It hasn’t been easy for me to submit to being a stay-at-home-Mom. Prior to walking this path, I’d worked since the age of 14 and had spent my entire life believing that obtaining degrees and working were not just the only pathway toward financial stability, but that it would undoubtedly bring personal fulfillment. As a result, I approached every phase of my life as if it were a sacrifice leading me toward greater success.
Unfortunately, I approached motherhood in much the same way.
I intended to stay at home with our kids while they were small, while simultaneously holding down a job that would afford me the flexibility to remain abreast of the changing career landscape. Motherhood was just something to get through until I could get back to establishing a fulfilling career (of which I still hadn’t experienced).
While my decision to be a stay-at-home Mom was a challenging one, I thought my husband supported it whole-heartedly. However, when I shared the difficulties of my day or whenever he witnessed just how worn out I’d become, he would say, “You don’t have to stay home with the kids because we can get a nanny so you can work. I just want you to be happy.” His words were meant to be supportive, but they always seemed to undermine the “sacrifice” that I felt I was making for our family. I knew that no one could care for our girls physically and emotionally like I do, but yet he seemed indifferent. I resolved that this chapter of motherhood would feel thankless, but that if I push through this difficult time until the girls start school, I could get back to rebuilding “me.”
What I didn’t realize was that actively seeking God through prayer and biblical study would invoke a very different perspective.
I thought I knew how to pray and what to pray for. But after digging into precepts class and understanding the role of the Holy Spirit, I began to pray that God would stir up the Holy Spirit in me. I knew the Spirit was there because I said I believed in the Gospel, but I wasn’t actually walking with God as if I believed the Gospel. I was a worrier and a planner.
I wanted God to prove to me he was there. I wanted to be a devout witness to His miracles and wonders. I wanted to experience the crazy irrefutable signs of His hand all over my life like that of the Apostles. They were pierced by the gospel, but for me, it wasn’t totally real.
I also prayed that God would show me what he had planned for my life. I knew I was supposed to be His witness, but how? Clearly being a mother of 3 kids, ages 4 and under, was not His ultimate will for my life. I prayed that “despite” my current season of motherhood, God would reveal his plan for me …just in case I needed to prepare for it beforehand. (wink, wink)
A few days later I got an answer…I was offered a part-time job as a Grant Writer. It promised ultimate flexibility, I could work from home, get paid a solid hourly rate, and it would pave the way for future writing opportunities.
Shazam! God works instant miracles. Clearly, He wanted me to be a grant writer.
But, surprisingly, after my initial excitement about the opportunity, I started to feel uneasy. So I prayed for the Holy Spirit to give me wisdom and discernment. After all, wasn’t this job God’s gift to me since it fell in my lap? There was no effort required…I just needed to say, “YES”. But I didn’t want to dismiss the uneasiness I felt. It stemmed from my concern that my part-time work would interfere with time with my kids. I’d spent 4 years half-heartedly committing to the job of motherhood (physically present, but mentally preparing for work outside of the home), and I didn’t want to end up completely checked out!
Hence, I prayed over this new opportunity and here’s what God revealed to me through the Holy Spirit:
On Tuesday, after precepts class, I chatted with a friend and seasoned Mom (Jan) about Motherhood, and our conversation veered toward my new job opportunity. She shared with me the pros and cons of part time work while mothering and affirmed that the decision was not one to take lightly. As we parted, Jan said that she would pray for me.
On Wednesday, I still felt conflicted about fitting in 20 hours of work per week while mothering 3 babes and hence contacted the hiring director to request the weekend to think it over.
On Thursday I received an email response from the director stating: “don’t overthink. As long as we both go in promising to be upfront with each other, prioritizing what’s good for [the organization]…I think its got a very good chance of befitting all.”
Unfortunately, this made me even more uncomfortable and all sorts of red flags, sirens and foghorns were waving and going off in my head. And to further complicate the issue, that same day, my husband shared with me that he would be disappointed if I didn’t at least “try” the job.
I spent the weekend at a retreat with my Moody bible study group, and upon arriving, I ran into Linda (my precepts facilitator and wife of the pastor who leads our bible study), who instinctively began pouring God’s word into me, and encouraging me as a Mother. She shared her experiences and emphasized the importance of being readily available to my kids for teachable moments. She said she’d pray for me.
I think you already can guess what I was feeling at that point: uneasy and conflicted! Still I remained prayerful that God would reveal His will to me.
And so the Holy Spirit decided to move on me that weekend, because clearly I required a little bit of hand holding. The uneasiness I had been feeling and the wisdom of fellow believers was just not enough.
That Saturday I awoke in the wee hours of the morning with the words “My yoke is easy,” running through my mind. And after consulting Google to find the bible passage that it referred to, (like most new-age babes in Christ still learning the bible), I started to sense God’s hand on the situation. Was he saying I should do things His way? Had I been operating outside of His will?
But to further confuse the situation, on Sunday my husband outright told me he wanted me to take the job. It was settled. I submitted to him and decided to try it.
On Monday, before conversing with the hiring director, I prayed.
I prayed that if the job were meant for me, that He would make it clear and if it weren’t, He would make the “no” irrefutable.
As I conversed with the director, she began to share the new parameters for the job. It would require that I go into the office 2 days a week for a few hours (which would require childcare for the girls), the pay would be lower, and the responsibilities not only included grant writing but also actively building relationships with personnel, trustees and board members.
The job was no longer as advertised! It would also interfere with being available for my daughters.
I discussed the changes with my husband and we both agreed that the job wasn’t a good fit for this current season of our lives. And for the first time since receiving the job offer I felt relieved and at ease.
For the remainder of the day I watched my girls play, quarrel and then make-up again a hundred times over. I cooked, cleaned, and cuddled little Sydney and even had time to do a little reading from the book, “Lies Women Believe,” a gift from Linda.
And would you believe that as I was reading, I came across the following passage….
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, And I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart. And you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 28-30
It was further affirmation for me! I pretty much floated through the rest of the day, but wait…it didn’t stop there.
Later that evening, my husband met the girls and I at the park on his way home from work. We embraced each other and watched Zoe and Jada play happily and with complete abandonment, while little Sydney burrowed peacefully into my chest to sleep. I felt so much joy and peace at that moment. And then, as if on cue, as if our Father God knew exactly how to bandage my badly bruised ego, My husband shared with me the few words that I’ve been craving for him to say since I’d become a stay at home mom. He said, “You know, I really didn’t like the idea of Sydney being in childcare.”
My heart LEAPED! God had begun to remove the scales from my his eyes.
- The devil attempts to distract us from God’s plan, but God uses that distraction to teach us who He is, but we must stay the course and trust the process.
- The devil is a liar and a trickster. He made the job seem as though it were from God, as if an answered prayer. But all of the initial positives of the job morphed into negatives.
- The Holy Spirit stirs us when something doesn’t fit or is uncomfortable with what God has outlined for us as evidenced in my uneasiness to say “Yes” to the job.
- The Holy Spirit evokes wisdom from fellow believers like Jan and Linda. It provides discernment as evidenced in my reaction to the director’s email regarding the organization’s “priorities”.
- The Holy Spirit speaks in a consistent, persistent whisper. It woke me from my sleep with God’s word.
- God confirms His will as demonstrated in my coming across the verse in the book, and in my heightened awareness and effectiveness as a Mom that day and thereafter. There was time for everything…even for me.
- The Holy Spirit answers unspoken prayers. I didn’t realize how much my husband’s lack of opinion regarding my being a SAHM affected me until this experience. My husband didn’t realize how much my staying home with the girls gave him a peace of mind.
- There is power in prayer!!! It really does change things!
The following day at Precepts I entered the building with a fellow sister in Christ and more seasoned Mom, who began sharing with me her walk with God. She shared that she quit her career to stay at home with her kids. She mentioned that she hadn’t planned for her next step post kids, but instead spent time volunteering at their school, and now that they are much older, she has embarked upon starting her own Christian school. She had no idea that she would be working with children or in education…her background was in engineering! But she was adamant that if she hadn’t devoted her time and talents to God’s way…she would’ve never discovered this new passion. She still draws upon her engineering skills…but in a different way.
I’m inspired to live and thrive in the season that I am currently in as a mother, and I’m lovin’ it! I no longer am worried or feel the need to plan for what tomorrow will bring because I believe God will ensure that I have what is required in its appropriate season.
But most importantly, I now have a relationship with God through the Holy Spirit, and that’s priceless!
Are you fighting God’s will for your life and feeling conflicted and uneasy? Are you willing to give God’s way a try? Do you believe that His yoke is easy?