Life-altering paradigm shift

It has been almost two months since I blogged.  It has been a very full fall. I have returned to school full time. 

Call me crazy, but I have wanted to do this ever since I left high school.  I attended Bible College with the idea of taking some bible classes before I returned to university to pursue a degree.  While there, I found God’s “Will” for my life, and within a year after meeting my husband, Will, we got married.  That was, ohh… about 23 years ago!

Our new life together was fun and filled with exciting work/ministry opportunities and we had no money for further education.  Some things haven’t changed – that last sentence still describes our life today!

I had always planned on going back to school but decided that I didn’t want to spend four years in school only to have to put it all on the shelf as I was pretty determined to do children “full time” during their early years.  So… we had kids.  Four children in five years to be exact.  I’ve always tried to be efficient with my time. HA! It was more the philosophy that if you are going to be crazy… you might as well be good and crazy.  Go big or go home, baby!

When we enrolled our youngest child into the local public school (each had a few years of homeschooling before then) I registered at our local University College.  I had found a friend who was going through the same life-altering paradigm shift and we decided to do this new adventure together.  We car-pooled and sat beside each other in class. We studied together, competed for grades, and consoled each other when our marks were not what we thought they should have been.  Mostly… we debriefed.  Each professor had his/her own agenda and some of the class material was a bit of a culture shock.

Then, my school buddy left me in her dust as she fast-tracked her studying career and a couple years later she graduated.  I cried when she completed her degree because I felt so proud of her… I think I even took some of the credit for her success.  I also cried, because I was still plunking along taking one or two courses a year. But mostly I cried because she beat me. I am terribly competitive you know.

Then, this past year ‘things’ happened.  It became clear that this was the time for me to have another life-altering paradigm shift.  It was my time to go to school full time. I am attending a university 100 km away.  I spend three days in the city, and four days at home and I still work with FL.

Why? I already have my dream-job. I am doing what I want to do but I want to do it better. I could learn on my own, through self directed study and most of my life I have done this. But there is more to this story.  I also need to be faithful to be the person that God has created me to be. I know that when God creates each individual he sets plans before us and in our hearts.  I know that this has been part of my design.  I love to study, I want to learn more about my world, culture and what research has revealed and I also want the degree to substantiate my learning. 

At least that was the game plan. And then mid-terms hit.  Did you know that November is called suicide month at most universities? The pressure is high. After finishing a 150 multiple-choice midterm exam, I walked out of the class room thinking: “I don’t need to do this…I have a life, I already have a job… and I’m really feeling too old for this.”

One sleepless night in the midst of term papers, presentations and exams I felt waves of panic sweep over me.  Now, if you know me, you know that I am not a ‘worrier’. I’ve never been the ‘stay-up-at-night–and-worry’ type of person (or parent for that matter). I usually have a deep trust in God’s faithfulness and sovereignty. But this was a bit much.  Pressure from school was unrelenting, the grades were disappointing and I could never seem to catch up the two weeks I missed when we were in India.

I tumbled out of bed, found my bible and turned to Isaiah 43.  I’m 43 years of age, so I am meditating on this chapter for the year. This is what I read:

“I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
   I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
   they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
   you will not be burned;
   the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;”

Life is hard, but it will not be enough to pull me under.  I am stressed and feeling overwhelmed, but I will make it. Why? Because God is the LORD and he is with me. 

The waves of panic and doubts bowled me over me.  I felt a drowning sensation and had seriously contemplated giving up.  But, I won’t quit.  Not this term.  I don’t know about the future, but I know that today I can do what I am meant to do. 

Call me crazy? This is my life-altering paradigm. I’m trusting God each step of the way, for today and each day.