This is more of a journal entry. Read on if you want. Its a little mushy and long-winded. (Plus, I have a problem with run-on sentences and commas and using the work "so"). Anyway, you've been warned.
I really wanted to write it down, to put in our family album next year (Each year I turn our pictures, with the blog as a guide into a family journal & album). I was thinking of one of President Eyring's talks about keeping a journal filled with the ways that his family saw the hand of God in their lives on a daily basis. Anyway, this decision was a very powerful moment for me, and was a big answer to prayers. I need to remember to record experiences like this so that they are not easily forgotten. Plus, I guess its a little way to bear my testimony on getting prayers answered. It's my blog and only family & friends have access, so why not, right? So here goes:
Shane and I have been in a good place lately. We are meeting some important goals that we set. We are getting our life in order, including finances, and making progress toward becoming debt free. We were able to extend my maternity leave longer than normal due to that, and by living frugally, have been able to stretch resources a little farther than normal.
Thanks to a focus in our ward and stake, and "Centering the Home on Christ", we have been more successful lately in family scripture study, family prayer and family home evening. We still have a long way to go, and miss days here and there, but overall--we've felt very successful. We are grateful for our local church leadership, and the challenges that they give to us. I feel like we have been able to feel the spirit more in our home, and have had greater peace in our life and relationships.
Since Henry was born, and I've been on maternity leave, I have felt so at peace and happy with my role in our life. I've loved that life has slowed down a bit, and that I can pass an entire day spending non-stop time with Henry & Emma at home. I started back to work two weeks ago at the middle school, and I'm gone from about 7-11 in the morning. It seems like the perfect amount of time for me to be gone. I really love teaching, but I'm able to return home and spend the rest of the day with my family, doing what I feel is most important. Since Shane doesn't work until the afternoon, he is able to be home with Emma & Henry in the morning. He does a great job, and Emma loves her Daddy time in the morning everyday.
In addition, the last three years, I've been teaching evening Spanish classes at Bellevue College, and have LOVED teaching there. The students are motivated and responsible. The facilities and technology are wonderful to teach with, and the pay is really wonderful. I truly love teaching there. However, it requires me to be gone in the evenings while Shane is at work. Usually, Emma has been able to be with family during this time, which has made it so much easier to work out, but now that we have 2 kids, I feel that the process is not going to run so smoothly. On days that I work at BC, I didn't get anything done at home and my patience with Emma was always a little thin. We were eating poorly, since I didn't have time to make dinner, and I usually came home and crashed in front of the TV, waiting for Shane to come home at night.
So after a few months of blissful living on maternity leave, I realized that the evening position was quite a stress factor in my life. While I love the work, and the benefits of the job have been wonderful to us the past few years, I see how nice it is to be at home more. So, I have had the feeling that I should start rethinking my time there in the evenings and decide if it really is still what our family needs. I'm currently committed to teaching one 3 week class in the summer and then one course for fall quarter.
So, last weekend, Shane took me to the temple, and we specifically prayed over this subject, as well as some other things we were hoping to get answers to. While there, I felt confident that I was on the right path to making a decision, that it was time take action. But I still didn't get the strong "Yes, let it go...move on" that I was hoping for. On my way to and from work each day, I listen to conference talks on my phone, and it seemed that every talk for the past week was focused on teaching children, the importance of family time, marriage, and just simplifying life in general. Also, five or six times in the last week, Emma has looked at me at random times of the day and said things like, "Mommy, I love it when you're at home with me". Or, "Mommy, I like when you don't go to work". Heartbreaking, right?
So finally on Thursday, while at work in the morning, I was checking my BC email, and received a request form for what our Winter quarter schedule should be from my department head. I sat down to write the response, and was still very wishy-washy about what I should do. Just one class, only takes me away from home for about 6 hours a week. That's not too bad? Just one class wouldn't hurt? But as I was looking at the class lists and times, trying to figure out what would work best with my schedule, I began to wonder if I was ignoring messages that I had been receiving all week.
So, I decided it was do or die time. I needed to decide, and more than that, I needed a clear answer to know that this is what the Lord wanted me to do. So, there in my classroom I prayed out-loud and asked for an immediate answer on the issue. I needed a decision. I sat and waited for 5 minutes, and felt nothing. I began to get frustrated. I felt that I had been doing what I was supposed to, and deserved an answer to prayer when I needed it. Instead of letting that frustration grow, I decided to look at all the hints that I had been receiving and take action based on that. So, I decided to let them know I wouldn't be returning to teach on campus in the fall or later, and would be taking some time off for a year or more or forever. As I sat down and started to type out the response, I immediately felt a confirmation that this was the right thing for me. It was so strong that I had to stop and breathe a minute before I could finish the email. I finished clicked submit, and then gathered my things to leave and come home. The same strong feeling stayed with me all the way home.
In short (ridiculous to say based on the length of this post), even though the extra money has been wonderful, it is very clear to me that I need to be at home more and spend more time and energy parenting and loving my family. I feel so wonderful now that this decision has been made.
Just today, I was listening to Elder Bednar's talk called "Ask in Faith" from Spring 2008 General Conference. He was talking about how often the prayers we ask, are not answered until after our part of the"action" has taken place. I had been given hints and nudges from Heavenly Father and Spirit, but it wasn't until I actually decided and took the step toward following those promptings, did I get the real answer to prayer.
My testimony of prayer has been strengthened. I seem to have forgotten how important a daily tool it is, to really ask and receive answers about my life. I'm grateful for a husband that took me to the temple, leads our family in prayer and scripture study, and is an overall good example in my life and welcomes the Spirit into our home.
So, after my summer stint at BC, I'll be done. I can't wait. While my head had a very tough time with this decision, it's nice to feel that my heart knows its the right thing for us.