The Journey of Hearing God

I’m making macaroni and cheese, the homemade kind that is super simple (cheese, macaroni, half and half and butter!). When I put the noodles in I will have nine minutes and I’m going to write for those nine minutes.

In a future post I’m going to have us hash out Little House on the Prairie and the pros and cons of possibly reading a book that gives insight into the reality of Laura’s life. I’m leaning towards a solid NO on getting that info. Ignorance is bliss.

For today I want to take a few minutes to hash out mentally (and for the reading pleasure of you, dear one) my decision to stop teaching full-time and “focus on my family.”

Truthfully, this might turn into a whole week of writing, because so much time and energy and prayer went into this decision and I learned so much in the process of recognizing something was off balance in my life and that I needed to make a change. Of course, when I began really crying out to the Lord for wisdom I wasn’t expecting the answer to involve my teaching commitments. But have you ever been in that position of really crying out? What I liked about this kind of communication with God is that I didn’t already have an answer. I was truly flummoxed. It wasn’t one of those times when I prayed for a specific answer (that I already had picked out for God to just press GO on). This was like, I don’t even know, Jesus. I don’t even know.

“Something is off,” began my conversation with the Lord, “and I need help.”

I wasn’t sure what the answer was going to be. I figured it would involve getting more organized in some aspect of my home life, or God just giving me better feelings about certain situations. All I knew is I was wandering in the desert. I wasn’t sure when it started or how I got there but I was stumbling around. Really, I felt a bit like the Israelites just not able to get from point A to point B.

The really troubling thing is that everything I was doing was really, really good. Not to be prideful, but it’s the truth. That’s what made this more confusing, more unclear. What do I jettison when nothing I’m doing involves things like “spa day” or “twelve hours shopping trip to Target.”

Those things aren’t necessarily bad either, but when you are feeling run down and overwhelmed all the time, you look first to the things that are disordered. Maybe too much time at TJ Maxx is the problem (honestly could that ever be the problem, no, but just as an example…).

So beginning in December I really cried out to the Lord. Like, Isabel and I had traveled to Texas to visit my sister and one early morning I was sitting on the floor of my sister’s guest room praying. It was an upstairs room and wall to wall carpet, so comforting and quiet and for the first time in AGES I just found myself settled. And I knew something was off.

In tears I just poured my heart out to God. “Something’s not right,” I said. That’s the best I could do.

Later, after a few conversations and lots of soul searching, I realized that I felt like life was flying by. I had a son graduate last year. I have another son graduating this year. My oldest moved to another city, another boy moved into a household in our neighborhood. So many things were changing and because I had said yes to so many things “outside the home” I felt like I was missing it all.



  1. I can’t wait for the rest! Honestly, I’m finding myself in an eerily similar situation and I am so hoping to hear what God has in mind for me.
    Pray for me? I’ll pray for you and your beautiful family. What an intense season of life this is!
    Love your writing!

  2. Julie Robinson says

    This is a journey I made this spring, retiring from a church position to be caregiver for my 85 year old mother. I’m so blessed to have the financial security and support from my husband to make that part of the decision without conflict. In turn it has been a blessing to spend more time with Mom in her waning years.

    The book Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist, speaks to the heart and soul of these types of decisions. It affirmed my decision and helped me understand how sometimes God calls us to serve our families rather than His church at large. Blessings on your journey!

  3. I was *just* having a similar conversation with my sister about my prayer- I don’t even know what specific thing to ask for in this situation; I don’t really have any sense of direction. It’s so helpful to know others are in the same boat!

    And about Laura, you should read Pioneer Girl:

    It’s the long version of her story, and I think it’s the real deal in terms of the true details of her life. Just be warned it’s a big book with lots of footnotes, but it was a good read!

  4. Thank you for sharing so candidly. I work outside the home right now and have two small children. Watching your instagram stories, I always thought, “wow! If she can balance a larger family and still devote all this time to working, why do I feel so weighed down (physically and emotionally).” It’s so helpful to hear you explain your decision making process for those of us grappling with similar decisions.