The Light of Eternal Agape 東京アンテオケ教会

The Light of Eternal Agape 東京アンテオケ教会 header image 2

This happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life

To Those Who Have a Problem of a Child’s School Refusal @en

This post is also available in: Japanese Portuguese (Brazil)

“I don’t want to go to school,” my son said to me one day, which was the beginning of the long-time battle of us, parent and child.  I wanted to have my son go to school somehow, and sometimes I came to grips with him....
One day, when I poured out all my heart and prayed, blaming myself, God gave me a word of promise.

“I’m home!”  My son who was in the second year of junior high school came home from school. He just dropped his bag at the entrance, took off his school uniform and left there.  I said to him at the top of my voice, “Bring your bag to your room, and put your school uniform on hangers!”  This is such a familiar scene of everyday life, but it brings me a great joy.  For, he had gone through three years and half of suffering of not being able to go to school.

Today I’d like to share with you many things God showed me through my son’s school refusal.
“I Don’t Want To Go To School.”

In April 2003, our family moved to Tokyo, leaving Hokkaido where we had been born and raised, fully convinced of the Lord’s leading upon many confirmations.  When my husband moved to Tokyo, he was appointed as a pastor by grace at the same time, and our life in Tokyo started with passion for serving the Lord and the church.

My younger son went to a Christian kindergarten near by and my elder son who was the third grader went to an elementary school which was only two minutes’ walk away from home.  I was so excited to think that I could devote time to things about God while my children were away in school.  (Since I had lived with my mother-in-law until then, I simply was glad to have some time all by myself.)  However, such a life filled with hope and without troubles didn’t last longer than 10 days.

One morning, a week after my son started school, when I woke him up, he said, “I don’t want to school.”  “Is anything wrong with you?” I asked him, but he just repeated the same thing.  On the previous day, he told me he had been a bit nervous, but his classmate came to pick him up and went to school together happily.

I thought that he was just transferred to a new school and put in a new environment, and that it couldn’t be helped that he didn’t feel like going to school once in a while.  I didn’t compel him to go that day, and I, anyway, gave thanks in this situation to the Lord.

However, the same thing happened the next day.  From this day on, our parent-child long battle began.  At the same time, I really needed to pass this period of time.  That’s because I learned first-hand praying, listening and obeying God, giving thanks, and abiding in the church, which all had been taught in the church. 

Stage One – It Was Unacceptable

I’ve divided up this training period of time into three stages.
On the first stage, I couldn’t accept my son and his situation.  I took it for granted that children went to school, and I couldn’t accept a situation of a child not going to school and, most of all, my son not going to school.  In the beginning of this difficult time, I intended to drag him to school.  In the morning when he woke up, I was desperate to make him go to school.  I sometimes tried to persuade him, shouted a stream of abuse at him, and other times came to grips with him.  When he was able to go to school even though he was late, I was relieved, but I was physically and mentally worn out.  I came to think the reason why I insistently tried to make him go to school was not for the sake of my son, but for my sake, and I began to hate myself who was thinking that way.

Also, I didn’t know the cause of his school refusal, because some friends of his came to play with him even while he was absent from school and he had a good teacher.  I started to blame myself, thinking that it might have been wrong to have moved to Tokyo, which caused my son to suffer.  Talking to my husband about it, all he had to say to me was, “Let’s give thanks for that.  Just give thanks.”  Around that time in our church, God told us to give double thanksgiving and tenfold thanksgiving, and we were given a thorough training of offering thanksgiving. 

To tell you the truth, I thought thanksgiving alone would not reslove our problem, but I continued to give thanks daily, doubting.  I gave thanks and prayed and read the Bible with my son in the morning.
The Promise of the Word

One day, I strongly felt that it was we who caused my son to fall into a difficult situation, and prayed to God, pouring out my heart.  Then, the following scripture was given to me so clearly:
His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. (John 9:2, 3)

Through this scripture, I clearly knew that this problem was permitted for God’s glory, neither because of my son’s fault nor because of us, parents.  Therefore, as long as we obeyed God, I heartily believed that everything would turn out good and that He had a great plan laid out behind this problem.  I firmly got hold of many words again given by God in coming to Tokyo, and was able to bring back the conviction I used to have.

Stage Two – Working Hard with My Strength

Just as I wrote the above, somehow I was able to accept my son not going to school. Now I went into a next stage, which is the stage of working hard myself.

I gave thanks daily and prayed, asking how I should spend time with my son each day.  Instead of forcing him to go to school, I felt more strongly that I had to do something for him.  I kept myself pretty busy by seeing to it so that he wouldn’t fall behind school study, and by trying to take him out to a park or to a museum.  I needed to do something to help him.  I worked hardest for him on the event of an autumn traveling class for the 5th graders.  This trip lasted two nights three days in Karuizawa.  I was filled with expectation that only if my son could join this trip, he would be naturally able to go to school.  I consulted with his teacher about many things about the trip and he wanted to go himself, and I prayed in detail so he could actually go on that trip.

As a result, H was able to participate in this event, and he returned from it joyfully.  I thought it came a best chance for him to go back to school.  However, I was completely discouraged contrary to my expectation.  Until then, he went to school every five or six weeks just to attend his favorite art class and after-school activity club, and also joined special events, such as a concert and a sports day.  However, he stopped going even to those events.

Stage Three – Committing it to the Lord

I almost gave up, doing everything I had to do about my son, and didn’t feel like doing anything for him any more.  When I found there was nothing I could do and gave up, I realized for the first time that all I had to do was to commit this problem to the Lord.  This is the third stage.

I wonder what a detour I have made to experience the peace of the Lord that will be given in committing to Him,.  However, I really think that I needed training given each step of the process and needed to go through it. 

Anyway, committing my son to the Lord didn’t enable him to go to school soon.  On the contrary, he hardly went to school.  However, in that situation, our family was led to go on the mission trip to Israel.  At first, my son who didn’t want to go because he was afraid was encouraged to go by the scripture: “Go in peace.”  Many children participated in this trip, and some friends of his from the same church were together.  I saw him really enjoying the contact with people after a long while.

God was gradually freeing his mind and spirit, and brought him close to school.  He didn’t go to school, but he seemed to start thinking that he wanted to have good time with his friends in a junior-high school.  We were praying that he could enter a school of God’s will. I almost gave up on him going to an elementary school.

I myself was getting busy with church’s work.  I used to be afraid if I was doing a right thing in going out, leaving my son alone, but I had a different mind after committing him to the Lord.  I decided to do things I had to do myself and to leave my son to the Lord. 

After the 6th graders’ summer vacation, he didn’t go out anywhere but to the church, the guitar class, and the parent-and-child consulting class day after day. 

Although I committed him to the Lord, I often said needless things to him who seemed to do nothing but sit around, and hurt him and made him angry.  I couldn’t accept him even if I wanted to, and he was rebellious to me.

However, God already set His work to that.  Around that time, the TV news broadcast children’s suicide incidents almost every day.  Their causes were varied, but I was shocked with them ending their lives so easily.  At the same time, I was seized with an uneasy feeling, wondering what if my son would do the same.  When I thought so, I sincerely repented myself having emotional ups and downs in regard to my son going to school or not.  I dearly loved the very existence of my son, and all I wanted about him was to be alive.  I truly thought that was enough.  I wanted my son to know the fact: You are OK because God is always with you and loves you. At that very time, a song was given to me, entitled, “You are OK,” which was later printed and published on a praise song book called Yasuragi-no-uta gospel songs, Vol. 7”

Just Like the Word of Promise

From that point forward, my son actually began to change.  It was around that time when our church greeted a new year after a mission team’s return from Israel.  Until then he didn’t go to school, but his homeroom teacher told us that she wanted him to be involved in the last school plays in some way or another, and asked him if he’d like to be in charge of sound effects.  He went to school the night before that event and was given instructions by his teacher.  On the day of the school plays, he was able to stand on the stage with all his class mates. 

This helped him to go back to school once or twice a week.  In addition, in the third semester, he was able to participate in a performance of the last class of his, thanks to the guitar lesson he had taken instead of going to school.  And in March, all the students including my son were able to celebrate their graduation ceremony.

Further, he wasn’t late for school or didn’t leave early throughout the year of his junior-high school, and he was awarded for a perfect attendance.

There was one more thing the Lord manifested His grace about.  I was afraid that while he was absent from school for a long period of time, he wouldn’t be able to catch up with school work.  So I had been praying that he could catch up with school study and that he would be able to understand class when he returned school as if he hadn’t been absent for a long time.  Then, I was shown a scripture: “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom” (Luke 2:40), and was told that he would be filled with wisdom in spite of his long absence from school.  Just as this scripture, he was promoted to a next grade at the top of his class in the junior-high school.

The Lord has been using the guitar my son had learned in the church, and he will participate in the Gospel Praise Singing Contest in Hakuba this year as a member of a praise group called “Grow-Up.”

Jesus Who Is With Us At All Times

The Lord has given us much training throughout these three years and half.  I have learned that God loves us more than I ever knew.  It’s not because He enabled my son to return school.  We will face difficulties and make mistakes from now on.  However, through the problem with my son, I have been convinced that Jesus is with us at all times, and will never forsake us and loves us the way we are, knowing everything about us including our weaknesses and powerlessness.  This brings a great joy and hope.

I am given an opportunity to make a testimony of my son here, but I believe the time will come when my son, looking back, will give witness this work of God upon him himself.

I’d really like to tell those of parent and child who have a similar problem about Jesus who is always with us.  I give all the glory to the Lord.
Joy Atsuko Miyashita

God is Love.