SO. It is official. I am a stay at home Mom. I want to capture as much of the 'stuff' that is in my heart about this, so if you're interested in my otherwise normal life, please feel free to read on. If you were wondering if I finally left and don't really want to read on, well that is OK too. Go and enjoy the rest of your day or night :)
I will be honest: the night before my last night, I had a moment of panic. I packed up my desk a few weeks ago, but I kept it in my car (#lazy). The night before, I brought it inside to start going through it. For a moment, I wondered what I was doing. Was this REALLY the right thing? Was this necessary? Isn't there ANYthing that could be done? After some prayers, I reached out to my friend and spilled all of the panic in my heart. Her response (perfect, as usual) "I think that is normal. The next phase of your life is going to be fulfilling and exciting." And suddenly, I realized that I was focused on what I was losing instead of what I was gaining - perspective is everything. The enemy would want me to do that. I am a child of God, no longer a slave to this FEAR of losing out...I need to just trust in His promises and trust that the still small voice that has been whispering sweet encouragement to my heart KNOWS what is best for me.
My last days of work were not met with much fanfare. No parties. No extra emails.. just the quiet connecting between me and my favorites. We knew it was not going to be good bye, but rather 'see you later.' If there is ONE thing I am VERY grateful for, it's that these few people have been pillars for me. They have taught me things about myself that I didn't KNOW but they could see. They have challenged me, encouraged me, loved me, called me out, and accepted me just the way I am. They are permanently weaved into my life and I do not want to undo the stitching. It was my bittersweet pleasure to have these people walk me out of one season and into another. Surprisingly, the tears never spilled past their welling place and smiles outweighed any sadness that threatened to intercede.
It feels surreal. My heart is simultaneously filled with awestruck wonder and disbelief. I am feeling unusually steady despite the unknown - a byproduct of being in God's will, for sure. It seems crazy, no? The whole thing. Even when I take an unbiased view of the decision that our family made, I wonder if I'm crazy (LOL!)... but I will say this. I have never, ever, EVER been more sure of something in my entire life. Never. God has cemented this in my heart. He has called this change good. He promises not to leave me. He promises to provide for us the things we need. He has started to water desires in my heart that have long been buried - desires that will fulfill my heart more than ANY man-made thing could; than anything I could buy with my salary. I can't see exactly what is ahead, but the Lamp that shines the path one step in front of me is bright enough that I KNOW my next step is secure.
I ask myself what this next season will bring. It will bring challenges and it will bring opportunity. There will be an adjustment period - an adjustment to the budget and an adjustment of TIME...these are the two biggest challenges. BUT the opportunity is endless. I've always said that I'd like to write a book. Why not? If it goes nowhere, at least I can say I have done it. God has stirred up a desire to record a CD (despite my lack of confidence and mediocre skill). Why not? If it goes nowhere, at least I can say I have done it. I have always wanted to PhD in something. Why not see what is out there and consider diving in? Homeschool? Sure - maybe 6th grade will bring that about. Blogging more? Yup. Spending more time with God and His word? ABSOLUTELY. Maybe a little working out? Strongly leaning towards it.
One of the thoughts that I had on my way home from my last day was this: NOW I have the opportunity to say yes more - especially to my girls. While I don't like to admit this, I often times would say no to avoid something - even IF I knew it would be something that we liked. For example - if the girls wanted to help me make chocolate chip cookies, I would think "ugh. that means I have to wash and put away 3 cookie sheets, 2 bowls, some measuring cups and spoons, a spatula." Lazy? Yes. But I will say it was more of a survival thing - it was more like - do I even have the emotional and physical capacity to do this (45 minute) activity? Same thing goes with things like bed time. I would often say NO you can not stay up 15 more minutes because we have to get up early tomorrow for work. These things may sound small, but they were MAJOR stresses to me. And while we will remain on a routine, I feel like for the first time ever, we have wiggle room. And for the first time in forever, I do not even feel close to emotional and physical capacity. And yes, it has only been 5 days.
In a recent conversation with my (ever-so-honest) children, I realized that I was anything but joyful. That they had not recently seen my eyes dance with delight or my heart brim over with great happiness. The more I prayed about that, the more I realized that my work circumstances were truly robbing me of joy. I know that I am in control of my emotions and I know that I have the power and the authority to CHOOSE joy, but when the weight is unbearable, choosing ANYthing (even what is for dinner) is a larger-than-necessary task. I feel like I was robbed. That my joy was taken blindly from me...small portion by small portion. And I feel like I LET THAT HAPPEN - and that's not OK. Shame on me. However, the lesson in this is that I will NO LONGER let the foxes in the vineyard steal my joy. It is mine. Fully inherited by being a daughter of a King. We are His joy and His delight and its about time that we lived up to that calling.
So today? We laugh a little more. We swim a little longer. We watch an extra show. We snuggle. We simplify and pare down the extra things so we have what we NEED - and we are overjoyed and full of gratitude that we have what we WANT. We make cookies and wash ALL those extra dishes. We read a book and then talk about how cool it was. We learn how to cook over easy eggs; and how to load the dishwasher the right way. We ALL pitch in to help so that we can spend more time together - un-rushed. Sure, we will not have as much as we are used to, but we will undoubtedly find that there is satisfaction in these lean times and contentment abounding. Because what God is shepherding in my heart will surely overflow - my cup runneth over, indeed.
"Your goodness and mercy shall follow me all my life... I trust in Your promise" ~Good To Me, Audrey Assad