A conversation I have found myself in many times is the question of working inside the home or outside the home. I thoroughly appreciate that over recent years, people actually say it in these terms more frequently. Acknowledging that women (or men) who choose to stay at home with their children are in fact working. HARD. Therefore, it is more accurate to say ‘working at home’ versus ‘staying at home’. I have also heard from friends of mine that have been called to work in the home explain they prefer this. Nevertheless, the debate continues.
I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate on both of these fronts, even in the middle of the two with working very part-time. I do not look back on any of the time spent inside or outside of my home with regret because
I know that the time was missional in nature; my mission fields just looked different.
Retrospectively, the one thing I can say that I wish I had done differently was say truthfully that I ALWAYS waited for the LORD in this arena. The truth is, I did not…
I cannot recall how many nights I would lay in bed fretting over provisional things. Whether that be an unexpected expense, job opportunity, childcare expense, how/where to educate our children… this list in its entirety is daunting. In full disclosure, this ruminating would occur after my time in the Word, after a small group or bible study and/or after praying with our children before bed. It is as if I would gather all of my faith to serve to the world (with a side of prayer) but when I was done, the plate was empty. I did not trust the LORD to guide my steps. I had to learn how to do that and the first step was a posture of surrender that I had never known. It was not until He physically stopped me that I was able to pause and listen. I had no choice.
In 2009, I decided to resign from my full-time job and transition to working at home when we had twin one year olds, and brought our third baby home. Up until that point, my husband and I worked opposite schedules so that we could avoid needing childcare. It worked for us during that year,
but believe me when I say there was a cost that we were paying without even realizing. It was costing us time; a commodity that you cannot buy, replace or duplicate. Something we grew to value very much.
I then decided to pursue my Associates Degree in Nursing. For this to happen we had to enroll the babies (yes, THREE babies) in part-time daycare. I am forever grateful for this time. For a time where we truly did not have much at all, but had oh so very much at the same time. On paper, we were below what was considered poverty level, and yet I remember the time the LORD revealed to me how I had never been able to consistently give and received so much love in all of my life between Colin and the babies. It was a beautiful time of growing; the LORD’s third strand holding it all together.
Naturally when I graduated nursing school I pursued a career that would be appropriate for the degree/licensure I just went back to school for. While working full-time, I wanted to make sure and get my bachelor’s degree before I would turn my back to school all together. Disclaimer: If you ask my husband he says this will NEVER happen and that I will try to go to school forever. Anyhow, I obtained my BSN and continued working. It was then that we decided to try for another baby after a year of praying about it. The LORD delivered this answer very clear… Just months later I gave birth to our second set of twins Cooper and Claire. Postpartum I was tremendously sick for quite some time, as a result of pre-ecampsia complications. My 12-week maternity leave turned into a five-month medical leave. I had referred earlier to this physical ‘stop’ that I know God allowed with great intention.
After many months that housed an overwhelming amount of emotions, trials, growth and change, we were able to start to see a glimpse of our ‘new normal.’ It was at that time we decided I would return to work part-time. I felt my heart ached to be with Cooper and Claire in a way I was not physically allowed to be in the months following their birth. I desperately wanted to be with our big kids (who were not so big at the time! six, six, five) as much as I could. Yet there was a significant burden with so much unplanned unemployent following their birth and significant amounts of medical bills. The LORD continued to provide. A part-time schedule allowed for all of these items to be addressed. Healing happened in this time; in so many ways. Over the next year and a half, we grew into the family of seven we know now. It was hard. Our God showed us how mighty our community is. How detrimental it is to be surrounded by like-minded people. That we were truly a part of something far bigger than we were. The Church; capital ‘C.’ We watched him provide, mend, grow and transform us individually and as a family. The result: a product far stronger than we walked in as. All glory to God.
When the baby twins were nearing two years old, I had interest in possibly working a little more than I had been. Colin and I had been discussing projects to complete, increasing our savings accounts, etc. and working more would afford this. Nursing is such a beautiful profession for so many reasons, but the flexibility truly makes it a total gift. Anyhow, a recruiter called me regarding an application I had submitted for a part-time position. There was actually another position available and based on my application she explained I would be a good candidate for it. I was SO hesitant for this. The description of the job sounded exactly like what I had always wanted, but it was not in MY plan or on MY calendar to return to work full-time; which is what the new position required. I remember thinking, “LORD, now why wouldn’t you show me this opportunity when I was ready to go back to work full-time?” Yes, yes these are real conversations. Really sad conversations that is. The LORD pressed on my heart the reminder that I was to always pray for His will to be done and not my own. That in all circumstances we are to pray and petition to the LORD, with thanksgiving. With so much grace and endless mercy, He confirmed to Colin and I that I was to take the opportunity. I took that position, and we welcomed a nanny in for childcare; past this point, the rest is truly history.
I am so thankful that I was able to witness the first steps of three out of five of our children. What a gift! However, when I look at another one of our children’s first steps on video, or I hear of them retold to me by my husband I realize I am no less excited. Of COURSE would my heart love to say “I saw this first!” sure! Yet in the grand scheme of things what I really am tempted to say is “LORD I thank you. My soul rejoices for who you are. For the endless provision, you have shown our family. Another child who can walk. I thank you.” Were there mornings I wished that I could stay in pajamas a little longer and sit with squishy babies in the rocking chair, of course! However, there were also some mornings that as they were throwing oatmeal across the room I wasn’t too sad to leave.
Another component is… drumroll please… I LIKE TO WORK! I like to go to work, perform at work, work hard at work, and succeed at work. Yep. I said it, all of it. I do! I also really enjoy the byproducts of these efforts, in terms of how it helps provide for my family. How it helps reduce stress from my husband. How we can give more, serve more. Really assess our “yes’s” and pray that we take the best ones. I love all of this. I feel that when we read Proverbs 31 it can be interpreted or misinterpreted on so many levels. Now that story is another in and of itself… However, when I read that chapter it always excites me. It excites me to assess where I am in my calling; if I am operating within my God-ordained grace space, how hard I am working from that position, and anything God would like to confirm, clarify or change.
When we are not in alignment with God, I am certain it sets us up to miss our assignment from God.
Learning to operate from this place of assurance has been a game changer for me.
If you find yourself in a place of confusion of any kind, I always encourage prayer first. Not second or third, but first. Then wait upon the LORD. We are all given free will, and I believe many times he allows us to exercise it. However, I also believe He makes that clear too. No matter where you work, or what you do while working I encourage you to tether yourself to scripture in the way you do it. If He has called you to it, it is not an accident or mistake. You are there on purpose, with purpose and for a purpose.
The nagging question I am asked all of the time is do I think I will ever return to working at home, or from home. I always answer honestly with, “I do not know.” I know that my days are numbered. Yet housed in those days is expectation of me. Gods plan for my life. I fully trust in this. Therefore, if there is ONE thing I have learned the longer I walk with Him, it is that it is He who stands in tomorrow. My story has already been written. My job is not to “figure anything out” but rather continue the long walk of obedience, continuing heavenward. So two of my greatest ministries right now are under both my own roof, and the roof of my workplace. Until further notice, I will be grinding in one of these two places. As for what is right for you, ask Him! He will show you. Then unapologetically walk in the light of the calling He has put on your life! #assignedandaligned #holyhustle