Does Jesus Care About a School? (Part 2)

Pioneer Christian Academy (see Does Jesus Care About a School?) is closing at the end of this school year. After being open for 39 years, it’s over. It’s the school my husband graduated from, and the school he’s been the headmaster of for the last two years. It’s where my own children have felt at home and have made good friends, and it’s the school I now work at due to default (the 5th grade teacher quitting in early December).

But Pioneer’s closing is a done deal. We prayed for God’s will, and this is it. Sometimes, it’s hard to see the greater good in it all, but I know that Abba is in control, He loves each one of us, and He is good. So this is good, even though at times it doesn’t feel like it. I’m not going to lie and say it’s been easy because it hasn’t. In fact, it’s been downright hard and ugly at times. And there are times when I just want to bang my head against the wall in frustration…frustration that there’s nothing anyone can do about all this…

It’s been painful having to watch my co-workers, who have become my friends try to find other jobs when there’s a shortage of teaching jobs and to watch my students be sad about not seeing each other anymore. This has been the school where some of them have been since kindergarten…It’s not easy for them to walk away and have to find another school and new friends where they might not feel as loved and accepted. There’s just a lot of uncertainty and instability for everyone right now. We, too, have no idea what the next thing is for our family either. But I’m clinging to the fact that Abba is still in all this…and some moments that’s all I’ve got.

A couple months ago, Jeff and I both woke up mad…angry that we had to deal with all the stuff that’s involved in a school closing. There are so many emotions…just wanting to be done with it all and then just wanting to hang on just a little while longer but then in the very next breath just wanting it to be over already…it makes me crazy at times.

But on this particular morning, Jeff and I went around and around about how difficult this has been. I went from trying to be supportive to wanting to chuck my hairdryer across the room (not at him, just against the wall, and I really wasn’t angry at him…I was just frustrated about the seemingly stupid situation I’m in.) And then I proceeded to tell Jeff, “I quit. I cannot deal with this any longer.” I put my jeans on and threw myself down on the bed. Jeff told me that I couldn’t abandon my students and started listing off the names of the kids in my class…I thought that his calling out the names of the kids in my class was a pretty low-down dirty trick, but it worked because I began picturing their faces…those kids who have been through so much in the last couple of years…such legalism and then such freedom… and now the loss of a place where they finally feel loved and accepted…and that some see as a haven.

After my temper tantrum, I agreed to go back to school but was still very much struggling to get a grip. After Jeff left our bedroom, I began to cry. I stood at the ironing board in my room and cried to Abba, sobbing out loud, “I can’t hear you anymore. I just can’t hear you over there, at that place.” And He said to me very, very clearly, “Take care of My sheep.”

So I finished getting ready and went in to school and did as I was told. I took care of His sheep for one more day. And that’s what I’ve been doing. But some days are just really hard…I can’t help but feel like we’re on our own version of the Titanic…one that’s been in the process of sinking for a long, long time. Most days, Jeff prefers to see Pioneer closing as a launching pad…where each one of us is being launched off in a different direction…to other places to be the hands and feet of Jesus to other people. And that’s a great way to look at it, but most days it still really feels like the Titanic to me.

I guess one of the hard things is that there have been some who have already left…parents, students, staff…, and it feels sometimes like those who have left have taken the lifeboats and the lifejackets and have left us to keep pitching water at the bottom of the ship, which is pretty hopeless at this point, and everyone knows it.

As some have left and said their goodbyes, I have had the crazy urge to cling to their legs like a little kid who won’t let go of his mom, the kid whose arms have to be pried from around her legs. I can sometimes picture myself as that little kid, wailing, “Please don’t go. Please don’t leave us. It’s not fair.” But on the other hand, I feel a little giddy for them because they got out…they got out in one piece, and I may not…well, at least it feels that way at times.

And I know it’s what Abba wants them to do, but I still can’t help but feel gut-punched at times…abandoned even. But this is what I’m supposed to do…It’s what I’ve been clearly told to do…”Take care of His sheep”…so that’s it …that’s all I can do. And I look around at the faces in my class, and I know it’s where I’m supposed to be. I have to see this thing through…finish it out. A friend of ours says that sometimes it’s necessary to “hold the hand of a dying ministry.” So, I guess in essence that’s what we’re all really doing.

As I was lamenting to a friend about being in the bottom of the Titanic bailing water, she said, “Oh no, you’re not bailing water…you’re the musicians…you’re playing the music.” So, for those of us who are left, for those who have stayed on board…we’re the musicians, playing the music as the ship goes down…making sure everyone doesn’t panic…helping quiet the terror that rages within when change happens…playing the music that lifts the soul and takes a person beyond what their present circumstances are…helping everyone see the beauty around them…helping everyone hear the voice of God…”Peace…Peace be to you.”


6 Responses to “Does Jesus Care About a School? (Part 2)”

  1. 1 Tessa
    May 8, 2009 at 5:30 am

    I see it this way: When someone you love is dying, you don’t just walk away. Yeah, it hurts that they’re leaving. It hurts that the safeness that you had in that person is gone, but you don’t walk away. That time is when you take the most care of a person. When that person was healthy, you just took shelter in them. You relied on them, rather than them relying on you. But when they’re dying, you have swap roles. You have to feed that person, give them medicine, pray for them. And once they die, THEN you walk away. But not until then.

    At least, that’s how I see it.

  2. 2 LeeAnne
    May 9, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Hey Kim: I know exactly, well not from the teacher point of view but from the student’s point of view, how this feels! I didn’t realize the wounds were still there, even slightly, until I read your heart for this place, your friends and these students. The school I went to in Florida for my 10th and 11th grade closed on us after we’d all bought our class rings and begged/pleaded with them in a meeting to remain open. It was so sad! There was a time of mourning and then we each moved on in our own directions. That was hard! It was a Christian ACE school and the church voted not to reopen my Sr. year.
    It turned out better than I’d thought it would but this was a school that I felt had “rescued” me when the previous one treated me so unfairly simply because of my looks – teeth problems. They actually had the nerve to be “honest” with my dad. Any way, back to your subject…..it’s so almost positively impossible to see any good at this point I know, but it can come from even this! Our God is so much bigger than this and believe me, this past year, Scott and I have had to have it slammed in our face numerous times so we end up back in the “total surrender and have faith” position! You guys are in our prayers. Please keep us posted and stay in touch! We love you all!

  3. 3 Mara
    May 17, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    My heart goes out to you in Christian love. My life has been filled with death losses of close family members and a recent family situation that is as bad as a death. I pray God will bring you all through this horrid time and clearly show you the path that he is setting before you. Oh, what you have described is so heart wrenching, the students, the parents, the teacher, on and on and you and Jeff. Press on, the ship will sail altho the sails are tattered. Go through the grief phases, there is no other way to the other side of this hurricane and cry when you need to. Prayers will go up earnestly for all of you. In Christl

  4. 4 cinwaldrop
    May 18, 2009 at 5:23 am

    Ah, my dear friend. You’re such a fighter, such an idealist. I can relate. I am too. The image of you & Jeff as the musicians is mournfully beautifully correct. I have met no other couple who posesses the ability to create a peaceful, loving and accepting community wherever you stand as you two do. These authentic feelings and actions are what all the people you’ve come into contact with over the past years will carry with them and attempt to emulate to others. I know. I, in my infantile way, have and still do. God’s blessings surround you, Kim. I’m lifting prayers to you so that you may hear God’s voice above your own fear and frustration, above the chaos and through the grief. Much love to you, Kim, and your beautiful family.

  5. May 19, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    I have been pondering some great comment like the above three, but alas, I am still at a loss for words.

    I have been through two different company shut downs. It was a sad thing to see people loosing their jobs and others who you had faught to save, bail out early because they were scared.

    I know this is different and much harder… the kids….

    You are in my prayers.

  6. 6 Sue Houghton
    October 17, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Interestingly I have been in the same position.
    In October 2005 God impressed upon my heart to the point that I felt compelled to take on the role of Head Teacher at a small Christian school in Bristol UK.
    It was certainly His will; the school was facing probable closure and I knew that I had come to take it on or Close it. I wasnt sure which but I had to give it my best shot.
    I did give it my best but 9 months later it closed.
    Remarkable things happened. Through the location of the school and contacts I had made several of the parents went on to homeschooling and this is now proving more successful for their families than sending their children to school.
    Our school was in the back of a Jamaican Pentecostal church and so we became known in that community. I had also taught at the prison in Bristol and so knew several Jamaicans from their time inside. I now homeschool my own daughter which has blessed our relationship and also school several children of ex-inmates.
    God has provided me a free teaching room and taken me to some of the most needy children in the city – who just drop in whenever they see me in.
    I could never imagine how he would guide my steps and I still dont know why it had to be like this but his ways are not my ways.
    You may need to rest away but let Him lead you by still waters.
    He needs workers so dont worry – you’ll soon be used in other ways!
    You will be amazed to see how he works all things for the good of those who love Him and he has a special place for children. He will lead you to those that need you.
    Which reminds me I’m off to teach in Jamaica next year….

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