|Some flowers I was sent for speaking at Bible Study
My friend Shelly recently published a post entitled “To Work or Not to Work.” I thought what she shared was insightful.
I am not a big planner. I just tend to go through life as it comes, not having lots of dreams about what I want or how it should happen. Growing up, I never thought too much about the kind of man I wanted to marry; I never planned out the kind of wedding I would want; I didn’t give too much thought to my major in college or the kind of career I might want; I didn’t think about the number of children I should have or the kind of decorating I would want in a house. I would just arrive at each next step, and things just seemed to fall into place.
Through the years, I’ve found that God’s plans were so much better than mine could have been anyway.
I stayed at home with my children when they were little, and I honestly had no thought that I would ever work again. I enjoyed being a stay at home mom and was grateful I could do it.
Once my children got to school age, though, I remember sitting on the side of my bed, aware that I would not likely have any more children, and wondering what in the world I was going to do with myself now that they would be in school. I realized they had been my almost singular purpose for the 7 or so years prior, and I didn’t know what my identity was apart from mothering.
When a classical school was starting in our area, we were interested, and as we tried to figure out how we might afford it, it became obvious that I could work at the school to earn the tuition. The Lord had worked out a new stage, another plan for my life. I discovered that not only was work something I was doing to meet a need (earning tuition), but it was actually something I enjoyed. I enjoyed sharing about the school to prospective parents and guiding them through the admissions process. I enjoyed coordinating testing for incoming students and administering the math (taking advantage of my degree in elementary education with a specialization in math). I liked the numerous administrative tasks like collecting tuition, enrolling students, helping with events, submitting reports to the state, helping oversee standardized testing, etc. I was glad to be working, and even though it had started as a means to an end, it became a place of ministry for me, as well. I loved the families I interacted with each day. I saw firsthand and through prayer God working and moving in that little school.
I thought I would be there forever. It seemed the perfect use of my elementary education degree and my administrative work background as a legal assistant.
And yet, God again had other plans. Last year, I began a new job at our church. I have seen His hand of preparation through past work experiences. And I’ve seen how my work isn’t just to earn the tuition money. These jobs have come with specific callings, using the gifts God has given me. I have come to see that if we took our children out of private schools, I would still work because the work is no longer about the tuition; it’s a calling of its own — unless He were to call me to something else unexpected!
So I resonate with Shelly. We do what God calls us to do and know that our stories are all unique, and there’s not one size fits all. My family is, of course, an obvious calling; I am a wife and mother! But because I don’t do much more than spend time with my family and work part-time, it all seems to balance out well.
While some of my friends work, many of them don’t, but are just as involved outside the home as I am through volunteer work at church or their children’s schools or in the community. They face the same challenges of balance that I do and have to make the same decisions about what they will spend their time doing. Thankfully, we can seek the Lord and trust that He will lead us to what is best.