I'm not even completely sure how we got here. Wasn't it just last week that I was kissing her and sending her off to her first day of school?
Left- first day Right-last day
My Momma-heart is sad because this milestone means she's growing up...and happy because we have made so many amazing memories this year! Of course she learned phonics and how to read. She learned the typical things like addition and subtraction. But I think our family learned so much more than that this year. We learned that God is so much bigger than we ever knew. We learned that He loves our girl and provides for her better than we can fathom.
God knew what our year would hold when we had no clue.
God knew exactly what our girl would need this year.
We were questioned on our decision to send her to public school. We were surrounded by people who homeschool their children and we seriously considered that but never felt at peace about it. While we were nervous to relinquish complete control of our daughter's influences, daily interactions, and education (because, let's be honest, up until this point we controlled basically everything she did, saw and learned) we had to trust that God knew what he was doing. He gave us peace. He told us to send her. He told us to release her into His capable hands. And guys...He blew us away.
She wasn't supposed to go to the school she ended up going to. When we went to the board office to fill out transfer paper work they told us "that school didn't accept any kindergarten transfers last year". They said we wouldn't know if she was accepted until the first day of school. And we got her acceptance letter in JUNE. And I read it and cried. We went to visit the school during the summer and her awesome principal said, "what's strange is that Eliyah's transfer is the only one that came through as 'accepted'...every other form says 'pending first day of school'." Those two instances solidified in our minds that God was in this. He was leading. He was providing.
And as we look back over this year we see His hand all over it.
This lady right here has been absolutely amazing! She was made to teach. Her energy and passion for what she does is contagious and as a trained teacher it blesses my soul...but as a momma it brings me to tears.
You see, she did more than just teach Eliyah to read. She did more than provide a fun environment to learn. She loved those students and she loved my girl.
Most of you know we had a hard Fall/Winter with deaths of loved ones, a child who spent time in the hospital here as well as multiple appointments at Cincinnati Children's, and there were other draining and difficult things. Looking back there were many days as a momma that I was drained. I was tired physically. I was a wreck emotionally. I was desperate for Jesus. In the moment I didn't see all these things....but in hindsight I see all of that and the fact that God filled in the gaps for me. Those days I was drained and couldn't give my babies everything they needed, God showed up and made up for what I lacked. For Eliyah, He did this through her teacher.
She loved my girl while she was away from me. She protected her fiercely. She poured her heart into her. And for all of that, I am eternally grateful. God knew Eliyah would need a little extra from someone outside of our family this year. And so He gave her some amazing teachers.
Today I told her that she was a gift to our family this year. And that's an understatement.
Over the years we have heard a lot of talk about the negatives of the public school system.
This year we experienced the opposite of everything we've heard.
We hear about faith being taken out of the public schools, but you know what I saw lived out in real life this year? The gospel. "Love your neighbor as yourself"--Its alive and well within the public school.
We went in to this year with a vision to love and serve the people we came in contact with. To love like Jesus. Isn't it funny that when you think you are going to be the one "ministering" to someone else, they end up ministering right back to you? Its the upside-down kingdom of Jesus and our family experienced it this year--interestingly enough not in the church but in the school.
Say what you will about public school...say what you will about our education choices. God is in the schools through the hearts and lives of teachers who choose to show up every day and love their students.
Today as I watched teachers and students say "see ya next year!" or "good-bye", so many students and teachers had eyes full of tears. These teachers poured their hearts into those students and those are the things that rarely make the news. Those daily moments of commitment and love aren't the things you see on a public platform. But they are things that are changing lives and families.
Teachers--thank you isn't nearly enough. But thank you for your love and service to our children! You are seen and deeply appreciated! We love you!