Friday, August 1, 2014

Back to School


Over a year ago I had a spiritual experience that changed the course of my life.

Mother's Day 2013 I was at church, out in the hall wrestling a tired baby Delaney. A sister in our ward decided to share her "motherhood story" in her talk. She took us on an inspiring journey of having her four children while also receiving an MBA. Then she talked about receiving spiritual confirmation from the Lord that did not make sense to her: she should work outside the home.

My heart beat quickly as she spoke. Tears began to stream down my face. I stepped outside to catch my breath and held onto my baby a little tighter. I knew what God wanted me to do. It terrified me, but I could not deny it. I needed to go back to school.

I mused over it for a little while before approaching Ben. And I told him that if he didn't like the idea I would drop it entirely. I wanted us to be united in our decision. Surprising to me, he was very supportive and urged me to move forward.

I had applied to the MPA program once before, but had been rejected. Days later I found out I was pregnant with Cheyenne, so had just put it in the "someday" folder in my mind. I already knew what I would apply for. I met with an adviser ("Would you really admit somebody who's been out of the workforce for four years?") who was also encouraging. Despite all of the encouragement, I was still apprehensive. I decided that if I was accepted, I would take it as a sign from the Lord that it was His will. After applying I was accepted in February. I will start after Labor Day this year.

I have shared my news with very few people, simply for the reason that I know I will be misunderstood. I'm not doing this because I'm ambitious. I'm not trying to "do it all." I'm not trying to get away from my kids (I know it's hard to believe!) and I'm not looking for an outlet. Despite any struggles I have had as a stay-at-home mom, I would be happy and satisfied with being a stay-at-home mom for the rest of my days. I have been asked to travel a different path. This is not a "badge" I want to flaunt, or just simply something to do. I understand and live the stay-at-home mantra deep into my soul and my heart, so accepting something different has been a gut-wrenching paradigm shift for me.

The three children we have been blessed with, their "soul's education" is something I care deeply about and do not take lightly. It saddens me to have to share them with others while I go to school. But I feel very blessed to have had the distraction-free years we have had together, to cultivate and decide our family culture. Now, while I am at class, I will ask others to be stewards over the souls I have started. These are ultimately God's children who I am in charge of, and I know He is even more deeply invested in their education that I am.

It is mandatory that I take a full class load the first semester, 16 credits. I still haven't worked out all the details, but I know with the Lord's help they will fall into place. Am I scared? Yes. Stressed? Certainly. But I also aware of who I am, and I know despite the sacrifice I will find happiness in learning and growing. And knowing it is sanctified by the Lord has given me a lot of peace. I am following the path He wants me to be on.

1 comment

  1. Congratulations Ashley!! You'll do amazing! Thanks for being a great example of doing what is right, even when it is hard.

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