Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will… -Hope Floats
Nine years ago, I stood up in front of my church, squeaky voiced and eyes filled with happy tears, thanking my church family for praying for me to get a job as a child life specialist at a hospital in Baton Rouge. I had gotten it! I was overwhelmed with joy. It was the job I’d wanted, in the city I’d wanted. I could continue going to my new church home forever and ever. I could see myself holding this job forever and ever.
It was a job I accepted without knowing the salary, without knowing how many intimate moments I would share, without knowing how many heartbreaking stories I’d become a part of, and without knowing just how much it would change my life.
I’ve grown up at this job. Between volunteering and working, I have spent the last eleven years in those hospital halls. I’ve seen people come and go. I’ve been a part of pivotal decisions and renovations. I’ve seen blueprints become buildings and dreams become realities. I’ve gotten married, had babies, lost babies, seen financial struggles, released a book, and experienced both happiness and frustration. I’ve done life alongside the most amazing coworkers, and I’ve learned from the strongest children and families. And the road, for me, is about to end.
Burn out is no joke. I did my best to fight against the statistics. I wrote articles about avoiding it, I practiced self care, I adjusted my attitude, and it happened anyway. There are a lot of factors and a lot of events that led to where I found myself, but long story short, I burned out. I felt stuck. What else could I do in my field? I prayed for answers, and answers came. It was time for a new career in teaching. I was able to enroll in classes and begin a road to certification. And as of last week, I have accepted a position as a kindergarten teacher.
It’s a whole new world. It’s exciting and terrifying. I’m ready, and I’m shaking in my boots.
One of the most inspiring stories in the Bible is in Mathew 14 when Jesus walks on water, and then invites Peter to join Him. Peter asks for the invitation. He’s ready to make a leap of faith, but he needs Jesus’ beckoning. He fixes his eyes on Jesus, and he gets out of the boat. Only when he loses his focus does he begin to sink, and even then, Jesus rescues him. I asked God to give me an opportunity to get out of the boat, and He did. I’m doing my best to stay afloat with my eyes set on Him.
I can’t lie and say this decision was clear cut. I love my team dearly. I have been beating myself up for burning out and not being stronger. But when I look to God, and I look at the bigger picture, I believe I am where I need to be. The fact that it’s hard to go says I’m leaving a wonderful group of people. In my weakness, He is strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (NIV)
I’m looking forward to helping kids in a new way. I’m ready to step up to the challenge of being in the classroom setting. I’m elated that I will have more time with my boys in the summers, weekends, and holidays. I’m doing a happy dance just thinking about saying goodbye to the interstate every day. There are so many good things ahead. I truly believe God allowed my flame to burn out in one area so it could be reignited in another.
I’m thankful, once again, for answered prayers. I’m thankful for new paths. I’m thankful for God’s timing. I’m thankful for the wait and the harvest that comes after. My story began with tears, and it’s ending with tears for now. I grieve the loss of such a sweet season in my life, but I rejoice for this new one as well.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” -Romans 5:3-5 NIV
Here we go!