Some people might people think I’m a nut for taking a 600-level Masters course this Spring at the local university, while my husband starts radiation therapy and I continue working full time as a high school English teacher, supportive wife, and mother of 4 children. No doubt some things have already been put on the back-burner since Owen got sick. I have barely done anything with marketing my children’s book on loving like Jesus, haven’t done anything with the content for the marriage app my friend Nickole and I wrote last Spring, haven’t posted much ads for my resume writing services, and haven’t worked out at the gym or the USSD fitness camp. So I’m not supermom. I’m just deciding where my priorities are right now with everything.
And my priorities may not the same priorities my friends have, but there is reason.
I’ve been wanting to come home and perhaps even homeschool the kids for years. I used to cry about it on my way to work for a good year or two as I begged God to please open the doors to allow me to do so. One day I heard him clearly: Not now. One day. But not now. You are not ready. I have more work to do on both you and Owen.
For the first time, I felt a peace about my circumstance. And I decided then and there that I would begin finding joy in my job, and my role as mother and wife with the schedule that I have. I still battle at times, a tinge of jealousy when I see my mommy friends posting on FB about their home school lessons or their field trips with their kids or the playdates with friends. I get a little jealous when I hear about their morning devotionals and all the things I want to do. But God has been so faithful in giving my husband the desire as the spiritual leader in the family to pray with the kids before taking them to school and to lead our family in bible verse memorization, worship, and prayer every night as family. My kids are not being deprived of the spiritual education I so longed for them to have and felt inadequate or underachieving compared to my stay-at-home friends.
It started with me praying-Ok God. If I cannot come home, please give Owen and I the wisdom and the organization to manage our home effectively so that our children are not deprived of the spiritual learning and joy that comes from being with their family during the day. He answered. He also gave me the joy in teaching that I wanted to regain, and opened doors for me to be able to help our family meet its financial needs: we not only pay for a mortgage, but need to give it some tlc as the house is a fixer-upper. We also have three children under age 5, so our child-care bill is pretty hefty. Then there are cancer and medical bills, all the supplements Owen and I take now for our health issues, and the dietary changes we have made to make sure we get and stay healthy. We never want to hear the word cancer again. Outside of that, we want to save our money for a downpayment on a bigger home in either Oceanside or Carlsbad within the next few years. When James starts kindergarten next Fall, we will be able to add an extra $500 to our monthly savings for that goal. We will act like we never even had that money.
That same Spring that God spoke to me so clearly, I was looking at my place on the pay-scale at my school district, moping over the fact that I had maxed out at 10 years on my tier. I looked over at the next tier and realized that I only needed 13 more units and I could move up to the 12 year line with a 9k a year raise. I immediately enrolled in a 6 unit masters level Education course for the summer that changed my entire perspective on teaching writing in the high school classroom. I had hoped to take the same class again the following summer and perhaps a 1-unit course in Spring 2016 to make up the remaining 7 units. I learned I had only a small chance of being able to repeat the course summer 2016 and so determined that I would need to step up the units this spring to achieve this goal.
I start tomorrow. It’s a 3 unit course on Thursday nights. The semester is a short 3-month-long semester. And it will be rigorous. But I talked with Owen, sharing with him my concern over the commitment and his needs with radiation. He was quick to push that aside and point out that 3 months of some extra team work would be worth the raise the following fall. I’d have to be just as busy if not more, all the time writing resumes to makeup that difference. But with the raise–I work this hard for a short period of time, and then the money is consistent afterward with just my day-job. It’s a smart decision. And if it helps us get that house sooner, then it will help us reach our goal of bringing me home one day as well. All the while, Owen will also zapping out the last reminents of cancer in his body so that by fall of this year, we can put our crazy busy lives away, and begin enjoying some of the fruits of our labor and God’s blessings.
I will hopefully add in one work-out night a week as well this Spring just because its a healthy decision–but otherwise, no more resumes (Praise God!). And perhaps this summer, I can find the time with my final course I take, to work on illustrating and publishing my next children’s book. I’ve already written them. I just need to get them illustrated. Perhaps with the extra money I will eventually make–I can even just pay for an illustrator and get this ball moving much faster.
We’ve got big goals. And God-willing, they will be blessed. My dream life would be to be a stay at home mom and wife, writing christian children’s books and bringing in income with that, leading a women’s bible study, and discipling a teenage or college aged young woman in a life that is pleasing to the Lord. Owen and I also want to take our kids out once or twice a year on missions trips to third world countries. Owen wants to be become more influential in the YouTube marketing world as well as run a successful Christian video series answering questions about God and the bible by skeptics and seekers from around the world. He has already started writing and filming the video series with a good friend and pastor named Tony Hook. Keep an eye out for their videos coming soon on YouTube. He also wants to start a line of clothing specifically for cancer patients going through chemotherapy that will help them access their port and picklines and communicates to the world where they are at in their fight with Cancer. It will be a non-profit business with the purchases going toward paying the medical bills for chemo patients who apply for a scholarship with LifeWins.
Ultimately, we just want Jesus to come back as we’d rather be with Him in heaven and scratch all our worldly dreams immediately. But if Jesus decides to wait longer, we hope these dreams are pleasing to Him, so he will bless them. And if not, that He do what He will with our lives.
In the meantime, I’m trusting that for now–he is working on Owen and I, preparing us for desire to come home and the details he will sovereignly work out to fit His plans for our lives. He told me this. And I believe him.
What have you asked God for? What has he told you? Do you believe him? Can you find joy in your life as you wait for him to answer and find the blessings he gives you while you wait?