Calming the Swirl

When I am anxious, overwhelmed, and chaotic it makes me feel as though my mind is swirling. I’ve mentioned it before (Why Do I Write) but when I have a decision to be made or there is a lot of unknown, or even just a lot of information to go through, my mind looks like the tornado from The Wizard of Oz. Everyone remembers that scene, right?

Dorothy runs around frantically, trying to grab Toto, pick up her suitcase, find her family. The wind is knocking her over and she can barely stand. Not knowing what else to do, she finally makes her way into her room. The window breaks loose and collides with her head. After she comes to, she peers out the window to see the house is no longer on the ground. The house with her and Toto inside has been swept up in the tornado. Through the open space where the window used to be, she sees various farm animals and people spinning around in the air: chickens, Aunt Em, a cow, two men in a boat, and then the cruel Ms. Gulch. The house spirals faster and faster as Dorothy shrieks and clutches Toto with one arm and the bed with the rest of her body. Everything is out of control and she doesn’t know what to do but to hold tight until it all stops with a thud. Dorothy cries out with a sudden, “Oh!” and looks around. After she realizes the house is no longer spinning, she gathers herself and her things and cautiously walks to the door.

When Dorothy opens the door, she is overwhelmed with color and vibrance, while pleasant, peaceful music tells us that this is a wonderful place. She’s landed. There’s no more swirling. The turbulent winds have dissipated and she is relieved to step into something so surprisingly magnificent and tranquil.

When indecision and uncertainty are combined with a superabundance of information, I feel like Dorothy in the twister. Choices flying by, too fast for me to grab, only for me to be knocked down and holding on for dear life. For Dorothy, she grips her dog and lies still until the tossing ceases. When I get this way, it usually means I need to sit down and write out my thoughts in prayer, or at least talk it out with someone.

Over the last couple of weeks, the situation causing me to swirl has been what to do about school. We knew the announcements would be made about what the next school year could look like for our district and what options we may have. When information was given, I was grabbing every bit of it that I could get my hands on. Articles, Facebook posts, what others had heard- all of it changing by the minute. I remained on this tumultuous ride for several days and was consumed by it, as I know many parents are. Realizing that the options I was given by our school were not going to meet the needs of our family, I opened myself up to the one choice I said I’d never do: homeschool.

I’ve never had anything against homeschooling and have always respected the families able to do it. However, it had never been a desire of mine to do it for our family, and we had never felt called to it. I wrestled with the grief of possibly losing our normal, of me losing time that I used for other things, of time at home alone with Lincoln… all this weighed heavily on my heart and mind.

It wasn’t until I thought I may lose the opportunity to join a homeschool group due to capacity, that I realized I had already made the decision. Stefan and I had talked it through and since I would be the one primarily executing this new way of life, he left the final say up to me.

Once I had a clearer picture of what homeschooling could look like for us, I felt more comfortable moving forward with a decision. Before I met with the homeschool director, I prayed for the Lord to confirm in my heart that this was the right step for our family. As we spoke, the Lord was faithful in letting me know that our lives could flourish here. Just because this decision was made due to chaotic circumstances does not mean that it was a wrong one.

We took the plunge and have chosen this path for our family this year. I know it is not the right choice for everyone but I can already tell that the Lord has many things to teach us through this new way of life.

I am excited, terrified, hopeful, and at peace. I feel like Dorothy looking into the world of full color. I am not sure what I am looking at or what it will hold, but it’s full of vibrance and possibility.

I know many families are struggling with less than desirable options. If you are still stuck in the tornado, I encourage you to take some time and talk it out with the Lord. Be honest. Tell Him your fears and worries. Ask Him to give you peace about whatever path you decide. Because regardless of the choice, God can teach us. He can draw us closer. School in person, virtual, homeschool- God can use any of it to grow us stronger in our faith.

No matter what it is causing you to swirl, cling to Jesus. Breathe. Know that He is still Sovereign no matter what school your kids are in or what job you take. Seek out Jesus, because no matter where He takes you, that is the place you want to be.

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 NLT

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