I fear will be a yearly crisis around here. 
The dreaded school bill has arrived.  And every year it is much more than we can afford to pay - even with a discount.  So we go through the budget the Dave Ramsey way, trying to be wise, allocating money for unforeseen expenses and not just barely scraping by with food and rent and gas money.
Apparently we cannot afford Christian school unless we barely scrape by with food and rent and gas money.
We learn this every year, and PANIC! 
Our kids loved NC last year.  We loved the teachers, the schedule, the other parents and kids.  For our family, it seems to be a great fit.  So we try to balance godly wisdom in managing what God has given us with faith. 
And faith is scary.  A little panic inducing for a slight (?) control-freak like me.

And this particular issue is really scary for a person who would make a good legalist.  You see, I like lines because then I can be careful not to cross them.  Something in my nature screams for the "right" answer.
Like God booming from the clouds, "If you send your kids to public school, they'll end up thinking the world was created by aliens from another planet!  So obviously you shouldn't send them there."
Or, "If you homeschool your kids, they'll be social rejects and live in your home til they're 40! So please don't pick that option."
Or, "If you send your kids to Christian school they'll be so sheltered, they'll be too scared of the world to impact it for Christ! Try again."
These are all fear-inducing thoughts that rattle through my brain.

What if??? 

What if I make the wrong choice and screw up my kids forever?
So I start searching for the "right" choice.  The perfect answer for my kids and my family in this place and time.  And do you know what I get?

No lines.

No right.

No wrong.

Just a bunch of grey.

There are benefits and drawbacks to every option.
But I've learned something.  Every option involves faith.

If we send our kids to NC, we step into a path trusting that God will provide the resources to pay for it and all the other things necessary to provide for our family and allow us to be generous.

If we send our kids to public school, we step into a path trusting God to guard our children's hearts from the deceit and enticements of the world.

If we homeschool our kids, we step into a path trusting God to give us energy and patience to nurture four energetic kids with few breaks.

Then this morning I read Numbers 13 and 14.  Honestly, I was not happy to see that Numbers came after Leviticus.  Leviticus was bloody and depressing, but the first part of Numbers is just an endless list of unpronounceable names.
Imagine my surprise when I got to chapter 13 and found something not only interesting and useful but convicting.

The Israelites have walked through the wilderness to the edge of the land God has promised to give them.  Moses sends in 12 spies, and 10 of them come running out, eyes wide with fear.  They induce panic in the people.
"They people of the land are GIANTS!
They have HUGE walls!
We'll NEVER win a single battle against them!
We'll all be killed!
We'll all starve!
We'll never have a home!"
Their imaginations ran wild, visualizing all the terrible things that would happen to them.  Those of you who know me know I would never do this...  Imagine something terrible happening???  no... =)
Meanwhile Joshua and Caleb saw the same land and came back confident.  The land was not smaller, the people not weaker, but their God was greater.  They begged the Israelites to make a decision based on the character and strength of God - not on their fear. 
The people of Israel did not listen, and God was so angry He was ready to kill them all and start over with just Moses.  In a stunning scene, Moses pleads to God to remember His promise to Israel and spare them, and God relents.  He lets them live, but of the people over 20 years old, only Joshua and Caleb will ever see the Promised Land. 
Here's one of my favorite verses.  Bet you can't guess why.  =)
"But my servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it."  Numbers 14:24
It's a great story and you should read it.  Go Here. 

So I am warned and encouraged.
God has a place for us.
It will require faith to make it happen.  God does not dream small, easy dreams for His children.
So I will sit at the feet of Jesus begging God for wisdom and then go where He leads.  Keeping my mind focused on the strength and character of God.  Ignoring the urge to panic. 

If only writing this insanely long blog post had helped me figure out which "Promised Land" our family is supposed to enter...  =)


Chip Burkitt said...

When Belinda and I were trying to decide whether to send our kids to public schools, one thing we noticed was how anxious and fearful homeschool parents sounded whenever we mentioned what we were thinking of. We also attended curriculum fairs for homeschool parents where we often purchased supplies for the school year. These fairs were full of people and organizations spreading fear of public school education. We decided not to make a decision based on fear but to trust God. We enrolled our kids in public school in South Saint Paul, and God has been faithful to teach both them and us about his sustaining power.

Melody said...

I really admire your kids, Chip, because they are intelligent and creative. You have taught them to think well and thrive in a culture that's won't necessarily be kind to them. God is always faithful. I really don't want fear to be our motivation when choosing a school for our kids. And I want them to become adults who aren't afraid of our culture and are willing and able to stand up for God in it. I wish there was a formula for raising kids! =)

Soaring High said...

We have had our kids in Public School for 3 years now (which I never thought I'd do after being raised in the Christian School where my dad was the Superintendant). We are bringing one back home this year not because of the school or teachers or education, but because of the child and personality. I think this child would struggle in any school at this time in her life. You have to allow God to speak and LISTEN. He is faithful and full of grace.