I must admit, the view is beautiful from up here. The journey was incredibly difficult, frustrating, and overwhelming, but now that I'm standing on the top, I feel complete relief. I look back over my shoulder and down the path from which I've come and stare amazed at the things I've endured along this journey. For me, Jon's education comes as close to climbing Mount Everest as anything else in my life has yet.
Six years (actually seven, counting the year we before we were married) is a long time to wait for something. I wish I could say that I handled each hurdle with poise and grace, but unfortunately, the opposite is true. This educational journey has not shown me my strengths but rather revealed my weaknesses. Most of these weaknesses were unknown to me before the start of this expedition, and it took a lot of pride swallowing to admit that, perhaps, I didn't have as strong a constitution as I once believed I did.
Until recently, I really didn't understand why I had to go through this ordeal. It made no sense to me to have my husband earn an expensive degree that in no way guaranteed a better job in the end, especially when doing so required the expense of precious family time as well.
The reason for it all, I believe, was not for the degree itself (at least for me), but for the character-building that naturally accompanied it. No, I'm not perfect now as a result of all of this. I still can't cook well; I can't clean house at all; and I am very much prone to losing my temper. But this has forced me to recognize and admit my shortcomings and has spurred me on to improve. The verse that came to mind over and over was from James 1: "If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach." I truly lack wisdom, but God has been ever gracious to supply me with His understanding as I've turned to Him in times of distress.
I cannot say that I would choose this path again (okay, in all honesty, I would never wish this on my worst enemy), but since this is the path that God clearly chose for me, I am glad that He has shown me my own littleness so that I could learn more of His greatness. I hope that I do not soon forget the lessons that I've learned.
I also know that this is probably not the last Everest that I will climb. With job hunting now on the horizon, with three growing children under our roof, and with many other, unseen excursions ahead, I know that I'm not yet "in the clear." But my hope is that the character training that I've done on this Everest will carry over to help me as I begin the next mountain in life.