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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Shifting

Lately I've been noticing a change in the direction of my life. I guess it is only slight, since my ultimate goal remains the same. Ultimately I still want to be a mother. I want to raise children, whether biological or adopted. Even that last sentence is a shift in thinking for me. You see, I really didn't give much thought to adoption 10 years ago. I innocently thought that things would go pretty much as I imagined in my mind. I got married, finished college, worked for a couple of years, and was ready to start a family.

In fact, let's back up a bit. When I started college I majored in journalism. As far as career choices went, I knew that I liked to write. I wasn't sure whether that was the right path but I figured it was a safe place to start. Even then I knew that what I wanted out of life was marriage and children, but I have always been a very practical person. I didn't know how long that might take, so I wanted to pursue something I would enjoy. The fact was that I doubted I would find a spouse immediately.

Then came the first major shift.

It became increasingly harder for me to work on a deadline. I was pretty stressed out, and suddenly being a freshman in college, working my minimum wage, on-campus job, and writing for my school's newspaper were stretching me too thin. I know people who have conquered much more difficult things than that, but at the time it was pretty overwhelming for this small-town girl! To top it all off, I was trying to get through without school loans (by God's grace) and without a car. It was certainly a challenge!

By my second year of college I decided to change my major. My relationship with Chuck had grown more serious and I began to consider a more family-oriented major. I didn't regret what studying journalism had taught me so far, so I decided to continue with it as my minor. The best thing is that I hadn't lost any time. I still graduated in 4 years, with only one extra summer of classes in the middle. Don't get me wrong, college had not become just something I thought I should do. As someone who didn't come from a long (or even short) line of college graduates, I felt honored to be there. I worked at it with all of my might, even after getting married between my junior and senior years. My graduation day finally came in May of 1999 (yikes, almost 10 years ago!). I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Family, Infancy, and Early Childhood Education with a double minor in Child Development and (that's right) Journalism. I graduated summa cum laude, and I praised the Lord for seeing me through with my goal intact: finishing college debt free.

That brings me back to the shifting. I felt like my life up until that point had been geared toward having a family. Certainly I consider my husband and myself a family, but I always wanted children too. Although I never wanted to be a teacher, I saw myself having my own children and somehow working with other children. My life has taken quite a different path and I now don't know in what direction it is heading. For example, I used to volunteer at church in the nursery department, mainly to fill a gap that needed extra help. I've come to realize, though, that it isn't my place to do that. That isn't where I need to be right now, and I'm done feeling guilty about it. I would much rather serve where my heart is truly in it. I still love children and want to be a mother more than ever. But how can I serve? Where is my place?

I'm beginning to think that my place, for right now anyway, is a "caring ministry." It turns out that life hasn't given me tons of experience with raising kids even though I thought I had set it up that way. No, I now have more experience with loss, trials, and grief. But I'm not falling apart (again, by God's grace). I hope I'm being made stronger. I've learned over the years that you never know what someone else is facing in life. I've learned to be sensitive to other people's struggles. I've learned to listen and not give empty advice or words of false hope. I hope I've learned to be a better friend and a praying friend.

I trust in God's plan for my life and I'm willing to go where He leads. In this life I've surely learned how to be flexible. Hopefully from here on out, the stretching and the shifting won't be too difficult.

14 comments:

Becky said...

Stacey,
Wonderful post as always, you are an excellent writer. I wanted to thank you for your prayers and for the encouraging comments you left on my blog. I don't know if you are a phone person or not, but I would love to connect with you to talk. I think that your experiences have enabled you to be a person that can come along side of others. It can be difficult to talk to someone that has never experienced IF and m/c. My email is r.a.connors@hotmail.com

Chuck said...

I agree with what Becky said. You are a wonderful writer and I always look forward to what you have to say, even those posts that are sad or difficult to read. Wherever you shift, I'll be right by your side.

prayerfuljourney said...

I know all too well about shifting! I like everyone else thought by now I'd be a happy mom raising children and having a house full of noise. I have quite the opposite and my home is very quiet. I had no idea what I was doing in college so I graduated with an English degree. I worked cust serv and admin jobs out of college until about three years ago. That is when I took a class in Human Services (I knew I wanted to work with people) and the teacher in that class had us volunteer at a very needy and poor elementary school. After that sememster or so....I became a teacher's aide and I started to pursue an Early Childhood teachers cert/masters degree. Life shifted. I do love working with children and there's a HUGE part of me that feels the children I work with will be "my children". I'll just send them home. It just seems that way. Everything fits. Nothing has seemed to fit when trying for our own baby. TTC has been one big disappointment....but in the end...I know there has to be rewards. Maybe God just wants me to dedicate my life to teaching. That is wonderful on all that you have accomplished thus far...and there's more to do! Our lives are not over...just different than we had intended (thus far). Here's hoping and praying for a fulfilling future!!

Amy said...

Stacey,

I love you, and I mean that with ALL of the love of Jesus Christ. I know that He leads us and guides us and keeps us. He also brings people into our lives to encourage us and strengthen us.

You are fulfilling your purpose right here and now. I am blessed to have found you, we are both on the same journey but on very different roads. It is hope and faith like yours that helps me see that joy cometh in the morning.

Thank you for your blog, thank you for your heart and the love of God being so real and visible in every word that you write. Thank you most of all for your comments. You bring tears to my eyes, and hope to my heart.

I believe that we all are where we belong at this moment and God knows what He is doing in your life and mine. He is working perfection in this imperfect flesh. A shift is not just a shift it is God's way of bring us closer to Him, and His purpose. You are precious!!!!

Amy

Alicia said...

I will pray for you in regards to your service in the church. I know I'm struggling with that too. But it sounds like the Good Shepherd has led you in the direction of a caring ministry where He can use you mightily to encourage those in need. God bless!
love Alicia <><

katdish said...

"Caring Ministry". Yeah...I can totally see that. You know, you already have that going on here, right?

wv: lardo (Okay, fine. I'll admit it. I ate way too much at Los Cuco's last night.)

sharonvw said...

Great post Stacey.
I too believe that God has a purpose for my loss and suffering and believe that in some how and some way he's going to use my experience to help others.
I'm just waiting on him to unfold his plan but I believe its there.

twondra said...

I love reading your posts, sweetie. Like others have said, you're an excellent writer and always see positive through negative. I will keep you in my prayers

beth ewing said...

great post. it is amazing that God can and is using what you've been through to glorify Him and further His kingdom. sometimes we think of pain and suffering as outside of God. but thanks for the reminding that even in the midst of it, He's working.

Andi said...

I wish I can be more original in my comments, but all I can say, yet again, is great job.

Sunny said...

Again, we are joined in feeling the same things. Shift is definitely the operative word - not change, just shift. Some might see it as the same, but you and I know better. Well written, my friend. You are doing a good job giving a voice to the horrible place of IF.

Connie said...

I was so proud of you the day you graduated from high school (with a 4.0)and the day you graduated from college. I saw strength and I saw courage and victory! What an amazing person you are. It's been a joy growing up with you and watching you become the amazing woman that you are today!

Jenn said...

Well, first of all I must say, "Stacey, you are an absolute inspiration" and that about sums it up!! Secondly, how come everyone has a pic by their post? I feel left out!!!

I Believe in Miracles said...

This is a beautiful post. It's amazing to watch what God continues to do in our lives.
~~HUGS~~