mural "You are exactly where you need to be"

Exactly Where You Belong

A few weeks ago as I was walking across my university’s campus to go to my Tuesday yoga class, I noticed these words written on the sidewalk in chalk: You are right where you belong.

"you are right where you belong" in sidewalk chalk

I knew that these words had been written for the incoming freshman to make them feel more welcome, but I honestly felt like they were written for me too.

I’d been struggling over the past few months with feeling like I wasn’t sure if I was in the right place, or if I was going down the right path. I’d been laser-focused on accomplishing certain goals, and I had been failing at achieving them. For over two years now, I’ve thought I was going to have another baby – but infertility struggles have prevented that so far. Failure. At the beginning of 2022, I had a specific career path in mind, and even interviewed for a job I felt like I would be perfect for, but ended up not being chosen for it. Failure.

If you follow my blog, you know that what ended up happening with my job was that I worked with my boss to find a better fit at my current place of employment, and it’s been a really great change for me. And if I hadn’t been rejected by the other place I interviewed at, I would have never even considered moving to my current department. (I’m still in Library-land, now working in the Special Collections and Archives department.)

The unexpected job change still kind of rattled me though. (In a good way.) I had been so sure that I was going to be working at a different place, or possibly having another baby, that I never allowed myself to consider other possibilities. I had been stuck in a season of waiting, instead of a season of truly living. And I needed to be rattled in order to me to make me realize that.

It’s hard to give up on dreams – maybe “give up” is too strong of a phrase. It can be hard to simply have your dreams change. It sort of feels like a shift in identity. But I’m trying to lean in to the place where I’m at, and make the most of it.

As I go about each day, I’m trying to believe that I’m exactly where I need to be – that the people I interact with and the places I go are purposeful and important. That they are integral parts of my journey, and that someday I’ll look back and be able to see that so much more clearly.

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thank you card

Excessive Peace

In the book of Philippians, it mentions a “peace that surpasses all understanding…” It’s in the context of praying to God as an alternative to worrying about things. This is in the even larger context of being thankful and full of joy in the Lord.

I am often a worrier. In a less negative connotation, I like to plan ahead and be prepared. This is to avoid unnecessary surprises, which can cause me anxiety. I am great at thinking ahead and preparing for the worst.

But all the worrying and planning in the world doesn’t always change things – it simply gives us this false sense that we are in control when we’re not.

In a recent post, I described how my husband and I have been trying unsuccessfully to have a second child for about a year and a half. At the time of writing it, I felt very hopeless, sad, and even somewhat angry. Achieving pregnancy consumed my thoughts a lot of the time.

Since writing it, we got back some test results that were not ideal. Basically what they revealed was that any quick or “easy” fixes (like surgery to correct a problem, for example) were off the table. Our doctor offered us one last option before referring us to try IVF/IUI – but to me, it felt like a last-ditch effort.

After that appointment, I felt like the answer from God as to whether I would ever get pregnant again was a resounding, “no.” And yes, I know logically that there is still a chance, and we’re still trying this last option, but my mind literally began to process it as if it would never happen. I felt myself for the next few days beginning to go through the process of grieving. It was surprising because my husband and I haven’t totally given up yet, but it’s like my mind and body decided it was time to move on. Maybe this was my body’s way of trying to protect myself.

I didn’t fight what my body wanted to do, I just tried to be mindful of my feelings. For a week or two, it was emotional as I processed the fact that I probably wouldn’t have any more children. But what was even more surprising, was the day when it suddenly didn’t feel that hard anymore.

I found myself feeling more and more content with my life. I started paying more attention to Calvin and found myself becoming more appreciative of everything he has added to our lives. I just began to feel really blessed to be a family of 3 – period, full stop.

It felt like the grief was just gone, as was the painful obsession of longing to be pregnant again. (That’s not to say we wouldn’t be thrilled if I did get pregnant, but that intense pain seemed to be gone.)

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