While I’d love to say my identity is secure in knowing that I am a child of God, I’d like to add an additional ‘life-applicable’ way I learned my identity as a Child of God. If any of you know me personally, you also know that I don’t like to wear my faith so obviously on my sleeve, so to speak. I prefer to show my faith, rather than speak about it. So, this is a different thing for me to share. A different thought pattern, perhaps a little ‘heavy’ for me, but one that as we approach a new stage of parenting, needs to be shared. (Also, I do not claim to be highly theological or even remotely knowledgeable on things of faith – this is simply my perspective, take it or leave it).
Our children, all 3 of our beauties, attended RCS since preschool. All 3 of them had a different Preschool and Kindergarten teacher. All 3 of them had the SAME 3rd and 6th and 8th grade teachers and school secretary! (YAY!) We’ve experienced 3 principals, 2 custodians, multiple bus-drivers, coaches, recess and hot lunch volunteers, and room-moms. The building has been the same for all three – same carpet, same lockers, same playground, same parking lot, same smelly trees surrounding the property (they are pretty, but man, do they stink!).
One thing that is also the same, and is probably the most important but most difficult for our children to understand, is that this is their beginning. This is their start, their home-base, their roots. This is where their identity as individuals, as human beings, really was kick-started. This is the place that called us to live out our faith in ways that, even as an adult, a parent, hadn’t been challenged. RCS not only developed 3 amazing children to be active participants in the Kingdom of God, but it unknowingly developed their parents.
For years we would seek to become parents whose children were “good” kids, children who did the right thing, got grades they deserved (especially when they actually did their homework and applied themselves – what a concept!!), and were able to think for themselves in situations both good and bad. We knew early on that we weren’t the parents who could do this alone, but with a village, an army, a collective group of people with a similar goal. My husband went to Christian schools for his entire education, including college. I went to Christian schools for all but two years of high school. We were raised similarly with similar values. We came from similar socioeconomic backgrounds, from similar churches, from similar parents.
So early on in our parenting, we drank the Christian-education Kool-Aid, so to speak. For years we did everything “right.” We showed up, we participated, we volunteered, we donated, we encouraged others, we were THERE. Yet, I still wasn’t ‘feeling’ it. We went through some struggles personally and financially and debated leaving this place, this home away from home. But, the kool-aid…it tasted so good and it was so unbelievably necessary to our lives at this point. Literally. We relied on this school, as adults, for our own personal reasons as much as our children did for their education.
Rarely, if ever, in your life will you be able to say, “everyone in that building wants what is absolutely best for me,” unless you’ve been a part of Rockford Christian. The staff, parents, students, and administration truly do want you to reflect and share God’s light everywhere you go. This is the place, this school, where you have been taught that, where you have learned the necessary tools to be that torch, where you have engaged in difficult and frustrating and annoying and lovely and happy conversation – all of which will take you one step closer to bringing the light of Jesus to someone who doesn’t have it.
My identity is not simply in how I look – my blueish green eyes, by blonde-ish silvery hair, my height or my weight. My identity lies not only in my simple DNA and if I have freckles and a funny laugh or a competitive spirit. My identity also lies in my community and those who have loved me when I was most unlovable. When I’ve made mistakes so big it seems hopeless (we all do this and, unfortunately, we continue to!). When I’ve questioned the way things have always been done because it doesn’t seem to make sense, those people in my community who have gently steered back to the deeper reasons for things make my identity stronger, more defined, more powerful to impact God’s creation. When I’ve been unsure, this community, the RCS community at large, has (mostly) loved me where I’m at and encouraged me to keep going.
Was it always easy? Absolutely not. Did we question God and his power and infinite wisdom? Often and regularly. But, here’s the takeaway, in the end, we were taught love and authenticity. We were taught that there is a love bigger than anything we could ever imagine that fully enfolded us in it’s tight embrace and has slowly released us into the world to share it with everyone we come into contact with. RCS and it’s amazing staff, parents, students, and administration will leave us with a bit of a void in our hearts. The world can be big and scary, but we’re prepared and we know that the door at RCS is ALWAYS open to us, no matter who is teaching preschool, who is the custodian, who is the principal, who is the secretary, or who is the 6th grade teacher. The children and families that enter these doors do not leave the same; their world view is broader and their ability to love goes so deep. Go and be the light, scatter joy, and be who God created you to be – one of his children, fully and completely loved, authentic and real.
“…but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” ~Ephesians 5:8