By Lydia Will

I sat across from the smiling administrator, trying my best to keep my voice from catching as I tried to explain myself. Who I was, where I’d been and why this was so, so hard for me. At my feet, my two little ones played with a box of toys she had brought in to distract them. In the next room, 5 of my kids sat at a conference table, heads bent over school placement tests.

It was December when I started what would become the steady climb up the mountain to face my own personal zipline. After being homeschooled my entire life and homeschooling my own kids from the very first day of kindergarten for my oldest all the way to 8th grade, it had become obvious. For me, for them, for us as a whole – it was time to try something different. To say I was scared is an understatement. For most parents, sending their child off to school that first day is anything but easy, even if they had been through traditional school themselves. For me, it felt like stepping off a cliff of everything that I had known.

Still, we began the process. And oh, I struggled. Fought it. With every snag, I declared I had made a huge mistake, despite the fact that the snags were few and far between and, looking back, everything was going much better than I could have possibly anticipated. Fear shackled me. Weak and alone, I thrashed endlessly against the unknown, feeling like an outsider; an alien. But, one day, something changed.

Lauren called me.

Like an answer to prayer, my friend with a similar background and heart to my own showed up in my life and came alongside me in this particular challenge. She listened to my fears and gently poured empathy over me, prayed for me, texted encouragement. Through this woman with her own family and obligations and worries, Jesus spoke comfort to my heart. And gradually, one day at a time, something remarkable happened. My fears melted away. Confidence bloomed where awkwardness had been. Into my heart flowed the peace that I had been so desperately longing for.

As this story unfolded, I learned – a personal relationship with Jesus isn’t necessarily a solitary one. As Lauren wrapped me in much needed friendship and understanding, I communed with the living God.

Jesus weaves his story of love and victory through the weakness of the people who bear his image. When we open ourselves up in humble vulnerability, it is His strength that makes its home in us, in ways and through people we might have never anticipated. Real life weakness leads to real life community. When we walk through life together, Christ’s victory over human brokenness is on display. He works in and with and through us all, sanctifying our daily struggles and pain and sending his light through our fractured and splintered souls to touch the lives of those around us.

There are still days that I doubt and struggle and wrestle with the decisions I have made, but I can see how God has used these past few months to grow, challenge and draw me closer to Him. When I was weak, He was all knowing, all powerful, all love.

All victory.