Following My Heart
Way back when I was in high school, I had definite ideas about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I knew I wanted to be a wife and mother. I was very happy with my decision, and at 16-years-old, I had even met the love of my life and knew that he was the one I wanted to spend my life and have children with.
I felt very good about all this until my senior year in high school. It was then that it became evident that I was going to rank at the top of my graduating class. That should have been something else for me to feel good about, but it seemed to bring me undue pressure. It seemed that every adult I came into contact with wanted to know what my future plans were.
I shared confidently that I wanted to be a wife and mother and that's when the pressure began.
No one seemed to think that my goals were lofty enough. They all urged me to aim high. I couldn't think of a higher calling, but they didn't seem to understand. No one -- except for one teacher, my English teacher, Mrs. D. She encouraged me by telling me that she trusted my judgement and knew that in the end all would work out for me even if I followed my heart and chose to be a wife and mother. I was so grateful for her understanding and encouraging words.
Well, life was good as I pursued my goals. I did attend college while waiting for my love to come back home from serving in the Navy. I knew that I was just buying time until our marriage, but I had scholarships that took care of the expense, so it seemed like a good thing to do.
Finally, we were married, and I was extremely happy with my choice to be a wife. Two years later, we started our family, and again, I knew that I'd made the right choice. Being a mother was so wonderful. We went on to have two more children, and I was blessed by being able to be a stay-at-home mom. It was all I'd ever dreamed of.
When the day came that all our little darlings were in school, I began to pray about what to do with the time I found I had on my hands. Through a series of events that could be an entire story of their own, God let me know without a doubt that my next goal should be to become a teacher. I was so excited! I mean, how many people get the chance to grow up and be exactly what they want and then do it again with a new dream? I made preparations and was all set to begin classes.
On May 16, 1991, however, things changed.
My husband was in an accident that resulted in his arm being amputated. He was left unable to work, and we were left with lots of questions. While it was evident we would actually need for me to go to work, we weren't sure exactly how we'd be able to put me through college with neither of us working. Fortunately, when life was good, it was very good. We'd been able to purchase our home while Jimmy was working and the day after his accident I made the last payment on the only bank note we had, so we were debt free.
There were many times that we weren't sure we could "make it". As a matter of fact, it never did make sense on paper how we were able to do what we were doing, but we never went without anything we needed. God always came through just when we needed help.
One Christmas we weren't sure about the next semester, so we asked my parents if they would help buy my books for that term instead of other Christmas gifts. My dad immediately wrote me a check that covered not just my books but the next semester's tuition as well. Not long after that I was awarded a non-traditional student scholarship and another smaller scholarship that I'd applied for.
I wanted to send thank you notes to the companies that funded the scholarships, so I went to the financial aid office to inquire as to whom I should address notes. What I found out that day assured me that I had been right all along in following my heart.
You see, the big scholarship that I was awarded had been funded by the very same teacher who 20 years earlier had encouraged me to do what I knew was right in my heart! Even after all those years, there she was enabling me to fulfill not only one dream in my life, but a second one as well.
Thank you, Mrs. D! You know you're the best.