I have struggled for years with the public school system and they have become progressively corrupt over the years. My eldest son is what the world calls a difficult child. He and his father have had an estranged and tumultuous relationship, even from the beginning. When you couple this relationship between father and son with the corruption that the school teaches, you get a VERY unhealthy relationship. It has broken my heart as a mother, and wife, for many years...
I think that for others to understand I have to start at the beginning. Like I've said the relationship between my husband and son, Billy, has never been a healthy one. Billy had really bad colic as a baby and he would cry every night for hours! Scott wasn't getting the sleep he needed and I grew more and more discouraged as a mother and a wife. I think this is where the relationship between father and son became strained. It didn't take too long after this to put a strain on our marriage as well. I couldn't understand why or how my husband could be so selfish and uncompassionate towards his own son...soon Billy started acting out because of the anger he felt from his father and probably my helplessness also. Due to the added stress from family members and friends I decided to go for help. I signed Billy up to see a counselor. The financial burden only added to the already high stress levels.
Billy had counseling sessions for a few months but nothing changed...I grew discouraged and stopped going. I couldn't afford to spend money on something that wasn't working, yet things continued to deteriorate at home. I was becoming desperate. The damage to my marriage was severe and the viciousness in the house unbearable. I filed for divorce. Six months later the divorce was final. I stayed in the house and my husband moved in with a friend. He pretty much stopped seeing his kids except once a week so I could get away to go grocery shopping. He would usually be angry when I got back because I took to long and he'd leave right away. I didn't understand him at all...I could not understand how someone could be filled with such anger, hatred, selfishness, etc... and how he could take it out on his sons with absolutely no guilt! I decided to take the kids and move to Tennessee, where my mother was living at the time. I thought it would help me to have some support and a chance to start anew. It didn't work that way...
The problems with Billy continued and even grew worse. I thought maybe it was because he didn't have any friends and wasn't able to socialize with any other children outside of his brother so I decided to put him in kindergarten early. I thought socializing would be good for him. The first day of school one of the boys ridiculed Billy for the coat he was wearing...he told him he looked fat...it was all down hill from there. Before long it was suggested that I get counseling for Billy. So again, I signed him up with a counselor. Again, months and weeks of counseling and nothing was changing. When the counselor suggested to me one day that the next time that my son has a fit in a store, to just walk out and leave him, I decided that was the last time I would see her! I couldn't believe it! Here I'd had Social Services already licking at my heals. how could it possibly be ok for me to leave my son in a store that could be full of sickos? How was that going to make him behave! That seemed outlandish to me and I wasn't going to listen to another word this woman had to say. We went home.
Well, before I'd divorced, my sister-in-law had begun to preach to me about Jesus...about how much He loved me, and how much He wanted to help me. I didn't want to hear at that time but out of kindness I would patiently listen and then go about my business like I hadn't heard a word... But now I started to think maybe there was something to all of this and I searched for a church in Tennessee. We started going every Sunday and then we added Wednesdays too. I cried and cried every time I went my heartstrings were being pulled on. Every week at the end of the service the pastor would offer the congregation a chance to give your life to Christ. Every week I felt like I should've but I didn't have the courage. My life continued to deteriorate all around me and there seemed to be no hope of anything ever getting better and turning around. Then one Sunday the pull became too strong to ignore and I gave my life to Christ and was baptized all at once. I realize now that I didn't have a clue at that time what I'd done but I knew that it had changed me forever!
I began to be more careful about what I was saying and I started to party/drink less. I bought a NIV bible and started to read it. I didn't understand a word but I was determined. I joined the choir at the church and became a member. It was all very strange and yet exhilarating! I was on a mission. I didn't understand what that was but I knew things were changing.
Things seem to level out for a while and Scott and I reestablished communications. He started calling the boys often and I could hear how much he missed them in his voice. so, I invited him down for Christmas. We had a wonderful time together. Scott started to ask if we would consider getting back together, I didn't want to go back there...I wasn't that same person anymore. Well, he continued to pursue and our relationship was getting better all the time. Then he told me that he'd given his life to Christ. I felt hopeful for the first time in a long time but I still didn't want to go back. Scott kept applying pressure. Then, the loan for the trailer addition I'd applied for fell through...then shortly after that I lost my job. For months I looked for a job and NOTHING! I was totally dependant on my mom and step-dad at the time and I couldn't stand it. Again, Scott asked if we'd come back. I was desperate for an answer! I cried out to God! What? What do you want me to do? I opened my bible and stuck down my finger...right on the portion of Deut. where they are talking about husbands and wives...and I asked Him, do you want me to go back? Immediately I felt him say yes. So I called Scott to tell him we were coming back.
We moved back to Michigan and for a while things went well. But Scott was dragging his feet on getting remarried...the longer he dragged his feet the more nervous I got. We were sharing the same house and bed although not sharing each others bodies, I knew I wasn't supposed to be living this way. We had started going to another church and had put Billy back in school to redo kindergarten. Things were difficult and I thought many times of running again, but I felt that God wanted me to be with Scott and I was determined to see things through. About a year later we finally got remarried...that's when things got shaky again. Scott started drinking heavily and I'm not so sure what else...
Billy started to act out again, due to the added pressures of school and before we knew it we were back in the principal's office again discussing Billy. Because the school pressured us we once again signed Billy up for counseling. Billy told the counselor about his father unbeknownst to me. The next day I took Billy to my sister's baby shower with me and while we were gone Social Services showed up on our doorstep. It was awful! Scott and I both felt betrayed...how could they do this? Scott also felt that I'd betrayed him! Needless to say, after the counselor betrayed my trust I never went back and of course things straightened out for a while but it didn't take long for the pressures to mount again. By this time I don't think either one of us understood why we'd gotten remarried, except for the fact that I still felt like that's what God wanted me to do and I wanted to be obedient to Him more than I wanted to run from the pain...
Well, year after year we've spent many long hours in meetings with Billy and the whole school entourage of principals, social workers and shrinks and had yet another event with Social Services. Yet also during these years I met David and started to follow his teachings. Instantly, my life began to change and things started to make sense and the bible came ALIVE! I was on fire for Jesus! I started reacting differently to life's' little, and constant, tragedies...I wasn't so easily shaken. However, I was becoming increasingly bitter and hateful of and towards the public school system.
Then a couple of weeks ago we had another incident at the school with Billy. He'd been obnoxious in the lunch room and got testy with the lunch room monitors and they decided Billy needed to spend the next few days outside in the hallway for lunch. I knew that it'd be only a matter of time before the school counselor called to set up an appointment to meet. Only this time I was determined to do things more God's way and less the worlds way... I knew I would have to go to a counselor again but I was determined to go to a Christian counselor at least. My sister-in-law had suggested the counselor that she and her husband were seeing. She said that the counselors prayed together in order that God should decide who would be best suited to counsel the client. I liked what I heard and meant to call but I was scared and didn't want to go through it all over again...but now I knew I didn't have a choice. I called right after Billy told me what had happened at school and made the appointment. Sure enough the next day the school counselor called and asked if he could speak to Billy, would I come in and sign a release so that he could talk to Billy. Well, having heard about the release that the school system would need in order to do this insanity test that Mr. Bush was trying to push through the schools this year that I wasn't willing to take the chance and I told the counselor that Billy was seeing someone else so I didn't want conflicting messages and therefore I wouldn't sign the release...we'd just leave things as they were. He wasn't happy with my response.
So we went to our first counseling session the very next day. I had to fill out gobs of paperwork, of course. Then I got to the consent form. I took one look at this form and panicked! I refused to sign the form until I could talk to the counselor in private. This form indicates that in cases of suspected abuse that they would have the right to waive any confidentiality rights and involve Social Services. I knew that according to the world what was going on between my husband and my son was a form of abuse! Yet at the same time I knew I couldn't get out of this without having a fight with Social Services, either way, they were going to get what they wanted! So I poured out my heart to the counselor and told him how according to the world some of what I was going to tell him would be perceived of the world as harsh but that I would uphold them and expected them, as Christians, to go according to what the Word says not what the world says! They assured me that nothing would be done without telling me first and assured me that they would do all that they could to keep our family intact. I had no choice but to accept what they said. The first session went fairly well and I sensed much mercy and compassion in the counselor which did a little to put me at ease. Then we discussed our faiths for a short time and he asked me if I was a part of a church and I said that I was a part of an online/home church and that I believed in the WHOLE GOSPEL! He asked what I meant by that...I said, well for instance, I believe that by His stripes we WERE healed. He said ok, I believe that too. Then two minutes later we were discussing some of Billy's symptoms, which I know as demonic oppression, and the counselor says to me...Well I see Billy hasn't been to see his doctor in over a year, maybe this would warrant you taking him in to be tested! I wanted to scream, didn't you hear what I just said!!!!!!!!!! I started to panic again to the point where I didn't trust myself to speak. I left out of there with a BAD taste in my mouth but I gave it over to God. I told Him that I would trust Him to be in control of this situation and to turn all of it to good as His Word says He will do.
The next day my youngest comes home from school with a note from the school. It turns out that he'd gotten in trouble for honking a teachers bicycle horn! I couldn't believe what I was hearing! How stupid was that! I was livid! When was the madness going to end! So I wrote a scathing response, immediately I started to feel convicted but I was still not willing to not send the note and I went to bed. The next morning my husband said to me, I found the note that you'd written to the school and I forbid you to send it! I agreed and rewrote the letter so it wasn't so angry and my husband ok'd this one so I sent it. Welp, the teacher didn't agree with me and I was pretty upset about it but I couldn't deny the voice speaking to me saying, It's not about how you feel, what would Jesus do? I felt convicted and repented. I realized that I'd spent all of my years as a mother running scared, terrified of what the schools would do, of Social Services taking away my kids, of what my husband would do if he knew just how deep my faith in God really was. Then I realized that I'd been talking the talk for years but I was not walking the walk. That in fact I was ashamed of the Christ in me because I was too busy being afraid of what everyone could do to me rather than trusting in what I knew, or said I knew, to be true in Him and His Word! I was humbled and brought low and repented.
I knew I had to change my mind and respond to my son's teacher with the love of Christ, not being ashamed anymore of who I was and what I believed. I heard the Holy Spirit ask me, Will you lay your children on the altar as a sacrifice unto your Lord? Will you trust me to provide a ram instead? I can't describe the terror that paralyzed me at that moment but I knew there was no other answer and quickly said YES, I WILL TRUST AND OBEY!
I asked the Holy Spirit to help me write yet another response to Mr. Stafford and I proceeded to pour out my heart to him about who I am in Christ and what he means to me. Here is what I said...
Dear Mr. Stafford;
Thank you for your response to my letter. Firstly, I would like to apologize and ask for your forgiveness as I realize now that I did not respond to you in love. I let the hurt that I felt enter into my response. I should have taken more time to reflect before I responded.
I also agree that children should be taught to respect other people's property. And I believe that they should be taught to obey the God ordained authority placed over them as well; such as parents, teachers, pastors, etc...
When I first became a parent I had such high expectations! I was sure that I would raise perfect children and have the perfect family, marriage and home. I can assure you none of which is a reality in my life...yet. I read all of the books floating around at the time about how to raise healthy, well-balanced kids....give them choices, blah-blah-blah and all that other liberal...stuff! Unfortunately, these very liberal books and teachings have empowered children in a way that they
were never meant to be empowered and has created changes in society and family's that were not meant to be and will have no good effect. There is only one book I ever needed...the bible. It is the only book that can give us what we need to survive and that can raise healthy, well-balanced children (in Him) of all ages! This is where the saying"... better late than never" comes in. Praise the Lord!
I am SO THANKFUL of the decision I made in 1998 to give my life to Christ. I have been a work in progress ever since...so have my children. I have come to understand what awesome gifts are humility, grace and mercy...unmerited gifts given to undeserving children, such as myself! We can, of ourselves, NEVER be good enough to receive these free gifts that He lavishes on us. Praise the Lord, He does not repay us according to our worth nor does He treat us as we deserve! Hallelujah!
Mr. Stafford, I have re-explained to TJ that what he did was wrong and in no way should I have excused what he did as simply out of curiosity. I suppose where curiosity could lead to great scientific breakthroughs and awesome discoveries...it more often than not, leads down paths better left untread.
It is VERY sad that things need to be guarded and protected so that we don't get hurt, or our valuables don't get hurt, but even more prevalent -- so the perpetrators don't hurt themselves while they're hurting others...assuaging their curiosity at our own expense! Thank you again for taking the time to respond to me. It has done much to help me understand that I was not thinking, nor speaking, according to the Word, nor was I being true to you or to who I have become in Him (who is Jesus). Again, I pray you will forgive me.
Sir, there is no good thing in us of ourselves, as the world exhibits daily. Here is how the Word (bible) describes these days and the people living in these times...
"But know this, that in these last days, grievous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, railers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, no lovers of good, traitors, headstrong, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof: from these also turn away. For of these are they that creep into houses, and take captive silly women laden with sins, led away by divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. And even as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also withstand the truth, men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further; for their folly shall be evident unto all men, as theirs also came to be". (2Timothy 3:1-9)...and"... But evil men and imposters shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived". (2Timothy 3:;13)
Sad, huh? But a picture of exactly what we are seeing in the world today... Yes, is it too bad that we need to take so many precautions to keep us and those around us and our things safe, but He IS our safety...in Him we are hidden in the palm of His hand...outside of Him there can only ever be death and destruction, loss of morals and loss of compassion towards Him who is good all the time. Without Him ruling and reigning in our hearts there can be no hope of a sunnier tomorrow. But my hope is firmly rooted in Him who created me and loves me. Him who has already won the victory of them who would try to destroy Him and those He loves by His sacrifice on the cross at Calvary. Whose atonement nailed every sin, sickness, and curse to the tree, and overcoming the powers of darkness, and even taking our pain and shame, that we, who have accepted Him as Lord and Savior, may have eternal life in Him! He who suffered at the hands of men, beaten beyond recognition, spit on, ridiculed, stripped and nailed to a tree...became sin (suffering in those moments that even His Father could not look at Him), that we may live. Praise the Lord!
Mr. Stafford, I haven't had much reason to have faith in the school system, and that may seem merited or not, it really doesn't matter -- because it's not about what I feel or think, or don't feel or think -- it's about what is good and right before my Father, and I failed. I realize now that I judged you unfairly and I pray you will forgive me. It's not about she did, he did, or who's right...it's about what my Father says is right. I have repented before my Father and am grateful that He is quick to forgive and remembers our sin no more when we repent. I am thankful for His mercies, which are new every day. My hope and prayer is that many more will come to know my Father as well. To understand the miracles wrought in His atonement on the Cross at Calvary.
In closing...what you have asked of TJ; the quiet room note and subsequent loss of a recess, even his dismissal from the safety squad, is a lesson in humility that is well received as it has done much to bring the both of us even closer to our Heavenly Father. Thank you. This is a testimony of my faith in Him who has called me and chosen me that I might do according to His will and purposes in my life.
God bless you,
Cheri B. Watson
I knew that sending this "teacher" this letter had the potential to completely change my life at the very least...but I was not going to turn back now. I would believe for my Father to protect and guide me no matter what happened. I read the letter to three of my friends and got two reports that caused me to doubt but I sent the letter anyway...I still felt that that was what the Lord wanted me to do so I sent it. Later that afternoon I had to meet my younger son at school for a presentation he was doing and I decided to call him out in the hallway to talk to him because while I was typing the letter to Mr. Stafford the school called to let me know that because of the situation with the bike horn that TJ would be removed from the Safety Squad as well. I was hurt and devastated for TJ but I knew that the Lord was testing me to see if I really meant what I was saying and doing. I told the woman in charge of the Safety Squad that I understood what she was doing and that the only thing that really makes me sad is that they weren't willing to forgive him and give him a second chance, but I assured her I understood and blessed her and said goodbye.
So I was out in the hallway talking to TJ and I was explaining to him that even as unfair as this whole thing was that it was for a purpose...to make us closer to Him that loves us. I explained to him that the anger and bitterness I'd judged the school and the teachers with was ugly, sin, and NOT OF GOD! I was not the judge, He was! I explained how I repented and how I'd written an apology letter to Mr. Stafford asking him to forgive me! I was in the process of explaining to him how God expects us to love our enemies and to repay evil with good...and how this experience did much to humble us and bring us back to God...that it was a difficult lesson to learn but that it was all good...I was telling TJ all of this when someone came up from behind me and put their arms around my shoulders...and I heard...Thank you for your email...We're on the same page. I looked up and it was Mr. Stafford and he turned back to me as he was walking away and we both thanked each other. I began to sob. What a testimony! I was able to turn to my son and say to him.. Do you see what God can do when we humble ourselves and trust Him? My son was greatly humbled too. I was elated, however, the story doesn't end here.
The next day I started a bible study called "Believing God" with the girlfriend who had the day before given me a bad report regarding the letter I was sending to Mr. Stafford. She had asked me if I was sure that God wanted me to say all of that to Mr. Stafford and doubted whether or not God would really want me to put my family at such risk, given all that was going on. Did I know for that God was telling me to do this or was someone else suggesting to me that I needed to do these things. I told her that I had prayed before I wrote the letter and that the Holy Spirit had never led me wrong in this yet and that I was sure that this is what God was telling me to do, however, I did feel some doubt, but I sent the letter anyway.
So...I got to her house early to pick her up and I told her what had happened....she looked at me and said I am glad that I was wrong and we left to go to the bible study. These studies start out with very powerful video's...she is a very gifted speaker. One of the first things she said was how we needed to start believing that God is who He says He is and that we are who He says we are...that we needed to stop just Talking the Talk but also start Walking the Walk. Right when she said that my friend turned to look at me and I knew I'd just received an enormous confirmation! God is so good! Praise you Father! It really is time to pick up our cross and carry it! Thank you Jesus! I know that this is the first baby step of many but I am now confident in Him who has called me! It's not about me it's all about Him. I will no longer be ashamed of Him or who I am in Him. I will not turn back! My next test is this evening. Billy has his next counseling session. I will not be afraid. I will trust Him! Praise the Lord!