So let me begin by giving a little background. I graduated with a dual certification in elementary education (P-5) and Learning and Behavior Disorders (P-12). I have taught at the same school that I ended up having a long-term subbing position in for the end of the school year after I graduated for 4 years. I taught a mixed grade class of 3rd and 4th for two years and then we went to straight grades and I taught 4th grade for two years. This will be my fifth year of teaching (my tenure year! whoo hoo!). It has been an amazing blessing to teach in such a wonderful school that is centered in an amazing community. I've had nothing short of wonderful relationships with my colleagues, been lead by an amazing, supportive principal, and have had awesome relationships built among myself and my students and their families.
Being a teacher is something I feel God has given me a talent for. I have a passion for building amazing community within my classroom, teaching my students, and above all, developing a relationship with them in which they feel safe in their classroom and know they are valued and loved.
However, to say all of this, it's also been rocky. Being a teacher is stressful. I have doubted if it was truly God's calling. I have doubted if it's what I should continue to pursue. There were days my first year of teaching that Justin would do everything he could just to send me off for my day without having a meltdown over anxiety and pressure that I knew awaited me when I got to work. Y'all....it's a hard job. Physically? No. Emotionally? 100%.
So then my role of Mommy began.
I always knew growing up that I wanted to be a Mommy. When I got old enough to think honestly about what I wanted to be when I grew up...I knew a Mommy was it. However, I didn't think I would have the desire to stay at home. My mom worked outside the home, until my brother and I were in high school, in a very professional, long hour career. She is and always has been an amazing Mom. I saw she balanced it, so I just knew that I would too.
But once we found out we were expecting, my mind immediately went to our baby. How in the world would I balance it all? How would I be able to hand over my little one to someone else when I was going to nurture and help build the minds 20 some other little ones. It was just a hard thing to grasp.
So my heart was quickly changing. It was changing to have a STRONG desire to want to stay at home or at least work from home once Adeline was born.
Here's the catch.
Financially-It made no sense with our income.
Insurance-My job supplied it.
The possibility seemed far, far fetched.
Now I'm a dreamer. I often don't think logically. I like to trust God to the full extent when it comes to something like this that I desire so much. So I started praying. Hard. I finally got the courage to share this new desire on my heart with Justin (we had never had the talk about where we both stood on me being at home or working outside the home). He was so supportive and shared that he actually had been thinking more and more that he wanted me to be with our kiddos at home if at all possible. What a relief it is to be on the same page as your husband!
So we both started praying. Hard and specific.
We had positive days where we talked and were content with it maybe not happening right away...but down the road.
We had bad days where I almost resented our life and that we couldn't make it work. That we both had this desire, why couldn't God provide the way to make it happen.
I had awful times where I got so envious of some people that it seemed so easy for them to just stay at home. Honestly, some of the blogs I read were even causing these feelings of envy and jealousy. I had to remove myself somewhat and allow God to work wonders on my heart. I needed to find peace with whatever it was He wanted to do.
So obviously throughout my maternity leave, things were tough some days. I would cry just over the thought of going back to work. It was miserable. Justin did all he could to help me stay positive, but it was so hard for me to stay in that place. I couldnt' imagine leaving my baby girl.
Throughout my maternity leave, we had a lot of time home together. We had such an amazing season of renewal in God's word and deep study in quiet times. It was such a healthy, wonderful time for us as a family. Looking back, I know that was a gift from God. Something he would use to propel us into the next steps.
So we decided that we would take a few leaps of faith.
We budgeted and considered what we needed to make it work. We took into consideration insurance and how much it would be to pay out of pocket for health insurance. Although it seemed crazy, we kept at it.
During this time, since I took an extended maternity leave, half of it that wasn't covered with long term disability ended up being without pay. This basically cut my normal pay in half.
The first talk we had to have was with my parents. They both own their own business and we had to see if there was maybe a place for me in the business. I would work for them either at their place (and have Adeline with me) and/or be at home working for them with Adeline. On a cold January night, we had this discussion over pizza. They had been talking about finding a place for me in the business. They were relieved to think someone would want to start taking over some of the paperwork/office/organizational side of things. ("God thing" number one in a long list of them!)
So based on this income we would have coming in, we decided it would work for me to go part-time. We would just pay out of pocket for insurance. It wouldn't be easy but it would be worth it. Without realizing it, during my maternity leave, God was showing us that we could live on less. My checks going to 1/2 of what they normally would be was practice for what's to come this coming year.
Leap. Of. Faith.
I sat down with my principal (who has always been so encouraging and supportive) and expressed to her my desire to work part time. She was completely supportive. I hoped she would have a part-time Special Ed position for next year. She said she would look into it and get back to me. That her goal was to keep me there at my school.
A few weeks later, I found out the numbers didn't match up. There wasn't a position for me at my school, that I would have to wait to find out if there was one at another school. More prayer.
During this time, in passing, I started talking to one of my dear friends at school that was on my team for the past four years. She expressed to me that she had heard our art teacher was interested in a job share. (Art has always been a passion of mine. I started out as an art major...took tons of classes. Wavered in getting my masters in art. I just never took that step.) The art teacher and I talked on the phone one afternoon about it. I literally got off the phone and fell to the ground with tears. I knew this was God.
So through a course of many more "random" events (I use that loosely because I know nothing is random with God), a few more conversations between the art teacher and my principal, LOTS of prayers and a huge effort in trying not to get too ahead of God, my principal decided to allow the current art teacher at my school and myself do a 50/50 job share position this coming year, splitting the week straight down the middle.
This coming year, I will be a part-time elementary art teacher (it still gives me chills to say!) for 2.5 days each week and will be with Adeline the rest of the week (whether that's working at my parents' or working from home)...with a flexible schedule on the days I'm working for my parents.
The other wonderful thing?
This is better than the positions I was dreaming up in my mind to make this work.
And the icing on the cake?
I just found out we'll be paying half the costs for health insurance as I thought we would be. (Another phone conversation that left me speechless, in crazy tears, kneeling on the ground thanking God.)
To wrap this up (hope you're still with me! ;) let me say that I'm not writing this post to brag. I'm not writing this post to boast. I'm not writing this post to share about what I have done.
This is ALL ABOUT my Heavenly Father.
This is ALL ABOUT what God can do.
This is ALL ABOUT how God can make a way when it absolutely, positively seems there is NO way.
God brought so many people into my life throughout this process over the past year that encouraged me with testimonies, prayers, and kind words (some of you, included...thank you so incredibly much).
No matter what it is that is going on in your life...you are in the same boat wondering how in the world you can make it work to stay at home, or you are wondering what step you should take with something, or you simply need your house to sell...God will make a way. He cares so incredibly much. Yes, there are times where He seems so silent. Just be patient. Listen. He's up to something.
And then there are times that He speaks loud and clear. He seems to almost throw something into your lap. He comes up with a plan that we are in awe of and could have never pulled together.
He's good like that.
And He will make a way when you can't see what's ahead.
"Take the prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God. What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You've heard, of course, of Job's staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end.
That's because God cares, cares right down to the last detail."
James 5:10-11 (The Message)