“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.” – Isaiah 42:16 (NIV)
How are you with change? I have to admit that I am not good. At all. I like things laid out in front of me with no surprises. I prefer a plan over "winging-it". I am loyal, sometimes to a fault. (Have you read the third chapter in my book “Blessed Blessed…Blessed”? I even stuck with a doctor whose actions ravaged my body so badly that my reproductive system was almost completely destroyed.) It takes a lot for me to change anything. Then Duck Dynasty came along. Ha! You talk about every day being completely different! I had to give up that control, and that was extremely difficult for me to do. I had some pretty emotional days early on, but prayer and really listening to what God’s plans for me were (not always my plans, right?) started to give me a peace in that insane new world that was hitting us all directly in the face. After 5 years of filming, I began to become in sync with it. However, I still held onto the facts that we were still all attending the same church, we were still living in the same house, and my kids were still going to the same school.
Well, one of those has now changed.
Mia will be a freshman in high school this next year, and we have decided to move her to the large public school in West Monroe. We decided this in February, so she tried out for cheerleader and made it. While she is excited about the new physical challenges this will provide for her skill level, I am looking forward to her expanding her talent in music since West Monroe High School has one of the finest (if not the finest) choral programs in the state of Louisiana. So what's my problem? While all this seems to be new and promising, I continue to struggle as a mom with making this decision.
You see, I didn’t just grow up at her former private Christian school, I found out when I was thirty years old that it was started in my very own living room when I was only three. My parents, along with 4 other couples, invested $2,000 each to start the school in 1974. My mom and dad, 26 and 29 years of age respectively, didn’t have this money, so they took out a loan. My mom had a degree in choral music yet donated her time teaching for ten years until the principal there insisted she start taking home some sort of a paycheck (a few hundred dollars a month) until she retired years later. These sacrifices made me even more thankful for the years my children and I spent at Ouachita Christian School.
(My parents and I in front of the school flag, the school they helped to found)
As many of you have heard before, when Jase and I were dating, we made a deal. He could duck hunt every single day of duck season every single year of his life with no complaints from me as long as he agreed to put our future children through my alma mater. We both upheld our ends of the bargain, and Reed and Cole graduated from there. I assumed Mia would do exactly the same. Until she came downstairs one night with four pages of pros and cons of both schools. “Just think about it,” she said, as she handed them to me, smiled and walked away.
Needless to say, I was a bit stunned. Since Jase graduated from her new school, he had no hesitation. But I did.
What is this public school idea thing?
Why on earth would you be thinking this way?
Don’t you know OCS is MY school?
Then we read the pages. They were thoughtful, mature, informative, funny (of course) and spiritual.
Who is this kid of mine who isn’t scared of change? Not only not scared of change, invites it in!
Switching from a Class 1A school (the only school my children and I have ever known) to a Class 5A school when you’re 14 years old is a bold move! Where does she get this tenacity? I’m still grasping the answer to this question.
What concerns me the most is her spiritual life. I want her to be safe, secure, loved and accepted. I want people to pour Jesus into her at every turn in her life, every day in her life! So I pray. I pray, I pray and then I pray some more. I came to the understanding that I was holding her back from opportunities she really wanted to experience. I had to remove myself from this equation. Is this the best decision? I have no idea. But I feel a peace about it. A peace that only comes from the Holy Spirit living within me. And He gives me little nuggets of that peace along the way.
Like today, thirty-nine cheerleaders, their sponsors and cheer coach filled up a charter bus to head off to cheer camp at Ole Miss. We loaded up their luggage, took pictures, hugged and they all found their seats. As I walked by the door of the bus to get in my own car, I hear one of the dads say, “Ok, girls, let’s pray.”
My heart leapt.
As he was leaving, I thanked him for leading them in prayer and mentioned that this was one of the things I thought I had to leave behind at our old school. His response was, “West Monroe don’t play. We’re all about prayer here, and our principal has made that clear.”
That was a huge nugget for me! I drove home with tears in my eyes.
I understand that Christians are everywhere, that there are moms and dads in every city in our nation that are trying to instill Christian values in their children at home while also sending them into the world where they are told every day that God isn’t real. We need to understand that while our great nation was founded on Christian fundamentals, Americans are living right dab in the middle of a mission field no matter where we live. Show love. Show kindness. Show Jesus. What will happen if you take a risk and pray with your child’s team? Sadly, our great country has told us we aren't allowed to do this. But, if you do, you may find out that there are more of us out there than you previously thought. Praise God!
(She's already making new, sweet friendships)
Change takes risk. My parents risked a debt to make a huge decision they believed would advance their children’s spiritual lives. Jase and I are taking a risk and leaving that secure safe space for the very same reason--for the benefit of our child. Spiritual growth looks different at different times in our lives. Loyalty is admirable, but so is risk. Only God knows the outcome, but I trust that He is making our “rough places smooth”. If this decision brings our family closer to Him, it’s no doubt the right decision.
And don’t fret, my OCS peeps. I’ll still be there with Mrs. LinDee for the Grandparents’ Day production! You have been and will always be my home.