Saturday, March 15, 2008

Our Strength

We know not all that lies ahead of us. We live in a world of uncertainty. For some, there will be great accomplishment. For others, disappointment. For some, much of rejoicing and gladness, good health, and gracious living. For others, perhaps sickness and a measure of sorrow. We do not know.

But one thing we do know. Like the Polar Star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives. He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith.

In sunshine and in shadow we look to Him, and He is there to assure and smile upon us.

- Gordon B. Hinckley

Saturday, March 8, 2008

"Everything happens for a reason..."

Does everything happen for a reason? Even though I hate when people tell me this, thinking these thoughts provides comfort through tough times. But is it really true?

Last week I went to lunch with a friend, during which she was talking about working part-time while being a mom. I was interested, as this is my plan as well. She mentioned that working outside the home for a certain time each week is really good for her. She never realized it before she had kids, but staying home with them all the time would not have suited her personality. She would have struggled and felt resentful and the kids would have suffered for that.

There have been some great side benefits too. Because her husband works as a fireman with an alternating schedule, they are both able to participate fairly equally in raising the child. Baby is usually with either mom, dad, or both. She was nervous the first time she left the baby with dad only for a while, but doing so has been wonderful for him and the baby. He may be one of few dads out there who is completely comfortable feeding, changing, comforting, and playing with his son. They now share a special bond, just the two of them.

As she was describing this, something hit me. Maybe I wasn't just killing time trying to get pregnant, somehow falling into a career. Maybe this is all part of a special plan for me.

All my life, I never thought I would work at all when I was a mom. As recently as a year ago, I might have walked away from my job completely once that dream came true. But perhaps that is not what I was destined to do. Perhaps I am supposed to have an outlet in which to do something for others, help provide for my family, and give my husband a portion of the responsibility and privilege of caring for our kids.

When I look back, I first started trying to conceive my senior year of college (2003). The idea was to graduate just before I delivered and to stay at home. Well, of course, that didn't happen and so we came back to the Central Valley and I started looking for a job.

And that's all I wanted, just a job to pay the bills. My idea was to help Ryan through the Police Academy and then go to school (1 class at a time) while I raised my kids. Once they were all grown up, I would have a short career as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

So, I start a job working for a financial planner. A short time into it, he mentions the idea of becoming one myself. He tells me it would have the opportunity of working part-time when my kids were young. I, of course, dismiss it. After all, I already knew how my life was going to go.

Years pass...still no baby. I try out the MFT masters program and decide it's not for me. I begin to consider the idea of financial planning. I decide to give the classes a try. They were difficult, and I have no doubt that if children had come, I may have thrown in the towel, but they didn't, so I kept going.

Over a year goes by and here I sit. Too invested in this career and loving it too much to quit now, I think about how far I have come and where I should go from here. We have been admonished as LDS women to stay home with our kids, and that has always been the plan from the beginning.

In reflection, I can't help but think that this is the way I'm supposed to go. Ryan's career has that alternate schedule which offers me a slight variation on staying home. What about a stay-at-home mom-and/or-dad? With an occasional afternoon with Grandma? Can that really work? I guess time will tell...

I don't know all the answers, but I feel good about where I am. I know that no time is the "perfect" time to start a family, but maybe these last 5 years have not been the right time. Perhaps God knew there were certain things I need to accomplish first. That I needed to get right here, right now and that is why He's waiting. For His "perfect" time, not mine.

My life is not what I imagined it to be...but maybe everything happens for a reason...