Sharp-Vicks: Family under Fire

As a young woman, I had a dream of marrying and having a family, just like most of my other friends. The dream became a reality when I married my husband in 1998, and then the Lord richly blessed us with 6 beautiful children!

In 2003, when our oldest was 4, I began my life-long dream/goal of homeschooling my children. Since I was 6 years old, I wanted to be a teacher. Now that I had children, I could see no young people in this world that I would rather teach than my own.

In October of 2004, my happy little "world" came crashing in when my husband turned from the Lord. As the kids grew older, the conflict of raising children with one atheist and one Christian parent came to a head. (II Corinthians 6) In 2011, he left to find "happiness" elsewhere. It felt like the remnants of my little world had been shattered into nothing at that point, but I was still very inexperienced in this new, sad world as a divorced single mom.

My children's education remained one of my top life-goals. I continued to homeschool, even though now the burden of providing for all of us financially without child support was resting squarely on my shoulders, and I had become very sick with late-stage lyme disease and vestibular hyperacusis. The Lord provided, for all that we needed throughout these years.

In 2014, my oldest son turned from the Lord, became an atheist, and went to live with his father. I did not know at the time that I could fight this legally, and I made what was the biggest known mistake of my life in letting my firstborn leave with only a hug in silent protest.

My ex-husband sued for custody of two of the children later in 2014, and as part of that lawsuit tried to stop me from homeschooling all of them. I defended myself in court through 3 days of hearings where my faith and my homeschooling were what was on trial. His lawyers tried to paint believing what the Bible says as extreme and not good for the kids. My ex-husband and his (then) wife tried to re-write facts to challenge the integrity of our home education program, despite actual standardized test results and positive professional evaluations all the way back throughout our entire homeschooling history.

The result of this first custody trial was that the kids spend 1 week out of the month at their dad's house, instead of the 1 1/2 days each week that they had been visiting. He also was no longer allowed to try to convert the children under 16 to atheism. This was an answer to prayer that was beyond what we had even asked for!

The Lord has continued to sustain our every need, as well as many of the "wants". In 2016 I remarried a man who sincerely loves the Lord, and had also suffered the abandonment of a spouse. I was even able to homeschool my stepson for his final 2 years of high school! Life became easier in every way, as the mystery of my health problems also started to get sorted out. I had more time for homeschooling, since I now had a wonderful "teammate" to help shoulder part of the burden and help navigate life with again! The last of the loan I took out to pay the legal fees for the first custody suit had also been paid off.

At the beginning of 2017, my ex-husband sued for custody again, this time for primary custody of all of the children. He is also fighting my homeschooling.

We have been paying what legal fees we can afford, and putting the rest on a credit card. We have found ourselves in the place of not knowing if finances would work out for us to continue. We have faced having to choose between paying the mortgage or paying the lawyer. We have questioned whether we should continue paying the lawyer money we don't have. We find ourselves in the place of having no "good" answer, whatever option we look at.

Reality has set in, and we do not have even the credit available on the credit card to pay the lawyer's fee that is due this month. (More will be due for the actual 2 days scheduled in court in June!) We have stopped paying the mortgage. We are stuck here, not knowing how it is going to work out, but trusting the Lord has a plan in it all.

At the urging of friends, we are humbling ourselves and putting out a plea for help. Perhaps through you, He will provide. Perhaps it will be another way, but we feel we wouldn't be fulfilling our responsibility before God for these precious children He has entrusted us with without putting the plea out there. We want to do all that we can to continue raising these amazing kids the Lord has blessed us with!

The goal amount is for our legal fees known to date for this second custody lawsuit. This staggering amount is beyond us.

Thank you for prayerfully considering.

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Jennifer Sharp 
Mahanoy City, PA
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