Joining the Club

I have lots of friends who home-school; most out of necessity overseas in locations without other options, but many who do so out of conviction or preference or a combination of it all. Many of my friends thrive home-schooling, and some struggle. Home-school...Lots of reasons--lots of reactions--lots of opinions.

I never wanted to go there. In fact, by the second day of my first child's KG--when she had no desire to let me show her how to make a capital letter A, I knew that if I ever tried to home-school my children, one of us wouldn't survive; jury was still out on which of us would succumb first, but there was no doubt that one would.

When we answered the call to come overseas, we made sure it was a location that had a good schooling option for the children. One that did not involve me being mom and teacher.

Does that sound like I was putting limits on God???

That's exactly what I was doing. So 3 years later, after being challenged by David Platt's Radical Together, we "put it all on the alter," including home-schooling, and thought God might be leading us to serve deeper, in rural Mozambique. Where we would home-school. I was terrified, and at peace at the same time. And then, in what to this day feels like God providing the ram stuck in the bushes, we were asked to move to Nairobi instead. Where there is a great school.

Ahhhhhh. Trust in the Lord and He will provide the desires of your heart. He knows your abilities and your talents and will never give you more than you can bear. Let go and let God. "I know the plans I have for you...plans to give you a hope and a future." And every other true-but-not-always-the-way-we-think platitude that has ever been cross-stitched or embroidered or turned into a bumper sticker.

I'm guessing you're tracking with me that there's more to the story...

So here we are, in Nairobi Kenya, city of 4+ million and shopping malls and movie theaters and schools. Not in rural Mozambique, 12-hrs away from the nearest fuel station.

And our beloved child is struggling at school. Struggling enough that the anxiety of school makes him vomit several times a week. Struggling enough that his grades each week range from 100% to 0% depending on his ability to focus that day. Struggling enough that his teacher had to move him to the back of the class just to be able to cope with him being in the classroom. Struggling enough that one day, he curled up inside his cubby before school started and hid for 90 minutes, rather than face the day. And no, they don't have giant cubbies. They have normal, small square cubbies and he went fetal inside one for 90 minutes.

The school has tried a 504 plan to help, and it hasn't helped. Legally, ideally...sure. The school should be able to accommodate him. But in the process, our son is suffering, and I can't watch it happen any longer.

So with lots of talk, lots of prayer, and lots of wise counsel from numerous sources, we're about to join the Home-school Club. And the irony is not lost on me...the "ram" of Nairobi--what I thought was letting me off of my promise to do whatever God asked me to do--is calling that promise due.

But here's the thing. I love my son. I love my job too, and I'm going to have to make some changes in it, going to have to let some things go. I'm going to have to say goodbye to the gym for now, and I love the gym. I love my flexible time between 7:30 and 4:30 when they're in school. But I love my son.

I believe that God has given us...all of us...some irrevocable callings. I'm a follower of Jesus, and that's irrevocable. A wife and a mother, and those are irrevocable. I live a missional, surrendered life, and that's irrevocable. But the rest????

I'm a medical coordinator, and I love my job. I live in Kenya, and I love that on most days. We plan on living here for a good long time. But my job could change. He could tell us to move. Because I'm not called to live forever and ever in Nairobi doing this job. It's not irrevocable. It's time-limited. God's time for sure, but limited none-the-less.

But protecting my son and his fragile heart and even more fragile sense of worth? Irrevocable. I'm called to do that until the day I take my last breath.

So...home-schooling might cause me to take my last breath sooner than I had anticipated. No, I know I'm being overly-dramatic. But no, really. It might. I'm a little terrified at times.

But the thing is, all those earlier platitudes are, in fact, truer than true. They do not mean God gives us whatever we want. Or that God makes life easy for those He loves. Or that if you stick with God you'll be healthy, wealthy, and wise. But they do mean God is Sovereign. So I will choose to let go and let God. I will choose to believe that He has a plan for my son's life that involves hope. I will choose to rest in the fact that God won't give me more than I can bear, because with Him, I can bear anything.

And He's ready for me to call those promises due.


  1. Oh, my dear friends, what a TRUE, REAL, HONEST love you are giving Ethan. And he will KNOW IT, too, as you walk this road. Please know I will pray for you. And know that school, ie, learning is much more flexible than you may think...although he also probably needs some structure :) You are walking a road many have walked, some in fear, others with excitement, but it also takes faith! Faith that God called you to parent, gave you this son, for HIS purposes, in His great plans. Giving up your rights is exactly what is called for, but I believe with all my heart He will restore, heal, nurture, and grow all of you in this time. Hugs...and if you ever need to vent...find me! I DO remember...

  2. Sometimes our greatest fears are those we have made for ourselves. Now that you have committed to this plan, I know it will go smoothly for you. God's grace is sufficient for the task. And as a word of caution to Ethan and Anya, DONT WRITE IN ANY BOOKS! You probably already know that, but we don't want to set your mom off for no reason. Haha

  3. Not sure it published before, but just wanted to say I think you and Chad are taking the wisest and most loving course. That dear boy is so worth it! May God constantly refill you as you pour yourself out. Miss your family.


    Scharlie Carlisle


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