John David smiling at me this morning, laying in the bed snuggling after I had nursed him. He was "talking" and smiling a bunch. He melts my heart with that precious smile every time!
I love these outfits..."eat your greens"... how cute.
James Daniel telling Mommy that he loves her! I took this picture last Wed. before I left for the beach. We were in Wachovia parking lot (nursing like always..on the go!)
After several days of prayer, I have made my decision. I plan to take a year's leave of absence and stay home with the boys and Jenna next year. Trying to decide what to do was extremely hard. My heart was tugged in both directions for a variety of reasons. I battled with the decision mostly because I was trying so hard to DO IT ALL! Trying to be the best mom, best wife, best teacher, best friend I could be.
The demands of our family right now surpass all I ever imagined for my life. Don't get me wrong, I am so incredibly thankful to have my family and be responsible for those precious children (all 5 of them), but the days are long and they are hard. I am truly honored to be Rob's wife and Claire, Ellie, Jenna, James and John David's mother. Teaching has always been a passion of mine and I truly do enjoy it. But for this moment in time in my life, I feel that my family needs me more right now than Oak Mt. Intermediate School needs me.
Throughout this past week I had gone back and forth with staying home and going back to the classroom in the fall. I'd play the days in my mind over and over again. I'd think of how exhausting my days are right now and try to imagine adding 7 hours of teaching fourth graders to my day (very overwhelming thought). I'd think of leaving those baby boys for someone else to rock and hold, love on, and feed all day. I'd think of the exposure to germs they'd be faced with and the therapy I wouldn't be able to take them to because it is only offered during the day. I'd think of the attention my sweet Jenna is thriving for and the management of Claire and Ellie and their schools and I'd try to convince myself that I would just "figure it out". I am a strong girl and I was determined to make it work. I'd think about the domestic responsibilities that would surely fall to the back burner. I'd think selfishly about wanting to be with other people during my day other than my own precious children. I'd think about being able to do so many things with Jenna that I wasn't able to do with my other girls. I'd think about the financial burden the loss of my income would bring upon our family and the financial strain 4 children in daycare brings upon our family. I'd think about all the people involved in my decision and the anxiety I was carrying around with me, made it hard to take a breath.
But when I searched and searched my heart for an answer, I just didn't have one. How to be the mom I desire to be while keeping my job and not disappointing others by taking off a year. My spirit was full of anxiety and I knew it couldn't last much longer.
I was prayed for by one of Rob's technicians, Nicole, yesterday afternoon. She prayed for me to experience clarity in my decision and for God to reveal to me what choice would be best. Within hours later, I walked in to Lee Fogles's house (where Jenna stays during the day) and as I talked with her about the pros and cons of staying home verses working, I felt a sense of peace implode my heart. Seriously, I physically felt the Holy Spirit answer me. I know it sounds crazy, but I have truly been seeking God on this one (not the first time in my life-obviously!)and I kept the verse Jeremiah 29:13- "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" That verse was one that Rob gave me in the hospital for my wall. So, God spoke to my heart through Lee Folge. I have talked with so many people about this, but for some reason (because that is just how God works sometimes), my answer came to me when I least expected it. I walked in her house to pick up Jenna with no intentions of making the decision, and I walked out with tears and a heart that finally felt peace at making the decision to take off a year. I don't think Lee said anything differently than I had already heard, it was just the "moment of peace" I felt that confirmed for me what I needed to do. I had been watching and listening for God to "speak" to me about this, and He did.
The tough part of the final decision was to tell my principal, who has been so wonderful to me in the years I have been at OMIS. And telling my best friend Elizabeth Studinka that she'd have to man the fort for one more year without me. May not seem like that huge of a deal, but it was. Dr.Maxwell was so supportive and helpful (as usual, she selflessly wanted to help me through this time, comfort me and encourage me). The hardest was facing Elizabeth. I felt diappointment and failure. She of course gave me a big ole hug and told me she loved me and "It was just a year"...but nonetheless, I left in tears!
I will miss my school, my teaching buddies, my principal, my students, my best friend Elizabeth that I've taught along side with many years (we're so close we can even finish each others sentences!), but it is only ONE year...we can do it. And I am grateful to have the time to spend with the boys while they are at such a vulnerable age, I am grateful to my husband who has supported me through it all. He is my constant support and I love him so much.
Lastly, as I have said before, I spent many days during my pregnancy praying with all of my heart and soul, that if God would spare their precious little lives and allow me the opportunity to be their mommy, I would do anything and everything I could to ensure their health and well being. I'll never forget those feelings as long as I live. I feel like sacrificing one year of my wants and desires to be a teacher is the least I can do. I have even thought that maybe all of this is taking place because there is something BIGGER going on here. Maybe God is allowing this to take place because I have some business to take care of for HIM. I have always wanted to get involved in a NICU ministry or perinatal ministry but "never had the time"...
This time in my life is just a small spec on the canvas of the beautiful life masterpiece God has created for me. I know He has a plan for it all. I trust Him in all I do. I look forward to seeing a bit more revealed over the next year. Thank you all who prayed for me and have encouraged me along the way. Your words and thoughts mean so much.
And for those of you who are battling a BIG decision in your own life, "Be still and know that HE is God" Psalm 46:10 My prayer for you would be that as you wait for the Lord to speak, you would find peace and comfort in knowing that He really does have it all planned out and under control!