Choices – part 2

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To start at the beginning of this series click here.
Over the next year we gradually fell behind on bills, but we never quit trusting God. We would say it over and over to each other and to our friends and family – “We’re trusting God. He will provide.” All the while, we continued to search in the direction we wanted and still did things our way, only stopping to ask for His approval and blessing. We had given several more things over to God, but we still were not FULLY trusting God. We just wanted His blessing on our choices. We fell back into what was comfortable – what was easy. Until one day, we found ourselves at a HUGE crossroads. You see, after having Mister Bull we decided that I would not go back on birth control because of what it did to me and my moods. I felt better not taking it so, we used alternative contraception. In March 2008, we discovered that I was VERY allergic to certain types of latex and it caused severe convulsions and reactions, thus ending the use of our chosen contraception. We decided to trust God and allow Him to decide when we would have another child. Well, it was pretty quick! We were pregnant with child #2 by the end of April. We were most uncertain of our life and job situation at that time, but we knew this precious gift was from God and He would take care of it and us. So, in February 2009 we welcomed baby boy #2, Tucker Isaac, into our family. During my pregnancy, I began faithfully watching the TLC show “18 Kids and Counting.” I fell in love with the Duggar family. They were fascinating and amazing to me. I watched as they raised 18 kids in front of me. I wanted to know more!! Why did they have so many kids? What made them keep having them? What were their “religious” beliefs? How did that affect their lifestyle? I couldn’t quit asking questions until I found the answers. I began researching and reading about this unique lifestyle. I found that there is an entire movement devoted to this lifestyle and I was fascinated to say the least. I read all I could read about it, I checked the facts with the Bible and then I showed my husband what I had found. He checked the references in the Bible and we both concluded the same thing…they were right!!
(Check out this website: to find out more about what I read.)
I love the verse they quoted “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5 (NASB).
We prayed and prayed for God’s leading and direction in this new knowledge. The more we prayed about it, the more it made sense to us. Why wouldn’t we trust God with our family size? We are called in no uncertain terms to trust Him with EVERYTHING in our lives and of our lives. So, why have we, Americans – Western culture – decided that family size is the one thing we absolutely will NOT give up to God? When did we decide that God had no say in the matter? If we as Christians truly believe God is the giver of life – All life – then, why have we taken it upon ourselves to tell Him when we want life? That’s exactly what I felt we were doing when we took birth control or used other forms of contraception. We were telling God, “Okay, now is good for us, so let’s have a baby.” Or “Our life is just too busy right now, so we’ll wait until it settles down, then we’ll have a baby.” Since when did God give us anything that was convenient?! He is not a God of convenience – He is a God of Life, truth, freedom and blessings!! Why are denying Him the very things that make Him God – the ONE we serve? I couldn’t get those thoughts out of my head and it just kept weighing heavier and heavier on my heart. So, finally I talked to my husband and he saw my point of view. He prayed about it himself and after much prayer and reading God’s word, we felt this is what God wanted us to hear and learn. We believed that this is the road God wanted for our family – allow Him to decide the number of kids we have and when. Believe me when I say, this was NOT an easy decision. My husband was barely making enough to meet our monthly needs. Why had God placed this on our hearts NOW? Well, that’s easy enough to answer – because that’s when we look to Him most! When we’re in need. He used that opportunity to teach us what He wanted us to know. WOW!! We felt a complete peace that is really indescribable and yet, overwhelmed at the possibilities of our future. Could I really raise 10 kids? Could we really afford 12 kids? What about physically? I have c-sections, are 8 c-sections safe? All these thoughts were swirling in my head so much that it hurt! Then, I remember hearing that still small voice saying, “Trust me! Rely on me! You will NOT be alone. I am here!” WOW!!! Again, I was calmed by my Lord and Savior. My refuge. My God.
Another journey that started around the same time we came to this revelation was the topic of Homeschool. Now, I had several friends in high school and college that were homeschooled, but that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge on the subject. I knew what it entailed, but was so looking forward to the day that I could “ship” my kids off to school and I would have some “me time”. But, the subject of homeschool kept coming up in my thoughts and in conversations I had. So, I decided to do some research about it and entertain the thought of homeschooling – at least our oldest. Mister Bull was enrolled in our church preschool and loving it, so I was not ready or willing to take him away from that environment. Besides, he was thriving in his knowledge of letters, numbers, colors, shapes – all the basics. He enjoyed school and I enjoyed “my” time with a new little one at home. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking…“how could I possibly teach one child while I’m nursing and caring for another? That would NEVER work.” Then, I read some excerpts from the Duggar’s book and realized she’d done it for 20 years. If she could do it, there must be some easy tricks and ways to work school around the babies schedule or vice versa. So, I again embarked on a mission of research. This time I took my time to pray and read all I could about the subject. In fact, I took months. I was still undecided whether or not my kids would attend public school for their education – after all, my husband and I are products of the public school and we survived. So I decided to weigh the pros and cons of both public school and home school.
Here’s what I found:
Public School Pros
Public School Cons
HomeSchool Pros
HomeSchool Cons
Variety of activities (foreign languages, gym, art, choir, orchestra, etc.)
LARGE classroom
Small classroom
Fewer activities
Lots of socialization
unchristian socialization – bad language, etc.
Christian based teaching & language
Limited socialization daily – might miss friends
Regimented schedule
Regimented schedule – little to no leeway for those who might need it
Freedom w/ daily & school schedule – easier to have family days when Dad’s off
“Me” time when school is in session
Limited or no 1-on-1 teacher/student time
As much 1-on-1 teacher/student time as needed
Biblical principles taught throughout the lessons
We have the say in what our children learn & how
As you can see, the Homeschool pros far outweighed the Public school pros. And the public school cons FAR outweighed the homeschool cons. (NOTE: These are just my findings and opinions. These are not meant to sway your opinions or bad-mouth public school. I think public school is a necessity for some people. I’m a product of public school and I completely enjoyed my school experience. This chart is just to show you how I evaluated our decision.) There were several other factors that led to our decision to homeschool, but they came later. For now, I will continue on in the timeline of our year.
So, February 2009 we welcomed our 2nd child into the family. We were thrilled that his delivery went off without a hitch! My recovery was much smoother and quicker than with Mister Bull. I felt great! Our life continued on as we knew it until one day in April my husband was informed about a church looking for a part-time worship minister. He inquired about it and they were interested in talking to him. Shortly after their initial conversation, they offered him a trial to come down & visit the church and lead worship. He did and they loved him. He felt at “home”. They asked him to come down a second Sunday and lead again then they would vote. He did and they voted him in.
So, May 2009 led us to our 2nd part-time ministry position. Due to the newness of our baby and some obligations I had at our church in BA, I did not join him until June. When I did, I was welcomed with open arms. I immediately joined him side-by-side in his ministry by playing piano for the contemporary service. I enjoyed it immensely!! I really felt God had called us there and I was comfortable playing on stage – a first for me. We were happy. We knew this was probably not where we would be forever, but we were happy in the now. And just like that WHAM! It happened again, we were under attack. My husband had been working a relief shift during the day at a convenience store chain, but now they wanted to switch him back to overnights. This meant he would be working Friday overnight thru Tuesday overnight (11p-8a). This also meant a change in Sunday morning routine for us, since the first service at our church started at 8:30am in a town 45 minutes away! So, he got special permission from his manager and made arrangements to leave work 1 hour early (7am) so he could come home, change clothes and we could get in the car and leave for church. Believe me when I say that first Sunday (Aug. 30, 2009) was more than difficult! But, we made it and we made it work. We were tired and I was exhausted, but it was okay, because we were exactly where we felt God wanted us so it was worth the sacrifice. Then, October came around and we found out we were expecting baby #3!!! I knew we were being tested. Our world was spinning out of control, but were we still willing to trust and follow God anywhere,  through anything?
To be continued…
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Annette has been married to her husband and best friend since 2003. Together they are raising their six children to follow the Lord’s will, no matter what. Annette longs for the day when she will meet all her angel babies who have entered heaven before her. She enjoys creating fun and engaging printables, unit studies and curriculum for homeschool families. You can follow her crazy life at In All You Do where she blogs about marriage, parenting, and homeschooling all while maintaining her sanity. She is also the owner of Thrifty Homeschoolers, where she shares free printables and resources from around the web as well as deals on curriculum and homeschooling resources. You can also keep up with her via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
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