Back to School

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It’s silent in the house. It’s the first day of school. Back to school for my two youngest ones. For the second year in a row. Before that, I was a homeschool mom. But here I sit. In silence. And now I’m crying. This is not what I signed up for. This is not the life I longed for.

I don’t look forward to the peace and quiet of having my children gone. I loved the noise of children’s laughter pealing through the house. I love that they sat outside on the deck or patio and ate breakfast, then played the mornings away until the sun was too warm and it was time for school to begin. I love that I taught the children to read. I loved being a homeschool mom.

But now, as my life has taken the turn of being a single mom. A divorced, single mom, with a child who has a label which requires a great deal from me—I am not, at this time, able to homeschool. And I grieve for this loss as much as the loss of my former life and role of wife and stay-at-home mom.

Sure, the facade was just that. A facade. And no one knew what was going on behind closed doors—not even the children truly knew what was going on, but I wore the facade well. With that shattered, I have to look much more closely at what I am. Who I am. And I feel I come up short.

I feel inadequate to be the mom I want to be. I feel inadequate to provide for them like they need me to. I feel inadequate to be a light, a friend, a witness, a testimony for my Lord and Saviour. I feel so human. So faulted. So, not super. Not supermom, not superfriend, not super anything. I feel less than ordinary.

And I don’t sleep. Not well. I am trying to sleep at night but I have great difficulty getting to sleep. And I overslept today. I got the children up late, got them to school later than intended, had to rush to get their bags packed when I had intended to get up early and make sure everything was set and ready and they were good to go. And I missed taking the first day of school photos because we had to run to the car and hop in just to get there late, on time.

So, tomorrow, I will snap back to school photos. It’s still valid. It’s not perfect, it’s not ideal, it’s not what I wanted. Or want. But it’s what we’ve got and we deal.

I don’t know why it is what it is, but that is how it is. I don’t know why this all happened in my life, or why I have to be an example for everything difficult (at least that’s what it feels like sometimes), but I am.

When I was talking to a good friend of mine the other day (I have very few divorced friends, they’re mostly the homeschool mom friends I’ve known all these years), we were talking about our past, which we do, every so often. She and I go way back. Back to before our eldest children were even in school—the ones that graduated from homeschool already—and we have these coversations about our idealism back in the beginning. How we thought if you do this “right” and you do that “right” then everything will be. . . al”right”.

Where do we go wrong? In our thinking? In our perceptions? In our choices? In our level of faith? Level of maturity? Have we gone wrong? Is everything going to be alright?

I have to believe it will be. Some of our friends don’t homeschool and never have. Some have kids in public school, some in private. We marvel at the ones whose children are these amazing testimonies and light in a perverse and crooked generation (Philippians 2:15) when we thought, in our youthful zealous well-intentioned homeschool mommy mode, that homeschooling is the only way. The right way. The narrow path that leads to light and life that all the “other” children were on the path that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). But all these years later, that isn’t so.

We weren’t all called to homeschool. We aren’t all going to make it to the end with our marriages intact (although that, truly, is God’s design). Why me? Why them? Why? Why? Why?

It occurred to me then, during our conversation, as I am reminded now, that as it is not God’s design for us to go through what we do, we do, however go through things because there is sin in the world. Sometimes ours, sometimes other’s sin has an impact on us that is monumental. Earth shattering (for us), even. And yet, God is still God, the same yesterday, as today, as tomorrow, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

And God needs witnesses in every walk of life. I am not likely to reach an upper middle class couple whose marriage is strong, their life is sweet, their children are content, and lovely, and get along, and have everything they need/want/desire/can even think of wanting. I am not likely to reach a young mom, fresh off the farm, whose husband works hard providing their simple life, and she is planning on homeschooling.

Where is my field, then? Probably divorced moms with kids in school. My choice? No. But it’s where I am. I have my field. It’s wide open.

My life will never again be what it was. It can’t be. It won’t be. But that doesn’t mean it’s over. It doesn’t mean God can’t use me. And it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have something better in store for me.

Because I know he does.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 (quoting Isaiah 64:4)

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