Life is full of them. We make choices everyday. Some are no-brainers (like 'are we going to have dessert?? Uh, Yeah!), others are more serious (Chocolate or Sugar-free?), but all of them affect us one way or another. Hubs and I have had some big choices to make this summer...the biggest one being schooling for our children. We have two in school this year (can I get an Amen?) and we thought long and hard (as well as, prayed often) about where to send them to school. Firstborn has been in school since K2. Middle Girl is just starting K5 without having gone to any preschool. Firstborn has been in Christian school the whole time and we had no thought of ever changing that...until summer began. I won't go into detail, but we began to wonder if the cost of sending our two girls to Christian school was really necessary AND right for our family. While we loved the school Firstborn attended, the cost was really causing us to question continuing her in that school. I began to pray about what to do. I was kind of torn - we loved the school, she was excelling, etc. but we had some uncertainty about if this was right for us. My experience is that God uses circumstances to guide me and direct my steps and obviously He wanted us to rethink this. I had talked to my mom about this and one day she told me that my dad thought it wise for us to consider public school. I grew up in public school and am very thankful for that opportunity. God allowed me to really grow and mature in my Christian walk during high school and some of that was due to the challenges I faced with some of my peers/teachers regarding my moral beliefs. I can honestly say it was good for me. I know public school is not for everyone. But don't knock it til you've tried it is a saying that comes to mind. Hubs grew up in Christian school because of the ministry his family was in while growing up. So, I knew that his opinion of public school would be very different than my own. But when we began praying about this option, it was amazing to me how God united our hearts and our thinking and gave us peace to make the decision that was right for us at this present time. We believe God's will for us at this time is for our daughter to go to public school. And I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. Of course, there is a little hesitancy, but only because I am not familiar with the public school system here firsthand. But we have peace and fully believe God has directed us in this decision. I don't write all this to get your approval because frankly, I don't want it or need it. I just want to share with you why I am so excited about this and maybe challenge you to think deeper about your own life's choices.
Because I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and my desire is to glorify Him in my words, actions, etc. I surround myself with other's who know Christ as their personal Saviour. I love being around my brothers and sisters in Christ and am encouraged and rejuvenated after spending time with them. We are active members in our church and spend a lot of time there. I do not work outside the home so most of the people I speak with/hang around are Christians - in the real, true meaning of the word. When my girl was attending Christian school that took up even more time being around other Believers and less time around people who do not know Christ. God's Word commands me to be the salt and light of the World, building relationships and friendships with those who have no hope of eternal life without Christ as their Saviour. Now that my girl will be in public school, we will have the opportunity to be around people who need Christ. I plan to be very involved in her school and will be looking for opportunities to befriend people that do not live the way I live. I want to be able to relate to my neighbors and others whose lives are very different than ours. I don't want to ignore their need for Christ just because we do things differently.
Another reason for my excitement is that my girl will be able to see for herself that she is very blessed. My prayer is that God would enable her to see that not everyone lives the way we do. Christ is not the center of their homes and that makes a huge impact on the choices they make. I don't want her to continue living in a 'bubble' where everyone she knows and talks to lives their lives almost exactly like we do. That's not reality. The truth is there are people all around us - everywhere - that have no idea what a privilege it is to know Jesus Christ. They don't know what it's like to have peace in their homes, to know they are loved with an everlasting love. They have no hope. But we do! And I want her to understand that and be able to share that hope with her friends and others that she will come in contact with.
I want to guard my children against the mindset that if people don't live the way we do, then we shouldn't associate with them. If we don't associate with them, how will we ever win people to Christ? As Christians, we shouldn't live like the world does, but that absolutely does not mean we should shelter ourselves and our children from the world. They need to know how to function in reality. Not be homely and unsociable or scared to talk to people who are different than them. Even in 1st grade, I heard a comment or two from my girl about public school and I could tell by her tone that she thought that was not a good thing. It was eye-opening to me, to say the very least. I am not sure where she got that attitude from, but I was not pleased. That attitude is directly opposite of Christ's attitude toward people. He was criticized for associating with people who were not 'up to par' according to the Pharisees, but that didn't stop Him. The fact is that is doesn't make a hill of beans worth of difference what elementary school someone goes to. The school doesn't define who you are. School is just a means to an end, it's temporary, but God has you there for a specific purpose (whether you realize it or not). A purpose bigger than just education. But isn't that life? Every place God allows us to be (school, work, church, neighborhood, etc.) is authorized by God, yet we forfeit many opportunities to share Christ with others because we aren't prepared or actively looking for those opportunities.
We are purposefully teaching our girls that God doesn't classify people according to our standards. We are all sinners, unworthy of the mercy God so freely pours out on us. So, who are we to look down our noses at someone because of where they go to school, etc.? There's a word for that...pride. And the Bible doesn't have any good thing to say about that kind of pride.
And let me just add here that I am not declaring that everyone in the Christian school is automatically a Christian. That definitely is not the case. A Christian is one who recognizes their sinful nature and confesses their sin to Jesus Christ Who paid the debt for their sins by dying on the Cross. A Christian places his/her trust in Christ alone, believing that He is the ONLY ONE that can save from sin. We cannot trust in works/deeds because they just aren't good enough. Salvation is bought only by the shed blood of Christ and is FREELY given to those Who believe that. We can't buy it or even pretend to have it. Our best just isn't good enough. And that's the beauty of salvation. It's something I could never merit on my own, but God loves me so much that He freely gives that to me when I recognize my need. He'll do the same for you.
No matter what school your children attend, the most vital element of that is parental involvement. The biggest influence in your child's life is your home. Not the school or their peers. And if you're looking for ways to keep communication with your children open, I recommend "Parent Talk" - totally forgot who the author is, but you can google it.
So, that's our decision in a nutshell. Very exciting days ahead for us! And I am making myself available to the opportunities God will be placing in front of me and my family.