Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Seasons of Life

Are there seasons of your life where you wonder what in the world God was doing, and just what His purpose was for that time in your life? I've been wondering that big time. When I was in grad school, I absolutely loved it. The content was fascinating to me and I could have spent way longer than 2 years there. In fact, I wish I spent 2 years on the bachelor's and 4 on the master's. I made a great group of girlfriends from all walks of life and changed in so many ways. But looking back, I think I was about as far from God at that point as I've ever been. I was searching, searching, searching but in the wrong places. I sort of became who I thought I should be based on the mass majority of people around me rather than based off of my values and ideals. Then I moved to Raleigh, got a job, met my husband, and got married. We had it all planned out. I would get the 10 year student loan forgiveness by working in a non profit for 10 years, we would have children, and live life.

Me with the grad school girls on a girls' weekend trip to DC

But somewhere along the way we decided that I would stay home with our future children. I can't tell you how ecstatic that decision makes me, but after probably only 4-5 years using my master's, I'll be at home for the long haul (at least until the last kid finishes high school, hopefully). And we'll still be paying off the *gulp* $65,000 worth of student loans that it took me to earn a bachelor's and master's, with the bulk of it being from my master's. Yes, that will get forgiven in 25 years but anything that's forgiven (and get this.... it will be MORE than $65,000 because my monthly payment doesn't even cover the interest) we have to pay taxes on like it's income. You don't even want to know that figure. And so I sit here and wonder, why did God lead me to grad school? I really feel like it was something I was led to, versus me taking total control and saying "listen here, this is what I'm going to do!" because I actually said "listen here, there is NO way I'm doing more school after these 4 years!" until mid first semester of my senior year. All of a sudden it just clicked and it felt right.

Same group of girls at my wedding, minus Jean Marie who was living in Mexico at the time

I have to believe there was a purpose to that season in my life. Steven and I always say that it was because it was in grad school I decided to move to Raleigh after finishing, even without a job lead. I just felt like I needed to do that and that it was the place for me to be (which obviously it was). So maybe I went to grad school to eventually move and meet my husband? But man, that was an EXPENSIVE way to meet him! Or maybe I went to meet the girls that became such a huge part of my life. But that doesn't make a ton of sense, because we still love each other dearly, but mostly just keep up through facebook these days. Maybe it was because I'm going to have super challenging children that I need the social work expertise to handle? Geez, I hope not! It could have been because Steven and I both needed more time to grow and learn and change before meeting each other. Or because I had to see who I didn't want to be to know now who I am and want to grow into being? Or maybe it was because at some point we'll need my degree so I can get a job again in a particularly difficult time or so I have something to go back to when the kids are grown and I want something for myself. I just don't know and it doesn't seem obvious at all. If I had to go back and do it over again, would I? It's a dumb question to answer because that will never be an option. And I don't answer it, because I don't think I want to know the answer myself.

 I don't know if I'll ever know for sure why I was led through that season of my life, but I know that I have to trust that there was a good reason for it. And that means letting go of the guilt I have over the student loan burden I brought into our marriage and family. It's something I will continually have to work on as we struggle with finances and I think about how much not having that monthly bill, and not having to worry about that payoff amount in 23 years, would help our situation. But I can't go back and change it, and don't know if I should given the chance, so I will just believe there is a reason for it and focus on, and appreciate, where I am today.


  1. This is SO timely for me! My husband is on his way back home from a job interview that he obtained through the wife of a teacher I worked with a couple years ago. I HATED that job; I was totally miserable for a year. We're talking panic attacks every Sunday night over the thought of having to endure another week, and tears most weekday afternoon on my way home.

    I questioned God so much that year. I didn't understand why he would make me go through utter misery. Sometimes I was able to offer up my suffering to Christ, but more often I just wallowed in self-pity.

    It makes sense now. That job allowed me to get a grant that's been paying my student loans since I became a SAHM (and will continue to cover the payments for about another 1.5 years), and it gave my husband a great contact (and possible job offer!) in the industry he's trying to transition into.

    I don't think we're always given such clarity about past struggles, but we can always trust that God uses all things for his glory. I'm positive there's a reason God brought you through grad school, and I'm sure it's for good.

    1. Beautiful story!!! And as for that last paragraph, you are so right.

  2. I think it's also so that if you decide you want something part-time while raising your kids, it's a possibility.

    1. It would have be an absolute last resort thing, as we want to homeschool and I would never want to work opposite schedules from my husband (since that would be the only way we could work, homeschool, and not use a babysitter/daycare). But I guess it IS comforting that if we get in some kind of destitute situation, God forbid, or he loses his job, I have that degree to fall back on. But man, I hope it never comes to that!

  3. I definitely think you will see the reason at some point, even if it's not for a while. Also, I always try to think about those times of my life that don't make sense from a different have probably positively impacted SO many people's lives through your years of work. The reason could be because those people all needed you in their lives. There are probably multiple reasons including the ones that you mentioned, but I am sure it is for many good things that God may or may not reveal.

    I love the feeling when you gain an understanding of why you were led somewhere though. I was so upset and confused when I didn't get into my top choice for graduate school, but now everything has clicked as we have joined an amazing church here and were led to NFP. If we had stayed where we were, I think we would have stayed pretty stagnant in our faith, just going to church every week.