Last year, two of my very best friends started homeschooling their kids. I tried to be supportive and very "you have to do whatever is best for you" on the outside. On the inside, though, I was panicking. What did this mean about me? If God called them to homeschool their kids, what did it mean about me that I didn't feel that calling? If they gave, as one of their reasons, a desire to spend more time with their kids, what did it mean about me that I chose to send mine to school every day? And the truth is that for a while there, I wanted them to send their kids to school so I didn't have to question my own decisions. (It's possible that at this point you might see how self-involved I can be. It's not pretty, people.)
In the end I learned a few things, though. First, there aren't decisions in life that shouldn't be questioned. I had to take a good long look at why I would choose to put my kids into public school and I found that knowing the reasons why gave me a greater sense of purpose. I'm not just picking up Hope from school anymore. I see her playground as a place to connect and interact with people who need Jesus. I'm trying to use every experience that Hope has with "worldly thinking" (and they are plentiful!) to teach her about Jesus' counter-cultural message. I'm talking to her about how important it is to know that each person she meets has value bestowed on them by God, regardless of how similar or different they are than us. And we're talking about seeing the beauty that God has placed in each person and how it tells us about Him. Each interaction we have at school, or regarding school is infused with an opportunity to glorify God. I'm not sure I really understood that before.
I've also learned how precious to God my desperate cries for protection and boldness and mercy are on behalf of my kids. He knows about letting a Son go into a world that would seek to trample on the truths he clung to. As my friend, Amy says, "It's no small thing to send your kids off to school." It takes some guts to send your most precious gifts off to interact with people who may or may not see all the beauty inside of them, who may or may not see all that is fragile, too. But, I am learning how to pray and, with knuckles sore from tightly clenching that which is not mine, open my hands and give them over time and time again to the God who created every part of who they are. I am grateful for this opportunity to remember that they are His.
And I've learned all of us are afraid we're making the wrong decisions. We all worry that our kids will be bruised and battered no matter what we choose. And we're probably right. Almost no one gets through childhood unscathed. But, no matter what we choose, we get to look into the eyes of these we call friends and tell them that God's grace is sufficient. That he can redeem it all and use it all to draw our children to himself. And that's all any of us really wants for our kids.
And being friends means that we want it for each other's kids, too. So we get the responsibility and the privilege of praying for each of these little people who are growing up with our own. We pray hard that they will each find their way to the arms of Jesus, and would follow him with everything they've got. And in a way that only scheming mothers are familiar with, we pray that they might get to enjoy the journey, together. Just like us.