It seems the only answer I have when people ask me my what plans are or what I plan on doing next is “I don’t know.” If you know me well, you know that I hate to give that type of answer. I am a Type A planner and I don’t do things without at least one plan in place and most times multiple back up plans. So here I am two months after all of this started and I honestly don’t know what is next.
For now, I am going to share how I ended up in this place and a change in my thought processes over the years. Please know that some of you will take offense to where I started and while I don’t want to intentionally offend anyone, I need to be honest and transparent. So, here we go and hold on because this is going to be a long post.
I grew up in a single parent home. My mother put herself through nursing school after the divorce. She did the absolute best she could as a single mother. Somehow, through all of the craziness of life, my mother was always there. She modeled problem solving and having the ability to stand on her own two feet without a man in the home. Yes, we were beyond blessed w/ an incredible church that filled certain gaps and walked beside us through both the good and the bad. What this taught me was that while I had dreams of one day getting married and having a family of my own, I didn’t really “need” a man and I could stand on my own two feet and independence was built into me at a very young age.
Fast forward to college. I was blessed to attend a wonderful SBC all women’s college in Alabama and it sometimes still surprises me that the Lord called me there. I was surrounded by some incredibly strong and independent professors. There were leadership positions I was able to hold that I may not have had the opportunity otherwise if I had attended a co-ed school. This further built in me the “Anything you can do I can do better” mentality when it came to guys. You guessed it, I really did not date much.
Because my college was a small and nothing but women, there were many girls who came already in serious relationships and some were even already engaged. Many of them had plans to graduate and then marry almost as soon as they graduated. I will be honest, I wanted to scream at those girls. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why any of these girls were even in school if all they wanted to do was to go home and be barefoot and pregnant. (Yes, this is what may offend some of you). Even through my frustration and anger at these girls, there was one relationship that stood out to me. One girl apparently had a guy that she was best friends w/ all through high school and they did many of the high school activities together. I am not sure how long they actually dated before becoming engaged, but I do know that they pretty much skipped the large part of the whole dating thing and that was something I wanted. Weird to have such anger towards one group and totally desire the type of relationship one girl had. This last fact will be important later on this post.
I graduated from college and went to Wyoming for a year to serve as a Semester Missionary through NAMB. Actually dated two guys during that year period and ended up moving to Nashville because of the one relationship. My desire at this point was very much to get married and have children. That being said, I didn’t see anything wrong with children being in day care while I worked. In the end that relationship didn’t work out and I was living in Nashville not really knowing any other people besides my co-workers. At that point I was honestly ready to head back home to south Alabama, but the independent “I can do this on my own” side of me won out and I stayed in Nashville. The day after 9/11 changed my life forever and I didn’t even know it at the time because I had just met the man of my dreams.
At that point my world was completely rocked. My nation had been attacked and being a military brat, I was taught to believe that we as a nation were untouchable. All church sermons around that time revolved around how safe we were and that we were not alone and I wanted to scream b/c I had not only had my heart crushed into what felt like a million pieces, my own sense of safety and security of being American had just been ripped out from under my feet. Needless to say I spent a great deal of time yelling at the Lord and not really happy with where He had me at this point.
Through all of this, I started attending a new church and the Lord sent me an incredible group of friends, including the man I would eventually go on to marry. The Sunday School class I was a part of rocked. This was a class unlike any I had ever been in before and we had the best time with each other in Bible Study, playing and serving in all areas of the church. Also, many people began to start pairing up, dating and eventually marrying. My circle of friends was no different. When we went out, most people were couples and this left my now husband, Sean, and I “together” even though we were not really together. Our friendship began to grow and we spent many nights and weekends together and “hanging out.” Honestly, I was in total denial about how I felt about him and one more than one occasion, I told him that he was not my list. That is actually a story for another blog, but yes, I honestly said this to him and would later go on to eat my words.
In April of 2002 my world collapsed and my group of friends rallied around me when my brother died. A group of 6 of them made the long 6 hr drive to my hometown. Three of them came down on Tuesday for the viewing and drove back and then 3 came down on Wed for the actual funeral. You guessed it, Sean was in that group.
Fast forward to summer of 2003. Sean and I spent a great deal of time together, in spite of many of the walls that I built up over the years. I had been in counseling to deal with many issues that arose after the death of my brother and relationships were definitely a part of that process. At this time I had also been accepted to SWBTS and was preparing to make the move to Fort Worth, TX. In July of that summer we shared our first kiss and the next day I completely flipped out and ran away. It really had nothing to do w/ him, it was my own insecurities and fears about relationships after watching my parents divorce and a nasty break up in 01.
Thankfully, we had an incredible singles pastor, who was not afraid to call me on the carpet and tell me what he thought about my thoughts and went through my list and pointed out what I already knew to be true about Sean. This conversation took place in the basement of their home with the singles pastor and his wife in the middle of a tornado warning. This is the same minister who would eventually end up performing our marriage ceremony and his daughter was one of our junior bridesmaids. This is a family that my husband and I have kept in contact with through the years.
In August I made the move to Fort Worth and never really found closure where this guy was concerned. I was convinced that I would meet a nice seminary boy and become a minister’s wife. Honestly, I was hoping to land a youth pastor or a recreation minister. The Lord definitely showed his great sense of humor in that every I guy I met on campus I would compare to Sean back in Nashville. That Nov, we were both in a wedding of two dear friends and that was probably the first real conversation he and I had shared since I left in Aug. We would chat on AOL IM from time to time and that Christmas we had a nice long conversation on the phone and for the first time in a long time I felt like I had my best friend back. During this time, the Lord was hitting me over the head with the fact that every single guy I met, I was comparing to my Sean. If he was the one guy to which every other guy was being measured, then why in the world, did I not want to be with him? I had wondered more than once if he treated his friends as well as he did, how would he treat a girlfriend/ fiance/ wife?
During this time I spent a great deal of time talking with the amazing group of friends I had made in Fort Worth. Some were for the relationship and others were more cautious. In Jan of 04, I did something that I would not typically encourage girls to do, but I wrote my Sean a very long letter, actually, I typed it and sent it as an attachment in an email and told him how I felt. At this point, I knew I was risking having my heart torn to shreds again, but he had been respectful in keeping his distance. The story of what happened the night he received the letter is long, so I won’t share it here, but it turned his night upside down.
In March my father had been admitted to hospice in GA and I made the long drive from Fort Worth to GA several times. On my next to last drive, Sean came down from Nashville. At this point we were technically dating. He wasn’t sure if he wanted children and that was something that had to be resolved before we could move on any farther. One night, he looked at me and told me that he wanted me to be the mother of his children and I cried, then we had a conversation about the big “M” word. Even though I had never been a daddy’s girl, or even really all that close to him, I wanted what most girls wanted and that was the blessing of both of my parents. On a Sun morning, my Sean walked into my father’s hospice room and asked for my hand in marriage. My father, true to form, responded with “That sounds fine to me” and those were the last words I heard from him and he passed away on Saturday.
On Mon before I made the long trek back to Fort Worth, Sean made me a huge “diamond” ring out of balloons. I guess this would be a good time to share that my hubby is a children and family entertainer and latex pays our bills. When I arrived back to Fort Worth, I was preparing to go on a ladies’ retreat with my church. We did things a little out of order and set a date for our wedding. At this point, he left for a 6 week American Armed Forces Entertainment Tour. When he came home in May, he flew me to Nashville to officially meet his family and when I met him after I got off the plane, he proposed. Another fun story for another time.
So, now I was engaged and then we married in June of 05. When I started at SWBTS, I was pursuing a double master’s along with a concentration. At this point, I realized that I would be in school forever if I continued down this road, so I dropped my second master’s degree. This also meant that I would not have a concentration, even though I had already completed all of the course work. At this point, I wanted nothing more than to graduate and start and family. Yes, I still wanted a career and had no qualms with children being a day care.
We moved back to Nashville after I graduated in Dec of 2006. Our daughter was born May of 09. As a school based therapist I had the luxury of a school schedule and summer’s off. The fall after my daughter was born I cried all the way to work and the mommy guilt kicked into high gear and for the first time, there was a shift in my thinking. I tried to ignore it and push it away, but I couldn’t. Along came our two sons and my heart was struggling with what I really wanted. There was a part of me that knew women worked full time outside of the home and their children turned out just fine. There was also a part of me that wanted to be home with my children and there were days that I struggled to keep it together because I longed to home with them. Another thing you should understand is that because my husband is self-employed, he was home with our children and a part of me resented that.
Fast forward to May of this year and everything at work fell apart. After many tears, prayer and seeking godly counsel the decision was made that I would resign my position. Like I said earlier, I am a planner. Resigning a position with nothing else lined up is so not me. I interviewed for another a position and was not called back in for a second interview and I had very mixed emotions about this. A part of me was frustrated that with all of my experience they still didn’t want me and a part of me was completely relieved because I really didn’t want the position. I have shared in a previous blog about what it is that I desire to do and firmly believe that the Lord is calling me to that. I have also come to realize that many of the things I want to teach wives and mothers are things that I have never experienced as a wife and mother. For the first time in 8 yrs of marriage, I am completely 100% dependent on my husband to provide financially. For the first time, I am a housewife and stay at home mother. For the first time, I have no idea as to what the next step will look like or what doors the Lord will open for me.
There are still conversations that I need to have and several emails that need to be sent. I have almost completed the book “S.H.A.P.E” by Erik Rees. Reading that book has confirmed several things within myself, and had me doing a great deal of praying, processing and thinking. I’ll be honest that my desire to be in ministry is as strong as ever,but I still have no clue as to what that looks like. Am I am full time stay at home mom, a full time working mom or a part time working mom? Do I even know what it is that I really want? The answer to all of this is “I don’t know.” There is still an internal struggle with what I have thought and felt most of my life and the thoughts that have crept in over the past several years. Did I ever think that at this stage in my life I would be in this position or questioning thoughts and feelings I have held for most of my life. No. For someone who has been confident and self-assured this is a very frustrating position to be in, but I know that the Lord has a plan and when He opens the door that He wants me to go through, I will see how this journey will encourage other wives and mothers and in the end will bring Him glory because in the end that is all that matters.
My prayer as you have read my short novel of a blog post is that you will see that I am very much human, that I am attempting to be as transparent as I can in this journey and that ultimately, my goal and heart’s desire to is honor the Lord. It is OK to NOT have all of the answers, even for those of us who are extreme type A personalities. It’s OK to let your husband take care of you, even though your desire to contribute to your family. If you are a working mother, do it so that it glorifies the Lord and make sure you are still being the wife and mother that you need to be. If you are a full time stay at home mom, then do it to honor and glorify the Lord. The Lord brings us each through different seasons and I pray that no matter what season you are in that you will stay in The Word and on your face before Him.
Thank you again for sticking around and making it to the end of this short novel!