That has sort of been the story of my life this year. It’s been a few months of the unexpected. And I have debated how much of it to share here on the blog. But it’s gotten to the point now that it’s hard to write about day-to-day stuff without filling you in on the bigger picture.
For those of you who are around me in real life, you know many of the facts of this story. I hope you will read it anyway.
It’s always a little scary to get too personal here since you really don’t know WHO might be reading at any time. And once you put something out there, it’s OUT THERE.
But I have some things that I really need to tell you. I have a million funny stories I’ve had to hold back, so I’m ready to just lay it all out.
So, hold on.
I apologize in advance that it’s the longest post in the history of the universe. I have edited this post a hundred times over the last six weeks, but I just can’t tell you this story without telling the whole story. I promise, you will want to read to the end.
It might be a little more serious than usual. I hope you’ll stick with it anyway.
Here we go!
When January rolled around, instead of plotting out all of my goals for the year, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do.
I just sat. And prayed. And asked God, “Isn’t there more than this? What should I be doing with my time this year?”
I was really excited about a Bible study that I would be starting in a few weeks with a group of women from my church.
We were doing a study called, “Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman.”
I was excited about starting this study because the theme of this book of the Bible seemed to hit me right where I was at in life.
For such a time as this.
If you don’t know much about it, Esther was the quintessential example of being in the right place at the right time. Actually, she was right where God needed her to be at exactly His perfect time.
Adopted by her uncle, Esther won a beauty contest to become the queen of Persia. Thrown into this place of power, she was able to save her people, the Jews, from annihilation. She was right where she needed to be for such a time as this.
Well, my life certainly wasn’t at such an extreme turning point as Esther’s. But I felt that I was reaching a crossroads. And I was asking God why he had placed me here, now, and which direction I should go. I was praying that during the study, the path would become clear.
With three kids each born less than two years apart, I have balanced and organized and created systems to make things work. I have run a successful business out of my home during naps and room time and Barney and puzzles.
But finally, the path in front of me was starting to look wide and clear.
Both boys would be in school all day in the fall. And my daughter, who has been hanging out with Mom this year, would be starting three-day preschool. I could only imagine those hours of 9 to 11:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
That would give me 7.5 hours a week for me. Me. Me. Me.
Imagine, 7.5 hours that were all mine. MINE!
But what exactly should I be doing with that time?
With my 40th birthday approaching, it almost seemed symbolic. A new decade. New opportunities. New goals.
For such a time as this.
But little did I know that wasn’t all that was happening in my life…
I realize that numbers aren’t that big of a deal to a lot of people. But for me, my milestone birthday seemed symbolic in so many ways. A fresh start. A chance to try something new.
And I was staring at those 7.5 hours of free time with great anticipation.
Then, in early March things started to change. You might have gathered from some of my previous posts that one of my children has some struggles in school.
We have been to all sorts of specialists looking for direction. To say it’s been a confusing journey with lots of conflicting information would be an understatement.
What I had assumed to be a given for the next school year was suddenly in doubt. My modus operandi at this point would typically be to start spinning in a mad fury to find another solution. But this time, I felt an immense sense of peace.
Wait. Just wait.
God had a plan for my son. And even though the path looked cloudy and full of obstacles, we would find a way. And that way would. be. good.
To make a very long story short, we are considering the idea of homeschooling. This, in and of itself, is a minor miracle. I’m not sure who was more repulsed by the idea in the past. Me or my kids? I have never wanted to be a teacher. I don’t like to teach. I would rather do anything than try to be a teacher. And I would like my kids to have a teacher who isn’t ME!
But as we have delved further into the issues we face, it seemed to become more and more clear that perhaps the best person for this job is actually the last person I would expect. Me.
A homeschool mom? Ugh. Not exactly what I had planned for my glorious 7.5 hours of weekly freedom!
But I was starting to warm up to the idea. Not that I could envision wonderful lesson plans and creative learning strategies. But I could imagine a child who wasn’t frustrated with trying to keep up with his class. A kid who had time in his day to focus on the areas that were holding him back. And an 8-year-old who had time to play. Who wasn’t stressed. Or crying.
And that was starting to motivate me.
Oh, but there’s more…
As much as I try not to mention this in every conversation, many people know that for the past two or three years I have been a little obsessed with the idea that someone is missing from our family.
It’s like there’s a hole in my heart. The hole of a fourth child.
I want to cry every time my daughter brings a new imaginary sibling into the family. I was afraid to let my husband give away the crib and the strollers. I often think that we have deprived someone of life. And I think about it … a lot.
So, as I approached my 40th birthday, the pain of this obsession increased. My husband and I had already ruled out the possibility of me giving birth to another child, and once I passed that 40th threshold, it just seemed that the door would be slammed shut.
I started talking to my husband about adoption. But the expense and time involved seemed overwhelming.
I did my best to stop obsessing about this longing, but it was getting worse.
I knew I had to give it to God. It seemed to me that if my heart was wanting something so badly, that perhaps He put that desire there to begin with. And if He did, then He could show us how it would come to be. Or he could take it away.
I decided it was up to Him. I had no answer. My husband had no answer for me.
But just as I was starting to celebrate my 40 days of 40, God was giving us an answer. We just didn’t know it yet…
I knew that the doctor would ask me if there was any way that I could be pregnant. I knew the answer was no. But I really couldn’t explain some mysterious symptoms I was having.
Fine. I’m just going to prove this to myself. I don’t know WHAT is happening, but it can’t be THAT!
I waited for the biggest waste of $10 on the planet to reveal the information I already knew perfectly well. There was no way.
But something wasn’t quite right. Why was that dim pink line starting to form? That will go away in a minute.
Wait. I better re-read the directions. I thought it said the second line was the control. Not the first.
Maybe it’s upside down.
Hang on. The second line is pink now, too.
For. such. a. time. as. THIS?!?
And then a calm washed over me. I had a moment of complete clarity: For some reason, God in heaven stopped what he was doing and reached down and gave me a gift. I prayed. He listened. He answered.
There are so many worries that try to pop in my mind. I have grown to hate the three words, “advanced maternal age” and all they represent.
But I am blessed. God has given me a gift. He has given our family a gift. And he knows exactly what gift we need most.
One of the biggest lessons we learned during our Esther study was about THE HOW? We aren’t responsible for THE HOW. God will take care of THE HOW.
When I’m looking at a situation thinking HOW will I ever get through this one, there’s one simple answer. He is there with me. He will get me through it.
Then, the nausea and fatigue set in and I come back to life. It’s real. It’s crazy. It’s not what I expected. It’s a gift.
I was at a crossroads five months ago when I started asking God which direction I should turn. A detour popped up along the path. It wasn’t the wide, open road that looked so sunny and easy to travel. But, as a friend mentioned during our study, sometimes you realize that the detour IS the path.
It could be a crazy ride.
Homeschooling three kids.
A newborn in the family.
I definitely won’t be worrying about what to do with my 7.5 hours of freedom.
It’s not the gift I expected for my 40th birthday.
But I couldn’t be more thankful.