For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
Isaiah 55:8 KJV
I sat in the office with hot tears pouring down my cheeks as I finally, with all the courage I could muster said out loud what I had held in for so long.
" I feel like I'm trading one son for another, our old family for our new one."
And once it was out there, there was no putting it back. The office was their counselor's. Their psychiatrist's. Their caseworker's who would fight for his residential placement. His in-home counselor who would sit with us face to face in our living room.
As the behaviors associated with non-typical neurological kids escalated (big words you get to learn when you love unexpectedly) the great divide between Shayne and his brothers grew.
Shayne was ten when the boys came into his world. Crashing in- like a meteor hitting the earth their presence meant Shayne lost a huge part of us. More than the time, affection and attention, we were asking a ten year old- a teenage- a young man to understand the many diagnosis that made everything he knew about us and being a kid, different for his brothers. And that's a big ask- because we ourselves are still learning to understand.
I feared my firstborn would grow up and run far away from the chaos- and frankly, there are days I want to run too. But God has a plan, and if we learned anything so far, it's to trust Him, even when we don't understand.
We've been praying for a really long time about school. Don't get me started on how stressful school is for all kids these days. I won't rant about Common Core, SOLs and No Child Left Behind. I have several wonderful friends who teach and God bless them, they are passionate about their jobs and the kids God puts in their classrooms each year. Back to that me helping God thing, I thought about bribing them to quit their job and just teach my boys.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and
lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him and
he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5&6 NIV
We got intentional about our prayers about five months ago asking many of you to join us. We asked specifically that God would make a way to homeschool our boys because after several ideas like
- Hiring a sitter during the day and we'd teach them at night
- Maybe Rex would quit his job and be a stay at home Dad
- Community school where they'd at least get more hands on learning
- Isaiah was even trying to help God out too, he just kept saying to get Emily to do it
But we never had peace about anything we came up with.
And while we were praying their frustrations and anxieties were mounting. Suspensions, daily sometimes hourly texts and calls; IEP meetings and more calls.
And the tears- hours of tears shed each night begging for us to please not make them to go to school.
What we didn't see during this time, was the way was under construction. And it was nothing that we ever would have thought on our own.
A text from my firstborn.
Shayne has been helping the boys with their homework. He had some strong opinions, similar to ours and he knew of their frustrations. He knew we were praying, but I didn't know he was.
Isn't that sweet, I thought when I told his Dad, and then I blew it off.
Or, I tried to.
Being a responsible
adult Mom, my brain was flooded with all the reasons this couldn't work.
Don't you love it when God speaks so quietly you can't help but hear Him over everything else?
And He gave me a good talking to that went something like this...
Robin, who do you think you are? You and I both know that your boys need this. I don't give you gut instinct for no reason. You've been praying and even asking others to pray that I would make a way- and now you're questioning me? Not only questioning me, but you're going to try and pull the Mom card to question whether your son knows my voice? Didn't you teach him to listen for me? And don't you remember how scared you were that you would lose one son for two others. Beauty for ashes Robin. This is what you've been praying for. This is the way.
So, I did what I usually do and asked God to give me just a little more. I gave two specifics that would need to line up so then I'd know. Oh, don't judge me- you know you've done it too.
Sometimes when I ask God for specifics, He says NO, just trust me. But every so often He gives me what I ask. And this time, not only did all the pieces fall into place in ways so much better than any of us could've asked for, we started to see that the bricks for this path had been laid one by one, starting over a year ago.
|The schoolroom, Isaiah, Shayne and Elijah|
So Friday, my boys walked into the public school with smiles that demanded notice and said goodbye to their friends, teachers and principal. We all felt free with new excitement. Isaiah even woke up Saturday morning counting down the 48 hours until today.
Today, a big day because the boys started #allensathomeschool. And instead of running from the chaos, my oldest ran smack dab into it. Ya'll, when God lets you learn to love unexpectedly you don't run away from it.
Over the last few weeks as we've shared with family and professionals, we've had a lot of questions- mainly people want to know how on earth we are able to do this. Why would Shayne quit his job to attend to his brothers full-time? Some of you will think we've lost our minds.
It's all good. All anybody really needs to know is that when God makes a way- He does it big! And right! And takes care of all the details!
Like Thomas, questions of doubt creep in- I find myself wanting all the ends tied up in a pretty bow. I want to know that this is settled and that the boys will graduate from home. I want to know that the joy and relief that we are feeling with the excitement of new starts and freedom to teach what we believe matters most is how it will be for the next eight years.
But pretty bows take away the trust that God asks of me.
So, for such a time as this, we are smiles for miles and praising God for answering prayers in ways that are so much better. And this Momma is remembering that God speaks to my children too, and their obedience, even when it doesn't make sense is required for His purposes to be fulfilled.
Can I just encourage you for a minute? Don't give up on that thing you're praying for- the way that you cannot see. God's plans are so much better. What He does for us He wants to do for you.
Happy Monday y'all!