Mother’s Day | 5:30 AM
Seated in my familiar green, micro suede recliner, I struggled to clear the cobwebs from my brain as I nursed my 11-month-old son. His little fingers curled around a strand of my hair, pulling my head down and to the right. Sometime during the night my husband had gotten up to soothe our two-year-old son, who had awoken in terror from a bad dream. They were now cuddled up together in a pile of blankets and limbs on our sofa.
My thoughts turn to the future; to my dreams. A professional writer, an accomplished speaker, these are things I envision for myself. Further education is a requirement, in my mind, to see these dreams become reality. Since my graduation from bible college two years previous, I have longed to return to school for my master’s.
With three (and then four) small children, a husband finishing his own degree, and the daily demands of home, my school career seemed at a standstill. My husband graduated, my two oldest are off to school this fall, and the two younger daily grow more independent; now would be an appropriate time to apply for a master’s program, right? (We can talk about my crazy later.)
Mother’s Day | 6:30 AM
Seated now at my kitchen table, the only light in the room coming from my glowing laptop screen, I click “apply” on the seminary website. A master’s in global leadership would provide me with the knowledge I need to be an effective ministry leader, and the credentials I desired to bring legitimacy to my calling.
My husband, surprised to discover me awake and on the computer at such an early hour, asks what I am doing.
“Applying for my master’s degree.”
A nonchalant statement regarding a huge step in my life. He laughs at me, and goes to get ready for worship practice.
Mother’s Day | 5:30 PM
Finally finding a moment to call my own mom, I mention to her that I’m in the process of applying for a master’s program. She pauses, and I know what she’s thinking. She worries that I take on too much, that someday I’m going to fall down dead from overdoing life.
“What does Josh think of that?”
Not until that moment do I realize I hadn’t talked to my husband before I began the application process.
We’d talked in the past about my desire for further education. He knows how much I want this. Honestly, I hadn’t thought to discuss it with him because I didn’t think it would impact him. Homework could be done during the day, and a generous education trust from my grandparents would cover the cost.
Mother’s Day | 10:30 PM
“Josh, I’m sorry I didn’t talk to you about the whole master’s thing.”
The end of a long day of festivities and houseguests finds us lying quietly in bed. In the pre-sleep moments we can finally decompress and process. Our focus can be on one another, without the distraction of kid’s needs or TV shows.
He isn’t upset, just confused. In all of our previous discussions, we’d said life was too hectic for me to go back to school. Now, with our upcoming move to Washington, and the uncertainty of what life will be like there, he feels that it is still not the right time.
I have allowed my goals and desires to rule, rather than putting the needs of others above my own. Of course it would impact him for me to return to school. Absolutely it would be a burden of sorts on our home.
As moms, as wives, our days are not our own. Kay asked me to describe what I’m devoted to in my life this week. At 6:30 AM on Mother’s Day, I would have answered: “My dream to earn a master’s degree and to become a published author/speaker.” However, after 10:30 PM that same day, my answer is: “The needs and concerns of my husband and children.”
I’m not saying that we can’t take time for ourselves; to educate and better ourselves. For me, right now, the cost outweighs the benefits. My time will come…and it will be in His perfect timing. Now, I need to focus on the ministry that He has called me to in this season. Then I can sit in that same micro suede chair at 5:30 AM the next morning, focus on my son’s tiny fingers, and not worry about an assignment I need to finish. I can be present.