Here’s the background you need to know: For 9.5 years, I have taught high school English, and I have coached cross country and track. I worked 16 hours a day, 5 days a week, and at least 6 hours most Saturdays. Sundays were my only day to catch my breath and sleep past 5:30 am. Unfortunately, when I needed to trim my schedule for “sanity sake,” corporate worship on Sunday mornings was the first thing to go.
My team had just won two state championships. I had been at the LSU track stadium all day and as I stood there holding two giant trophies I said, “well I guess now it’s time to get married.” And I headed off to my wedding that would take place in six days, conveniently scheduled at the end of track season.
I love my husband. He is a wonderful man. We went to Hawaii for our honeymoon. I coached workouts for my runners by text message while overlooking a volcano.
You can see where this is going. But wait… there’s more! (thank you Billy Mayes)
Ten weeks into our marriage, we found out we were pregnant. Definitely something I had never planned on nor expected. The doctors told us we were due the first week in May. “Awesome,” I said, “I’ll be able to get through all of the cross country season and through track and probably through the state championship.”
And so I continued through my life, full steam ahead. Trying to navigate the waters of a new marriage, what it meant to really love my husband, what it meant to keep a house (!), and now how difficult it was to be pregnant. All while monitoring the workouts and nutrition and drama of 32 high school runners. Five and a half days a week devoted mostly to my professional life. One and a half days a week for my personal life. And one hour, once a month to check on the status of my baby. Cross country state championships on November 14th , find out I’m having a boy on November 15th and track season starts December 1st.
And a voice deep inside me calling, “Sarah…”
I do not have time to stop.
These students need me. These runners need me. I have too much to do.”
I put my head down and continued pushing forward. Ok, so maybe I can’t do 16-hour days. My feet were swelling like crazy, maybe I did need to rest. I cut my days down to 14-hour days. I developed heart issues. My pulse would randomly jump to 160 beats per minute. I don’t have time to rest. The cardiologist put me on a pill for my heart and said take it somewhat easier. Yeah okay, let me get through championship season in April and we’ll see about rest.
I coached the District Championship on April 17th, the next day I taught my favorite Edgar Allan Poe lesson, and three days later my beautiful son was born at 1:00 in the morning. I coached the Regional Championship that afternoon through FaceTime with my newborn son in my arms.
No wait, that wasn’t a voice inside my head. That was my husband. “Sarah you need to rest. After that race, put the phone down and enjoy this moment.”
And so I did. And I rested and rested.
And then it was June, cross country season again. I can do this. We bought an off-road stroller and I strapped in my 6 week old and I headed out to practice.
“No, Lord, I’ve got this. I’m strong; I can do this.”
To prove I was strong, we took our 10 week old hiking in Zion National Park. I’ve never hurt so bad in my life, but “I’m strong. I can do this.”
School started back and I put my son in daycare. I can still do 14-hour days; no big deal. But something was different.
At the beginning of September, I said “okay Lord, what do I do from here? How do I find balance?” By the end of the month, my husband was offered a new job in our hometown 90 miles away. Okay Lord,I hear you. My vows on our wedding day were “I used to live for me, but I give that up to live for we… I will follow you anywhere.” I had lost sight of that. I was a wife and a mother trying to balance like my life had not just changed drastically. I finished cross country season and I quit my job to follow him home.
I trust my calling as a teacher and a coach, but I am also now listening to God as he’s telling me to rest and enjoy this time at home with my handsome son and husband. For the first time in 10 years, I am finally regularly attending corporate worship on Sunday mornings. I push my son on the swing every afternoon with no concern for the time on the clock. And I am home every evening to kiss my husband when he gets off of work.
Psalm 23:1 says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.” God gave us free will, but ultimately He knows what is best for us. He made me take rest and take care of my family. Being a stay at home mother was never what I saw for myself.
For that matter, being a mother was never what I saw for myself. If you would have asked me two years ago, I would say the grass is the “stay at home mom pasture” looked pretty brown. But now that I’m here, I look around and the grass is green. If you’ve ever been in an actual pasture, you know that if you look close enough there is still brown in the greenest pastures, but that doesn’t mean it is unhealthy. Another beautiful thing is that we aren’t all made for the same pastures. God knows what we need, when we need it.
Know this: When God decides to make us do something, it’s not going to be for brown grass. God knows the plans for our life and they are plans for good, green grass. We need to trust that.