Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I'm a Working Mom and I'm a Christian

On March 23rd 3 years ago I entered a new season of life. It was a season that I had always planned on being in at some point and one that had looked very different in my mind depending on the perspective I had at each age. As a young women in my teens I looked at the women around me in church and for one reason or another didn't want to be much like them. I was more heavily influenced by feminist ideals, although I didn't realize it at the time, and wanted to work, except I deeply desired to be involved in ministry in some way or another. Perhaps missionary work, or women's ministry. I wanted to be used by God somewhere. I never gave much consideration to kids, although I wanted them. Then at the ripe old age of 20 I decided to get my Master's Degree in Biblical Counseling and was slammed in the face with some new concepts about womanhood that I had never really gotten before. I came to understand for the first time the ultimate goal of a wife's submission, her primary role in the home, being a homemaker, and even grew to look forward to the day when I could manage a home, care for my own children, and serve my husband.

The thing is that when the time came for us to have kids, in God's timing, me staying home wasn't a possibility. And I was floored. I had been reading all these great resources on Biblical Womanhood and was so excited to care for my growing little family, but my husband was working a new commission only job that didn't even cover renting our small home, much less, food, gas, savings, or anything else. I HAD to work. I was and am very blessed to work a somewhat flexible full time job that has allowed me to bring my kids to work with me fairly often and even work from home at times. But all the same I remember crying and crying because I just wanted to be with these precious kids.

It started as a Godly desire to fulfill my God given, Biblical role in the home. But then it started sounding something like this: 'It was supposed to be MY job to take care of my kids. MY job to teach them. MY job to comfort them when they were hurt. MY job to share all the joys and giggles. And instead, someone else got to do it for 50 hours or so a week.' Kind of selfish thoughts, huh! It wasn't, and still isn't easy. But overtime I've been reminded countless times that THIS is God's plan for me and for my kids. Through all the details of life that have led us to this point HE is glorified. And MY kids aren't really mine anyway, are they.... they are HIS. And it's my joy to share them with someone else during the day. I still hope that life might change to where I can spend more hours with my little cuties, but I've grown to be content where God has me and happy to be used both at home with my family, and elsewhere, where He puts me.

The thing that I think really frustrates me at times is that in the Complementarian Christian community I see so little, dare I even say practically nothing, to encourage the working mothers. I see lots and lots of articles about being a stay at home mom, almost like if you're anything else, you're not doing the right thing, or at the very least, like that being a stay at home mom is the pinnacle of achievement for a woman.  And sometimes, it just kind of hurts. Sure there are women who work for sinful reasons. And I get that. But there are also those of us who work out of necessity, or perhaps just out of wisdom. And these very same women are some of the greatest moms I know.... on a completely equal plane with stay at home moms who are some of the greatest moms I know!

There was a time not long ago that a friend came to me and said 'So and so is going to get to say home with their new baby. Isn't that great?!' It was. It really was. I was happy for this girl. But I went home and cried that day. Because the way it was said was as if it was better. Better than what I was doing, going to work 5 days a week. Very possibly I was projecting something onto this friend that she wasn't thinking at all when she shared this news with me. I truly don't think it was in her heart to hurt me, she was just sharing 'good' news! But it hurt me and my selfish desires all the same.

So let me say a few words to my fellow moms.

-Don't let a desire for something good (staying home with your kids for example) become an idol of your own heart. Is being a stay at home mom bad? Absolutely not! But is it the best situation for everyone? It's just not, and you can't prove that it is in Scripture. Weigh out your options carefully and come to a good Biblical conclusion that's best for your situation.

-No matter how many hours you get to spend with your family, make sure they are your priority. We serve God by serving others and your husband, followed by your kids top the list! When you are with them, be WITH them. Shower them with love and affection. Teach your children God's word. No matter what it takes, do your job well at home. Life won't be perfect. The house will get cluttered or dirty, you might be late sometimes. Your kids will disobey. And you might not feel like you have it all together like so and so's family. But it's ok. It's life lived. They aren't perfect either. Your job is to honor God, right where you are at and to trust Him with the results.

-Love your kids deeply and show it fiercely. Never let them doubt for a moment your unconditional love for them. Even in times of discipline, we can demonstrate our love for them and show them that they are held accountable for their actions because of your love for them.

-Be content with what God has given you and where God has placed you. But at the same time, if you desire something different, and it's a Godly desire, there's nothing wrong with working towards it and praying over it. God loves to hear us lay our desires at His feet, and he loves to see us work towards it (life isn't magic, we have to work towards things). So if you want to stay home, tweak your budget, encourage your husband to work hard at his job, and find a way to make it happen. If you want to start a business, work towards it. Make a plan. If you want to blog, do it. Don't sit around wishing life was different. Thank God for where you are and the ability to work towards change and DO IT.

I'm a working mom and I'm a Christian. And I'm thankful and content with where God has me and how He is using me. His plan is perfect, and I trust Him.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Change is on my heart today. It has been for awhile now, for months really. I've known that it would come. But when the ball starts rolling one of two things can happen, either feelings of relief, or feelings of fear. Today, I'm feeling fear. These changes haven't effected me too deeply yet, but they will. Oh they will. And it's only a matter of time. My fear is intensified because the ball of change has started rolling and when it hits me, I fear it will be a hard hit. One that might knock me off of my feet a little bit.

I had a situation a few weeks ago that was a big blow to me. It was the first time in a very, very long time (years) where I found myself saying to the Lord, 'God you don't feel like a GOOD God today. I know that you say that you work out all things according to your plan and that that plan is a GOOD plan, but today, I'm just not seeing it. Today, I feel like you're pulling the rug out from under me. Today I feel abandoned." I chose to trust that day in a GOOD God. Because no matter my feelings, no matter my perspective, He doesn't change. He is the same God on my bad days that He is on my good days. I had to do a little self-counsel, as my pastor would call it, and remind myself that God is good and he is working out his perfect plan in my life, moving me towards sanctification with each passing day and that this, really, really bad day, was all a part of His plan.

Although today is not nearly as bad of a day, this change begs me to remind myself of a few things. I have a faithful God. He will supply. He knows where we're at, what we've been working towards, and He's provided me with His Spirit and His Word to help us make wise choices in light of this ball of change that is rolling toward me. And He will provide the means necessary to move forward, I just need to keep taking steps. Steps of faith. Wise steps. And all the glory will go to Him.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sermon on the Mount/Respectable Sins

At church this fall we are working through Jerry Bridges' Respectable Sins. Simultaneously I've started a new Bible study working through the Sermon on the Mount by Jen Wilkin. Both have been rather encouraging, or perhaps discouraging, depending on your vantage point.  I'm not really very far into either, chapter 7 in Bridge's work and somewhere in Week 3 in Wilkin's. But I've been very convicted through both of them about my lack of a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit to work in and through my life. Not so much that I don't think he does, because I know He does. But more, my awareness of it, and my daily dependence on Him for strength and acknowledging that fact.

I'll ask you some questions that I've been asking myself lately.

Are you Poor in Spirit? To be poor in spirit is to recognize that just as a person who lives in poverty does not have sufficient resources to care for themselves, you too, do not have sufficient resources. Only in this case, it's spiritual resources. None of us has the resources to function spiritually, to be fed and nourished, to thrive on our own. But understanding and acknowledging that fact as very important. Because Matthew 5:3 says that 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.' I'll rephrase that for you. Blessed are those who recognize that they aren't enough, that they can't thrive spiritually on their own, for God's resources are at their disposal. As I pray on my way to work every day that thought has been going through my mind and it is SUCH an encouragement. I'm pretty sure that I've been living in my own strength lately. Trying to change on my own at some level. But just admitting that I'm not enough is so freeing, and Jesus himself here makes it very important because the reward for acknowledging my spiritual poverty is God's Kingdom, all of His resources! It frees us because it makes it about Him. Not that we don't have to try, because we do. We have to put forth the effort, working out our salvation. But I know that my God is working at changing you and me, so our effort will reap an eternal reward, because God will continue our work and finish it!

Do you Mourn your sin? I've been thinking this through as I go through Bridge's book, analyzing my life and looking for those respectable sins that I so often overlook. Am I even sorry for them? Or do they just get brushed off as 'common to man.' We should be mourning our sin, because that sorrow leads to the greatest comfort possible.... in the gospel! Matthew 5:4 says 'Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.' This is specifically referring to mourning our sin and there is no greater comfort than the one who redeemed me. His shed blood for our sins can be our comfort. The fact that he crushed sin and death can be our comfort.

Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness, or are you more eager for something else? This for me really relates back to the whole poor in spirit concept of recognizing my need. Because when we realize how poor we are, that we indeed are in spiritual poverty on our own, we will hunger and thirst after Godly, right things. We will crave them. And this can affect so much of our lives, our priority at spending time in the word and in prayer, our entertainment choices, our friendships, the way we communicate with those around us. Wow.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pray. Rest. Do.

I've been struggling with some anxiety for the last several days that has melted itself into every imaginable area of my life and it's really, really ugly. I tend to get my heart wrapped tightly around things and when they don't go my way.... well, I get really uptight about it, as if God just slapped me across the face and turned His back on me. Obviously this is not the case, but I let myself feel that way sometimes when I don't see the results I was looking for as quickly as I wanted them to happen. I get things turned so backwards sometimes expecting God to work on my time table, according to my plan... instead of me working on His timetable and according to HIS plan.

So today I have been deeply reminded to PRAY. And pray hard. It's ok to want things and to want them badly. But I need to look at what I'm wanting and see if it's for me or for Him. And am I ok with not getting it.... even it if was for His glory? You see He might want something else for me. Something that might bring Him more glory. The thing I want might be just the thing God will use to shape me more into the image of Christ, or it might take something else. I need to be flexible. For now... I will pray, pour out my heart to God and let Him know my desires. Tell him how I think they will bring Him glory. And then let Him decide if they will.

Secondly, I will REST. I tend to take matters into my own hands and make a mess of things. I pray and take action immediately and end up doing all the wrong things. I frustrate my husband. I frustrate my kids. I frustrate my friends. Grrr.... who else can I frustrate today?! (Or am I just being too self focused THINKING that everyone is frustrated with me?!) Instead I need to take a minute to rest. Rest on a sovereign God who has all things in control. Rest that he has the days of my life planned out for me... and they result in a perfect end. Rest, trusting that He will provide for all the needs of my family. Rest in Him.

Thirdly, I will DO. Because action must take place. Praying does change things. And Resting in God's arms is vital so that I don't mess everything up. But Doing so SO vitally important. Because no matter how I feel, I need to continue to walk, to work, to live. No matter how down I am about whatever situation, I still have kids that need to be dressed and fed and who need to play and learn and grow. I have a husband who needs me to be his best friend and greatest cheerleader. We have to provide for our families. All of these things and so much more need to take place. Every. Single. Day.

So today I am Praying to my great God who is my rock, resting in His arms, and taking action to work toward the goals I've been praying so hard about, trusting Him with the results, whatever they may look like.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

You are mine

My husband always has the perfect words for me. He's really quite the romantic and has always gotten me to the core of my being with his words. It's part of what made me fall in love with him back in 2003... I had gone on a date with a mutual friend. He was a nice guy, but much better as a friend (he still is a mutual friend!). However, our date had been pleasant and after the fact I was sitting in Cheddar's next to my someday husband and he was asking me about it. He then proceeded to tell me how he had coached our mutual friend. He told him where to take me (a funky downtown restaurant), what to talk about, how to act, how to act after the date, etc. And the thing was.... he was spot on. It was in that instant that I realized that no one ever had, and no one probably ever would, get me quite like Chris Perry does. And I pretty much fell in love on the spot. It was within a few weeks that he realized that I had changed my mind about him and he asked me out and I'll tell the rest of the story another day....

 Fall 2010

Since then, he has written me letters, sweet notes on our mirror, texts, and just used his words to my face. Sometimes I feel silly, because I just can't form such beautiful words back, not without a  lot of thought at least, but his words.... they lift me to the clouds and make me feel... well like a chosen, beautiful princess for lack of a better term. Last night was one of those nights. We've had a mutual struggle lately that has been very frustrating for both of us. And as kind as he is in trying to share the responsibility for the mess, in reality we both know that it's mostly my fault. A few nights ago we watched I Bought a Zoo. What a lovely, sad story.... Afterwards we were lying in bed and started talking about when we fell in love with each other and how in love with each other we still are, but honestly the thought that kept running through my mind was 'how could he still love me when I've created this mess?' I think I cried myself to sleep on that thought, while he had no idea. I didn't want to ruin his beautiful moment. Horrible, I know. It's not all as bad as I make it seem, but sometimes it really feels that way. I can't wait to be on the other side of this.

Then last night we got started talking about this situation and I was languishing in my guilt for it when all of a sudden he grabbed my face and said 'You are mine.' We joke sometimes about how he fell in love with me first and it took me awhile, but I finally came around. The truth is he picked me and pursued me. I think that's the way it should work. He was persistent over the course of a few years and finally... I saw it. He loved me so deeply long before we were ever sitting there at Cheddar's. It took me awhile to realize how deep his love was, but I saw a glimpse of it at Cheddar's and I saw a much clearer picture of it last night, 9 years later. Even with our current situation he wanted me to know that he picked me, that I'm his girl, and he's not ever regretted it. True love.

It's often reminded me of the gospel. I've never done anything to deserve Christ's love, yet he has chosen me to be his bride. Marred as I am by sin, he will make me more and more beautiful, more and more like himself, so that someday He can completely glorify me in his presence. Now my DH isn't perfect... but in our marriage he represents Christ (Ephesians 5) and just as Christ chose me, Chris chose me as well and has pursued me with his love. It's a wonderful love story that I get to live out, both with my husband and ultimately with my savior Jesus Christ. Because they both say 'You are Mine' and nothing thrills my heart more.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

(Ephesians 1:3-14 ESV)

Friday, January 13, 2012


The Perry's had a fantastic Christmas this year, spent in the area where I grew up. We arrived at my sister's apartment late Christmas Eve and were greeted by one of my brother's and two of my sisters! Merry Christmas!

Christmas day was a great day. It started a little rough. The kids were tired from traveling so late the night before and there were more than a few tears shed while opening their presents. We made it through though and got ready for the day. We stopped by my step-dad's mom's house to see that side of the family, then made our way to my Grandma and Papa's farm in Clifton, IL. This Christmas all 6 of their grandkids were there for the first time in many years. I could tell they were very pleased to have us all there and it was great to spend time with my siblings! Wish I would've gotten a group picture :(

The kids first thing Christmas morning

I have always loved my Gramma's all white and gold Christmas tree. It's perfect for her old Victorian Country House. Our Little Man loved playing by it.

I loved this one of my sisters laughing at dinner... and Little Man with his tongue out. It's all very typical!

Little Man loves my sister whom he calls 'Cha Chi'!

In the days following Christmas we were able to spend time with family and took our regular trip downtown with my Grandma to see the Christmas windows and lights. We have been doing this since I was a young girl with her and I loved that she came with us again! Little Man and Little Lady were INCREDIBLE! They were so good all day and loved seeing all the sights. We rode the train downtown from the south suburbs and got off at Millennium park. I'm pretty sure that riding the train was the highlight of Little Man's life. He loved every second! We walked north and got a cupcake at Sprinkles then made our way to Navy Pier. By now it was dark and FREEZING. The kids did so great though. Inside Navy Pier Little Man found a smaller train and insisted on riding 'Thomas.' Highlight of his day number 2 :) By then we were starving and I was bound and determined to get some good Chicago deep dish pizza. So we headed toward Giordano's on Michigan Ave, just a few blocks from our train. All I can say is Yummy Goodness. It's my favorite thing to put in my mouth. All in all, FANTASTIC day :)

Pure Excitement on the Train!

Family Pic at Millennium Park

Group shot of Gramma and her grandkids (Sad Brooke couldn't be there that day :( 

My brother was great with the stroller... see Little Man fell asleep :)

By the "Thomas" train at Navy Pier.... again, pure excitement!