Saturday, June 18, 2011

An Unexpected Chapter

I t all started with a conversation in a garage about life, the past and the choices we make.  On a buggy May night God used a friend and a glass of mascato to start pushing the boundaries of my heart a little bit more, leaving me silently questioning the things that I have held onto with my fists tightly closed, for fear of letting go.

That conversation began the inward journey I was embarking on, and the laundry began the journey of giving it to God.  It was the Saturday following.  I sat on the laundry room floor folding clothes, sobbing. To cry was all I could manage.  My tears questioned why? Why, once again, was I busy with laundry on a Saturday when my boys were playing without me.

As Steve walked in to find me emotionally distraught in a mountain of clothes, everything, every question, every doubt, came pouring out.  It was no longer only mine to hold. I shared my deepest fears with him.  What was God doing in this? What did God design me for? Why am I sitting on the laundry room floor crying? 

My fears found comfort in Steve, too, having these same feelings.  Feelings that we needed to possibly explore some time away, a change in direction, a new normal. It was on both of our hearts.  And for the second time in my life I began to open my heart to God's plan, not my plan.

This was not easy for me, as my plan was the safe plan that was easy with no risk. It was neat.  It was pretty.  It was all I ever thought I wanted...until now. Now we were turning to God to see what his plan was. Where exactly are we?  What now? What does all of this mean?

We decided to pray.  Simply pray.  Usually, I would take matters into my own hands and create or force outcomes to fit what I thought would be best me, but not this time.  This time though many tears I waited, waited to hear Him. Waited to see Him.  Waited for Him in conversations.  Waited for His plan to be revealed.

And He stopped just short of sky writing to let us know of His plan.  I wept each time I stumbled upon a blog or found inspiration in so many places.  I cried again with each conversation I had with poor unsuspecting acquaintances, who spoke directly into my question without knowing God was using them to nudge me to live freely in Him.  I felt as if a spotlight were shining directly down upon me as I listened to sermons telling me it's okay.

He told me it was okay to take a break.  It's okay to take time to prepare myself and our family for a child we have waited so long for.  It's okay to step outside of my neat and symmetrical box to explore what he has in store for me.  He told me that everything will be okay, and for the first time since that May night in the garage, I felt peace in knowing what my decision should be. 

On June 10 I traded my classroom key for a year leave of absence. With one last box in my hands, I walked away from room 5 for the first time in eight years knowing I wouldn't return in the fall. 

Although fear sometimes creeps in I am taking this year to live with my hands wide open, excited to see where it takes me.


  1. Honored to be your friend. Love you.

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  3. It takes a strong woman to ask, listen and obey. Find freedom in the breath that God has given you. Simply pray when you're not feeling you lots!

  4. as i sat reading this, i saw myself in so many ways. i am always being reminded that this is not my world, that i dont determine how things happen. its very hard to do sometimes, but just trust that He has a plan for you and let it run it's course. you're a great person all around and room 5 will be waiting again soon for you to return

  5. Theresa,
    While our journeys may not be exactly the same, it seems our hearts struggle with the same tugs and nudges. I taught school for 4 years before having our first child, and thought it was in the plans for me to continue part-time until God paved a new road for us. Now, having been home for 9 years [!!], I look back and see his handprints all over my life, in so many lovely, unexpected places.

    You're right: it is tremendously difficult to trust and wait and sit in the gray. But is another thing to sit in those same places with the assurance of God's faithfulness and everlasting love for us.

    I applaud you for taking a break when your spirit told you it was time; many people would not have had the courage to walk away. And I join you in this season of waiting and praying for that special little one God is naming right now.

    What a privilege to partner with Him in such important work! May you always see it as such!

    Sending prayers and blessings- Jane

  6. I cannot tell you how I stumbled upon your blog... I can't even remember what I was looking for, but I'll tell you that I absolutely needed to find this post and believe that I was supposed to read it. How in awe of this universe I am as I sit here reading this. I'm a teacher as well, in my 9th year, and am currently on maternity leave that ends in 4 weeks. I have been agonizing over the decision to take a year of absence to spend time with my 21 month old and my new son. Agonizing over the financial repercussions (even though my husband supports me in taking time off). Agonizing over the prospect of losing my tenure and being de-staffed once I return, etc.. Your post has really left me feeling as though it is the right thing to do: to have faith. Faith that this part of my journey is worth taking, no matter the risks involved. I wish nothing but happiness for you in your year off and hope you enjoy every minute with your amazing kids! They are so worth it.


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