I don't write about faith much because it isn't the purpose of this blog, but I pray my faith infiltrates everything I do. I am a slow learner when it comes to faith. I learn ABOUT my faith easily, but my stubbornness continually gets in my way of learning to trust in God. God tries teaching me that His ways are better than my ways, but I get impatient. I doubt that this is the journey He was leading me on and I wonder if I should give up. Then I surrender. When I surrender to God, He provides.
My first true act of surrender was with boys. In middle and high school, who you liked seemed to define you. Liking people and being liked was a status-symbol of sorts. I "liked" a new boy each year starting in about the 5th grade. I didn't actually talk with these boys, just thought they were cute and picked one that wasn't too popular. I didn't want to like the same person everyone else was liking! In 7th grade I had a boyfriend who I wrote letters to. He asked to hold my hand once and I told him no. I didn't actually like him, I just liked the fact that he liked me. I was such a jerk.
My sophomore year I had a boyfriend who I enjoyed talking with. We were really great friends! When we broke up, his mom was more upset than I. I still enjoy talking with him and his family. I am glad he broke up with me because I can't imagine being with him now.
It wasn't until my Freshmen year of college that I realized liking someone didn't have to be a part of me. I had a "friend" who wrote sweet things about me in my notebook during history class. He asked to hang out one day. My cousin knew him, so I asked her if he was ok. She said he was nice and agreed to hang out with us. My friend, my cousin and her roommate hung out in my room a bit, where my friend proceeded to eat all my chocolate. Then we went to dinner. My cousin asked what our plans were after dinner and my friend said we were planning to hang out. This was news to me, but I agreed so I could get to know him better.
I suggested stargazing. We laid down on a grassy area on campus to look at the stars and talk. During our conversation, my friend talked about his apprehension at meeting my father. I found this odd since we just started talking. After talking a bit more, he asked if he could kiss me. I told him no. Surprised, he asked why not. I told him I barely knew him. He asked what more I needed to know. I didn't have a good answer, but we kept talking anyway. Eventually he asked again if he could kiss me. Again I denied him.
At some point we decided to head back to the dorms. On the way back, he grabbed my hand. I still wasn't sure how I felt about him, but figured hand holding was innocent enough. When we said good bye he said he would see me in the morning. He joined me in the cafeteria for breakfast. Then we sat on a bench overlooking the lake for a few minutes before I needed to leave for class. He asked about my class schedule and tried to arrange to meet me between every class. Overwhelmed by his persistence and certain I did not like him, I informed him I was too busy to keep seeing him. That's when I surrendered.
I resolved to avoid boys for at least the first semester, preferably the first year, of college. I enjoyed dedicating myself to my friends and my studies when a Wendy's co-worker began messaging me in October. I had no interest in him. I wasn't even sure which coworker was messaging me. I learned that he was attending college and lived with his parents, which eased my resolve and piqued my curiosity. We talked through messenger and occasionally at work. When messaging one December evening, he asked if I had plans Saturday night. I was glad he asked over messenger, because it gave me time to decide if I was ready to start dating. I asked my college friends, who said, "sure!" and called my friend from high school, who replied, "have some fun, it's not like you have to marry him!"
Before our date, I prayed that God would make it blatantly obvious if I shouldn't see him again. No red flags appeared during our dinner and movie, so I agreed to see him again. I really enjoyed bowling with him the next week and told him that I had fun! I'm not sure if he was joking or serious, but he said I'm not supposed to have fun because how would he know if I enjoy spending time with him or if I just enjoy having fun. Although it is a really odd thing to tell someone after a date, it helped me realize he wanted a serious relationship, not just someone to spend time with on the weekends.
After my last final the following week, we attended a hockey game. I don't enjoy watching sports, but I enjoyed being with him. Since being with him made the unenjoyable fun, I knew I was saying yes for the right reasons when he asked me to be his girlfriend that evening. Although we started dating before the end of the semester, I find God's timing perfect. I don't think it's a coincidence that we became an official couple the day that fall semester ended.
Having a Baby
We started loosely trying for a baby in January of 2016. In May of 2016 I enjoyed teaching so much that I told God I would be okay if we couldn't have children, I would just continue teaching! I had my annual Ob appointment mid-June, where Dr. Stroud noticed we had been trying for 6 months told me we should start looking into causes of infertility. I told the doctor that I though I may be pregnant since I was 15 days post peak and I'm usually 13 or 14. He said, "wouldn't that be incredible," and continued listing the tests he wanted to run. Three days later I took the pregnancy test and it was positive. I surrendered my fertility to God in May and we conceived at the beginning of June. It truly was incredible.
Having a second baby was the hardest lesson of trust for me. Austin and I are both close in age to our siblings. Austin and his sister are 1 year, 1 month and 1 day apart. My parents had four kids in 3 years and 8 months. Likewise, we hoped to have our kids close together. By the time my sister-law conceived her second at 9 months postpartum, I was very anxious to have another one. I was already 11 months postpartum with zero signs of returning fertility. When I asked the midwife at my annual visit, she said I might be "one of the lucky ones" whose fertility doesn't return until we finish weaning.
My fertility returned when Alexis started sleeping through the night (finally) at 15 months. We also booked a trip to Jamaica for our 5-year anniversary. We talked about avoiding pregnancy for our trip, but decided that a child is more important than a vacation. In typical fashion, God gave me what I wanted when I made plans expecting it not to happen.
When my sister-in-law announced her 3rd pregnancy in September, I experienced peace instead of anxiety. Although she will have 3 before I am likely to conceive again, I know that God's plans are perfect.
Before Josh was born, my supervisor asked me if I wanted to take a maternity leave. Maternity leave would mean that I would not be allowed to see my clients, but I also wouldn't have to pay her to supervise me. Since I only had a few clients who would need sessions during that time frame and my last new client was in January, I decided not to take leave. The month before Josh was born, I received requests from 3 new clients and 1 transfer client.
When deciding whether or not to accept the clients so close to my due date, I decided that God is crazy, but I would trust in His timing. I warned the new clients that I was due and we may have to reschedule if I go into labor. I was able to keep all client meetings, including the one scheduled for the day we came home from the hospital. I was feeling good and decided to keep the meeting before sleep deprivation really set in.
Many people from my church were kind and generous in bringing us meals. I felt guilty about accepting meals while continuing to work, but I could feed a baby while hosting a meeting and could not feed a baby while cooking dinner. I tried cooking eggs for breakfast once and burned them. I think we all forget how incredibly needy newborns are. Although it was a little crazy, I'm incredibly thankful for the clients God gave me when I "should have" been on maternity leave.
Finishing the Program
The internship for a Creighton Model Practioner is scheduled for 13 months. The requirements during this time frame include tests, evaluations and teaching a minimum of 18 clients. If the intern needs additional time to meet any of these requirements, she can file an extension for up to an additional year. When my year was over in November, I had completed everything except the the minimum client requirement and the final exam. Graciously, my supervisor wrote a letter sharing that I passed all my tests and evaluations on the first try, I just need more clients. At that point, I needed 3 more clients and had no new client requests since Josh was born 6 months prior.
The Institute granted my request, but I needed to give the Introductory Session to all 3 required clients before December 1. I prayed a Novena and Austin and I began talking about what we would need to do if I couldn't get the clients. It truly felt like a miracle when I had four Introductory Sessions in the month of November, all four of which became clients. Although I am still welcoming new clients, most of my time is now used to prepare for my February examination. If I pass, I will be a fully licensed Practitioner. If I fail, I'll need another extension to retake the exam, so please pray for me! :D
God is teaching me trust and patience. These lessons are coming from complete and total surrender to His will. My prayers when He grants my wishes aren't manipulative or an if I do ____, then God will do _____. I'm not writing this to advise you that God will give you what you want when you make other plans. I'm telling you that His ways are mysterious, better than our own and require our surrender. I questioned if God called me to be a Practitioner several times during this journey. When in doubt, He would give me signs that I am doing His work. I am so thankful to each of you for your support and encouragement during this wonderful and frustrating journey!
Stephanie started her Creighton Model journey in early 2014 and entered the program to instruct others in 2017. She enjoys equally adventuring in the great outdoors with family and friends and reading a good book with a cup of tea. For more details, visit her About Me page.