December 18, 2008

Graduate School

It is funny how your life can change from one moment to the next. Two weeks ago, I was resolved to continue on a certain path and today I am heading out into uncharted waters. The person I am today is completely different from the person I was just a few weeks ago. Sure, I am still the same person -- home schooling mom to one gifted student, website designer, wife, daughter/daughter-in-law and so on. Inside, however, I am changed. My life has taken a turn, one that was completely unplanned and unexpected. It wasn't a total surprize to me...in fact...it was something I had buried down deep in my heart over 15 years ago. A desire, a dream really. It was left unfulfilled while I took a different path...the one that has led me to this place today.

You might be wondering what is going on...what has changed? Well, I have decided to return to college and pursue my PhD degree. This has been a long-time goal of mine, one in which I had to put on the back-burner when I found myself pregnant with my only child, back in 1993. At that time, I was almost finished with my undergraduate degree and was contemplating graduate study. My professors were encouraging me to do it and I was testing the waters, trying the idea on to see if it was a good fit for me.

I cannot say really how I knew I was meant to go to graduate school, other than the obvious prodding and pushing by my college mentors. I had a still, small voice inside me that was championing me on as well, but I was mostly persuaded by my professors and friends (and family) who thought I should "do it." I wasn't sure myself, but I did go through the initial stages of finding out about it. I toured nearby schools, took the GRE test, and picked up applications from schools where I thought I might like to study. The one thing that didn't "fit" was the actual program of study. I was a Humanities major in college and loved my program. It was classically designed, with a touch of Charlotte Mason tossed in, and was the most interesting and engaging course of study I could have taken. I wanted to continue studying Humanities, but the schools nearest me didn't offer the same type of courses. I decided instead on Literary Criticism, but felt unprepared without a Masters Degree in English Literature. I kept looking and looking, trying to see how it might work until one day, quite surprizingly, I figured out that it wasn't meant to be.

I was 30, just about to graduate from school, and found myself pregnant. My DH and I had been married 9 years and wanted children very badly. None found their way to us and when we received the news, were overjoyed at the thought of having a baby. However, a baby and graduate school just didn't mix, they were like oil and water. I knew I could go on, put my son in daycare and focus on my goals, but this wasn't what I felt inside. No, inside I knew that I needed to be a Mom first, college student second (actually about 19th on the list!)

It was one of the most difficult decisions of my life...to put my graduate study on hold. The idea had taken hold of me and had put a spark into my heart. I felt so strongly that I was to go on to school that I spent most of my pregnancy in tears. How could this be? I believed in my heart that I was take care of my son, stay at home and be a full-time mother. How could I feel both things so strongly?

Well, 15 years have passed since that day and I have wrestled with graduate study off and on. I have laid that desire at the Lord's feet and given it over to Him again, and again, and again. I have chosen home schooling, being a wife and mother, over being a career woman. My goal back then was to become a college professor. My goal later on changed and I became a SAHM.

I started this post with these words....the funny thing....well, the funny thing is that my desire to attend graduate school has never waned. It has remained a desire in my heart for the past 15 years. Yes, the flame has remained a soft flicker, but nonetheless, it has remained lit. I cannot really say what happened to me and why now I am planning on attending school, other than to give credit to the Lord Himself. He has called me to do this and has given me permission to do it now.

This post is rambling, I know, but I am trying to piece it all together. How the Lord directed me to this program, this course of study, this path....now. Moreover, how He has led me to our local University where the program of choice just happens to deal with education and curriculum studies. Oh my....the current research being done at this University is centered on defining what makes a person educated (ahem, Miss Mason) and also considers the needs of students, both public/private schooled and home schooled! The Lord has landed me smack-dab squarely in the middle of a major University where I can study something of keen interest to me personally. He has opened the door and told me to walk through it.

I am still swooning over the realization that He has given me permission to do this and that this is something I really, really, really want to do. My head is full of details and still swims with questions of logistics. How will this come to pass? Will I be accepted? Can I afford this path?

For now, I am content to know that this is His will. It is the culmination of 15 years of longing, sighing, and wanting something that just wasn't meant to be. In His great mercy and with His loving compassion, He has permitted me to have the desire of my heart. God is so good. His mercy endures forever!

My life verse(s) is Psalm 37: 4-6

4 Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:

6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Praise God for He is So GOOD!

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