I have been thinking about this blog for a few months. I just haven't found the right words to describe how God has been leading our family. I think I haven't posted about this yet because God was still dealing with my heart and showing me more about how He is in control. This past Sunday God used Matt Cote at Brentwood Church to give me meaningful words to add to this blog. It is amazing how God sends the right message at the right time!
"Followers of Jesus live with a greater sense of calling beyond comfort, convenience, and control"- these are the words that were posted on the big screen at church on Sunday. They are so true! I can think of many years of following Christ that have had me out of my comfort zone or out of control or lacking convenience to my life and this year is one of those years!
I have been in the education field for 10 years both teaching and working on administration as a curriculum coordinator. God has blessed every year giving me positions only He could orchestrate, however, after giving birth to my precious third child, my husband and I began to notice that life was spinning out of control for me. It was becoming more and more difficult for me to be a full time administrator at school as well as a full time mommy and wife at home. Coming home stressed out from situations at work, I would find myself snapping at my children and putting undue stress on them. I felt as though someone had switched me to fast forward mode. They hit the fast forward button when I woke up at 4:30 and I was in this "quickly get things done" mode for the entire day until I went to bed late at night. I couldn't really stop any of my tasks to socialize with my family. I was too busy checking things off of my list ("living in cruise control"- as Matt Cote says- just hoping everything fell into place). Some health issues even began to arise due to the stress. Sean and I both knew this was not how we wanted to live or how we wanted our children to see their mommy who loved them dearly. So we began thinking about our options.
Staying home was really the only option to give me more time with my children which is what we felt God was calling us to do- but how would we support our family? We really need the health benefits and extra income that my position offers- how could we ever afford to purchase our own? Was it really wise to leave an administrative job that I had worked so hard to obtain and that presented me with freedoms that other positions lacked? Would I lose the resume-building qualifications that I had earned? And of course, what would I do about the education of my children ( I can't afford to send them where they currently go). All of this would present lack of convenience, comfort, and control.
As God always does, He began to show us how He was in ultimate control. He gave me friends to offer wisdom and advice (most of whom said I would never regret my decision, and isn't this what I have been asking for the last ten years?). He provided me with a work at home online teaching position (quite quickly due to God's goodness) which moved me to resign from my school position. God used work events and circumstances to confirm our decision yet also protect my confidence in myself (which was needed). At this time, my incredible in-laws announced that they too were quitting their jobs and would begin to search for a home in our area- this would be a tremendous help because I would have help with the kids and be able to handle the part time work I needed to provide income for our immediate needs. They were able to sell their home and purchase one near us in record time! This definitely meant some inconvenience and lack of control for them too, but we seemed to all be in this position at the same time so we had mutual understanding of each other's needs and were able to help each other through our circumstances. During this time, we were even offered some help with tuition for Nathan to go one more year to LCA. God is so good to us!
Even with all of these blessings, I would be lying if I said I felt that everything was under control. I am still worried about making ends meet, affording health insurance, affording schooling once Keilah is in school, how will I do teaching Keilah at home instead of sending her to pre-school, will I be able to handle all that being a stay at home mom while working from home entails? Will we still be able to buy gifts for our family? I can say that I do worry about all of this a bit, but I feel God's peace with my decision. I feel peace because I can finally focus on the more important goals of raising my family, taking care of my household, being a wife that supports her husband's work, being more influential at camp (my husband's ministry), and serving at my church more often. These things will still take work and will still have their stressful moments but since my focus will be on what God desires and wants for me, I know God will take care of our family. I don't expect it to be perfect. I realistically expect to still have struggles (also something Matt Cote pulled out of Philippians 1:29). No matter what we do, if we are following Christ, we will face struggles. I am just praying that now I will have more time to focus on those struggles with my family- having more time to raise them to learn how to deal with those struggles from a biblical perspective.
So after ten years in education, I am now turning off the "cruise control" and entering into a new season of my life. A new season of discomfort, inconvenience, and lack of control in my life. I covet your prayers through this transition.
P.S. I must comment about my students. They will be the one thing I miss most about teaching. I hate to leave school because I will not see them as often. I know we are supposed to influence them, but they have influenced me...leaving a very special place in my heart for them. They were not the stressful part of my job. I will miss all of them dearly!
P.P.S.- A shout out to all of my teacher friends at LCA too! I will miss them dearly too! I can't thank them all enough for how much they have taught me over the years!