Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This Time Last Year

This time last year, I was just about 28 weeks along in my pregnancy with Madison. I was almost a month into a very difficult school year with a very difficult class (the hardest of my 6 years!). I was looking back to the post I wrote mid- September last year.
In that post I was reflecting on how I had just gotten home from a long day of teacher conferences. I remember being caught up in the swirl of teaching and life just flying by. Tim and I were getting so excited for Madison to arrive. My belly was getting bigger and we were starting to make all of our preparations.

I thought I would make a little comparison of what my life was like then and what it is like now.

Then: I would stay up late grading papers, writing less
on plans, or writing parent e-mails.
Now: I still stay up late, but mainly because I get home late from class and I just want some quiet time with Tim.

Then: I would wake up at 5am, check the weather and traffic report while I was getting ready - just to make sure I wouldn't get stuck on my 1 hour+ commute into work every day.
Now: Madison wakes me up around 7am to eat and then we get our day started with breakfast, coffee (for me of course), and the Today show. I see the traffic report come on and I just thank the Lord that I don't have to make that drive!

Then: I would spend my day bustling about at school teaching other parent's children, which really was a cool opportunity, but it was awfully draining.
Now: I bustle about my day: feeding, playing with, and all around caring for my daughter, finishing school work, making/planning meals, cleaning the house and running errands. Again - such a wonderful time in my life, but it can be tiring as well.

Then: I was feeling Madison kick inside of me, dreaming about the day I would meet her face to face.
Now: I get to see her cheery smiles when she first sees me in the morning and hear her sweet chirps and babbling as she discovers new things. I have gotten the privilege of getting to know her and have grown to love her more than (at this time last year) I ever thought I could.
I suppose this is more of a reflection than anything. I rejoice when I think of where I was last year(looking forward to my life today). I LOVE my job now as a full-time student and a stay at home mom! I am so thankful that Tim is able to work full-time at our church so that I have to opportunity live that life.

And yet, even in writing this, I have realized that often I hope for my contentment to be in something else besides Jesus Christ. I know last year I thought things were so busy and hard, and how perfect it would be to stay home with Madison.
These are truly wonderful days with her, but I will still face struggles, doubts, business and discontentment at times. I don't want to waste these days looking for something else to make this time even better (being home with Madison and NOT being in school). But I want to make an effort to capture and treasure each moment of this phase in my life. It will never be just like this again. And God has given it to more for a reason. It seems to be my tendency to look to the next thing, instead of just enjoying what is in front of me and thanking the Lord for it. It is in these times that I must remind myself that Christ is my hope and my firm foundation. He truly is the giver of all good things.

"Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice" ~Philippians 4:4


Karis said...

I know exactly what you mean! I was thinking on this recently too. For me, it was "well, deputation has its ministry blessings for sure but it's just a very busy time of life...once we get to the field..." Then, when we got here, I loved our first year but I was thinking, "language learning in the spare mommy moments...eventually, I won't have to work so hard at just being able to talk so life will slow down." Now, it's baby #3 coming which we are so excited about, but it will be crazy with me still needing more French when our co-workers get's what made me reflect that each phase has been wonderful although stretching in its own way and I really just need to enjoy each one because as you put it, "it will never be like this again!" You put it into words better than I could organize my thoughts about it -- what/Who am I basing contentment on?

And while I know you enjoyed teaching last year, I am so thankful that you get to be at home now with Madison while you finish schooling.

Rejoicing in the Lord with you!

Danielle said...

Great thoughts, Julie. Thanks for sharing. Finding contentment in the Lord is a deep struggle for me that I've recently become aware of. You blessed me with this post today. Love you!

akhughes said...

love this post Julie! aren't we SO thankful not be preggers now?!! :)
It is so easy to wish for anything else than what we are in for the moment. But I remind myself, if I'm not content here & now, I would not be content in anything else! contentment is truly a state of mind, not a set of circumstances! enjoy your busy days at home, I know I am loving them!

Jessica Gardner said...

I am just like you and always look to the future, and don't always enjoy what I'm in right now. "The grass is always greener on the other side" tends to be my thinking. Right now it's that I have a rigid schedule working from home and looking to be able to be flexible like other moms. But you are so so right. I have really been working on this the last few weeks, so thanks for sharing your story too. :-) I'll think and pray for you when I struggle with those thoughts.

Don & Katrina Hines said...

I love the comparison . . . truly enjoy this time with Maddy. I'm entering a not-so-fun STAGE (I have to keep reminding myself . . . this is a stage!!!) of a LOT of discipline and training. And like you said, it's hard not to just wish it away, but to truly be content with this and allow this to change me into HIS likeness. Thanks again for the great reminder.

Katie Barker said...

Julie - this was SUCH a good post! Ugh! I know precisely what you mean, just like most of the other readers, contentment. . . I'm glad for your perspectives and your challenge to me to enjoy the here and now. You're reflection was so great, I hope it definitely makes it into the book :)

S said...

great post and comparisons. i never thought of it that way before. i dealt with the same expectations(and still do some days!) when i first stayed home with esther and wondered why it wasn't like i thought it would be. we struggle with contentment no matter what stage of life we're in. i was just reading esther a book the other day called "the cow who went to the other side of the mountain"...basically a story about how the grass isn't greener on the other side. i was laughing to myself about what a great lesson it is for the adult reading as well as the child listening. :) obviously those lessons aren't merely rooted in a book but in Scripture, but i thought it was neat nonetheless.

Andy and Davina said...

I enjoyed your post cause I'm at that "28 -week, feeling awkward" stage right now. I keep thinking "just hold it together for 2 more months" :) Glad to hear all is well with you and your family. Madison looks so sweet!

Tim, Kristen & Megan said...

What a great post on being content and making the most of the opportunities and circumstances God has put you in right now rather than looking down the road constantly. I too have been reflecting a lot on this time last year as I was pregnant as so much is truly different. So glad you are able to stay home with Madison as well as finish your schooling! What a wonderful God we have to give us our precious babies!!

Travis and Becky said...

what a great post, julie! it was a great encouragement and challenge to me. thanks for taking the time to write it all out like you did. it's really easy to always look forward to the next thing...isn't that just like us? never satisfied! i struggle with this all the time. so glad that you are learning to enjoy this season. love you, girl!