helping our kids when life is hard

Posted by Carrie Flener on

Hi!  I’m Christina and am 33 (#sameageasjesus ?) I married my high school sweetheart…we’ve been a couple for 18 years…and I can honestly say he’s still my favorite person in the world. We have four children and one very old and funny chocolate lab. I enjoy good music, traveling, exploring, reading, strong coffee and sweets.


I always knew parenting would be tough.  I expected sleepless nights…tantrums…the occasional injury…but I was soooooo unaware of the little things that would be a struggle.

As parents we know each child is different… so each struggle is different.  With four children, I have faced quite a few obstacles. One of the biggest obstacles that I never saw coming was with my oldest child.

When it came time to send her to school…I just thought I would send her and that would be the end of it. I was wrong. Very, very wrong. I never thought I would stress out about WHERE?? to send her to school…private school? home school? public school? Montessori school?…the choices literally felt endless.

I prayed long and hard about homeschooling. And by “long and hard” I mean I threw a temper tantrum to God. I really wanted to homeschool her…but as I prayed…I felt over and over and over again the answer was a solid and strong NO! I knew my reasons were selfish…and more importantly, I knew it wasn’t the season of life.

Off to public school I sent her. Truth-be-told, I felt like I was feeding her to the wolves.

She started the kindergarten year off fantastic…and then came Christmas. It was game over. She suddenly felt like she was being served a prison sentence when she had to go to school and everyone else got to stay home.  After Christmas break, she decided she never wanted to go back to school.ever.again.

It was very rough trying to get her through to the end of the school year. We would highlight days off of school on the calendar. We would set up a countdown to spring break and we may or may not have even allowed a couple skip days here and there.

I chalked it up as kindergarten jitters…first year at school…she didn’t go to preschool…blah blah blah blah blah.

Summer came — it was lovely and wonderful. I assumed the worst was behind us. Then August rolled around…nightly stomachaches started… not wanting to go to bed at night started… and the crying started.

Not only was she not happy about going to school, but she realized none of her friends from the previous year were in her class and every single night (around bedtime) she would cry and cry and beg us to not make her go back.

The funny thing is she was a great student…a great learner…she’s usually teachers pet…and she’s very likable by her class classmates.  She just did not want to be there. If I’m being totally honest, I can confess that I wanted nothing more than to grab her and hug her and tell her you never have to go back to that awful place ever ever ever again. {Side note: I actually really love her school. ?}

I tossed around the idea of homeschooling again.  Spending time in prayer, I really felt like God placed on my heart — Is this what you want for her? Just to quit when things get hard? What kind of life lesson is that? My reply was…Ummm one she won’t remember??? Kidding…kidding…sort of… I told you I like to throw temper tantrums to God.

God’s reply :  You can’t be there with her every moment of her life.  You have to teach her to stand on her own two feet, to cling to me, to find her worth in Jesus, and to find her strength in Me.

So that’s what I did. I pointed her to Jesus.  Every morning I sat down and prayed with my six-year-old and I asked God to give her peace…to give her comfort…to help her feel happy while she was away.  I prayed privately to God to not allow a spirit of depression to come over her. My husband and I armed her with scripture and assured her that even if mom and dad weren’t with her that God was. Grandparents and loved ones prayed with her and talked with her…all encouraging her…telling her how much they loved her.  { I mean it takes a village…right???}

It was not an easy journey. It was just as hard on me, if not harder, then it was on her. Because the bottom line is our children are not ours to keep. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’d like to keep them little forever.

Every day got a little easier. Eventually she stopped crying before school.  She still wasn’t happy, but she stopped crying. This wasn’t fixed over night…it was a process.  But, she finally got there.

Today she is a happy fourth grader who looks forward to going to school. She is involved in choir, is in leadership programs, and flourishes in academics.

Romans 8:28 28

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

ALL THINGS — even the tough stuff.  Looking back, I’m so thankful that this trial took place when she was still under my wings and I had the tools to teach her to rely on God.  This is a huge life lesson that she’ll take with her when she goes to junior high or off to college or even later on when she gets married and has children of her own.

So remember — in every situation council, encourage, and pray for your children.  Point them to Jesus every chance you get. Teach them that God is always with them and they never have to feel alone.

Isaiah 41:10 (CEBA)

Don’t fear, because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand.

 

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