The Decision


My heart’s trembling a little. It’s distinct from that fast tripping-over-itself-please-please-please-slow-down heartbeat I got when a Northern Virginia number called last week. And it’s nothing at all like the delighted trip-trip-tripping I felt after Bryan proposed. My heart’s beating an awkwardly uncertain pace.

Last Wednesday, the weight of thinking and considering and ‘talking through’ my job decision literally broke me down (in tears). I’m naturally compulsive and intuitive so deliberation on anything makes me anxious/itchy.

I NEED to decide right now! I cried to Bryan last week. RIGHT. NOW. Stop talking to me; I can’t handle it. *cue bursting into sobs*
sidenote: Isn’t he lucky?

Although I didn’t express it well or realize it at the time, I now know that  the job offer call from The River School last Friday and my subsequent interview with Durham County on Tuesday, were part of God prompting my job decision. The choice itself tore me internally, warring with two sides of my heart (ambition/loyalty). Of course I realize The River School v. Durham County are not exclusive choices for jobs – I know I could seek plenty of others. But on Wednesday, I was overwhelmed by thinking about the job offer from The River School.

We have known for 6 months now that we would be in DC for Bryan’s summer job this year. Since then, I have been toying with the idea of applying to the River School. Last October, I wrote a small bullet point about my visit to the program. And, to quote myself: “If they tell me to jump, I’d jump.”


A position that allows me to enjoy my last year in Chapel Hill, continue building a routine with Bryan, but asks that I travel to 3-4 different schools with various ages (Middle School!!!!!) and gives very limited supervision? (DURHAM)


A private clinic specializing in my absolute heart-beating-fast area (pediatric hearing loss) toward which I’ve directed these past 2 years of life; where I can participate in weekly mentorship and collaboration, but located 4 hours from my new husband? (RIVER SCHOOL)

My intuition picked that answer fast: DC!!!!!!!
My tempered rationale and loyalty to Bryan was quick to defend: Am I selfish? Will I ruin our marriage? Is Bryan saying what he really thinks? Are my standards too high? Is this a temptation I’m meant to resist? Why IN THE HECK did I apply for a job in DC??

^ – Have I already mentioned how firmly I am an INTJ – ?

My heart’s still trembling. This decision is tied to everything I believe, and sharing it reveals a level of  vulnerability I’m not yet comfortable with. I still fear others’ (your?) indictment of my marriage. I know to no longer let others’ opinions influence my decisions (wasn’t that, like, so high school … ?). But if I’m being honest, and I always attempt to be, your opinion means a lot to me.

It’s important, for instance, that you understand how this decision was just as much Bryan’s as it is mine. It’s valuable to me to explain that this choice is more than selfish ambition or vain conceit or beliefs about ‘leaning in’ or excitement over DC or fear of ‘hard times’ (although that’s also an excellent Chilli restaurant in Arlington).

These past 10 days have been spent journaling, losing sleep, engaging in prayer, discussing with Bryan, sharing with my small group, my parents, my mentors and a few dearly beloved wise friends. Being led by what I can only describe as the Holy Spirit’s gift of peace, I am happy to finally tell you that …

Working with children with hearing lossalongside speech-language pathologists and master’s level educators at The River School this fall is our FINAL DECISION!!!!

I know many of you may not see that. For some of you, this decision may seem fast. Or impulsive (10 days to decide!).

And, that’s okay if you think that.

What’s important to me is that you recognize this decision was made jointly in faith. And that it’s going to be so hard.

This coming fall, I anticipate hard nights, telephone fights, long drives, and lonely weekends. I expect those. Bryan and I dated long-distance for 2 years, after all. He lived in DC during my last two undergraduate years in Chapel Hill (the irony of this is not lost on me). And no, our marriage is not stronger than anyone else’s. We are just confident in God’s will.

Amidst anticipating all the hard times, which will be compounded by complex financial decisions and physical separation, I expect a stronger, more firmly rooted relationship to emerge. I know at the end of these next 8 months (August – April), Bryan and I will build a fuller understanding of grace, a deeper gratitude for quality time – and perhaps even a clearer picture of our personal relationship with Christ.

Many more thoughts to come. For now, we are celebrating the many blessings of me accepting this job offer!



7 thoughts on “The Decision

  1. shan- SO excited to read this. (i was secretly cheering for the river school all along) i know God will bless your faithfulness and he will sustain you and Bryan! i CANNOT wait to see all that is in store for next year:) and i definitely want to come to dc and visit!!

    1. Hilary – Thank you for your support — AND your wisdom. It is so encouraging to hear and be re-affirmed.

      Also. YES, please come visit. Any weekend! Summer, Fall, Spring!

  2. In the ends of wedding planning there I somehow missed this post! Delighted to read it though, particularly after our exchange of letters over the past few weeks. Lots of love and remember that He has always been faithful to you and will continue to be. Love you and Bryan both dearly and will be praying for strength in your marriage as you seek this out. EXCITED for you, friend! Really, though. It will be lovely.

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