Toward the end of Elijah’s kindergarten year, as I dropped him off at school, I noticed the message on the school marquee sign for the next year’s kindergarten registration. I could hardly believe that it had been almost a year since that same announcement had made my heart sad.
The previous year at that time, Brad and I were still debating somewhat about what God wanted us to do about Elijah and school. Should we home school him, look into the cost of private schools, or enroll him in public school? Elijah was more than ready to start school, so waiting another year wasn’t an option.
Public school really wasn’t my first choice, even though I received most of my education in public schools. My time in school was several years ago, though, and with all the changes in our culture and our world, I wasn’t sure about registering my 4-year-old little boy to attend public school.
Of course, sending him anywhere else, even a private Christian school, would have been hard for me. I loved having him home with me every day, and he did well on ABCMouse.com and learned easily, so I did consider homeschooling him. I would have enjoyed it, at least most of the time, I think. I just wasn’t ready to send my child out into the world.
However, my husband and I prayed about it and waited for God’s leading.
God’s answer? “Nope,” to both homeschooling and private school.
When that March came around, I walked into our local elementary school and registered our little boy for kindergarten. And while registration was the first step, the hardest was going to be his first day.
However, God was already ready to prove to me that He was in control. (He is gracious enough to remind us of what we should already know).
A few days before Elijah’s first day was the school open house where Elijah and I got to go through the school, explore his classroom, and most importantly, meet his teacher. Elijah was a bit shy, since he was both nervous and excited, but all it took was a short conversation about her room theme of bees. Elijah found out that his teacher was a beekeeper just like my dad. Then they talked about all kinds of bugs, and Elijah was sold. His teacher was ready for Elijah’s curiosity and energy, and I knew that it was going to be a good year for my little boy.
It was like God just put His arm around me, giving me peace.
In prepping Elijah for his first day, I felt compelled to share with him about how Brad and I had prayed for God’s direction. I told him, “Since this is where God wants you to go, then God has a plan and purpose for you here in this specific school, in this particular class, and with this exact teacher.”
I reminded myself of that a few days later as my hubby and I watched our little boy follow his teacher down the hall to his classroom on his very first day of school. Then I went home and cried and wrote about it.
My baby was out in the world without me for the first time. I couldn’t filter what others would say or do, couldn’t protect him, or comfort him. He was completely out of my hands, and I was placing him in God’s.
Even though I can trust God to be with me in difficult times, it’s harder to trust Him with my children, which seems silly. Either I trust Him with everything, even my children, or I don’t.
It’s important that I do.
How is Elijah going to learn to put his trust in God in every situation if he never has to?
Slowly the days passed, and it got easier to walk away from the school gate every morning. Elijah loved school, and he was thriving.
Confirmation of God’s design in it all started to trickle in.
First and foremost was Elijah’s teacher. She was the exact teacher that he needed. She loved science (including bugs), appreciated Elijah’s thought processes, and enjoyed hearing how he thinks things through. She encouraged his curiosity and challenged him to do his best and learn more. Elijah is a very bright boy, and thankfully his teacher kept him interested and engaged. She applauded his creativity, allowed him to read “books” he’d written (mostly pictures) to the class, and enthusiastically accepted all the drawing and “creations” he took to her almost daily.
Elijah was always excited about his day and anxious to learn.
However, the other big thing that reiterated God’s plan was seeing how confidently Elijah lived out his faith on his own and the witness he was to those around him in school. He had some issues earlier that year with a little girl who was being mean to others and acting like a bully. Despite that, Elijah showed such compassion and patience for her over the months of school, trying to help her, sharing pencils when she needed them, being her friend as much as he could, and praying for her.
He also peppered his schoolwork with Bible story references and Jesus, and he wrote several journal entries that talked about God.
How many kindergarteners do you know who would use "sin" as one of their "-in" words? And right beside it, "den" with a picture of a man and a lion and arrows pointing down to "Danyle" (Daniel). Haha. Love that he is sharing God's Word, even at 5 years old. #letyourlightshine #homework #kindergarten #preachingtotheteacher
He invited his teacher to his Christmas program, and sure enough, she attended and sat with my family that Sunday at our church.
Then there was the day he came home from school and nonchalantly told me about how he’d spent his recess PRAYING ON THE PLAYGROUND, kneeling down off to the side of the slides, and just talking to God.
Today I'm #thankful for this #beautiful picture. It's humbling, encouraging, & convicting when this is the back of your 5-year-old's schoolwork or when he tells you that he spent time during recess #praying, on his knees, on the playground. Praising God for my child's #boldness and #faith and thanking Him for all the family & friends helping us lay a strong foundation for our children. #encouraged #challenged #prayingchild #Godlovesme #givethanks #sacredholidays
None of those things are things we had told him to do, besides being nice to everyone and praying for others. It was his own light shining from his own love for God, not in a noisy, flaunting way, but naturally and gently and authentically.
Those moments wouldn’t have happened if he’d been homeschooled, and it might not have seemed as genuine had he been in a Christian school setting.
Because we trusted God and allowed our child a chance to trust Him, Elijah had (and continues to have) the opportunity to make an impact right where God wanted him to.
Trusting God and sharing His love with others – that’s one of the most important lessons any of us can ever learn.
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