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.