by Mary Giraldo

I have been a stay at home mom for close to 7 years now. My son, Joshua , will turn 7 next month and my daughter, Gracie , will turn 5 in June as well.  As I approach Gracie’s Pre-k graduation, I tearfully reflect on the past year and all that has occurred.  I remember at the beginning of 2012 I was overcome with sadness that my baby girl was going to begin pre-school (at the time, it was still 8 months away!) I thought “What am I going to do with the extra 4 hours a day I was now going to have?”

So as I began to pray for God to lead me in this new season of “extra time”, I waited to hear His still small voice.  I have a picture in my living room that says, “Make time for the quiet moments, as God whispers and the world is loud.” Amidst the chaos of life, I am mindful to have my quiet moments with Him seeking to hear His voice, and I am so grateful when those moments happen. 

I remember a few years ago my husband and I had a conversation about what I planned to do when both kids were in school.  At the time I laughed, and I was just trying to make it through the day with a preschooler and toddler, without losing my mind!  He mentioned me going back to school and I quickly dismissed that…after all, how could I even think about spending money on myself when we didn’t even have college funds set up for the kids? And the only reason I would return to school would be to get my degree in Christian Counseling. I didn’t think it was possible! I would not only have to finish my Bachelor’s degree but I would also have to get a Master’s. At that time, I didn’t even think about attending school for four more years, especially with two young children!  My husband told me, “Think about it, it’s an investment.” After much thought, I realized that he was right…I started to think of the “big picture”.

God’s big picture was the investment in not only in my life, but the lives of others.  But this was just a dream, a dream that I would tuck away until perhaps the children were a lot older.  At that time, my reality involved two little ones who needed their mother to focus on them and their dreams. But, my dreams turned into a reality.

As I mentioned earlier, I prayed for God to lead me in my upcoming “extra time.” Well, He did, and He led me straight to Trinity College-a Christian College in New Port Richey-and they have a program for adults to pursue their Bachelors’ in Christian Counseling.  I am now 7 weeks away from completing my first year at Trinity, and when I look back at this past year I stand in awe of His faithfulness.  There were many tears, lots of self-doubt  and many moments of guilt as I struggled learning to balance being a wife, a mother, and a student; but God reminded me that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us (Eph 3:20).  We serve a faithful God; even in our unfaithfulness He remains faithful.  I still find myself smiling every time I approach the entrance to Trinity College and I am thankful for the testimony I give my children that God most certainly works all things for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).  In His faithfulness, I will continue to say to Him, “You lead, I’ll follow.”  And lucky for us, our Father is a “big picture” type of guy! 

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