If I still worked I would not lie in bed at night worrying about a catastrophic medical bill that sits strewn across my dining room table. Instead, I would have the health insurance of a teacher–also known as “the greatest health insurance in the world.” I may still receive a rather disturbing medical bill, but I would take a deep breath, knowing my insurance simply hasn’t picked it up yet. If I still worked…
If I still worked my husband and I would not drive through beautiful neighborhoods dreaming of a chance to own a home with custom landscaping and a 3-stall shop in the backyard, knowing it is only a dream. Instead, my husband and I would drive through beautiful neighborhoods planning our paint colors and the layout of our future home in that very neighborhood . If I still worked…
If I still worked I would not hesitate to splurge on dinner out with my husband, or even a quick Taco Bell run with my son. Instead, my husband would come home from a long day expecting dinner, and I would, without hesitation or guilt, smile and say, “Let’s go out tonight.” If I still worked…
If I still worked I would not tremble and roll my eyes each time I wrote yet another check to Bank of North Dakota for my student loans. Instead, they would be paid off and my husband and I would be spending that money each month to landscape our yard, put sheetrock in our garage, floor our entire house, and redo our basement. If I still worked…
If I still worked my husband would not panic each time there was a problem at his job. Instead, he would work less and smile more, knowing he was not the sole provider of our home. An immense and unfair amount of stress would be lifted from his shoulders because everything does not rest upon him alone. If I still worked…
If I still worked I would not regularly beg and plead with the Lord to open a door for me to earn supplemental income for my household, and He would not have to regularly tell me no. I would not see, and simultaneously talk myself out of, countless and simple opportunities to earn a couple hundred here and there. Instead, my family would have 40,000 more dollars every year to save for our children’s future, our retirement, and maybe even a bit more to spoil our kids and ourselves. If I still worked…
So… why don’t I work?
To be honest, sometimes I truly don’t know the answer to this.
All I can say is, “God has asked this of me.”
I knew it would be difficult to give up teaching because I loved it and staying home is a whole different monster, but I did not know of the financial sacrifice my husband and I would grapple with on a daily basis. I did not know I would struggle with the sin of covetousness, something I truly never struggled with before. However, now as I watch young couples buy campers and boats–even more painful is when I watch them pay off their student loans–I can’t help but think of all the possibilities 40,000 dollars a year would provide me and my family.
Don’t get me wrong.I love staying home with my son, and I know that I am unbelievably lucky, for not all mothers have this opportunity. My husband and I are also inexplicably blessed. God has provided for us in ways that I cannot possibly explain. However, no matter how well we are or are not doing, I am always painfully aware of how much better we could be doing if I were earning a living.
It is probably true that no matter how much a person has, he or she always wants more. Our lack of contentment speaks directly to God’s plan for a greater eternity. I suppose I should be thankful, for I know my true reward waits in Heaven.
Yet still, I often wonder if my children are truly better off because I do this. I tell myself they are–over and over and over again as I look around and see nine out of ten women working full-time, but the doubt remains. There are times that I am not even sure the Bible directly discusses a mother who stays home with her kids.
Even as I write this, I hear God speaking to me. I hear Him unfolding the pages of his plan just enough, so that I can catch a glimpse of the words inside. I open my mouth as he spoon feeds me His ultimate truth. I gasp as He lifts me, so slightly, atop a small mound, so that I can see my life from a slightly different perspective.
If I still worked I would swim in money (this might be a slight exaggeration, but this is certainly the way it seems to me). I would sacrifice nothing for myself, my husband, or my kids. We would not struggle to buy groceries at the end of the month, and we would certainly own a new car. Instead, I would sacrifice precious moments with my son, and future child, that will never be seen again. They are like a sneeze in a conversation, happening and forgotten all at the same time.
If I still worked I would not know what it is like to wrestle my son through a 20-minute storytime at the library, and I certainly would not know that today he hit a boy three times his size in the back of the head during this storytime.
If I still worked I would not be the first thing my son sees every time he wakes from his afternoon nap.
If I still worked I would be too busy correcting papers and cleaning my house to wrestle with my son in the living room before his bath.
If I still worked I would not know every nuance of his heart and wrinkle of his nose.
If I still worked, no matter how hard I would try, my son would occasionally become an inconvenience.
If I still worked I would not have the energy or the patience for his suppertime tantrums, as I desperately attempt to get him to eat a vegetable.
If I still worked I would not have been there for my son’s first…everything.
If I still worked I would have to say goodbye to my little man nearly every day, for most of the day.
If I still worked I would still struggle with guilt, but a much different kind of guilt.
If I still worked my sacrifice would be so much greater than a career and a salary. My sacrifice would be everything. Even on days I don’t feel this, knowing it will have to be enough for me.