I have three beautiful children, and consequently, I have experienced three life-changing births.
When Rosie was born, not having any previous knowledge of what it would be like to have a baby, I read books about labor and birth. Nothing could prepare me for the actual experience itself (I realized in retrospect!), but one piece of advice stayed in my memory: When you feel like you really can not live through it any more, you are almost done. This is called transition.
Transition, in a typical, uncomplicated, natural birth, is generally the most intense stage of labor, when the contractions are coming on so strong that you barely have time to take a breath between them, and the sensation is so all-consuming it is hard (no matter what those books say…) to think of it as anything but severe pain.
Thankfully, it doesn’t last very long. And though the work is very hard, the prize is ssssssooooooo worth it. With each of my three children’s births, as soon as I had passed through transition, it was literally minutes before I was holding the baby in my arms.
I am holding on to this metaphor for our family, as we are in a season of great transition in our lives.
Last fall, I began to feel a still, small voice telling me that I need (and want) to be home. I have been teaching part-time since I finished my undergraduate degree, and I used to think that I wanted to be a teacher. I’ve taught all ages–pre-K to college, subjects as varied as high school lit, visual art, video-editing, elementary music, and all the while, I’ve been getting my education, working with youth, having babies, learning to cook, playing music, writing songs, crocheting hats, and trying to keep my creative voice above a whisper. Then the added stress, responsibility, and overwhelmingly clear desire and purpose to complete an album in our living room… If my life has been chaotic, you can only imagine the lives of our children: one parent rushing in, the other parent rushing out, different schedules each day, people in and out of our house for lessons, having to leave the house because Daddy/Mommy is recording, having their living room gradually over-taken by studio equipment, learning to understand the world through a series of hurried events, led by parents who are many-times exhausted in every way. Somehow, God has managed to keep us all together. But it has been a crazy year.
Over and over, I am hearing the word, “home.” It is where I long to be, to help my children understand the world in a less hurried way, to teach them things they need (and want) to know. To cultivate the creativity of our family and tap into the wonder that abounds in every child’s exploration of this world. I feel that I am being called out of a life of rushing around, spending all my creative energy on lesson plans, and I am being called home.
Randy and I prayed about it, and we both agreed that I need to step down from teaching. In faith, I let the school know that I will not be returning next year.
This is a stretch for us, as we have been living on an extremely tight budget for the last several years. We are family of 5, living on the income two parents generate from four or five little part-time jobs. Our income is always changing, and there are times we do not have enough to pay bills. But God is always faithful. There have been days when someone has showed up on our doorstep out of the blue with just enough money to pay the balance of our power bill, desperately due the same day. Or when we have received a gift in the mail that was to-the-cent how much we needed to settle a bill we couldn’t pay.
I know some people think we are crazy to quit perfectly good jobs in order to follow a heart’s conviction. There is such a fine line between having faith and being a fool. We believe that God is leading us to do this, and He has proven himself faithful–repeatedly, miraculously, in every season of our lives.
As of this month, our future is a giant question mark. We typically have very few students in the summer (usually our main source of income). I will not be teaching in the fall, and we can never really count on students returning after the summer. It is scary to think about what could happen. But I am writing this out as a future testimony to the faithfulness of God. I believe with all my heart that He will provide for those who are seeking to do his will wholeheartedly. We are trying our best to do this.
This is a season of great transition for us. Also a season of great possibility. I am believing, just as in the births of my three beautiful children, that this transition, though difficult to endure, is going to produce a new life in us. That going through this time of laying aside fear and painfully learning to trust God in a deeper way is going to bring about a beautiful birth that will change our lives forever.
We are waiting on the Lord. We are close to the end of this life-labor, living in transition, waiting on the intensity of it to subside, and looking forward to the joy of welcoming the new life God wants to give our family in this season.