What a difference a year makes. At this time last year I was feeling the exhaustion of being a working mom, and struggling with a deep internal conflict. Although it was not even two months into the school year, the fresh energy I had felt in early September was already running on empty. It was near the end of cross-country season, and although I was so happy to be coaching the team again (I had missed last season because I was on maternity leave with the twins), I was counting the days until the last meet. Every coach can admittedly feel tired by the end of a sports season, but my eagerness for the end of afternoon practices was more than just the appeal of more free time. I was really missing my girls. Dropping them off at daycare by 7 in the morning and not seeing them until 5:30 in the evening made for long days apart. And especially after we had spent every day of the summer together, this new routine was an abrupt change. It had become a great whirlwind to feed them and get them in bed in the evenings, and I always had the feeling after they fell asleep that I had barely spent any quality time with them. The weekends had become the only time to get the chores done that I never had enough time for during the week, and still I could never seem to get everything completed. If I got caught up in the housework, I fell behind in my schoolwork, and vice versa. By Sunday evening I often felt frazzled and unsure of which neglected projects I would tackle for Monday (sorting laundry or correcting those vocabulary quizzes?). It was the first time in my professional life that I had questioned my purpose for working, and that zapped my energy even more.
This was a conflict I had never anticipated experiencing. Before having the girls, much of my identity had revolved around my working life. It was one of the reasons why returning to work after their birth was an easy decision. My job at Montrose School was by far my most favorite teaching position of my career thus far, and consequently I felt more confident, positive, and generally happy in my life than when I had other teaching positions. Furthermore, Montrose School was more than just an enjoyable place to work. It was the place where I had embarked on a profound personal spiritual journey, and my gratitude for that place continues to run deep. Yet ironically, it took a position that I thoroughly enjoyed to unravel that tightly wound and imbalanced sense of worth found in a job. Working at Montrose made me realize that the job I loved so much was still just a job.
One of the reasons I loved working at Montrose, and this was even before my conversion, is the availability of the chapel. That place is, as the school chaplain often proclaims, the most beautiful room in the entire building. I often found myself swimming in waves of grace when I took some time out of the crazy school day to just sit and talk with God. No matter how long I wrestled with figuring out my true purpose in working and being a mom, I would leave the chapel in a soft cloud of peace that I knew would somehow be strong enough to carry me through the rest of the day. Even if I left the chapel completely unsure about what to do, I was completely and perfectly content resting in God's love, and knowing that somehow and at some point He would reveal His will for me.
God sometimes answers prayer in ways that we don’t expect.
Shortly after Thanksgiving I found out I was expecting.
To be continued…