- It has been ridiculously hard. I realized in October that I was working 40 hours a week just between grad school and teaching. This doesn't include things that I needed to be doing for my family that I missed out on, or the things I was doing (laundry, scheduling, other obligations, etc.) because they have to be done. I've had several emotional breakdowns and have an amazing husband who has held my hand and walked me through. He spoke truth to me and blessed my heart because we are on the same page. It isn't worth it to our family for me to work full-time, no matter how much the money I might be making. I am worth more here because I can plan meals, clip coupons, save us gas, find the sales, mentor our children, keep our schedule, and date my husband, all of which I can't do well or at all working full-time. WOW what a blessing!
- God in His graciousness and sovereignty showed me that I am worth something more than I could have imagined by being at home. When I started school I knew I was being called to it, but on a selfish level I felt like I needed something just for me because I felt like what I did here (being a stay-at-home-mom) wasn't all that important. I have since discovered that it is too rare and valuable to put a dollar amount on and that I miss it when I'm not here.
- I was able to prioritize the reasons why I'm in school and it looks like this: 1)I'm in school to become a better writer and to write, 2) I'm in school to get my Master's degree so that I can become more publishable as a writer, 3) I'm in school to learn how to teach and see if I really like it and could make a career out of it. When I look at that list (which I just created for the first time last week) I see that teaching is the obvious thing to give up if I'm getting burned out. So I'm not going to teach next semester. It feels like a huge burden has been lifted off of me to have made the decision, to know that my load will be lighter next semester, and to know that I will graduate in the fall!!
- I know the Lord has gifted me to write, to learn, and to teach but He wants me to use those giftings for His glory, not my own. In addition, if I am making a difference for His kingdom with students, but at the sacrifice of my family, it isn't worth it. Priority is the key word here. He has given me my family first and they are who I am to minister to first.
- I learned how amazing my husband is. He truly picks up my slack and LOVES our children. He is such an amazing father and challenges me to be a better mom. I learned that I miss him like crazy and that our marriage doesn't function too well when we're disconnected. I see now why God ordained the man to the bread-winner and the woman to take care of the home. This is how it is meant to work and it works well that way. Say what you want about that being legalistic, but I experienced first-hand this semester that this principle is real and true, and I'm about as independent and bull-headed as women come.
- I learned how much I love my kids and how much I hate being too tired to play with them, talk to them, or read to them. I feel like I've lost months with them that I can't get back, but I know now how valuable they are to me and that what I do in caring for them is worthwhile to me, to them, and to God! I had a head knowledge of this before, and it made sense, but I've experienced it now and it provides a whole different understanding.
- I'm amazed at the people God has put in my life: professors who actually ministered to me and gave me great wisdom from their own life lessons, students who have been through harder things in life than me, students that I can pray for and talk openly about Jesus with-and who aren't angered with me about it! I had open conversations in my classroom about my breast cancer and what God did for me in the middle of it. I had the full attention of the whole class and have been told numerous times by students that this story is an encouragement and blessing to them!! I never forced my beliefs on anyone and yet was never ashamed. The Holy Spirit is so good to lead us and give us words! I pray that seeds were planted and watered in hearts for His glory.
Now for an update on the family (I know I'm long-winded but I've been gone for a while!):
Cayle turns 5 years old next week. I can't believe it. I can't believe we've had 5 years with our laughing, handsome, smart guy. It has gone by much too fast. He loves school and is doing well. He blesses my heart daily. He got to ride in the fire truck in the Christmas parade last week and had so much fun.
Alaya is a beautiful little princess. She knows it too. Everywhere we go people say what a doll she is. I hope it doesn't go to her head. She is super sassy too. This gets her into trouble a lot because she thinks the rules don't apply to her (princess-mentality?) when they actually do. She's three, what can I say? She is excited about Christmas and she and Cayle got to pick out their first Christmas presents for each other with their own money last week. They loved it and I think it will definitely be a tradition.
Dwayne and I celebrated the 7th anniversary of our first date last Saturday. Our first date he actually came to my house and I made him pancakes, so every year we eat pancakes together. I love that man. Every year I think I love him more. I'm glad I get to grow old with him. He is loving his new job and doing really well at it. I'm really grateful he has found something he enjoys.
The only other news to report about me is that my health has been a rollercoaster this semester. I think we finally realized that my auto-immune issues weren't related to my cancer meds but due to my thyroid. My thyroid has been a huge problem for a couple of years now and I desperately want it to get regulated so that I can feel good. You can definitely pray for me this way.
We still want very much to get a house but we know we can't get a mortgage right now because Dwayne hasn't been at his new job long enough. I'm hoping and praying we can find something to rent in the spring so we can at least give the kids their own room and a backyard. I want it more for them than anyone.
Well now that I've spilled my guts I guess I'll get back to work in the house. Grateful to be home. :)