In January, I started a Life Coach training course with the goal of becoming a Professional Christian Life Coach. A week later, Cory and I found out we were pregnant! In the two months since then, I’ve come to understand why people say that pregnancy is hard. I’ve been dealing with near-constant nausea, food aversions, headaches, stomachaches, fatigue, heartburn, and for the past few days, congestion. My time now is mostly spent laying on the couch, and playing the ever-changing game of trying to figure out what my body will allow me to eat. The dishes, vacuuming, and laundry have been sadly neglected. Meanwhile, my class has continued, and I’ve done my best to keep up with the assignments.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was reading a book for class called Visioneering. The book is about finding and pursuing God’s vision for one’s life. Visions can often be specific to a particular time in one’s life, of course. A teenager’s God-given vision may be to show the love of Jesus to as many students in his or her high school as possible. That same individual will have a different vision as an adult, and possibly different visions as he or she moves through life stages.
As I read through this book, I spent some time thinking about what my vision is—in other words, what God is putting on my heart to do with my life. I know that one vision I have is to raise a family for God’s glory; a family full of love, grace, acceptance, truth, and obedience to the Lord. That vision includes what I want for my marriage, which is deep trust, intimacy, self-sacrificing love, and commitment to growing together with God. It also includes what I want for my children: strong relationships with Cory and me and with each other; balanced, joyful, abundant, and purpose-driven lives; and ultimately, meaningful and lasting relationships with Jesus Christ.
Other than my vision for my family, I wasn’t sure whether or not God wanted me to pursue another purpose. As a life-coach trainee, I thought that I should have a vision for my coaching practice. I did have some ideas about what I would want to focus on as a coach, and yet I also felt that I lacked the passion that many of my classmates seemed to exude. One problem was the inevitable fact that I most likely would not be able to start my coaching business anytime soon. Graduation is in May, and after that, the process for completing certification would likely take me at least another month or two. That would leave me with about three months to start my business before the baby arrives. Then my business would need to be put on hold, at least for a few months, and if I wanted to resume working after that I’d need to figure out how to balance baby-care and work. The picture started to look less and less realistic. I began to wonder whether I would really be able to work as a life coach while caring for a baby, let alone whether I’d even have the inclination.
Then I came to a chapter in Visioneering that made everything clear to me. It was about how we often need to say “no” to good opportunities that will not benefit, or may distract from, our vision. The book follows the story of Nehemiah, a man in the Bible who had a God-given vision of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. The wall had been destroyed and left in ruins for a long time, and it was a perfect metaphor for the spiritual health of the nation, which had likewise deteriorated. Rebuilding the wall was the first step in restoring Israel’s purpose as a light to the rest of the world, and Nehemiah was the one whom God wanted to use to accomplish this. As the project began, Nehemiah faced many obstacles, including threats from surrounding nations and corruption within Israel itself. At one point, a group of his enemies approached him and requested a meeting. Hypothetically, it could have been a great opportunity to make peace. Yet Nehemiah knew that it would take time away from his work rebuilding the wall. He also had a feeling that they were intending to harm him rather than reach a peaceful agreement. So instead of going to meet them, he sent a message. He said “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.”
These words hit home for me. I believe with all of my heart that raising children for the Lord is a great work. Building a family that honors him is a worthy and important ambition. This is my great work! As much as I may feel that becoming a life coach is a good opportunity for me, I have come to realize that it will not support my vision for my family. In fact, it seems likely that it would distract me from doing my absolute best in this area. I understand that not everybody was designed to stay at home with their children and not work; not every mother or father desires to do so, and in many families, it is not possible financially. In my case, though, God has blessed us incredibly and I am both able and willing to be a stay at home mother. This is what I am passionate about. I don’t want to spend any of my time or energy doing something else, at least not at this point in my life.
After spending a lot of time reflecting on this, praying about it, and discussing it with Cory, we finally came to the decision that I should not continue the class. I talked to my instructor about it, and she understood. She was also very kind to offer a spot in a future class, should I ever want it. It made me happy to know that I have an open door to revisit a career in life coaching later on. For the time being, Cory and I are planning on having a large family and I also want to homeschool all of our children. With that in mind, it may be over 20 years before I even consider starting a career! But only God knows what path my life will actually take, and I’m glad that I have options.
After making this decision, it’s now time for me to change gears. I’m saying goodbye to Coach Heather and hello to Mama Heather. Although my baby’s not born yet, or even big enough to make me look pregnant, she (or he) already looks like a tiny baby and has a heartbeat, fingers and toes, and a constantly-growing brain. This baby is a person, whom God already knows and loves. And I’m a mother! I couldn’t be happier to have the honor of that title. This is what I was designed to do.