Today, it happened. I dropped my son off at the local elementary school for his first day of preschool. The popular question around my social media sites was “When did he get so big?” I shake my head wondering the same thing.
So many things were on my mind and rumbling in my heart that I tossed and turned last night after an already long weekend. So, I had to combat everything in my head, turn my heart to the truth of God’s Word, and enjoy the moment with our sweet preschooler.
One of the first thoughts that entered my head week’s ago when we knew this schooling thing might become a reality was guilt. I’m sure every mom in the world knows what I’m talking about. Why are you sending your son to preschool? Why can’t you keep him at home and teach him yourself? Why do you need time to yourself? Why haven’t you taught him enough that he isn’t behind?
Another thought in my heart was fear of man. What will his teacher think of him? Will he be cute enough or well-disciplined enough? Will they see through my “I’m a great mom with it all together” facade? Will they think I don’t know how to parent at all? Will they wonder why he is so delayed and blame it all on me and my lack of parenting skills?
One more thought was fear for my son’s life. With so much going on in our country with school shootings, here I was sending my three year old away from me into a school setting for 4 hours each day. I wasn’t going to be there to protect him if he fell and skinned his knee, was intimidated by the other students, or if something happened that put the school in danger. And also his emotional life.
The last experience was tears of both joy and sadness. As we were holding hands walking into the school, we were singing the “let’s go to preschool” song – a totally made up jingle. I couldn’t sing it by the time we got to the sidewalk because I was choking back tears. And as I sat in my car after dropping him off, I felt the weight of emptiness. Here I was sitting in a car that could hold 7 and it was only me. Granted we only have two children, but now I had an empty car seat.
So, how did I make it through the last couple of weeks and how did I survive the morning?
Here is the truth that I preached to myself (and had sweet, amazing, gospel-centered friends around me to preach the gospel to me too):
- Sending your children to preschool should bring no guilt with it. God gave my husband and I wisdom to know what to do in regards to our son’s education. We want him to get the help that he needs and this is the avenue we’ve been given. Schooling is a personal choice that each parent needs to make. It is not a biblical mandate to either homeschool or send to preschool or not. God gives each wisdom when we ask for it. He will instruct us. James 1:5 says that He will give it to us graciously if we are lacking and ask. And if we are in Christ – we can’t face condemnation from God. We are completely made whole in Christ! We need to rest in that!
- Fear of man is one of the hardest battles I face on a daily basis. Proverbs 29:25 says the danger of living in the fear of man. It proves that our help is trusting in the Lord. Man can do nothing to me. All that matters is that I’m obedient to Christ, that I raise my children in the fear and trust of the Lord, and that my mister and I are on the same page. We are both walking with the Lord, trusting in Him as we tackle this parenting thing together, are far from perfect at it, seek help when we need it, and are growing in our wisdom.
- Working in the area of family ministry, I am familiar with the term helicopter parenting. Those parents who over-watch their kids and spend their days hovering over them to make sure they see everything they do. One of the reasons for helicopter parenting is fear: fear that if they take their eyes off their children for just one second something will happen. I am not the sovereign over my child’s life. I do not write his story. I didn’t even know the day that he was going to be born, and I certainly don’t know the day that he will leave this earth. One of the verses that has been most helpful in our lives right now is found in Acts 17:24-27 – how God made everything, is in control of everything, and He is the one who writes our stories. God is a perfect story-writer. This is such a comfort to me.
- Joy and sadness are so common in parenting. We are excited and joyful when our children are born, when they take their first steps, when they (hopefully) accept Christ as their Savior, when they walk down the aisle to their lifelong mate. There is sadness when they get hurt, when they disobey (sometimes repeatedly), when they make unwise decisions, when (sometimes) they reject Christ, when they walk in sin. Due to the sin in this world, sadness is a given in parenting. I once read something that said the pain in childbearing doesn’t end in childbirth, but mothers often feel pain in raising their children. Joy is found in the Lord and we can believe Psalm 86:11 knowing that God is both a sun and shield for our children.
Let us rejoice, as Christian mommas, that even though each new adventure and season that we embark on with our children is hard, it is also part of the journey that God has written. It is good story for His glory – and He has promised to walk ahead of us, leading us as a Gentle Shepherd.