I was looking back over previous posts and reading the ones I wrote about making the tough decision to get a feeding tube back in February. At the time, I couldn't believe things had progressed to that point and I was scared of what that meant. Now, 6 months later, I can say it was absolutely the right decision.
I'm finding myself back in that place again, and while I know that just like last time, things will work out, it doesn't make the decision any less difficult...
After a lot of prayer, discussions with close family and friends, and many tears, we have made the decision for me to give up my assistantship at Kent State.
It has been an incredibly difficult decision to make. I feel like I am failing on certain levels, not being able to see something through to the end. I really enjoy the teaching I get to do as a GA and being a part of the multiple research projects that are always going on at Kent.
Unfortunately, the reality is that right now, I am just not physically able to continue. Last year was tough and I found myself having to get other GAs to cover for me entirely too often because I was sick, or seeing doctors out of state, or having surgery, or admitted to the hospital again...there was always something...and I can't repeat that again. It's not fair to my professors and the other GAs having to always be prepared to reschedule their work to cover for me. I wish I could say things have changed since the end of last year, but that's not really the case.
Every day is a struggle for me. I do have good days where I am able to run a couple errands and get some work done without *too* much difficulty. But more often than not, I have rough days. When those come, I can do nothing and still may end up in the ER. Things are so unpredictable, and we (my husband and I) feel that putting that pressure on me to HAVE to be teaching and doing research projects on a regular schedule may just be too much for me to handle right now. So while it is a very tough decision to accept,we feel that for this season of life, this is the path we are on.
Just to clarify, I am NOT dropping out of the program entirely. I will still be continuing on with my PhD research. I am just giving up my position as a graduate assistant. This means I will not be teaching this year and will not have required hours to be helping out with the extra research projects going on around the labs. I will still be working on my proposal, hoping to defend that *soon* and doing my own data collection. I am so close to finishing my degree, I just can't stop now without at least trying.
When I moved to Ohio 3 years ago, I never thought I finishing this program was even a question. I'm used to excelling in school and being a really good student. It is humbling to be struggling to keep up with projects that really should not be as difficult as they have been. I am extremely disappointed that I have to let go of my teaching and research, but in an effort to be able to actually finish my degree, we believe this may be the best option.
If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that my OneWord for 2015 is HOPE. And I'm still holding on to that. Right now my circumstances are not at all what I had anticipated...and it's easy to look at my life right now and feel useless and a failure. But I can look back to when we made the decision for the feeding tube and be reminded and even through tough decisions, God is with me 100% of the way. So all I can do is be reminded that God is still in control.
I don't know what God has in store for us. I do know that right now life is hard. I know that I struggle to see how I can be making a difference for God when I can go an entire week without interacting with anyone other than Nick. How can I live in a way that reflects God when there is no one around to see it?
I don't know.
I wish I had an answer, but I don't.
But I do know that God is still in control. And I trust Him. Right now, it's hard to let go. There may be more tears and frustration and discouragement. But it won't change that my focus is on God. If He has a different plan for me earning a PhD, that's okay with me...I just wish it wasn't so painful to see something else I enjoy being taken away.