This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to co-speak at our church’s family retreat during our women’s breakout session. It may not seem like something huge or amazing, but the 45 minute session was a huge step for me as I obediently break out of my introvert shell. You see, for many years, just the idea of standing in front of a crowd of people would be enough to cause major anxiety and sweat soaked pits. As a teacher, I could easily stand in front of 24 first graders, but come parent night, talk about freak out!
But let me back up just a bit and tell you that something crazy happened over the past year. You see, I’ve always dreamed of being able to stay at home with my kids. It never made sense to me to have to work more to pay someone else to watch them for most of the day. (This was while my two younger ones were in day care.) However, no matter how we looked at it on paper, we could not afford the dream, and we seemed to always be in the process of getting a bigger house, which is what happened after our first and then third child. We wanted what was best for them, and moving into a house, and then into a good school district was what we thought would be best. But the ache in my heart still nagged at me, and although I enjoyed teaching and guiding young minds, I always felt guilty when I’d come home and be too exhausted to do the same with my own children. I’d mention staying home a few times to my husband, who, at the time, also saw it as just a dream, especially when we live in Hawaii, where a two-income household is almost mandatory for survival. But just last year, he casually brought up a question in conversation:
“What if you stay home?”
At first, I thought he was kidding. But through further discussion, he had told me he had given careful consideration to how exhausted I was at the end of the day; how much time I was able to spend with him, and our children; how happy I was when I was on vacation, finally able to do the things I’ve been planning to do for so long. He told me that if I was happy and rested, he knew the rest of the house would be. It would be a long shot, but I was pretty sure we could handle it. There was nothing in my heart telling me we couldn’t.
So we prayed on it. And prayed on it. And prayed some more.
And God revealed to us that we were to take hold of our priorities and keep them straight. Sermon after sermon we both heard the same message. God and family first. Reset your priorities. Be obedient. But what was really amazing was I felt total peace with my decision. Our decision. God’s decision. The hardest part was now to resign my full time position at a school that I absolutely love, and to let the colleagues I’ve worked alongside with for years know that I would be leaving. It was a no brainer, but still bittersweet. In January, I officially announced to my school family that I would be leaving at the end of the school year.
And then amazing things began to stir in my heart.
I was called to a season of writing again. So I obeyed. I resurrected my blog, and here I am being intentional with my posts and sharing my heart with you, my readers. I’m often asked if I’m going to write a book. As of right now, I’m not too sure. Perhaps there would be something more in the future, but for right now, I’m harnessing my craft, and continuing my obedience through this blog.
My husband and I were asked to be on our church’s family retreat planning team. So we did. Then God went one step further. He asked us to speak. We were all encouraged to lead a breakout session and in a show of support, I agreed. And a funny thing happened. Instead of getting completely freaked out at the fact that I would be speaking to all the women attending the retreat, I was TOTALLY EXCITED! (Okay, and maybe a little freaked out too.) But God told me not to worry. He’s got this. I went in to the weekend a little unsure of my worth, but He was true to His word and had partnered me up with a beautiful woman of God, who was also following her call to break out and minister to more people. God showed up in her words of encouragement for me and in my words of encouragement to the thirty or so women who woke up early on a Sunday morning to hear me speak.
So here I am, flooded with an amazingly full heart, ready to start my new season. I encourage all of you who are finding yourself out of balance, out of energy, or even out of joy, to sit yourself down to pray. Listen to your heart. Listen to the Holy Spirit guiding you. Even though sometimes it doesn’t make sense in your head, your heart knows better. Be obedient and be blessed.
Blessings to you, my friends.