As a mom, there have been many times when I had no clue what I was doing. So often, I have thrown up my hands, looked up to the heavens, and asked, “What are You doing?” I’d like to say I always turn my eyes to God when things get rough, but that’s not the case.
When I transitioned from working mom to stay-at-home mom, I was constantly forgetting to do this. It was during this transition that my faith grew; where I realized that I may not always understand His plan at this moment, but eventually, I may. We tend to have many plans of our own, “But it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).
Prior to becoming a SAHM, I was a high school special education teacher. You may be thinking, “Ugh, she must be very patient,” or “Well, someone has to do it,” or “There’s no way I could do that.” I can only assume this because those were the typical responses I received when I told people my profession. Funny enough, I rarely received enthusiasm or encouragement.
So, to those wonderful teachers who work tirelessly every single day, I say God bless you. God bless you! Teaching, in general, is difficult. It is. It is an often underappreciated, exhausting profession. It is most certainly something you do out of a passion for the profession rather than a paycheck. For me, I especially loved working with children who struggled with learning and/or behavioral issues. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t miss it. I do, very much. Although I have a true passion for teaching, I can see God was also preparing me for my future.
I may not always understand His plan at this moment, but eventually, I may.
When my son was two, he started speech and was soon after diagnosed with Apraxia. This affected his ability to speak (he needed to work extra hard) and we were told later that this would affect certain areas of reading as well. He took speech and thrived. I had child number three, our second, strong little girl. She too needed speech therapy as she grew, in addition to occupational therapy for her Sensory Processing Disorder. Finally, child number four, another strong-willed, beautiful girl who also needed speech therapy.
My oldest daughter never needed speech therapy or any therapy for that matter. We thought she was in the clear until she was in second grade. She was really struggling when we had her assessed for an array of things. Because I had worked in special education, I knew she was showing signs of difficulty. They weren’t just hiccups here and there in her learning. All children have a bad day or week, but there was an ongoing pattern of trouble in memorization, concentration, and comprehension. She was assessed and we discovered there were learning disabilities present.
I can say that tactfully now, but if I told you I had handled it as a professional educator at the time, I’d be lying again. I was no longer in that role. I was now a mom, and my heart was broken. I took on a lot of blame. Despite needing to deal with my own inner “stuff,” I also knew we needed to focus on our children. I knew she had many difficult roads ahead. I was on the other side of that conference table now. We focused on our children. We focused on getting them the assistance they needed despite some of our own resistance.
We all know that old saying, “God works in mysterious ways.” He certainly does. When I obtained my degree and was teaching in the classroom, I thought that was my final destination—to be a special education teacher. Time has changed that. Being a mom has changed that. I fully believe now that my education and work experience were for the purposes of preparing me to be the best advocate I could be for my own children. For His plan, not my own.
Make no mistake, working with my children is just as difficult for me as it is for most parents. Getting them to do homework and offer study tips that they actually listen to or accept is just as tough for me as any parent. They have resistance to my suggestions just as many children do when their parents offer advice. But I do believe it has made advocating for their needs much easier than it otherwise would have been.
I do plan on going back into the classroom in the future. I look forward to it! When I do, I’m hopeful I will be a better educator and advocate for my future students and their parents than I was those several years ago because I’ve now been on both sides of that conference table. It is amazing to me how God works and weaves His plan into our lives. As I age and grow more as a woman and a parent, I seem to reflect on John 13:7 more and more often, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” I get it now.
You’ll be encouraged by this episode of our podcast: How to Face the Impossible with Grit and Grace – 035
You’ll also like You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Be a Great Mom, What My Faith Says About My Purpose, Dear SAHM: I See You And Want You to Know These 8 Things, 15 Ways to Care for Yourself When You Have a Child with Special Needs, When You’re Desperate to Know the Reason for Your Pain and Why I Decided to Pick Up My Son for the Last Time.