Intervention: 1 Interposition or interference of one state in the affairs of another 2 Action taken to divert a unit or force from its track, flight, path, or mission.
Many addicts need a carefully planned intervention by loving family and friends to realize they have a problem. Patients need a doctor to prescribe a course of physical therapy to nurse an injured body back to health. Our prescribed “family rehab” came from an intervention of another kind. You might even say a combination of several interventions over the course of almost two years.
Intervention #1: Life at home was hectic and we knew something had to change, we just didn’t know what. Our best friends and partners in ministry had just moved and looking at life without them seemed overwhelming and just plain sad. Then we found out we were having ANOTHER baby. Having a fourth baby was not in the plan, and timing of this surprise sure didn’t seem like the answer to stress and feelings of being overwhelmed! But, in hindsight, that little guy was the first of many interventions guiding us down a different path than what we envisioned for ourselves.
The little guy moved and shaked our comforts and expectations before he was even born. We had to move to a new house to make room. I personally had to put aside plans I had been making and personal goals I had been setting for the upcoming year. All three kids were going to either be in school or in Pre-school and I had been preparing for the two days a week I would soon have all to myself. Not anymore! That “intervention” was hard to accept. And I had no choice in the matter. God had decided for me that at least the next two years were once again devoted to changing diapers and settling cries.
Intervention #2: When we moved after the start of the school year, we moved to a new neighborhood not zoned for the girls’ school. We were given a courtesy transfer for the remainder of the year. At the time, the transition to a new neighborhood went rather smoothly because the girls stayed at their fabulous public school. I cannot praise the staff and teachers at Buda Elementary enough-especially, Helen’s first grade teacher, Laura Russian. Helen’s first grade year was a pivotal moment in her young life. I believe that because of Mrs. Russian, Helen is now set on a path for success.
Despite both of the girls having academic success during the year, homeschooling rose to the surface as a solution to our crazy home life. We were giving the best of our days to other people and the best hours of our kids’ days to other people. Evenings were tension filled due to fatigue and homework and baths and evening committments…it felt like chaos. And mornings were spent pleading with our children to wake from their coma-like state to hurry and eat and what soon became the most horrific part of the day: get Helen to wear socks with her tennis shoes. Then hurry off on our separate ways, only to come back together to repeat the cycle all over again. I know we were not the only family running this proverbial rat race. It’s not unique to our family exept that maybe we also struggled to have weekends also. Something had to change and homeschooling seemed to possibly be an answer.
However, I could not imagine actually spending all those hours inside the four walls of our house. I couldn’t fully take hold of an idea that seemed so overwhelming and brutal, again, already in the midst of overwhelming circumstances. We wavered back and forth constantly. Our thoughts about keeping the kids at home had less to do with “homeschool” and more to do with the health of our family. So in our moments of leaning towards public school for the next year, we knew something still had to change if it wasn’t school.
Because of our high respect for the teachers and staff at Buda Elementary and our indesisiveness, we scheduled a meeting with a few of them to help us find a solution. One had mentioned that our family had been through so many transitions over the past year, that maybe adding yet another change by homeschooling would not be wise. We took the advice to heart. Children function best in stable environments and perhaps keeping them at home would actually cause more harm than good due to yet another big family change. It was good advice- wise advice. That evening we finally felt resolve. The kids would stay at Buda Elementary and we would try to avoid change.
Literally, the next morning, we recieved a call from the vice-principal explaining that our courtesy transfer would not roll over to the next school year. INTERVENTION! We were decidedly pointed down one path and then Smack! Dead End. Now what? We visited the new school and it was great. We thought maybe this will work, even considered that this new school was maybe where God wanted us to serve and engage in community. But as I laid in bed for the next couple of weeks, I couldn’t sleep. I was sad. And I didn’t know why.
Intervention #3: Over the next month or so, God was at work on a final step of intervention. Much like the words spoken at a drug or alcohol intervention, He was speaking hard and convicting truths to my heart in love. Perhaps the first words of His hard message to me were, “Be thankful.” in particular, be thankful for the four children I have been blessed with. This new little baby was bringing the rest of the family together. All five of us were rallying around the newest little Goeke. What a blessing this “change” in our family was becoming! What joy I saw in our children when they caught a glimpse of his first smiles and heard his first little chuckles! Acknowledging how joy-filled a house full of little people can be was an eye opener. My calling was not to “get through” this stage of life with young children. My calling was to treasure it and thrive in it. Looking at my almost ten year old and my little 3 month old made me realize how true the cliche really is: It does go by fast. My love for my children had been renewed and the joy in my calling had been reissued. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 hit hard. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I have commanded you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” That verse speaks to an “all or nothing” mentality. You can’t do it half way or half-(fill in the blank). There are no “breaks” or “time off” in our walk of faith. Rest, yes, but not an abandoning of the call to serve self- which was the path of parenting that I had been headed down. I don’t think this Deuteronomy passage is soley for the homeschool family, nor does it mean only good parents homeschool. If anything, in my life it has meant that I lack the good parenting required to teach my children about the Lord and send them to school and fill my schedule with lots of other good things. I also believe this passage is not just for parents, but for every Jesus follower. Again, there are no “breaks” or “time off” in our walk of faith.
I also was impacted by a Gideon bible study by Priscilla Shirer. I was reminded how the Israelites failed to teach their children about their faithful God and how they missed opportunities for their children to experience for themselves God’s hand at work. I was reminded how it resulted in a generation in which “everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” When Priscilla pointed out that the Israelites went from an emphatic “YES, we will serve the Lord!”, to a faithless and rebellious people in the span of ONE generation, I felt even more a pressure on MY calling as a parent-not just for my children, but also for my grandchildren. I heard God’s next word to my heart- “NOW.” There was an urgency present that I had not felt before.
Further study about the “partial” obedience if the Israelites gave insight to my sleepless nights. It was like a lightbulb was switched on. I couldn’t sleep and I was sad because I felt like I was disobeying God. For me, these were the final words God needed to speak in my heart’s intervention…”OBEY ME.” This was the point in our intervention when all the interrupted plans and all the voices speaking into my life converged. It was an overwhelming compulsion- “Where do I sign? I’ll do it. I’ll go to rehab.”
Our decision to focus on God’s Word, our children, our marriage, and our mission as a family, isn’t about a failed school system. It isn’t a fear-based response to secular culture. It isn’t about giving our children specialized and personalized academic attention. It is an act of personal obedience. God may not be calling everybody to homeschool, and the purpose of this blog post is not to cause a “homeschool movement”. I think families in similar situations can find other solutions apart from homeschool and still fulfill God’s calling to parent. But, I guarantee God is calling each and everyone of us to recieve His mercy and grace and to walk in obedience- whatever that may look like. Surrendering all to listen to Him speak through His Word and the circumstances He throws in our path can lead us to His voice. He is calling us to soecific tasks and people. I would place money on Him moving and altering plans and putting people in all of our lives to set up a divine intervention. It’s an intervention of His love, plan, and purpose for us.
Let’s obey. Let’s take a risk and trust His calling. Let’s submit to His Intervention. It’s hard for the addict to submit to needing rehab. It’s hard not to throw up defenses at the point of intervention. But there is health and joy, goodness and mercy at the end of His treatment plan. He is a Wonderful Councelor and a Great Physician. Your ‘rehab’ most definitely looks different than mine, your ‘intervention’ is unique to your heart. Praise God for being a personal and loving god who seeks us out individually to His perfect love and calling.
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:20-21