No, I didn't just give birth!
After lots of prodding by the Holy Spirit, prayers for discernment and wisdom (and lots of courage), P and I have finally made the decision to pull N out of public school.
Why, you ask? Well, do you want the short version or the long version?
The short version goes like this, "God told us to!"
The longer version goes like this (you may want to pull up a seat and stay a while for this one):
"We placed N in PPCD back in the Fall of 2004. It was a year filled with much anxiety, fear, frustration, trips to the principal, etc, but yet, looking back, it was by far his best year of the 6! He should have come home a long time ago! I homeschooled our oldest 2, J & E, for a couple of years and really enjoyed it. But N needed some extra help that I didn't feel I was prepared to give him at the time-and to be quite honest, I needed a break! So, off to school he went. After the year in PPCD was completed, we made the decision to put J & E in public school, but I felt God leading me to pull Noah back out and bring him home with me. P didn't agree (and being the leader of the household, we did what he thought was best and let him continue on in Kinder).
Each year has progressively gotten worse...we've had so many talks with the teachers, visits with the principals, ISS days, swats, lunch detentions, apologies to other children...you name it, we've done it! My mind is literally boggled at the thought of all we've been through-I may write a book one day. ;) All the while, I felt God telling me to pull him out. Yet, P was adamantly opposed to the idea. So anytime the thought of homeschooling came to mind, I would just tell God, "I hear you, but you're going to have to change P's heart. There's nothing I can do."
Well, a few months ago, I got a(nother) phone call from the PE teacher telling me everything N had been doing that day in class. I got really frustrated with him and under my breath mumbled, "What am I going to DO with him???" Then God very plainly said, "It is NOT what are you going to do WITH him! He is NOT the problem. It's about to be what are you going to do FOR him!?" Very humbled, I apologized and then started grappling about in fear with questions..."But God, I can't even teach 3rd grade!!" Again, I heard his voice say, "He's not even on a 3rd grade level!" I started getting excited about the thought, but once again, told him, "You're going to have to talk to P about that one." A few minutes later, P came to pick me up for a lunch date, and as we sat talking, I told him once again (we've had this conversation many times over the years) what I felt God leading me to do...and ended with saying, "I know you don't agree..." He cut me off by saying, "Bethany, I am NOT opposed to you pulling him out!" I about fell out of my chair-I KNEW this was God!!! I continued on with my story and told him of my fear-questioning whether I would be able to teach 3rd grade (remember, I had done K and 1st before, but never beyond that), when P interrupted me again by saying, "Bethany, he's not even on a 3rd grade level!" I just started crying because 1) I knew in my heart that God had answered my prayer by changing my husband's heart, and 2) because I was so overwhelmed with the thought of all the changes that were about to take place (homeschooling was not the only change God had been opening my eyes to)! I honestly felt like I was standing in front of a tidal wave that was going to crash over me at any moment and I was totally helpless to stop it!
Over the next few days, I started asking God, "Now what do I do in the meantime? You've told us to pull him out, but when? Do I start reading, researching, etc? Show me what to do!" That very morning, when I went to check the mail, my dear friend Lori (Hi!!) had sent me two books-one on discovering your child's learning style and another one on the top 100 homeschool curriculums. Can we say, "Answer to prayer?" I began to read (that was what I did all week in Arkansas when I went to visit my brother while he was at work), but didn't really feel any further leading.
Eventually, I sensed God telling me to bring N home, but I didn't...I needed more confirmation to make "sure" I was hearing him properly...as if the stories above weren't enough.
Then several weeks ago, God spoke to me again through this situation. I had told N to do "something" and he failed to obey immediately. When I called him on it, he said, "I did too obey!" Then I heard myself saying, "No you didn't. Obedience is doing exactly what you're told immediately when you're told to do it." I sensed the Holy Spirit saying that to my soul as I was saying them to my son. Ugh!
Have I mentioned yet that I'm a big planner? Ya, well, I still didn't obey Him, because I needed time to plan and read some more and organize, etc, etc, etc. Then...I told J to go start the dryer. She's normally pretty cooperative, but this time she started stalling and asking me a zillion questions that sounded like this, "But how do I...? What if...? But then if...? How can...?" Then it dawned on me as I told her, "J, you don't have to worry about any of that. Just do what you were told to do." AGAIN, the Holy Spirit told me the SAME thing!!! I'm pretty hard headed, huh?
The last thing God used was my dearly loved sister-in-law, Angie. She has a true gift from God, and she sees so clearly through things and speaks directly to the heart of a problem unlike anything or anyone I've ever seen! We were chatting on Facebook one day just a couple of weeks ago, and the first thing she asked me was, "Have you pulled Noah out of school yet?" I told her no, and her response was, "I say this in all love, but sister, you know exactly what you need to do."
Here I am a couple of weeks later and have YET to obey Him! Yet, God is not and will not give up on me! As I was driving home this morning from dropping the kids off at school, for some odd reason, I began to recall the scene from when the nurse wheeled E into my room at the hospital. Noone was with me at the time, and I began to panick! I had already had one baby, mind you, but for some reason, I started thinking to myself, "What am I supposed to do with him??? Take him back!!" Ha! I was overcome with the same terrifying feeling thinking about bringing N home from school, and I heard God saying, "You'll figure it out. Just take it one day at at a time."
So, I have now printed out the withdrawal form, and will mail it off tomorrow. I'll inform the school that Friday will be his last day and then I'll get to bring my baby home!
Yes, I'm still terrified! Humanly speaking that is. But God has made it SO abundantly clear that this is what He's calling us to do though, that spiritually I'm at peace.
There is much, MUCH more to this story, but this is all I have time for at the moment. I covet your prayers for all of us as we begin this new journey!