Thursday, March 16, 2017

A New School

Ever since we told our kids we were moving to Minneapolis, their biggest worry has been over switching schools and making new friends in the middle of the school year.  Nate and I have only ever lived in small town Iowa and we went to the same school our whole lives. I didn’t know exactly how to walk them through this because I hadn’t personally experienced it, but I’ve walked through other fears and I knew that this was going to be an opportunity for God to show up for them individually in an extremely personal way. So in that sense, I could fully enter in to my kids’ fears and worries and anxiousness about having to start a new school.  And as their mom, their fears and worries were also mine.  So since December, every morning before school when we would talk through our move and talk about their excitement and their worries, we would pray for God to go before our family in this move and specifically when it was the kids turn to pray, they would pray some form of “God, please give me a nice teacher and a nice friend at my new school.”

Fast forward to this week.  We’re now living in Minneapolis and honestly, there are a ton of things I could write about and showcase how God has come through for us and has gone before us, but I felt led to write about how He came through for us with their new school.  On Monday, I had to go to the school and start the registration process.  I walk in and was just taking it all in and trying to convince myself this was all a good idea.  The lady helping me was honestly not super kind that day and apparently I was supposed to bring in a bunch of papers that I had no idea about.   She clearly was annoyed that I was there and that I brought nothing with me.  She eventually hands me a packet of paperwork for each kid, and I sit down feeling overwhelmed at the stack of papers in front of me, but I fill it out and give it back to her.  I told her I’d be back the next day with the rest of what she needed.  I walked out to my car and thankfully my friend was at our house and kept the kids with her so I could be alone while I was processing all of this.  I started to get all emotional and freaking out inside and basically just telling myself that this was going to be so hard.  For the first time, I was starting to feel the sacrifice of this move.  We are definitely not in Huxley, Iowa, anymore.  There wasn’t anything bad about the school or anything scary, it was just all so different and I felt like a fish out of water.  I started praying as I was driving back to our house and I felt the Spirit saying “Calm down and trust Me.”  So I convinced myself to not burst into tears, enjoy the day with our friends and I’d deal with all this school stuff later.

On Wednesday morning the lady from the school called and said, “Well, how about your kids start tomorrow?”  Umm, yeah, sure I guess.  I felt sick to my stomach and I knew they were going to freak out when I told them.  Especially Max.  What is it with boys and school anyway?!?  Our friends left before lunchtime and the kids sat down to eat their lunch, and I gently broke them the news that they were going to have to start school the next day.  The girls both said, “Noooo!” and Max buried himself in the couch and just starts pleading with me that he does not want to start a new school.  All while he has tears in his eyes.  Every part of me wanted to say, yep, no more school for you guys!  Except someone had to be the adult in this situation and by default, it was me.  We got in the car and they were all so sad and pathetic looking and in somber moods.  And honestly, I was, too.  It was almost like God just let me in on exactly how they were feeling. 

As a parent, it’s so tempting to try and shield your kids from all their pain and all their fears and want to jump in and either prevent it from happening or immediately take it away when it comes.  But God has been saying to me for months that what if this move is exactly what my kids need to know Him?  What if all these fears and worries they have are the exact thing He’s going to use to make Himself known to each one of them individually? 

We walk in to their new school and go to the office and my intentions were to hand the lady the paperwork and head back home.  I walk in and the same lady that had been unfriendly the day before was like a different person.  She smiled at me and talked with each of the kids and told them she was excited for them to start.  She wrote down who their teachers would be and which classroom they’d be in.  Then she asked another secretary if she had time to give us a tour of the school and show them their classrooms.  This is when God started to meet all four of us and show us that He really did go before us and He was already preparing them for this school.

The kids are still down and not excited to be there at this point.  We start walking down the hallway and right as we do, Avery’s new teacher and her whole class are coming from the other direction.  I was not expecting this at all but her teacher saw her and said, “Oh, you must be Avery!  We’re SO excited to meet you!  Can I give you a hug?!?”  She came over and hugged her and then her whole class started whispering very excitedly to each other that this was Avery.  I was in complete shock.  I was not expecting for her class to already know who she was or that she’d be starting school the next day.  I just stood there trying to process what was happening.  We talked with her teacher for a little bit and then we kept walking.

Sure enough, the next class we meet walking towards us in the hallway was Max’s.  Almost the exact same scene played out with his teacher.  His teacher said, “Oh, we’re so excited to have you and in fact, all the kids are fighting over who can have their locker next to yours.”  And then a swarm of five boys all come over to him and start patting his shoulders saying “Hi, Max! Hi, Max!”  I about burst into tears on the spot.  I kept praying in my head, ‘Lord, let me keep it together!’ This one boy had a giant smile and super red cheeks and said out loud to no one in particular, “Yes!  My locker is by him!”  It was like he was a movie star.  And in true Max fashion, he just stood there not saying a word and I could tell he was also shocked by it all, but then pretty soon I see his little grin and dimples appear.  For whatever reason, this was such a huge gift to me, specifically for him.  Immediately his heart started softening.

Then we went to Mya’s class and she might have the sweetest teacher I’ve ever met.  She also knew Mya’s name right away and had already put a sticker with her name on it on a locker for her.  Mya’s smile was huge the whole time we were in there.

After that, all three of their demeanors and countenance changed.  They started laughing and smiling and it was such a huge relief for all of us.  I could almost feel the weight lifting off of them.  The secretary was kind enough to let us tour the gym, the pool area, the art room and one of the recess areas.  They were so excited to learn they’d get to go swimming once a week. 

On our drive back home Max said, “That school is awesome!” 

I was so filled with gratitude and peace after we left the school.  It was in complete contrast to our drive to the school.  God proved to me that He had gone before us and He had, in fact, prepared this school for our kids.  He took all our worries and He completely came through for us.  I am relieved and in awe at His provision.  My prayer is that our kids will never forget how God came through for each of them and this will just be one of many experiences they have in learning that God is trustworthy and they are deeply loved by Him.  New adventures are new opportunities to trust God for more. 

This morning they were each so excited to get to school.  In our devotions this morning, we once again read the verse that we’ve been praying for almost three months.  Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  This time, we were able to recount all the ways that God answered this prayer for each one of them.




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