In my favorite poem by Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay, he reminds us that like the seasons of nature, life is one season melting into another, and quickly fading away. This is my attempt to document each season in my life and my family.

Changing Seasons

Filed under: Faith,Family,School — Rachel at 11:02 am on Thursday, September 4, 2014

When Matt and I got married, we had the passage from Ecclesiastes 3 read, that says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

Time and again, throughout my life, I’ve found that this is so true. Much of life doesn’t make sense until I re-frame it and think, “It was just a season. It wasn’t meant to be forever.”

I feel incredibly blessed to be entering a new season. Like a returning autumn, I’ve seen a very similar, yet completely different, season before. I am once again going to be a stay at home mom. I couldn’t be any happier about it.

While it has surprised a few people, most people who know me very well at all know that I didn’t like nursing. I never once thought to myself, “I think I would like being a nurse.” It was never my dream. Never something I loved the idea of. For me, nursing was a practical choice that seemed like my best option at the time. I was in a rapidly failing marriage, looking for a way to support myself and my children in a short amount of time, when I first entertained the thought of going to nursing school. After Chris and I split up, it became my default plan, and I just started taking steps toward it. I was very uncertain about it. I knew I had no real desire to be a nurse, it just seemed like it would make sense. I actually applied to two schools…Roane State for Nursing, and Penn State for Psychology. I could not decide which direction to take. I much preferred the idea of Penn State, because I wanted to be a counselor. That was what I originally started going to school for eight years ago. I was just so worried that it wasn’t a responsible decision for my family. I was hoping to get accepted into one program and not the other, so my decision would be made for me. I got accepted to both. I really wrestled hard with the decision. In the end, I chose nursing because it was the most promising for supporting a family, which is what I expected to have to do for the rest of my life. I had no idea that less than one month into my first semester of nursing school, I would meet my future husband.

I worked very hard in nursing school. It consumed my life. It was hard and stressful, but I did very well. I was in the top of my class. I actually got the highest grade out of all the students on all three campuses for one of our first exams. I was also told that I got the highest grade on one of our Finals. I say that just to show that I was doing well. The classes were interesting to me, and I was doing fine. I hated clinicals, though. I didn’t like the actual nursing. I dreaded every clinical day, and, once they were over, I felt palpable relief that I didn’t have to do it again for another week. When I successfully finished the first year of school, I felt like I had been set free for the summer. I was walking on clouds. I was very proud of my accomplishments, but there wasn’t a lot of joy in it. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do it, but that I didn’t want to do it. I felt kind of trapped.

Matt knew how much I disliked nursing, and we had discussed different scenarios that would give me more time at home with the kids and less time working away from them, once I graduated. We were even talking about how I could pursue a completely different career outside of nursing once I finished. He told me he would support me if I wanted to quit, but I told him I couldn’t just quit. I felt like I had to at least finish school and see what happened. I don’t like feeling like a quitter. I didn’t want to finish, but I felt like I had to. I also felt like I owed it to Matt, since he married me with the expectation that I was going to be a nurse someday. I didn’t want to do a “bait and switch” on him. So, even though I was feeling increasingly stressed and depressed as the new semester was approaching, I was resigned to it.

However, I met a hang up shortly before the semester started. My financial aid wasn’t being awarded, and then they requested Matt’s tax information. I wasn’t getting the Pell Grant because I got married. Suddenly, instead of having my tuition paid for, I was going to have to come up with all of it out of the blue. It cast a different light on my situation. I had a couple really hard days where Matt and I talked nearly incessantly about what I should do. If we were going to have to pay for tuition, we felt like it should be toward a career that I would actually be happy doing. So, after a lot of discussion and back and forth and advice from people who know me and I trust, we decided that I would quit nursing school. One particular thing that my friend Karen told me has stuck with me and really helped me a lot. She texted me and said, “It’s just as courageous to admit you shouldn’t do something as it is to finish it.”  That was really my biggest hangup. I didn’t want to face people’s judgment. I didn’t want to feel like I had let anyone down or disappointed anyone. Plus, I had worked my butt off for two years to get as far as I was, and it was hard to just let it all go. I had even went to orientation, and the first day of classes was like three days away. I was so nervous about sending the email to the nursing department saying I was not going to continue in the program, that I actually asked Matt to hit “send”. I was a nervous wreck.

As soon as I sent it, though, I felt a tangible relief. In the days that followed, I felt like a two ton weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I knew in my heart that nursing wasn’t where I was supposed to be, but making the decision to quit was almost harder than finishing would have been. Once the decision was made, I felt like a new woman.

The future plan is kind of unclear right now, but I for sure don’t want to commit to any other educational path until I know that I really, really want to do it. Matthew has been so good to me, and he is willing to be the sole breadwinner and let me stay at home with the kids. Before my divorce, staying at home with the kids was always my plan. After the divorce, though, I just thought it would never be an option for me again. I feel like I missed out on so much with my kids over the last three years, but I know it was a season. I don’t regret any of the decisions I made, because they all led to me being where I am today. I just have to remember that not every decision we make or every path we take is meant to be forever. Sometimes, God uses things just to get us where he wants us. Matthew and I have had so many conversations that remind us that the timing of our relationship has been so obviously divinely orchestrated. Just a day or two difference in the timing, and we never would have met. I’m thankful for how things have worked out.

I’m thankful for all the seasons I’ve been through. The really dark times have made the good times seem brighter. The times where I’ve worked almost constantly and missed time with my kids have made me appreciate the time I have with them now so much more. I can’t take it for granted. The lonely times have made me more grateful for having found someone who suits me so perfectly. I know there is a time for every purpose God has designed for us, and I am content to know that I’ve done the best I knew how to do. I worked hard for as long as I was working toward a goal, and I feel a great deal of peace that I am back at home now. Sure, there are things that have to be worked out now and change accordingly, but I am confidant that I made the right decision for me and my family. I am a mom of six…that alone is a big job. Already, opportunities have been presented to Matt that will be much easier for him to pursue if he so chooses because I am not going to be stretched so thin by school. I just feel good about our decision. I think it’s the right one for our family…and for me.

When I told one of my friends that I had quit school, they said, “What a waste!” I started to feel bad, but then I reminded myself that it was a season. And that particular season of my life…as seasons do…has passed.

2 Comments »

Comment by Amy

September 6, 2014 @ 8:03 am

Those years of education and experience won’t be wasted, they’ll just prepare you for something you weren’t expecting.

Love ya, proud of you.

Comment by Rachel

September 11, 2014 @ 10:50 am

Comments via Facebook:

Jennifer Holbrook: Absolutely love reading your blogs! I know that was not an easy decision. So proud of you guys. I can tell by reading your blogs, you are one intelligent woman. You must know how important your “job” is at home….being a mom of six precious children is amazing to me. You have stepped up to the plate and seem to be knocking it out of the ball park! Congratulations on your decision and enjoy being an awesome wife and mother!

Rachel Holbrook: Thank you, Jennifer. That means a lot to me.

Tess Milby: Good for you! Like you said.. If it’s not going to make you happy, there’s no shame in having the courage to walk out of something that’s not meant for you. I have been wondering where you have been these past couple of weeks, but I am glad to hear of your decision and happiness in that. If I were in that situation, I would have done the exact same thing! Good luck to you, and wherever God leads Matthew and you.

Dawn Humphrey: Reading this really helped me understand your choice better. I’m sure you did the right thing! I remember when you told me about how you just didn’t like it. You seemed so troubled because everyone else had a passion for it. But you just don’t and that’s completely ok! Being with your children is what you need and it looks like it’s the best choice for the family as well! I sure do miss you but I’m so glad that you’re happy.

Rachel Holbrook: Thanks, Tess and Dawn. I really miss seeing you guys! I’m going to come watch you get pinned, though. Good luck this year!

Dawn Humphrey: Thank you!

Angie Ooten: Rachel you are such a good mom and no matter what road you choose as long as your happy that is what matters most. Love you girl!

Rachel Holbrook: Thanks, Angie. I love you, too!

Debbie Hunsaker: No amount of education is ever a waste. You made a brave decision and I am so glad you have a supportive husband. Enjoy every second of your time at home.

John Holbrook: Being happy is very important. We only go through this life once and happiness is what matters the most. Love, Dad.

Rachel Holbrook: Thanks, Debbie. I’ve been so happy the last week or so. Being home with my kids…all six of them…is where my heart is.
John Holbrook, thanks for your support. I love you.

John Holbrook: I hope to always be supportive of my family.

Edy Copeland: Thanks for sharing this!! I didn’t realize how bad you hated clinical, but I’m glad our paths crossed.
You will do well at whatever career you decide upon…..being the mother to 6 children seems like a wonderful career to have!!! My best to you always!!

Rachel Holbrook: Ms Copeland, my clinical experience with you was my best one. You were a great teacher. Nursing is just not my calling.
I’m so glad to be able to call you friend, though.

Edy Copeland: I appreciate you kind words!!! You helped me probably more than I helped you!!
There’s a reason you were there with me….. God had his purpose!! I will always be your friend!!

Courtaney Godwin: You will be great at what ever you decide to do. Nursing isn’t for everyone, and to be honest, I question it sometimes and wonder why I chose it. But there shouldn’t be any shame in admitting that it isn’t for you. You go and be mommy for as long as you can, cause they grow up too fast. Enjoy them!!

Rachel Holbrook: Thanks, Courtaney. Good luck this year!

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