Surrendering To God
On Saturday, I told some of the story of how I became a working mother and my husband was the stay-at-home parent (click here to read it). Thanks to everyone for the comments! I appreciated it.
There was more to the story, so I thought I’d continue it today.
My acceptance of God’s will in going back full-time into the workplace was met with a considerable lack of enthusiasm on my part. I’d stood in faith for 2.5 years that working part-time was temporary and I’d be able to quit and stay home to raise my daughter. Now, I was going back to work full-time in a field notorious for its overtime.
I hated it. My daughter hated it. My husband was indifferent . He’s apologized profusely since then, but this was long done by the time that happened.
My daughter and I made cookies every night after work for several months after I went back to work full-time. My co-workers loved it, flour was cheap therapy, and it gave us some moments of pleasure before going to bed and spending another day apart. If I traveled too often, I’d take off a day or two to spend with her.
I was miserable every day. When it was time for my one-year review, my boss – as gently as he could – told me to get it together. It was impacting my performance at work, resulting in a poor evaluation. That was something he never thought he’d see from me. He put words on the situation – I was grieving. He knew about grief, having lost his mother as a child and his brother as a young adult.
It took some thought, but I realized that my dream of staying home was like having a fine china plate. And one night, I figuratively took a baseball bat to the plate, smashing it to powder, then throwing the powder to the wind. My dream, my faith, and my belief in answered prayer went along with it.
I did eventually find my way back to my faith, although trust is still an issue for me. But God was good to us. There were many blessings during the journey. I’m not saying they were a reward for following His will. Some of these things I didn’t appreciate until years later when I looked back.
We were all blessed with good health. That really came home when my sister and I took our three kids to a museum for the day. A little boy was there, wearing a football helmet. We were puzzled by it, until a few hours later he had a temper tantrum. He ran full bore into a wall, then threw himself onto the floor and laid there, banging his head into the floor as hard as he could while screaming. My sister turned to me and said, “It makes me grateful for what I have.” Yes it did, for both of us.
Each time God called us to move, the finances worked out so we could pay down bills and have a nice house. It was hard having only me working plus investing into my husband’s cameras, trips, and film processing. There was so many times we came to the edge financially. Each time God called us to move on, I didn’t think we could do it and maintain a decent lifestyle. But we did. We didn’t have a lavish house or cars, but we lived nicely and when the time came to move, we could.
My daughter had a stay-at-home parent. Yes, I wish it could have been me, but she had someone there all the way through high school. Her Dad heard all the stories after school. By the time I came home from work, I couldn’t get much out of her as to what happened on that day because it was old news by then. He’d fill me on the details later. Her last summer before college, they golfed together every day after she came home from work. He missed her so much when he left her at her dorm room for her first semester.
My sister created an warm and affectionate second home for my daughter. From the time she could fly alone until after she started driving, my daughter spent at least a month each summer with my sister and brother-in-law. She went camping with them, took swimming lessons, attended Vacation Bible School, went to the park, and had two younger “siblings” to play with. My brother-in-law loved it when she was tall enough to help him get the canoe off and on the car! When he started traveling extensively for business, he paid for her to come with to help babysit the younger two so he and my sister could go out at night. My daughter went to New York City and Disney with them, something she’d never have done with her Dad or I.
Since we were perpetually broke, I spent my vacations visiting my sister usually at the beginning or end of my daughter’s trips. That too was a blessing. We were always close, but face-time counts a lot in relationships. We have so many fun memories of time together with the kids. One year we put the kids to bed and ran out every single night to go see a movie, leaving my brother-in-law to fend for himself. There were lazy days at the lake; I left one tiny strip of skin without sun lotion and was in deep pain the next day from that trip.
It seemed to be the end of the world at the time, but it wasn’t. It just seemed that way.
I have ministry in the workplace, although I don’t call it that at work. I share my hard won wisdom when appropriate. I help staff balance work and family. I give advice when asked. It’s not just young women either. Women my own age need perspective on workplace problems and balancing their lives. Men need encouragement to remember their priorities. Because of our overtime, there is some flexibility in schedules to go to school events in the middle of the day or work from home occasionally.
Do I wish it had been different? Yes. Was it bad? No. It was a good life regardless of whether it went the way I thought it should or not.
I changed the picture on my blog. Here’s what the big one looks like, from last weekend at the botanical gardens.
Need some inspirational reading for your creativity? Check out the book reviews at A Daily Life. There are also all kinds of prompts if you’re dry on ideas.
Faith flexible work schedule sister sister's love surrender surrender to God trusting God work life balance working mother
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I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at www.livingtheseasons.com.
My absolute favourite thought of all: “Do I wish it had been different? Yes. Was it bad? No. It was a good life regardless of whether it went the way I thought it should or not.” So much of your story sounded like my own. I’m the main bread winner in our family and it seems as though we are always living on the edge of the edge but I always try to step back and be truly thankful for what we do have because in reality it could be much worse. Thanks for sharing :)
You got it exactly – it could be so MUCH worse. It’s easy to whine about things, but gratitude is what we need. Thanks for leaving a comment – I’m glad you liked the post.
This was such a wonderfully honest post. We beat ourselves up so much about staying home/going to work, but in the end, our children will be just fine. Love the line about flour therapy–will be using that the rest of the week when school is cancelled because of the weather. Summer can’t come soon enough!
My sister and I were puzzled by the women who got into such ferocious fights about staying home vs. working. She stayed at home and I worked and there were strong pros and cons to both. I worked because I had to and that’s what I had to make my piece about. And my daughter did turn out just fine.
Enjoy your flour therapy! You have to admit, the ingredients are certainly cheap enough.
Nancy, This is so inspirational, thank you for sharing with us. ~ Lynda
You’re welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Nancy~thank you so much for sharing your heart with us in this post (and others too, of course). It is so difficult at times to go through things. We have had similar struggles and times when I have been so heartbroken and upset with God. Yet I keep going and so do you. Our faith and patience muscles have had many opportunities to grow, haven’t they? You are so inspirational—I am giving you an award in recognition of that fact. <3 http://believeanyway.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/keeping-the-blogosphere-a-beautiful-place/
Kate – thanks so much for the comment and encouragement. And yes, my faith and patience muscles have grown, willingly and otherwise!
Thanks for the award!
I came back to this post after reading it a couple days ago. I wanted to say how much I appreciate you sharing your story. Being a parent and spouse involves a lot of compromises and negotiations. It isn’t always ideal and the decisions are never easy.
At times, I am frustrated that I am not a stay-at-home mom. During a recent career transition, I had the chance to be a stay-at-home mom for a couple months. It is a tough job. I missed the interaction with peers. I felt like I wasn’t always giving my best self to my kids. I am working again and the kids are back in daycare. I miss the unstructured time with the kids and work hard to make sure that the time we have together is quality.
Beth – I’m glad you could identify with my story. It’s a constant struggle to maintain balance as a working mother, to give your spouse and kids enough attention while not destroying your own life.
I’m sure it was hard to be home all day with the kids; new routines take a while to develop. Many chiildren have working mothers and turn out just fine; there are kids with stay-at-home Moms who have massive problems.
Each of us has a unique story and God can bless us wherever we are at. He even blesses us when we don’t particularly accept his will either. Both Mary and Zacharias were visited by an angel; Mary believed, Zacharais did not. It still happened anyhow. Sarah laughed at God. That didn’t change the outcome either.
Hang in there. It’s hard day-to-day to see the outcome of what we’re doing, but over time, this will work out.
Thanks for sharing the rest of your story of surrender. I’m reading the book Power of Praise by Merlin R. Carothers. He gives scriptual reasons to praise God for our situation instead of crying for Him to take it away. I realize that surrender is coming much easier when I respond daily with praise and accept that God as allowed a situation and will work it out for my good. Romans 8:28 And walking in praise is bring good change in me; which gives me more reason to praise. :)
I haven’t read that book for a while. It used to be a favorite of mine too. I agree that surrender is easier when we fill our lives with praise, but somedays are harder than others to do that. Just like with grieving, sometimes it’s a process to get to surrender.
That is very true! Sometimes I am praising through my tears, but it always helps me in my process to surrender.
Beautiful picture, Nancy. We had our own business when our daughter was small. She learned a lot from our employees and watching soap operas with them on lunch break. I was tied to the phone. We each have our ideas of what we’d like to do, but life plays out and we’re along for the ride. It’s a good ride. The things that mattered got done.
Thanks Patti. And you’re right – what mattered did get done. It’s been a good life.
Had to laugh when I read “…whether it went the way I thought it should or not.” It can be SO hard for us not to be god in our own life but SO much better when we let Him to what He does best. Someday you will see all the people whose life you touched and changed as a result of your working…and your daughter…well from where I comfortably sit her relationship with her dad is priceless and probably envied my most of her friends. Once again I admire your vunerability here…thank you for sharing your heart.
Thanks for the comment – it was a hard post to write and I nearly didn’t publish it. Her relationship with both of us is very different than most of her friends, but she was in college before she realized it. Many of her friends had parents at war and while we were hardly the epitome of normal, we at least had a deep affection for each other and her. She knew she was loved and not a tool to get back at each other.
Glad I could give you some comic relief! That was pretty funny now that I went back and reread it. Did you see Derek’s comment about the Galaxy Quest quote? I had humor in several places.
I have ministry in the workplace, although I don’t call it that at work.”- That is your real job, the work that pays the bills is your second job. Wonderful. Thanks for clarifying and elaborating.
Thanks for the comment Jess. You pointed a great nugget of truth in here; I hadn’t seen that.
We had hard times and similar situations – you at least had family support net. Despite it all , eveyone survived and turned out OK. You just have to adapt, adjust, and be flexible – and have faith it will turn out for the best – if you hadn’t lived through it all, you wouldn’t be able to help those whose paths you cross – so maybe that was as designed? Gold star for you – now and later!
Thanks Karen. And yeah, going through it does make it possible for me to help others. I liked your summary – adapt, adjust, flexibility, and faith – great wrapping up.
i too had a situation I was sure was God’s will for me, but alas, it wasn’t. and so I had to accept my new reality and get on with life. and yes, grief was very much a part of that. it’s hard to let go of a dream – especially for those of us who learned to dream as adults – those who came to believe that dreams could come true.
a hard lesson to learn and a harder lesson to let go of.
thanks for sharing your journey and reminding me of our growth
You are so very welcome – I’m glad you took a few minutes to share back. Thanks.
It’s always hard when your dream is not what God had planned for you. I needed this. I have been grieving because something I thought was going to happen was not in God’s plan. I did not recognize it as grief until I read this. At least, I did not recognize the depth of the grief. Thanks for sharing. Angie
Angie – I’m so glad it helped you. Just putting a name on it helps, doesn’t it? It still hurts though, but you can’t start moving on until you do it.
And yes, grief does run deep when the loss is that bad.