Two years ago when we moved to Panama, we thought we knew what some of the big markers of life would be. We knew which house we'd chosen. We had a pretty good idea what church to attend. And, we were beyond confident about which school we wanted- Balboa Academy.
Within just a few months of living in Panama, we made the decision to apply at the school attached to our church. We applied to Crossroads, and we were immediately told there was no way Carson would be able to attend because his class was "closed." We went ahead with the process, and we were told that Camilla's class was also "closed." Chloe, if she passed the entrance exams, would have a spot.
At 5:00 the night before we were to be at the school at 8:00am, I got a call from the secretary letting us know that spots had opened up in Camilla and Carson's classes. If they passed the exams, they would be able to attend. We received word a few days later that all 3 children had spots waiting for them at both CCA and Balboa.
We prayed over the decision for days. We talked to friends back in the US. We questioned virtual strangers in Panama. We wanted to make the right decision. Finally, on a Sunday morning while I was in the shower getting ready for church, we made our choice with confidence. On Monday, we let CCA know that our kids would be there in the fall. The kids were thrilled. Well, some of them, but to be honest, I don't remember who wanted which school.
The 2011-2012 school year had its ups and downs. It was different, a transition, and transitions rarely go completely smoothly. So it was for us. Throughout it all, I understood this is where my kids were supposed to be. They made amazing friendships. We met amazing people. Chloe got to have Miss Spencer in her life. (You all should stop and pray right now that the Lord would give you a Miss Spencer in your child's life.) All of the kids' teachers were amazing. I never doubted that those teachers loved my children, and there is no better feeling as a parent.
As the 2012-2013 school year began, something happened to our peace. Well, mostly to my peace. I began seeking God asking Him for confidence in this decision we'd made. Around the same time, I began tutoring two children. I loved the teaching, but the time commitment was taking away from my ability to serve my own family. Again, I sought Jesus, and He cleared up very quickly that I needed to be completely available to my family. I resigned as a tutor. It was a painful decision, but one that I knew had to happen. I felt so much peace that I was finally going to be able to be at all the kids plays and games and events and functions and productions and and and.
With my new found peace, I plowed through the end of the first semester of school. I knew what God desired of me- service and availability to my family- but something seemed a little off still. More seeking. One answer- control. Lots more questions. What did I control? What should I control? What did I need to let go of? What was mine to pickup? The thoughts, without clear answers, swirled through my brain, and my frustration with Jesus' apparent silence grew.
By Wednesday night, December 19, I was about done waiting for Jesus to speak. As I laid in bed, the prayers turning into complaints began pouring out of my head. A diatribe of frustration to the One who created me in the first place. Ugg on me, but because He is merciful, He did speak. "Be still and know." "Really, Jesus? That's what you have for me. Kind of trite, you know." "Be still and know." He must have said it 10 times before I shut up and heard it. Really, really heard. "Before anything can move forward, I need you to chill out and trust Me. Kinda hard to work when someone is constantly telling You that You aren't." "Ok, Jesus, good point." I supernaturally chilled for a moment and fell asleep.
Then, the next day, which happened to be 2 days before we left for our Christmas cruise, the Lord brought Tony into the conversation. I hadn't been intentionally leaving him out of the dialogue. I just thought it was something that Jesus and I needed to work through. Apparently, Tony and Jesus had been having a dialogue of their own. We watched a movie on Thursday night, and when it was over, Tony leaned up against the wall. (Tony always thinks with his back to a wall- literally.) Because it's not my right to share his thoughts, I'm not going to go into what he and Jesus had been hashing out. Tony and I talked for a bit, and then I headed to the shower. (Yes, much of the important dialogue in our house happens while I'm in the shower. That might mean I spend too much time showering.)
Tony came in and told me the bottom line to his pondering and conversations, "Lisa, we need to pull the kids and homeschool them." I could not have been any more surprised. "What? When?" "Now. Right now." "In the middle of the school year? Are you sure?" "Yes, I'm sure we need to pull them, No, I'm not sure of now." *lather, rinse, repeat* "Um, okay."
I have no idea how late that conversation lasted, how many tears were shed, or what exactly was said. What I do remember is that all the swirling and discontent in my soul stopped. Instantly. Part of the amazingness of our cruise was the total peace within me. I didn't feel out of control anymore. Jesus had already told me that my job, my purpose, was to serve my family. Jesus told Tony the other part- I was going to be homeschooling them.
We made the decision over the next few weeks to allow them to finish up this school year. I felt strongly that they needed that in the name of closure. We did tell them about our decision. You know that open dialogue is important to me. Sometimes they're supportive. Sometimes they aren't. That's ok. Kids don't have to have all the answers.
We also made the decision that we weren't telling anyone until the school knew, and we felt it important to let the school know during re-enrollment. Well, re-enrollment is here, the school knows, and now so do all of you.
Some of you will be tickled and thrilled for us. Thanks, we appreciate your support. Others will think this is the worst idea ever. That's okay, too. We will still be friends and family. What I do ask from everyone is for prayer. As with any transition (like I said 350 words ago), there are going to be rough patches. Will you pray for all of us as we make this transition? Thanks.
Announcement over. :)