As I sit here on my couch snuggling my baby boy while watching a movie with him, I am mourning our last homework free weekend before the start of the semester Monday. The past month, I have been able to spend day and night with not only my little guy but my wonderful husband. The family bonding that we have experienced over the past weeks has been wonderful, and I am so grateful for it.
My husband and I's schedules are so crazy and jam packed, that having time off has been a God send. Our schedules are still crazy without school, but having extra bonding time on school breaks sure makes dealing with the craziness and stress easier. It really makes getting through the next semester so much easier.
When I started school 2 1/2 years ago, I was very enthusiastic to be going back. College has always been a lifelong dream of mine, and the excitement of a new chapter in my life beginning fueled me to put my all into school. I have been on the Dean's List and honor society every single semester, yet as life went on our lives quickly became busier and busier. First with the birth of our baby, then the start of our ministry, gaining many wonderful friends, Ben starting school, becoming a puppy parent, and the ministry growing from a once a week meeting into a 24 hour open availability to help drug addicts in crisis- one that is only getting bigger and shows no signs of stopping and is only going to require more of our time as it grows.
I love what we do, and wouldn't change it for anything in the world. Helping addicts truly is my life's passion. I wish I could say the same for my education. The novelty and newness has worn off, and the passion I had for it has been replaced by my passion for my family and ministry. However, I know I must push through. I am finishing my last class for my associates degree as well as starting three of the classes I need for my bachelor's degree this semester. I will graduate with my AAS degree in May, which is a HUGE accomplishment and something I am so proud of myself for. Not only am I the first (and probably only, excluding my kids) person in my immediate family to get a college degree, but I have proven to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to, and I am building a better future for Justin by securing an education which will land me a decent job and enable me to provide for him better than ever- and I am also giving him a great role model to look up to, and a parent to be proud of.
That thought is what keeps me pushing through with all of my might- even when it's hard (that, and I refuse to be a quitter anymore in life!) I have one degree down, I'm starting the second one, and if all goes as planned I will also be doing a third (master's) degree in Drug and Alcohol counseling. Hopefully now that I am starting classes that I actually enjoy for my bachelor's degree (verses the boring prerequisites for the AAS degree), my enthusiasm will come back. After almost 3 years of being in school full time non-stop, it is starting to wear on me. There is tons of work involved- if it was easy, everyone would do it! Yet, despite the tiredness, I am so thankful for the opportunity to receive an education- an opportunity that not everyone gets.
It has been a long, hard, stressful road, but I am pushing through. Not just half heartedly, but still as an honors student =) I will accept nothing less of myself than honor roll grades and a good GPA. I am a very black or white person- I do things all the way, to the best of my ability, or not at all. I know that God will direct my steps and give me the time that I need to carry out what is important, and make a way for me to continue to do everything that is on my schedule. I am excited to be building a future for my family, yet I mourn the loss of time with them and not being able to always be there for CROSSroads if someone needs me. Our ministry truly is a matter of life or death, and the thought of not being able to help someone who is reaching out because I am in class bothers me. However, I trust God with the situation, and know that if I am supposed to talk to someone, he will make a way- class or no class.
Who knows, though, how this whole thing may go. God may decide that he truly wants me in full time ministry, and I may have to cut back on school and earn my master's degree much slower than expected. Proverbs 16:9 states that "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." So, this is the course I am planning for myself- goals for my future. But I will always, ALWAYS, take the Lord's lead if he wants me to step into a different path. Right now, it seems that that path is doing a million and one things at a time, but if the day ever comes where I am only doing one- a God ordained ONE- I am okay with that too!
So, for the prayer warriors that read this, pray for me. The semester starts in 2 1/2 days, and I'm tired!