September 7, 2009

Life Academy ~ The Conclusion

Okay, this will be an extra long one, but I wanna get to the conclusion. I left off with me and the children having to move out of my sister's house in Allentown by July 31st with no where to go. So I believed that the hope of the children being able to attend this particular school was dead because the school was in Allentown and we were moving away from there.

The logical place for us to go was with my mother and younger sister. But they were in a 2 bedroom apartment that was just the right size for them, but much too small for another adult and 4 children. I was tired of moving from place to place. I was tired of inconveniencing people. I didn't want to go, but my mom insisted that we come to stay with them. So we went but I felt so bad about it, because it was such a sacrifice for them to allow us to come in and disrupt their way of life, take up their bedrooms and breathing room, but they did it anyway. I felt like such a burden on everyone.

After being at my mom's for about a week, the kids and I went to visit a good friend that I met at the church we go to down here. She's such a sweet and kind person. She sent me out to have a pedicure and some peace and quiet while she and her daughter watched the kids for me. Then while we talked a little while after I returned, she invited us to come stay with her and her daughter. She said that her daughter asked her if we could come live with them after my 5 year old son showed her a picture he drew of "daddy giving mommy a black eye." It brought tears to her eyes.

So I told her I would strongly consider it, but that I had to talk to the kids first. I asked my daughter how she would feel, if it would be weird since she had just met them, and she said, "A little." So I suggested we have a sleepover and get to know them some more. By the next morning after our sleepover, all of the kids wanted to stay. So we accepted their invitation and the sleepover never came to an end. She has a wonderful home with lots of space - inside and out, and she lives in Allentown.

God had provided us with another place to live just like that. And God had brought us back to Allentown. It wasn't a happy accident or coincident, it was divine intervention.

Now I realized that being back here meant that it might be possible for the kids to still go to the school. It was already almost the second week in August and I would have to hurry to get their applications in. Being a physicians assistant, my friend was able to complete the physical for the children and I completed the applications and dropped them off at the school on Thursday August 14th.

I gave them a week to respond. I hadn't heard from them. So on Friday August 21st, I gave them a call. After waiting on hold for about 2 minutes, but what felt like forever, the nice young lady on the phone came back and told me that she was sorry, but that the classes were closed.

I was crushed. I so wanted my children to be in that environment for their schooling because I knew it would provide them with the kind of people and atmosphere that they needed to facilitate their healing and the renewing of their minds from the damage done by growing up with a violent father. I told the kids the bad news and they were sad about it.

Although I was told that the classes were closed, something inside of me was not comfortable with taking that answer and walking away. I felt that the fat lady hadn't sung, that it couldn't be over that easily. It ain't over until God says its over and something inside my spirit was telling me we hadn't come to the end just yet. So after being sad about it for a couple of days, I determined that I would go over to the school and talk to someone in person.

I had decided to go on the morning of Wednesday August 26th. As I got myself and the children ready, I felt my courage leaving me. I began to hear thoughts that said, "You're just gonna make a fool out of yourself. If you go, they're just going to tell you no in person. You're going to be embarrassed. No one's going to talk to you because you don't have an appointment."

So I dragged my heels and procrastinated leaving the house. I kept finding things to do or clean so that the time would tick away. Soon it was around 12:30 pm and I knew that if I were going to go, I couldn't let it get much later. I told myself, "OK. Just go and get it over with. I won't be able to live with myself if I don't even try. If I'm embarrassed, or they won't talk to me without an appointment or they say no, then so be it. But I have to at least try."  I loaded up the kids and drove to the school.

When I got there I went to the office and spoke to one of the women there and told her why I was there. I explained everything from the letter I had written to the school months ago, to us being back in Allentown. She told me to have a seat. So I waited. About 10-15 minutes later, another young lady came over and asked how could she help. I took a deep breath about to start the story all over again and told her, "Basically, I'm here to beg." I then repeated for her what I told the first woman. She told me to wait. So I waited.

She came back about 4-5 minutes later and said, "Okay. We can take the 2nd grader, but unfortunately we have absolutely no room for the kindergartner. We only have 1 kindergarten teacher because we had one leave earlier in the year." I was elated and disappointed simultaneously. I thanked her for accepting Justina. In my mind I was still reeling from the rejection of Solomon and scrambled to figure out a way I could still get him in. I offered her my services in the classroom as an assistant to help the teacher. She expressed appreciation for my offer, but explained that it was a long process and there was training involved.

Seeing the dismay on my face, she let me know that Solomon was at the top of the list. That if a spot opened up, then he would be in. She gave me some uniform pants for Justina, her list of supplies, and assured me again that Solomon was a priority should anything change. I gave her my sincerest thanks, and the kids and I left.

As we walked to the car I tried to figure out how to break the news to them: good news for Justina and bad news for Solomon. Solomon is the most emotionally sensitive out of all of them and he often feels that no one likes him and nothing every goes right for him. I felt this news would hit him in that same place ~ why Justina and not him. 

Then, I knew exactly how. This was yet another opportunity for them to witness God do a miracle in our lives.

Once we got in the car, I explained to them what was told to me. After I gave them that information, he was saddened. I never talked or looked sad and I immediately told them, "We are going to believe that God is going to get you in too. 
I don't believe God brought us back to Allentown and had them accept Justina after they told us no over the phone, just to not accept you. I believe God wants us to show Him our faith and that we believe He will still do it. So we will pray everyday about it and believe that He will get you in and you will start school on September 1st with Justina. But, if He doesn't get you in on September 1st, we are not going to give up, we will keep praying and keep believing. If you have to start school at Kernsville Elementary and go there for a few weeks or even a few months, we will keep believing God to get you into Life Academy. Okay?" 
They all said okay.

So we prayed everyday. My car broke down while school shopping 2 days later, August 28th. I couldn't believe it. What timing! Justina had to start school on the 1st, just 4 days away and I needed the car to drive her to and from school and it breaks down. I still had to finish her school shopping. My good friend who offered me her home, now offered me her car so that I could do what I needed to do until mine was repaired. I asked God how many tests did I need to take at one time???

The morning of Monday August 31st, my phone rings and a voice asked for Mrs. Trotter. I thought the mechanic was finally calling to let me know what was wrong with the car. But she told me she was calling from Life Academy, so I thought there was more information she was giving me about Justina.

Instead, this is what she said, "I was calling to let you know that a spot opened up for your kindergartner and he can start school tomorrow."

It took about a second for my brain to process what she had said and I can't even describe the feeling that went all through me. I was ecstatic, grateful, shocked, and filled with joy all at once. It took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. The first words out of my mouth were, "Praise God!!!" The next words were, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" She said I could come over to the school and look through several bags of uniforms they had and see if something could fit Solomon.

I bounded upstairs, found the children and asked them what had we been praying for? They said, "A place to live, to get the car fixed, for your job." I said, "Yes, yes, yes. But what else have we been praying for every night?" And Solomon said, "That I could get into Life Academy." I told him, "God answered our prayer. You start school tomorrow with Justina." The look on their faces was priceless. I reminded them that God does hear us and He answers our prayers. All we have to do is believe. We all hugged.

My friend had given me a pendant for my birthday, which was on August 23rd. It held a mustard seed in a small clear bubble and a larger silver circle was engraved with the word FAITH. When I showed it to the kids, I told them that this was all the faith Jesus was asking us to have, that it didn't have to be any bigger than that. But we can't have the tiniest bit of doubt or unbelief in it. That if we had that itty bitty amount of faith free of doubt, that God would move mountains, knock down walls and part the sea for us. (Matthew 17:20)

I use the things that are happening to us to show them how much God loves us, how He is taking care of us, and how He does the impossible for us. I open their eyes to the miracles God performs everyday that may not be visually as spectacular as the parting of the Red Sea, but is just as amazing because of the impact it has in our lives.

I don't want them to grow up with memories of what their father did to us and how difficult it made our lives. I want them to grow up remembering how much God did for us during the difficult time and how He never left us and had never forsaken us. I want them to grow up knowing in their hearts that it was God who saved us from the bondage, oppression and fear and took us through the wilderness and into our promised land, with miracle after miracle, just like He did for the children of Israel.

All we gotta do is believe.