I have realized that I am beginning to LIVE life again. One year ago, I didn't think actively living life, rather than just passing through each day, was even possible. To be completely honest, I didn't think it was possible even 3 months ago.
I am trying to learn how to live this new life that I had thrust upon me 13 1/2 months ago. It has truly taken me the entire past year to be ready to take these first steps to being an active participant in life again. I have grieved harder than I thought was humanly possible. Through this difficult and painful time, I have been able to find some healing. My heart will forever hold a wound that will not fully heal, but I accept that. I wouldn't have that wound if I didn't love Keith and wasn't loved by Keith. I gladly accept my wound as a medal of honor. I am honored that I was chosen to be Keith's wife for 17 years.
For 14 years, I have wanted to continue my college education. For 14 years, I have prayed for God's guidance in this. I gladly put that education on hold to become mom to Nick. Just about the time Nick was diagnosed with liver cancer in 1995, I had been making plans to return to college. I accepted that my plans were not God's plans. My job was to be mom and full time caregiver/advocate to a very sick little boy. Then when Nick was well and making progress in catching up, I began to think about college again. I think I had even requested my transcripts and was in the process of applying for admission. Then I found out that I was pregnant with Kacie. I put college on the back burner. Obviously, I was not following God's will for my life.
I loved being at home with my children. I loved making a home for my husband and family. I still wanted to finish college, but I knew my purpose was to be a stay at home mom. Nick still had health problems frequently. Keith and I wanted Kacie to have the same one on one time with me that Nick had as a toddler. I continued to pray about what God wanted from me, what He wanted me to do. As Kacie grew and began preschool, I also began to look at college once again. Then Keith was diagnosed with cancer in 2003.
Once again, I accepted the task God had for me. During the calmer times of Keith's cancer battle, I would pray about school, think about school, and try to make it happen. It never worked out. Not once.
Then Nick's health problems began in earnest once again, Keith got sicker, Kacie needed me to be strong. It goes on and on and on. I still wanted to go back to college but I no longer knew what I wanted to be. Should I go into the medical field? I know so much. It would be a waste if I didn't...right?! Should I continue my original dream of being a teacher? I don't know. What if I don't like it?! Will there even be any jobs with all of the cutbacks?
Questions, questions and more questions. Then Keith died. Even in the first days and weeks after Keith's death, I knew I would eventually need to make a decision about a career and college. I still didn't know what God wanted for me though.
After much counseling with friends, family, and my MLCs, I decided to change what I was praying for. Instead of just praying for God's guidance, I began to pray for clear and concise direction. I prayed and confessed that I really wanted to have a degree/career that made a difference. I prayed and confessed that I wanted to do what God wanted me to do...not what I wanted. I finally gave over all of my confusion and wants to God. I finally allowed Him the room to show me what HE wants from me...not what I want from Him.
God, in His amazing and Almighty ways, answered my prayers. I not only know what I want to do, but I KNOW what God wants me to do. Guess what?! They match! Imagine that! I have since found out that He also answered many prayers about my return to college. When I found out who all has been praying for me specifically and without my knowledge, I felt honored and loved, and a little ganged up on. I feel like folks have ganged up on me in prayer. That is so not a bad thing!
I am officially back in college. I will have my first class on Tuesday. I am excited and scared. I am worried and confident. I am relieved to be back, yet wondering if I have lost my mind. It's safe to say that I have some mixed feelings about finally being able to do what I have wanted to do for 14 years.
Not much has changed in my daily life. I am still a widow trying to raise two kids, a full time caregiver/advocate to a child with cancer, trying to be both mom and dad sometimes. I still have times when I am grieving. I still miss my husband and best friend. It probably isn't the best time for me to go back to college, but I have learned that there will always be a reason not to go back.
There are many other signs of active living going on around my house. I am a little overwhelmed by the amount of changes that are happening, but I also know that it is time.
As always though, I am remaining...
In His Grip!