Good morning everyone! I am excited to introduce you to Nila Rhoades this morning. I first met Nila when a friend of mine introduced us to each other at a "moms coffee morning" to help my little guy get to know another face at the new school he'd be going to this year. One thing I have always admired about Nila since I first met her is her ability to voice what is important to her and stand tall where God has placed her in His plan. This woman is an amazing mom of two beautiful little boys, as well as a wife, a business woman, a stay-at-home mom, a friend and a woman in pursuit of Gods Word! I know you will enjoy her story as you read it:)
When I was little, I always wanted to be something cool. I think everyone does to an extent. But, when I was little, I dreamed of being a superhero. Not somebody with a cape, some tights or someone who wore their underwear on the outside of their pants. I wanted to be someone in law enforcement. I dreamed of being in the FBI or the CIA or the military even. When I was in high school, my workouts would consist of passing a PT test for the Army. I poured over the requirements to be an agent with the FBI or the CIA. It would take a lot of college. I always doubted myself, and I think that's the big reason why I never really lived up to that goal. I never had anyone in my life telling me that I could be whatever I wanted to be. I never had that motivator in my young impressionable years that told me to follow my dreams. I was told to go the safe route. I was told not to try anything too scary. When I did go to college I contacted a recruiter for active-duty Army. There's no doubt in my mind that if he had been a better recruiter and followed up with me I would have joined very soon after high school. But again, I was scared. I knew I could do it, and I know I could be good at it so maybe that's why I was scared. Being scared of success is a thing, right? What would people think of a preachers’ daughter who was thriving in a secular male dominated profession? By being good at something in the military or law enforcement meant that I was not going to be the cookie cutter pastor's daughter. It meant that I wouldn't go to Bible College, and I wouldn't marry a preacher boy, and I wouldn't join the ministry, none of which have I ever felt called to do.
When I actually did attend Bible College, as a freshman, people would always tell me, “ring by spring or your money back." I was one of the many girls who graduated Bible College without a suitable suitor in sight, and no money back. Well, that was never a goal of mine, although I wasn't necessarily opposed to getting married in college. I had always thought about that saying and commonly grew to wonder if people thought that when you got married you wouldn't have to worry about what you wanted to be when you grew up and that you'd get to coast through life off your husband’s callings. That may have been true for some, but it’s not true for everyone. The Lord speaks to the man and the man leads the family and "so I don't have to worry about what I want to be when I grow up." This was not the case in my life. In 2009, I looked into pursuing a master's degree in criminal justice, so that I could pursue being one of the three-letter agencies or military. Shortly after taking the GRE I found out I was pregnant with my first son. At this point my dreams for my life were shattered. The calling I thought I had from God, was crushed. I don't want to make it sound like my oldest son shattered my dreams, that's not at all what I mean, and a lot of you moms can identify with me there. When you are in the position of becoming a single mother, I think a lot of remorse, regret and guilt is felt. Not remorse, regret and guilt because you regret your child or feel like you’ll ruin them, but the remorse and guilt you can only feel when a decision that you made intentionally came back to bite you in the butt.
If you want to read more about my story as a single mom click here: http://www.milspecmom.com/ronans-story-of-love-and-adoption/
Fast forward a few years; I still have people telling me on a regular basis that this (military, law enforcement, etc) is something that I would be good at. I’ve been called the top 1% of the shooter population by ex-navy seals, civilian contracts, and other ninjas guys. I’ve also been asked what police precinct I work for or how long have I've been in the military. Each one of those questions stings badly. My husband and I have had long conversations, literally dozens of times, about my going back to college or pursue my dream of being an agent or joining the Army. That's my dream for my life. But, I have a family now. I've got two boys and an amazing husband. How much sacrifice is too much to follow your dreams?
My story is weirder than some. My life is quite a bit different than I thought it would turn out. But, my life is still pretty awesome. I’m married to a good, Godly paratrooper. I have two wonderful boys, one of whom just invited Christ into his life. My husband and I, who both have a passion for firearms, decided in 2014 to start our own training company so we can teach others how to defend their families. I absolutely feel called to be a wife and mother. I love being an instructor. It’s something I’m really good at because of the above-mentioned mindset.
Now, I still might have the ability to pursue one of these dreams. I’m only 30, I have a very supportive husband and family. But any of those options that I choose takes me away from my family for a few months. So again, I must ask myself, how much sacrifice is too much? How can I be the kind of mother I need to be and the kind of wife I need to be, and leave my husband and children for 3-9 months?
It’s not that easy. It will never be that easy. I’ve had these dreams for a very very long time. I could go and join the Army tomorrow. I could work towards joining the FBI or CIA. I could work on advancing my skillset to make myself a better instructor with our firearms instructor company. But, I don’t see those doors opening right now. I could push them open, but I would have to undo a lot of locks first. Does the will of God require blasting through locked doors? I don’t think so.
Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I know that I am called to be a witness of Christ, a wife and a mother. I hope that I’m called to be more than that soon, but for now this is where I am. A teacher in Bible College had a quote that she used often. This is quite literally the only thing I remember from any of her classes, but I think it resonates here,“Grow where you are planted." We don’t have to like the dirt that God has put us in, but we are meant to grow roots and serve Him wherever we are!
1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Right now, I am a wife. Right now, I am a mother. Right now, my husband and I run the security team at our church. Right now, I am a firearms instructor. Right now, I am supposed to grow where I am planted and serve God with the best of my abilities in this moment.
1 Timothy 2:1-4, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kinds and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
I truly believe that there are areas of our lives that God gives us the ability to make decisions in. For example, should I have ice cream for dessert? Or cake? I believe the Lord gives a certain authority over areas of our lives; like what clothes we wear and if our hair is long or short and if we drink diet coke verses coffee. However, there is a caveat to that. Read 1 Corinthians 10:31 again; as long as we are glorifying God in ALL that we do. I believe that He gives us the authority to pick if we want chocolate cake or a cookie for dessert, or if we want brown hair or blond hair.
Lastly, let’s look at Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
In the midst of being a wife and mother the Lord has opened a door. I think honestly, it’s been open for a few years, I was just ignoring it. While I was wallowing in my self-pity of “I’m ONLY a stay at home mom!" Thereby insulting all SAHM’s and myself, the Lord was pointing a huge neon sign at a door that I had my back turned to because it’s work! It’s lots of hard work.
The Lord very suddenly and aggressively turned me around through a little comment my husband said to me back in December. “Why don’t you just go back to school? You know it’s paid for.” Then, in a Saul/Paul like revelation, the scales were removed from my eyes and I “saw the light!” The light being the huge neon sign, of course. My school is paid for due to the sacrifice my husband made to join the Army. There are benefits that come with joining and he is able to transfer them for me to use. So, I am jumping in. I’m going back to school. I am scared of the effects it’ll have on my family, but I truly believe this is the Lord’s calling. HE will make a way for me to balance it all. To answer the question that’s probably floating around in your head, I’m pursuing a double master’s degree in “Homeland Security & Emergency Disaster Management."
This degree, although won't land me in law enforcement or a branch of the military, it will give me the challenge that I crave in a civilian setting so I won’t have to be gone from my family for months at a time. It’s literally the best of both words. I will be able to choose employment at a number of county, state, or federal organizations while staying close to home and keeping a somewhat normal schedule. How great is our God?
Although I am scared of what this next step holds I am also very excited. I love being challenged and learning. It’s going to make being a “stay-at-home” mom a lot easier in a lot of ways because I will have that adult outlet that many of us mothers crave. I’ve come to realize that whatever our lives looked like in our head before we realized that we were in the middle of our life already, is almost irrelevant. We are to glorify God where we are in that moment, grow where He plants us and LISTEN to what He says. Even if it’s scary.