Following the Spirit to Public School - Sarah Mae
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Following the Spirit to Public School

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. 

 John 3:8

My kids started public school a few weeks ago.

(I know, weird and surprising.)

To put this in perspective of the randomness and weirdness and unlikeliness of us putting our kids in public school, my husband reminded me that I told him that if I ever died to never put the kids in public school. (No pressure or anything). I don’t know why I was so adamant, but apparently I was. It’s all a blur now. All I know is that last month I found myself thinking about it all, and then I found myself driving to the district office for enrollment papers, and then I just casually filled them out “just in case” and all I can really say is, I guess the Spirit moved.

I’m not being silly. There is no way to explain why we all of a sudden put our kids in school. But we did, and we follow God and are in His will, so, so be it. We follow the Spirit even when we don’t know where He is going, or why this is happening. It’s all a faith walk.

Now a few things about the decision I want to share with you:

  1. It felt agonizing at first to even consider putting our kids in public school. I wrestled with feelings of failure and selfishness. I wondered, was I sacrificing my kids? Why was I even considering this?
  2. It felt, and feels, surreal. We’ve never considered public school, at least no since they were babies and my husband and I first discussed schooling options. We keep looking at each other and saying, “This is so weird.”
  3. I was so scared that my anxiety would keep me up at night if we put them in school and I begged God for peace if this was from Him.

Now let me dive into the things I just mentioned:

Am I a Selfish Failure?

Shame runs deep, and when you believe you are selfish and a failure, especially as a mom; it’s gutting. I kept telling a friend of mine, “Is this selfish? I just feel so selfish if I put my kids in school, because if they’re in school I’ll write, and I like writing and working, and that’s just selfish of me.” She said, “Is that selfish though?” And that question got me thinking. And thinking. And praying. No, it’s not selfish to put my kids in school and it’s not selfish to like working, because we are following God. Also, my husband thought the whole selfish thing was messed up. He said, “If you put the kids in school, don’t be a martyr about it, enjoy what God has next.” Yes. I like that. And it’s true.

I spoke with another friend over my questions and feelings and she reminded me, “God is good, and God is faithful, and God is gracious. Ultimately, it’s the Lord that goes before you and it’s Him who’s going to fight for your children. This is not law, and we don’t find our righteousness in how we school. Our righteousness is in Christ and in Christ alone. Nothing at all changes in who you are and how you are viewed by what you choose to do with your children and school. This is not a sin issue, a righteousness issue, and this is not a law issue. You are under grace. So be free.”

Basically, what I’m saying is, I’m not a selfish failure.

It is Weird

At first, it was super weird to not have the kids with me. I cried for two weeks and then I went to a doctor and got on anti-depressants. There is more to this story of course, but I can see now that having the kids with me all day was covering up something inside of me and God, in His kindness, was going to be peeling back the layers of my heart. Now that’s it has been a month that the kids have been in school, I can see more of why God led us the way He did.

Peace AND Joy

After I made the agonizing decision to put the kids in school, I got the peace. The peace came after the obedience, as it usually does. And not only do I have peace about the decision, I have joy. I feel grateful and joyful and confident in what the Lord is doing with our family.

“Not only is it to the Father’s glory that we get to bear fruit, but we actually get to find joy in it!” -Beth Moore

As an aside, some of you read this post on my depression, and I want you to know I’m doing well. The meds seem to be working and I’m feeling like myself again, light shining in the darkness.

God is so kind.

Love, SM


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  • Rebecca Peet

    Love this Sarah! Of course schooling is a personal, family decision and it’s also a decision that has to be led by the Spirit. He leads each family to different decisions. But, we chose public school 3 years ago and have been so blessed. Our kids have flourished, we get to daily be a light and be used by God to do some pretty amazing things in our community. And by we, I mean our kids, too. I love seeing Him use them at their school and with their friends. What an awesome way to learn their gifts! It has truly been life giving. I will pray the same for your sweet family.

  • Kristi Sollosi

    Girl!! We did the same thing, sending our kids to public school just a few weeks ago. It was the same thing: I never understood why I was sacrificing my martyrdom to homeschool them…but a crazy peace and excitement came with enrolling them. I’ve not gotten an answer as to why, but God’s been teaching me a lot..a LOT about obedience this year, and I’ve gotten a little better at it. Then I was reminded to enjoy each season with my kids. Thank you for your words.. you don’t know me, but God knew I needed the encouragement through your story!! xoxo

  • sarah higgins

    Sarah, we had to pull our daughter from a very small private school 3 years ago because my daughter had a learning disability and the private school could not deal with it. I fought tooth and nail to keep from putting her in public school, but told the Lord, “If you want her there, please give me peace and let her go to the school we have requested.” Her request went through immediately, and I was given such sweet peace. The situation that led to us pulling her from private school was one of the absolute worst situations of my adult life, and one I am still getting over, but her placement in public school led to a complete blossoming of her personality and academic life that never would have been possible if I had kept her in the safe, little environment I thought was best for her. God is so gracious and amazing. And now that I am going through a time of struggle with my 13 year old son, I can look back and see His hand so clearly in that other situation, that it allows me to know He will get us through this. Also remembering that nothing in education is permanent helps me a lot when I’m questioning our decisions. I can’t wait to hear what this year will bring for your children and you in this journey.

  • April

    I LOVE this Sarah Mae! Obeying the Lord always brings blessings! Our children are in public school as well, we prayed about it for a long time and the Lord has really blessed them there! We have met so many fellow believers! We get together every other week and pray for the school and teachers and do Bible Study together. All of us Moms reaching out to other Moms and seeing our children shine Christ’s light to those around them. It has been a true blessing from the Lord. Will pray for you and your children as well!

  • Vicky Bates

    Thanks for this. All of this. The “I’m never going to do this” to the picture of the bus stop. I did this last year, and 6 months of stressing and worrying ended with him getting on the bus, followed by an almost instant peace that this was the right decision for all involved. Now I’m starting down the same road with a different child, but this time, the peace is coming sooner. And thanks for emphasizing that we’re not failures. That was a big one for me. God can and will go before them, wherever He leads them.

  • Steff

    Perfect timing as always! Our babies are only 3 and 1, but we are in the process of enrolling them in school and early learning centers. Ohhhh the guilt I’ve felt the last two weeks! I’ve been a stay at home Mum since my first was born, so sending them off to care has all my emotions raging! Thank you for being so honest through you tough times – it helps more than you may know 🙂

  • Shelly Roy

    Ah Sarah Mae! I am right with you in this! I am a mom of 5 who has home schooled them all (my oldest is 28). Last year we found ourselves in the position of needing to put our youngest in public school while keeping our second youngest home. It was such an internal wrestle, and the blessings have far outweighed the angst! God is faithful, he walks us on paths and through places we never thought we’d go! Thank you for your transparency and honesty as you give us a glimpse into your walk with Him!

  • Brooke

    Hi Sarah, Thank you so much for sharing your life with all of us. A friend sent me to this page after we just enrolled our kids in public school… mid-quarter, mid-week and mid-stride in our homeschooling for the year. Thanks for being so honest about depression. I’m experiencing true anxiety for the first time as a result of this decision. Anxiety over whether or not my children are equipped academically to be in step with the common core curriculum in our state.Anxiety about how well they’ll do. ( We homeschooled like they were never going to public school.) Anxiety over losing control. Anxiety over the fact that all three of my kids left at once. Oh yes, and sadness. But I have to say that amidst the crazy, I am trusting that the Lord will work all things for our good. I am choosing to trust that He, the GIver of Life, is capable and willing to give my kids everything they need for every situation. The hard part for me is that much of it will be giving them what they need apart from me. So I pray and wait expectantly on the Lord.

  • DN

    This post was miraculous to read, because there are so few like it, and very brave because people will have judgments, no doubt. I have clinical depression and spent years treading water, trying to do work in therapy when my brain was not supported chemically. Only recently have I realized the necessity of the proper dose of medication, like we would take for any physical ailment. I was homeschooled myself, and have tried to homeschool my three boys, but homeschooling is actually more of a fit with my husband than me (we have a home business, so it’s possible for us to share the burden). I have recently, finally, given myself permission to step out of the homeschooling. It is still a question for us — (our youngest is in public school now, the older boys are homeschooled) — whether I will go back to school or work, or whether another of the kids will attend school. For some of us, home is not the place we need to be most of the time. And there is grace everywhere.

    • DN

      Wishing you all the very best, Sarah Mae!! And thank you, thank you for being brave and sharing this experience. Keep being honest, there are always people like me who will appreciate it.

  • Jen

    Wow, just wanted to share that I’m in the exact same season. 2 years ago we pulled our girls and homeschooled them for a year and a half. This past February my husband said to me, “I think it’s time to put the girls back in.” I had to accept that, which was hard. But, what I didn’t know was that God was opening up a door this past March for me to TEACH at our public high school where our boys attend (they’ve never been homeschooled). Yes, I’m a nurse teaching 2 dual credit classes to 13 seniors who want to go into the medical field. There is so much more to God’s story in my life. He put me there. Our girls are doing well. And we continue to be obedient to His plans. I sincerely hope my story encourages you.

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