When the Calling Changes Your CourseBy Nikki Hurt
September 22, 2021
A little song rang out from our 5-year-old splashing away in the bathtub. Nearby, her twin stepped into the shower with his bucket of water toys. Our fourth grader was at the dining room table bemoaning her math assignment and anxiously awaiting for me to come and help her make sense of it, while our high schooler was in the kitchen, laptop opened, needing some guidance with her co-op assignment. Our sixth grader—the lone child in traditional school—had called a few moments before: He forgot his trumpet and could I bring it? The dishes were piled high in the sink from breakfast, joined by a few from last night’s dinner as well; the morning toys were still scattered throughout the main floor. I stood, staring down the vacuum, forlornly thinking, “I need to use that before tonight.” We would be hosting 20 adults and 28 kids from church. I heard my phone buzzing, saw it was my sister, and picked it up to say, “I don’t think I can do this anymore.”
Looking back, I believe that was the precise moment I fell off the ledge and finally acquiesced to the prompting by the Lord to end our homeschooling resolve. Eighteen months before, I had pledged that accepting the call to church-plant would not affect our daily rhythms. I was wrong. The call to plant most definitely affected our daily life. Yet, even here, the Lord in his kindness met me with one solid truth: the good He has promised us, extends to our children, including even this change, of course, “All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and His testimonies.” (Ps. 25:10) (emphasis added)
Let’s back up a bit. Sixteen years earlier, and not yet a mother, I began to research homeschooling as a potential option for the family we hoped to one day have. I fell in love with the lifestyle this choice provides, and as someone who loves learning, it was fitting for me to desire teaching my own children. I brought it up in discussion with my husband, Ben, who was not initially akin to the idea, and began to pray the Lord would change his heart. Shortly after our first baby girl was born, he looked into her precious eyes, felt the weight and responsibility of raising her in the Lord, and gave his full agreement.
Later on, as the Lord called us in and out of communities, we were delighted that she had this one thing as a bedrock of permanency in her young life. She may not have grown up on a familiar street with recognizable faces, but she had always been homeschooled throughout all of our moves. As the Lord added to our family, eventually four more children including a set of twins, they all followed suit. I loved praying over curriculum and choosing books. I adored learning together and the freedom that was given to our family. I cherished watching their sibling relationships thrive. There were difficult days for certain (those sibling relationships were not always thriving), but overall I was thankful for our choice to homeschool. When moving again to plant our church was first brought before me, I naively said to my husband, “I will follow you wherever you are called to go. The day-to-day for the kids and I won’t change much.”
Except now, nearly two years later, I was faced with admitting the truth—our day-to-day life had changed. Not only that, the kids had changed and their mother had as well. To be fair, I know several fellow church-planting wives who homeschool and are excelling. As I write this in the fall of 2021, with all four of our younger children enrolled in our local Christian school and our oldest rounding out her last two years at home with dual enrollment college courses, I do so open-handedly. Just as the Lord led us out of homeschooling, I reserve the right for Him to lead us back in along the way!
But for this season of time, I had to confess how overburdened I actually was. There were days upon days where I didn’t have a brain cell left to sit with the Lord, encourage my husband, plan lessons, give spelling tests, explain the math concept again, meet women for coffee, pray over needs within our body, prepare a devotional for a gathering, fill in the gap for a much-needed children’s director, play Skip-Bo with my twins, or simply be a daughter, a sister, a friend. We needed to make a change and the Lord graciously opened the door at a school we felt could work. I would still be filling many roles, and still desperately need the Lord’s help to do so, but I would also get some help in leading all those many lessons with our children and receive back some margin both in my time and mental capacity. The call to plant has changed our course. Yet, I agree with the Psalmist and say, “I believe I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Ps. 27:13)