God began calling me to write all the way back to 2003. But I didn’t launch my blog until July 2012.
I wasn’t blind and deaf to the call at all. I was busy working as a speech therapist, buying houses, taking vacations, and having babies with my college sweetheart. I was busy living the American Dream.
The call to write continued. It was quiet. Nobody knew but me. But God was persistent.
After many years of feeling called, I began to wonder if I was imagining things, if I was daydreaming crazy visions out of thin air. To remind myself of the events I considered signs of the call, I combed through old journals and pieced together proof through the years. It was obvious. A story had unfolded. So I put it together tidy and titled it the only way I knew how.
A Possible Calling.
I’ve debated this calling. I’ve doubted it. Believe me. It’s been a journey.
I’ve sought wise counsel. I’ve prayed. I’ve thought, then thought some more. And bless his soul, I’ve talked to my husband about it hundreds of times.
I have a tendency to be a people pleaser, to do what’s “right” and “good” by all-American girl-next-door standards, so ultimately, I had to step away from all the voices, be still, and sit with God.
Yes, it was then that I knew. This is what God has planned for my life. This is what He wants me to do. This isn’t the American Dream, it’s a God-Sized Dream. All was good between me and God. He’d called me to write, and now, I would write even more. The dream was ready to take flight.
But making dreams reality hasn’t been a walk in the breeze. I could have given up by now, I could have given in. I could’ve said forget it, because all this wonder and worry isn’t worth it a bit. There’s no degree, no guarantee, no paved path, no pay for this way, at least for today.
When in doubt, I returned to the peace I experienced between me and God. I couldn’t ignore that. I couldn’t pretend those pieces of proof didn’t exist. I couldn’t disregard every pull of my heart for the last 12 years. I couldn’t deny this feeling I was supposed to transform my work life completely.
I knew very clearly, all the way back to August 2012, that changes were coming. My husband and I began discussing options. But it wasn’t until August 22, 2014, that we made our final decision.
My last day of work as speech-language pathologist will be December 18, 2014.
I realize that statement is dramatic, feels permanent, and might concern people who believe I’m wasting my master’s degree and 14 1/2 years of on-the-job experience. Here’s what I want you to know. I’ve pondered each word of this post carefully. My husband and I have thought through this decision extensively and exhaustively. Rest assured. There’s always a chance I’ll return to speech therapy in the future. This may end up being a sabbatical. Or it may end up being permanent, an early retirement from speech therapy. Time will tell.
Here’s what I know for sure.
I’ve been working as a speech therapist for 14 1/2 years. I strongly believe that my work as a speech therapist has been training grounds for what’s to come. Nothing has been wasted. I’ve served my patients and families well, to the best of my ability. I’ve given them my 100%. We’ve worked hard together, we’ve loved together, we’ve been patient together, and we’ve made progress together. I’m grateful beyond measure. And I’ve learned oh so many things.
Who’s to say I won’t be called back to speech therapy someday?
But now, it’s time to take what I’ve learned and apply it elsewhere.
This is my life. Part two.
HOME AND FAMILY
I’ve never considered myself a full-time stay-at-home mom type. I’ve worked the whole range of 1-5 days per week since we had our first child 12 years ago. But now, I’ll be dedicating more time to our home and family. I’d like to declutter and get life in order. I need whitespace to breath, be and create. I want to live more freely and love more deeply. I want hot homemade dinners, chocolate chip cookies after school, and summers free to roam with the kids while they’re still somewhat small. I want to hear my husband out when he comes home from work instead of tuning everything out because I’m so stressed out from the day. It’s time to inch my way through the ridiculously high stacks of books in our bedroom, and maybe I’ll finally have time to check out the women’s bible study I pass every Thursday morning on my way to work. I’d like to keep an even closer eye on our family finances. And I’d love to invest in friendship because it’s been on the back burner far too long.
SPECIAL NEEDS PHOTOGRAPHY
In early June, it occurred to me that I’ve LOVED taking pictures my whole life, but constantly stuffed the dream of becoming a photographer down deep. So I’m pursuing this passion to the next level. I purchased my dream camera in September. Its capabilities are beyond my current abilities, people. And that’s a good thing. That’s what I wanted. I wanted a camera I can grow into. So I’m going to EXPLORE special needs photography. I’d like to use the skills I’ve gained in 14 1/2 years of speech therapy and take them to the next level. Instead of focusing on fixing deficits, I’d like to focus on the inherent beauty of special needs. I’m skilled at developing rapport quickly, and I’m comfortable in just about any family’s home. So I’d like to give this a whirl. My short-term goal is to give away a bunch of FREE special needs photo shoots so I can gain experience, build a portfolio of work, and determine if a part-time business is viable.
Writing will become my primary work focus. I’m currently publishing blog posts at a rate of 2x/week. My publishing frequency will likely increase to 3x/week by early to mid-2015. In September, I launched a new long-term vision for my blog. I’ll be writing content even tighter within that vision. I’d like to connect deeper with other writers, and I’d like to attend more local and national writing conferences as finances and schedules allow. I’ve been asked to lead and join writing groups locally and online, I’ve been encouraged to write books, and I’ve crossed paths with a few people who have indicated interest in partnering for special projects. Ultimately, I’d like to use my gift of writing to advocate for people whose voices need to be heard more loudly, and to encourage others to live out their purpose.
So these are my dreams.
This is my life. Part two.
From here on out, I’m leaving a lot more room for God to work. There’s no specific path I can take that will ensure success at home, with my family, in writing or photography. There’s nothing I can do to make any of these things happen the way I’ve envisioned. All I can do is trust God’s leading me in the right direction, use my gifts to the best of my ability, wait, and trust that in the end, it will all piece together into a beautiful life story.
This is the biggest leap of faith I’ve ever taken, by a landslide.
I’m living with the end in mind. So while part of me is scared to death because this is not perfect or certain, expected or known, a bigger part of me is excited and humbled beyond belief. Because I know I won’t regret this. I know it’s going to grow my faith by leaps and bounds. And I know God’s going to prove He’s greater than any dream I ever imagined.
So here I am. On the edge of something new. My part two.