I would venture a guess that most people who will earn a college degree decided much earlier in life than I what they wanted to be when they grew up. I couldn’t decide that right after high school. I knew I wanted to grow up. And I knew I wanted to do something, but I just couldn’t put the two together. I still had no idea even after earning my Associate’s degree in Gen Ed five years after high school while working full time. I didn’t begin until around the age of 40 to figure out what I might like to be – and now it’s when MY KIDS grow up!
By the time I had earned my Associate of Arts, I was married and ready to start a family. I had no idea what I would study if I did continue nor how I would pay for it, but one thing I think I had always known was that I wanted to be at home with my kids full-time, at least while they were little.
Finishing what I start has always been important to me. I finished high school. I wasn’t going to leave an Associate’s degree half completed. I graduated from Longview in 1996 and then I put my education on hold and started my family in 1998 (technically 1997 is when that journey had its original conception). I’ve never regretted that for a moment. I’m not going to lie. As with any job, there were days I wanted to quit. Or pull my hair out at least. But then, you look in those sweet little, innocent (while they’re sleeping) eyes and you just know, you’re where God wants you right now. There is nowhere else in the world that you can make this kind of difference. So I stuck it out.
This later-in-life decision making process has been much different than it would have been if I’d have had to do it sooner. In high school, I wanted to be a teacher. As a 40ish-year-old, I have done my time. I’ve been a homeschool teacher, a babysitter and I’ve not only worked in the church preschool department but directed it for a while. One thing I know as a woman with some teaching under her belt, I don’t want to be a teacher.
Somewhere in my early twenties, I think I may have gone to nursing school… for a day. Who knew I was going to have to deal with things that come out of the insides of other people! Yuck. I just wanted to hold people’s hands and tell them everything is going to be okay. So, yeah… I figured out pretty quickly that nursing was not my bag.
But you know what? After seventeen years as a mom, I have accrued the skills and the life experience of roughly sixteen different careers — including teaching (how to tie your shoes, how to read and write, some basic math, and most importantly, what Mandy probably meant when she said that) and nursing (my kids back to health countless times) but also as caretaker, counselor, chef, entertainment director, play specialist (did you know that’s a real thing people get paid to do?), financial advisor, tutor, supervisor, maid, academic advocate, receptionist, form completion specialist, behavioral trainer, chauffeur, and more. Now, I have the benefit of more years of growing wisdom and more experience that I can apply to my decision about what to be!
Over the last decade, I’ve also held many volunteer positions outside my home. You may not know this, but us stay-at-homers, or SAHM’s, we’re pretty in demand! Churches and schools and community organizations can’t get enough of us! I think it has something to do with having more time? I don’t get that part, buuuut whatever… I have had more opportunities than I ever wanted to experiment with other roles including directing a church preschool department, organizing ladies ministry groups, answering phones, filing, planning events, decorating cakes, baking all kinds of desserts, organizing fundraisers, weddings and meetings, providing meals, facilitating ladies Bible study groups, writing and designing church and school newsletters, brochures, flyers, directories, business cards, logos. I’ve even designed the cover of a book that will soon be published. I’ve written articles and short stories about business and spiritual life. I’ve counseled many struggling sisters in Christ. I have always loved to write. And to help others.
I’m glad God made me a SAHM so I could bless those around me in such varied ways, while I get to have fun and enjoy developing my skills rather than just sitting around watching soap operas an eating bon-bons, because you know, that’s what us stay-at-homers do all day, right? Do they even sell bon-bons anymore? I haven’t caught an episode of Young and the Restless since my firstborn was itty-bitty and my grandma passed away. I’ll never forget how she would call me and start telling me a story or asking me about something that happened with Jack or Ashley, or Nikki. You’d have thought she was talking about a relative from Arkansas.
My love for the written word in print has only grown through the years and I have truly enjoyed the many ways I have been able to use my skills to help other people and to assist with development in ministry organizations. Being a full-time mom and serving as a volunteer at hundreds of school, church and community activities through the years has helped me determine the direction of my education and career goals. And I had no idea that was what was happening. After all, we can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.
Of all the exciting opportunities that I have had to serve others, the ones I have enjoyed the most are those which have allowed me to write and create written and graphic materials. I have spent many hours and days searching exhaustively through the program offerings of numerous colleges and universities across the U.S. seeking the perfect fit for my passions, skills and goals along with meeting the needs of my family life. I am so excited to have found and been accepted into a Bachelor of Science in Professional Writing program like none other, which beautifully combines the art of writing with the art of graphic design in a program that allows me to learn from state university professors at home while earning a degree as prestigious as an a campus degree. My insatiable hunger to know and understand the world around me and how God wants to use me in it has brought me through so many wonderful life experiences to the place where He is now launching me to leave my mark on it in the most meaningful way possible.
Can you relate? Watch for Him. He is working. He is determining your steps. His plans for you are good. I’m living proof!