Ben and I married on May 31, 2014. By that time, I had completed my first semester of nursing school, but two more years of schooling were looming in front of me. By the grace of God I made it through. It involved weekly cry sessions, sudden outbursts, lots of deadlines, and lots of stress. Fortunately for me, Ben is incredibly patient and kind, and didn’t mind a tear-stained shoulder for two years. He also became adept at sliding chocolate my way every hour during study sessions.
I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree on May 13, 2016 and then proceeded to study some more for the NCLEX – the national exam that licenses one as a Registered Nurse. I passed the test on June 21st, 2016, then I proceeded to enjoy my summer before starting my full-time position on the Medical Floor in August.
To be honest, before nursing school, I had never stepped foot in a hospital in a professional capacity. I never worked as a nursing assistant or as a volunteer. I knew it was a good career, people thought I would be good at it, so I pursued it.
I dreaded a lot about those two years. Ironically, I loved the days where we were in the classroom, listening to lectures, taking notes, writing papers, taking exams. That was my favorite part, I really love school. The part I didn’t quite like was the whole hospital part. You know the whole reason I went to nursing school part. But I figured I had entered that phase in my life where I just had to suck it up and grit the rest of my life out.
When I graduated and passed my exam, I thought I would be happy. I had accomplished a huge goal, but it wasn’t satisfying. In fact, I was quite anxious. Anxious to spend forty-plus hours of week in a building that I dreaded doing five hour clinicals in. I really missed school. I just wanted to stay in the classroom. Yes, there were rewarding aspects of serving in the hospital, but I had nothing left when I got home. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally spent.
Three days before I was to start my position at the hospital, I received a phone call from Ben.
“We’re moving to Texas.”
“Nope, I’m completely serious. I got the position. We move in two months.”
“I still don’t believe you.”
“Megan, this is real!”
Ben was coming up on the end of his enlistment and we pleaded with God to give us some direction. We knew something would have to happen in Ben’s career for it to be clear he needed to stay in the military. So, Ben spent the last year of his enlistment applying to various positions and nothing went through. He had applied for this Texas position over a year ago and we never received a response, so we assumed it wasn’t going to happen.
Ben originally joined the military with the intent of using his GI Bill to return to Bible school after serving one enlistment. Ben has always wanted to be a pastor and go into the mission field, but he was cautious about the sticky debt that follows a private school education.
Therefore, when we married, the goal was to get me through nursing school, pass the NCLEX, then Ben would get out of the military. We would then move to Texas where Ben would attend SAGU and I would work as a full-time RN.
Then Ben got the email and I received the subsequent phone call, we were still moving to Texas, but not quite how we thought.
One of the first phone calls I made was to the hospital. I told them my situation, that I would be moving in two months and wanted to know if they still wanted me. I was quite relieved when they said “no.” It wasn’t worth sending me to two months of orientation only to have me never see the floor.
It was such a relief, finally having clear direction after a year of praying, fasting, and quite frankly, pleading. As a result of the military orders, Ben had to reenlist for another few years, which made it clear Ben was staying in the military. It was clear that I wasn’t going to be working as a RN in North Dakota. And it was clear that we were moving cross-country to Texas!
It was a quick transition. It was my first pcs (permanent change of station) in the military, so everything was new and overwhelming to me. Lots of paperwork, lots of phone calls, and lots of stress were involved. Ben had various trainings already on the books during those two months so I felt he was gone for a majority of it. I took care of most of the logistics until that last week when Ben helped pack up our apartment. Ben was an absolute professional mover, our move to Texas was his eighteenth move in his twenty-seven year old life. And he doesn’t count the moves within the same town!
At the end of October, we packed up our U-haul and headed out on our adventure. Our first day involved a flat tire and a sketchy hotel. But after that, travel went fairly smoothly. We moved into our apartment, threw our mattress on the hard-wood floor and slept for a week.
I was really tired. I was exhausted from moving cross-country. I was exhausted from finishing six years of undergraduate schooling. I was exhausted from studying for the NCLEX. I had nothing left.
And I really just didn’t want to work as a nurse.
Per my aunt’s recommendation, I read a book called Quiet by Susan Cain, it’s about introverts, a personality trait I would identify with. One thing the author said really stood out, “Finally, pay attention to what you envy. Jealously is an ugly emotion, but it tells the truth. You mostly envy those who have what you desire.”
While I was sitting in my seat at graduation a few months earlier, I caught a glimpse of my mentor rushing in with her two children in tow. Her husband was deployed and all the responsibility fell on her, but she did it with such poise. I felt a twinge of envy as I watched her. A mom that stayed home with two adorable, well-behaved children. She home-schooled, she held the fort down while her husband was overseas, and she loved ministry.
I found I didn’t envy women who were never home for their families. I didn’t envy the nurses who worked weekends while their children were playing in their first soccer games. I didn’t envy the moms who couldn’t tuck their children into bed as they worked the night shift. I didn’t envy the wives who said “hi and bye” to their husbands as he came home from work and she left for work.
I envied women who could stay home and still contribute to their family. I envied woman who could take care of their family, the home, and still pursue their passions while contributing financially.
Seems like a tall order? It sure was and it took about a year to figure it out.
It took about a year for Ben to find direction in his military career and it took about a year for me to find direction in my life. I read book after book about calling and purpose during that year. I immersed myself in ministry, I fasted, I prayed, I pleaded with God to give me direction.
I spent a year not pursuing a RN job so Ben and I could figure out what works best for our family and our military lifestyle. This time was utilized to transition us from a busy, busy, “military career and nursing school season” into the “what happens when we start having children” season. The military essentially owns Ben, they have 100% control over his schedule, his job and his location. This leaves me, the spouse, left to adapt and be flexible. Looking toward the future, we would love to have children, when God blesses us with them. The question remains, “How do we raise godly children when one parent’s schedule is so unpredictable?”
Being a military spouse is something I quite enjoy. I love exploring new parts of the country, assimilating into different cultures, and meeting different people. While the military lifestyle isn’t for everyone, it’s quite conducive to my personality. Instead of swimming upstream, we decided to roll with it. How can I contribute to our family while still maintaining a flexible schedule that adapts to Ben’s military career? The answer? Be my own boss.
As a senior in high school, I remember thinking, if all else fails, I could always teach piano lessons. Teaching piano lessons wasn’t even on my radar, as an ambitious college-bound student, it wasn’t even Plan B, it was like Plan Z. But sure enough, eight years later, on the flip side of my Bachelor’s degree, the idea popped into my head at the airport. I was on my way home from a visit to California last December and remember saying, “Lord, if you want this to happen, you need to bring clients my way.” I kind of forgot about it until it came up, a week later, in a conversation with a friend. Then a few days later, I had three clients! The Lord provides! Now as a married, military spouse, teaching piano lessons is such a great deal and is perfect for our family. I dictate my own schedule which allows me to be flexible, it allows me to contribute to our family, and it’s something I really enjoy, it doesn’t even feel like work! I also have enjoyed teaching indoor cycling and weightlifting classes at gyms for the past five years, I guess I just like teaching. The Lord answered my prayer! Between teaching exercise classes and piano lessons, I have been able to support Ben’s military career, take care of the home, contribute financially and pursue my teaching passion, and it allows me to raise our future children!
As I write this to you, I have a cup of coffee on my right and two sleeping puppies on my left. I have laundry in the washer that I need to switch over to the dryer. I taught an exercise class earlier this morning and now I’m all showered and ready to conquer my day. I have about an hour to write before I need to start working on other life things. The floors could really go for a mopping, but I’m not sure if I have time for that today, I think instead I’ll take the puppies to the dog park since I won’t have time tomorrow to do that. I teach piano lessons this afternoon for two adorable children. I have a husband with a stressful job who needs to vent over a crockpot dinner at the end of his day. Speaking of, I probably should put the chicken in the crockpot soon. I’m proud of myself for actually working on this blog post over a week before I post. I love simmering in the quiet and I love mornings, I’m not a big fan of afternoons. I’m an introvert who loves people, but I can be socially drained if I don’t get to recharge at home. It may not be a life you envy, but it’s a life that I enjoy. It’s the life I crave and it’s a life God has blessed me with.
God’s faithfulness is a constant theme in my life. He was faithful in bringing Ben and I together. He was faithful in answering our year-long prayer for direction in Ben’s military career. He was faithful in answering my year-long prayer for direction in my calling. God has proven Himself trustworthy and faithful time and time again. My dad always says, “Bloom where you’re planted.” Instead of looking for the next best thing or imagining how life could be better somewhere else or with someone else, Ben and I choose to bloom together wherever we’re planted. We chose to bloom in North Dakota during our season there, that season was characterized by our new marriage and nursing school. Now, we choose to bloom here in Texas during this season. We chose to dive into the church and get involved in ministry, we choose to let the Holy Spirit lead us in our daily decisions. Ben and I like to think of ourselves as government-sponsored missionaries. Texas is our mission field for now. In a few years, we’ll see what’s next.