I've known for quite some time now that I really like feeling in control of my life---in control of my time, of my body, of my future, and of my circumstances. Of course, life experiences have taught me over and over again that although it's important for me to plan out the "story" of my life and how I'd like it to go and to end, I should plan on the Ultimate Editor throwing in some plot twists every now and then.
Last year at about this time, we were waiting (as we are waiting now) to hear back from physical therapy schools. It was Matt's first year applying, and though I'd heard it was highly competitive, I felt confident that he would be accepted somewhere so that we could forge ahead with the road we'd planned out. You see, I'm a woman with a constant plan--sure, there are times when I go into something and wing it, but not when it comes to our future; I had researched schools with Matt and prayed and double-checked that we'd correctly gone through the application process...in short, I had done everything I could to ensure that my husband could continue going for his dream of becoming a physical therapist.
When the news came early this year that he hadn't been accepted into any schools that first year of applying, I put a brave face on, but I was pretty bummed out. I felt like we were about to enter into a year of limbo where we wouldn't really be getting any closer to the goals we'd set up for ourselves, and if there's anything I hate, it's feeling like I'm in limbo.
Fast forward to today--
I was in church, listening to some fabulous talks on gratitude and the actions that it causes us to take in our lives and the effect that it has on us, and all of a sudden, it started to hit me--
This last year--more than any other year of our marriage--has been a time of joy, progress, and blessings. It got me to thinking of all that I'd have missed out on had we moved as planned:
If we'd moved, I would have been pregnant for the first time in a place that was possibly far from family, which meant I couldn't have the physical support of a mom, sisters, and mother-in-law taking care of me by providing frozen meals, maternity clothes, and some much-needed advice.
If we'd moved, my husband never would have been called into the bishopric, which has been an incredible experience for us both. My husband has always been a wonderful man, but having this calling, I have literally seen his spiritual and social growth right before my eyes. I have seen the Lord magnify his capacity to love and serve and learn and teach, and the spiritual blessings this has brought into our home are incalculable.
If we'd moved, my last experiences teaching at the school I'm at would have been pretty bitter. I had a very difficult group of students last year, and had we moved, I might have left the teaching profession forever. I'm still not certain that I've found "the" teaching position for me, but this year has at least helped to lighten my teaching heart, which had been very heavy for much of last year.
If we'd moved, I would have missed out on many of the precious experiences I had with my grandma before her passing. I knew her time to go would come quickly, so I took full advantage of every opportunity I could to visit with her and spend time with her. Those are some of my most cherished memories with Grandma Austin, and I never could have had most of them if we'd moved away.
If we'd moved, we never would have had "the summer of fun and games" with all the good people we've met in this area. For several months now (and especially in the summer), we've invited people over anywhere from 1-3 times a week for games and treats (and sometimes dinner), which has allowed us to build solid friendships and feel like we truly have a lot of support all around us whenever we might need it. I underestimated the importance of still having a healthy social life once we got married, but now I understand that those relationships are still so important.
If we'd moved, I would be having my baby in a place far from family, and I likely would start to feel pretty isolated as the weighty responsibilities of new parenthood settled upon me. Here in this place where we've set down roots, I feel the support at every turn--just today, I had somebody offer me their newborn baby girl clothes and somebody else check to make sure that everything was okay and that I didn't need anything. I know there are good people wherever we'll go, but because of all the time we've spent here, our support network is strong and sensitive to our needs.
There are many more blessings that have come about this past year as a result of our staying, and I won't list them all. But I want the records to show how grateful I am that my Heavenly Father knows the beginning to the end and that He is much more able to see what I need than I am.
I don't know what this next year will bring, but whether we end up being accepted into PT school or not, I know one thing's for sure--
We are writing our story with the help of the greatest Editor that ever will be.
(Yet one more reason I'm glad we stayed---I would never have been able to go to my old roommate Jeralyn's reception a couple nights ago had we moved)