The first day of 2012. A brand new year.
I'm sitting here in the office surrounded by piles of receipts, candy wrappers, items I plan to mail to Afghanistan for my brother, kids' thank you notes in need of envelopes, and an empty water bottle that needs to be filled...again. (However, I'm sipping on an eggnog latte instead, wondering if I'll buy another carton of eggnog once this one is used up. Thankfully I don't need to make that decision today :-))
Since we first brought our son Gabriel into the world almost 12 years ago, my husband and I have approached big decisions in our lives with an attitude of "let's try this for a year and re-evaluate." Somehow this approach seemed healthy and allowed for flexibility, growth, and change in perspective. Over the years, two more babies came, my teaching jobs fluctuated from full-time to subbing to part-time to not at all, we moved three times, homeschooled - then didn't - then did again...and now here we are in the midst of another phase which involves me working outside the home, full-time, as a building substitute at the kids' school. Through it all, we continue to re-evaluate, reflect, and check our course for balance and healthiness because, as with any growing, living thing, a family changes and shifts and requires one thing at one moment and another thing during a different season.
So far, my days spent working in the "real world" have been challenging and somewhat refreshing. Having worked years ago as an English teacher, I have enjoyed classroom time again (although the elementary kids are much younger than those I taught back then!) But most of all, I have LOVED being in my kids' environment every day and getting to know their classes, teachers and friends.
However, it has been quite an adjustment for us all.
Most days I tell myself it's going great, much better than I expected. I find I'm actually more efficient now that I have limited time at home, and this has made me a better planner for meals, shopping trips, cleaning and laundry.
I also tend to complete more projects around the house because I no longer have "tomorrow" to finish. (Notice I did not say I begin more projects, but I do find I'm actually finishing the ones I start!)
Perhaps in some ways, working outside the home five days a week jerked me out of an unidentifiable homemaking rut and allowed me to see myself and my situation a bit more clearly.
But in spite of the positives I have seen, I have not been able to shake an uneasiness deep in my heart. A sense that I'm sacrificing something vital and important for the sake of paying bills and meeting expectations.
As is so often the case when I can't seem to find the answers, much less identify the heart of the problem, I seek His face. He who knows me more intimately and completely than I could ever know myself, and He who knows most what I need.
He told me something last week, in the deepest place of my heart and soul, that has caused me to ponder and search in places I have not searched for a long time.
Has caused me to look at myself and my situation with new eyes and a new perspective.
To thine own self be true, if you will.
What He spoke to my heart was this:
"Do not miss your calling, but walk worthy of the calling with which you were called"
At this point in my pondering and reflection, I have no exciting details or groundbreaking news, and no - we are not selling the farm and moving the family to the wilderness to live off the land (although, hmmmm, that idea has its appeal some days :-)) Instead, Mr. Wonderful and I have spent the last two days evaluating exactly what the above Word means for us.
Re-evaluating what our "calling" means for the family.
About the possibility (one all too real) of choosing to miss our calling in this life, a sadder fate of which I cannot imagine.
Oh, how I do not want to miss my calling!
But something within me is beginning to ring, and I feel an optimistic bubbling within my spirit as we look ahead at 2012 and begin to plan a new phase of life.
A phase that just may involve homeschooling again.
A phase that just may involve incorporating our children into a home business.
And that just may involve an opportunity to pursue more fully my passion for furniture and design :-)
Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
Wishing you and yours an inspired pursuit of your own calling in 2012,