Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I was supposed to speak yesterday at MOPS for our "Tea and Testimony" meeting. I was really looking forward to it, as nervous as I was about it. I had never given my testimony. Never ever! But for the first time in 3 years, I caught the bug my boy(s) were passing around. I was in bed sick. I did all that work thinking and praying, writing and practicing, I will share it here.

       I have never done this before, shared my testimony. It took me all my life to realize a testimony does not have to be a huge, dramatic event to bring you to God or a sad story that God brought you through. Growing up that is what a testimony was to me. I always thought my story was boring and not interesting. I’ve been in church since before I was born. I accepted Christ and was baptized at 7. Always been a goody two shoes, who followed Christ. Never thought anyone would want to hear that. Recently God spoke to me and said “Why are you limiting me?” I realized every story is one God writes. They are all unique and special. A testimony is a story of how God is or has worked in you. So here is my story.


Three years ago I didn’t know I would be standing here. In a room of wonderful friends, about to be MOPS coordinator with Johnelle next year. A position I am humble and honored to have. Three years ago I was standing in a kindergarten classroom, pregnant.  

The hardest six words I’ve ever said were “I don’t want to teach anymore.” After all teaching is who I was, the only thing I had ever imagined. It was the dream. My first grade year book says “I want to be a teacher, cashier and ballerina.” I accomplished two of those. Guess ballerina will have to wait. Teaching is what I did, who I was. On March 15, 2011 at 9:02 pm I became someone’s mom. I had a feeling rush over me, the second I heard Jack cry. Love. Love. Love. A mother’s love. One that can’t really be described. You know the one I’m talking about. The kind where your heart will explode I love you so. It was in those first few months I finally had a glimpse how much Christ loves us. This unconditional, love you more than life, kind of love. And what’s even more amazing – he loves us even more than that!

It was when Jack was born God started to move in my heart. He was forming a new dream, a new path. I had 12 weeks of maternity leave and my last day landed exactly on the last day of school. I never went back to work that year.

I had 5 months of baby bliss.
5 months to start forgetting.
5 months to see a new normal.
5 months long enough to realize I wanted to stay home.
5 months to think about how much I disliked teaching.
5 months to realize it wasn’t worth it.
5 months to decide I wanted to quit.

Wait what? Quit? Not teach, it’s not that simple. I can’t just quit. Not going back the next year wasn’t an option. I had to. So come August, I went back.

Trusting – Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”

I heard the typical “You will be glad to go back” “You will want adult interaction” “It’s hard but it will get easier”  Blah, blah, blah.

I went back. Crying and heartbroken, I left Jack with my mom. The absolute best place he could be. I was wrapped up in beginning of the year craziness. In kindergarten there is a lot of that! Once things settled down I realized how much my heart ached. Every day it got worse. It never got easier, only harder. It felt as if my heart was ripped out and left with Jack. I cried every Sunday as I rocked him to sleep. Not only did I miss my Jack I had the worst year teaching in all of my 7 years. I had some rough times with other teachers. Children that made me want to walk out every day. Many mornings I sat in my car in front of the school debating driving off. How bad would it really be to just leave? It is by the grace of God I never did. God gave me a strength I didn’t know possible.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Phil 4:13

I was becoming someone I hated. I was rude, short tempered, insincere, and hateful. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.

God was pulling, tugging, screaming at me that this was not what he had in store for me any longer. He had a new plan. I was so afraid to admit it, especially to myself. Then one random day in October, I was talking to my husband and blurted out with tears “I don’t want to teach anymore!” Fear overwhelmed me, not knowing what he would say. And he said “I know.” I went on exclaiming, blabbering and crying “I want to be home. I’m miserable. I can’t do it anymore.” And he simply said “I know.”

I know? That’s it? No fight, no discussion, no argument. Honestly I shouldn’t have expected anything else from him. He’s always been there and so understanding. He next said “Do you want to quit now? Yes! But I couldn’t do that. God clearly had been at work in him too.

We made some changes and at the end of the year, I resigned. Scariest signature I have ever signed. Scariest and best decision I have ever made. What a relief!

I have never doubted my decision. I have often wondered how what you once dreamed about becomes a nightmare and a new dream is born. People often ask if I miss it? Will I go back? That’s a big NO. I wonder what God has in store for the future but He is always working and has a path already in motion until then I will enjoy the present.

I am thankful for that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year of teaching. I have no doubt where I’m supposed to be. If I hadn’t gone through it I may doubt or wonder what if. I also know teaching prepared me for being a mom.

Since this life altering change to stay home, we have moved, built stronger relationships, we have been blessed with another beautiful baby boy, my little one, my Reed. Every day I am thankful I don’t miss a moment of his. I treasure each one, feeling a little guilty I missed so much of Jack’s.

I have joined VBS planning committee, I am in charge of Preschool Story Hour and I joined MOPS leadership. Sometimes I wonder how I had to time to work.

A few weeks back I mentioned to Tina I had an interest in coordinator someday, like a couple years from now. But 2 days later, suddenly someday became now. I am excited and honored for this new journey. I am so happy to share it with Johnelle.

Three years ago I had no idea our lives would be turned upside down. God did. God has a plan. He loves us so much. He has put things in my life I never expected or dreamed of.
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I will close with my favorite poem by Robert Frost.
The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
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  1. Thank you so much for sharing your testimony, Crystal! May God continue to bless your steps, your journeys, in the days ahead! (I know He will) :) big hugs! Emily

  2. Crystal Carpenter!!! (I know that's not your last name anymore but that's who I know and remember)... just reading that made my heart smile. I'm so thankful that God has shown you that you have a story worth telling. The way you told that story took me back to when we were just babies (well, high schoolers). It made me chuckle! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Bobby! How sweet it is to hear from you. I will forever be Carpenter 😄. High school the time where we knew everything. Ha! Miss you old friend.