We bought Cami a new backpack today.
Why does a homeschooler need a backpack?
Because we started back to Bible study this week.
We’ve tried to attend the weekly women’s Bible study since we joined our church seven years ago. Some years, Cami connected with the child-care workers and found a niche where she was if not understood, at least accepted. Other years, as Cami entered elementary school and the number of homeschool students attending Bible study with their moms increased, one weekday morning used up all of her coping energy for the entire week. The discomfort progressed to where we spent Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays preparing for—and Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays recovering from—Tuesday morning Bible study.
So we did what I’ve always done when Cami encounters too much input: we stayed home. While it may feel like a defeatist attitude sometimes, the reality is that home is safe. Home is consistent. Home is known. Meltdowns at home don’t last as long as meltdowns in public.
Or maybe it’s just that at home, she can take as long as she needs to decompress and she won’t feel rushed or abandoned. We can retreat to our separate corners, and no one is watching with judgment or misunderstanding.
Yet every semester when the list of Bible study classes is published, I’ve prayed, “Now, Lord? Is it time to go back yet?” I used to think women’s Bible study was a “should”: we’re a Christian family, so we should go to vacation Bible school every summer; we should participate in the church’s homeschool co-op group. We should attend women’s Bible study every semester.
I think God has finally straightened out my heart on this issue. He isn’t a God of “shoulds.” He is a God Who marks out specific paths for each of us (Hebrews 12:1), a God Who has already recorded every one of our days in His Book (Psalm 139:16). He is a God Who created Cami exactly like He wants her to be—and me, also (Psalm 139:13-18). He made me to need community, and that’s been a hard thing to come by. But He hasn’t abandoned me or left me community-less. This Chosen Families blog is absolute evidence that He knows what I need, and He faithfully provides what I need (2 Peter 1:3; Jude 24-25).
This semester, when I looked over the Bible study class list, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me as He whispered, “There, Candi. That one.” So I registered. And we went. Cami packed her old backpack—the one I bought her the night before she started public school kindergarten, the apple-green kid-sized one with the side pockets and rip on the inside, the one too small to hold her art kit and her sketch pad and all the books she’s reading—and we set our alarms to wake up extra early.
On Tuesday morning, I couldn’t help it: I snuck a peek through the window to see how Cami was doing. It broke my heart to see her sitting by herself, with no one around her, with her back to the rest of the room, reading her library book. I guess I thought she’d make friends quickly. Or hoped, anyway. As I joined the line of women down the hall waiting to purchase their books, I said to the friend I was standing with, “What am I thinking? Maybe I shouldn’t even buy a book. Maybe this won’t work at all.”
It was my friend’s voice, but God’s heart that encouraged me. “Give her some time. Every transition takes some adjustment time. Maybe that’s all she needs is time to adjust. Maybe that’s what you need, too.”
I bought the book for the class. I believe God called me back to weekly women’s Bible study not for the study part as much as for the community part. I choose to be obedient. It might be awkward at times, and it’s already uncomfortable. I can participate in women’s Bible study this semester—finish my weekly homework, share openly and authentically in my small group, and keep Cami’s schoolwork on track while helping her heart feel free to make friends—only with Jesus’ power and anointing. Cami’s having a new backpack can only help, right?
Here we go.
Resting in God’s faithful provision,