Yesterday, some friends and I were talking about how hard it is raising children in today’s world. As mothers, we all worry about our children. Will they make the right decisions, meet the right people, find the right job, make it to school or work and back safely, be safe at school or work, survive to be an adult, a parent, a grandparent. It’s a constant state of worry. Worry like that can be crippling, immobilizing, even life-threatening. So what’s a mother to do?
We all came to the same conclusion. It’s not a perfect one, but it’s all we can do. We have to hope for the best, put our trust in God, and love our children fiercely every day. We can’t lock our children in a tower (that never works in Fairy Tales), and we can’t live our lives in constant fear, nor do we want to teach our children to live their lives in constant fear. We want them and ourselves actually LIVING! So we have no other choice but to teach them right and wrong, instill in them a solid set of values and morals, and pray for them every day.
Looking back, every single bad decision I’ve ever made in my life, whether as a child, a teen, or an adult, was made out of fear. What if they don’t like me? What if he won’t love me? What if I don’t do that, say that, try that? The question was always based in fear, and the decision was always disastrous, if not then, than later down the road. However, every decision I ever made with confidence that it was the right thing to do, was made with complete trust – trust in friends, my loved ones, my husband, God. And those decisions have never come back to haunt me.
Years ago, Ken and I were at a crossroads in our lives. Our children were attending a school that they hated. I had to forcibly put Katie on the bus every day and jump off as the bus driver closed the door while Katie cried and pounded on the windows. She was eight years old, not a young child, and the knowledge that she was so unhappy was heart-breaking. It was my first year staying at home and attempting to become a published author when Ken decided to leave his job. The position had created so much stress for him that I feared for his health, but what would we do? After a few months, our small savings was almost gone and we had three children to feed. While we were talking over the situation one night, my husband had the craziest idea, and I mean crazy. He said to me, “You’ve always wanted them in Catholic school, so maybe it’s time.” I looked at him like he had lost his mind. “We have no money, no jobs, and no way of knowing what our future holds, but you want to put all three girls into a private school thirty minutes from our home?” He said yes. But how?
We went to the school the very next day and talked over our situation with the principal. She had known us for years from church and was thrilled that we wanted the girls there. She was willing to take our applications and hold spots for them until we figured out what we were going to do. It was March, so we had several months before school started, but we needed a plan, or even a sign. When and how would we know what was the right decision? We talked some more and decided that the best route to take was the one shown to us by God. Ken had several interviews set up, so we said to God, “It’s all in your hands.” If Ken was offered a job with a salary the same or lower than what he was making at his previous job, the girls would stay put, and we would somehow find a way to manage the situation. If, however, Ken was making anything at all above his last salary, we would take that proverbial leap of faith.
I will never forget the day the call came. It was May, school was almost out, our applications were on hold, and the girls were wondering where they would be that fall. I was hanging clothes on the line in the backyard. Drying inside the house was expensive and hot, so the air conditioning stayed off, and the clothes hung outside. I had thrown our portable phone in the basket and had to dig through the wet clothes to find it when it started ringing. “Call the school,” Ken announced with joy. I was stunned. He was in Boston, on his way to the airport after a job interview, and I had been waiting to hear how it went. “They offered me my dream job. We can stay in Maryland, and I can work at home.” “And?” I asked. “And the pay is what I was making plus to the penny, to the penny,” he emphasized, “exactly what we need to pay the tuition.” I was overjoyed. I couldn’t wait to tell the girls the good news.
We’ve been at Saints Peter and Paul for almost ten years now. Rebecca graduated with honors and went on to a wonderful college. Katie and Morgan have many friends and are receiving an outstanding education. But even more important is that they are all happy. Correction, we are all happy. Who knows what would have happened if we had not taken that leap of faith and trusted in God. “Be not afraid,” appears more times than any other phrase in the Bible. The message is simple. Whether or not we hear it can make all the difference in the world.
Amy Schisler is the author of two mystery / suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks. Amy’s newest mystery, Picture Me, was released in August of 2015 and is available in stores and online. Her children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad, may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.