Don’t Quit Your Day Job-Part 3

Welcome! This is my final post in a series about how I decided to become a stay at home mom (SAHM) and the new adventure I’m on as I wrestle with school-age children 10 years after quitting my day job. Join me in my new adventure by reading Part 1  and Part 2 of my story and then follow along as my path is uncovered and discovered in future posts in 2017.

I used to hate the question that inevitably follows whenever I share that my youngest child is starting Kindergarten this fall; “What are you going to do Tiffany?”

Initially, I hated the question because I felt tremendous pressure from myself to go out and get a job. I felt like that is what I was expected to do. The pressure I felt wasn’t even need generated. Our family had made it for 10 years on one income plus whatever little extra I could pull in on the side. But the idea of a societal expectation and my perception that I was unprepared to meet it; That idea made me feel completely inadequate and worthless. Who would have me?!

I have wrestled with overwhelming feelings of worthlessness since my third child had been born. Do I matter? What do I even do? Do I have relevant skills for the world we live in? It produced in me all sorts of bashfulness and even shame. My major was communications and I have a bachelor’s degree, sure. But I haven’t mingled in the world of technology for 10 years. When I first started my dream job, I was using PageMaker by Adobe! I had just convinced the church to move towards Adobe’s new suite and utilize InDesign when I quit. Can we talk about how much has changed in 10 years?!

Time and again as I pondered my questions, my answers truly frightened me. I felt like a no-talent, out of date, old Mom (EW) and I just kept squashing my feelings of inadequacy down and down.

But that growing whisper wouldn’t be silenced. My heart kept hearing a call, “What do you want?”

Last summer, my dear friend and fellow writer Kayla Smith asked me to read a book with her. I mentioned it in Part 2 of this post. Dan Allendar’s book, To Be Told introduced me to a scandalous invitation and helped me hear better the voice in my heart. What if God is inviting me to co-author the story of my life? How would that change the decisions I make today as this new opportunity looms? It certainly helped me pay attention to that growing whisper I couldn’t silence anymore.

So at the close of last summer, as I sent my kids back to school, I said to myself, “Fine. What DO I want?” and I gave myself full permission to explore an answer.

That is where God met me, and He invited me to wait. He invited me to a mystery. (That’s so something He would do, isn’t it?)

The waiting He invited me to is not the waiting that is boring or painful though; it is beautiful, hopeful and mysterious. It’s like waiting for a baby to be born and having your arms ache to hold and snuggle the squirming child. It’s like waiting for a delicious meal to be served and smelling all the mouth-watering smells as it is prepared and your stomach growls with anticipation.

He whispered to me that I CAN do whatever I want. He told me that the pressure I feel is not pressure I must succumb to because it is not from Him. As I talked with my amazing and sweet husband, he told me too that I can do whatever I want. Suddenly there was all this freedom surrounding me and all sorts of invitations to taste and see what the Lord is up to in this little life of mine. I learned that I can explore my options. I learned that I don’t have to have a definitive answer. He told me I can stand on His promise to be blessed and be a blessing and it changed everything for me.

I know in my heart that I’m not quitting my day job. Just like the Moms who have career paths and work 8-5 and just like Moms who are SAHMs, we will always be committed to the children God has given us. It’s our calling and our position and our love. I will always be called to their needs and I will have to lay my life down in new ways all the time-and I will do so joyfully (though maybe I will complain a bit sometimes).

In the mean time, if you ask me that previously dreaded question, my answer is the same but totally different. I don’t know what I’m going to do. But I am delighted to confidently wait on God to show me what opportunities I CAN do with all the talents and skills He has given me. I am challenged to pray in new ways about the time that is coming. I am challenged to dream up new things and I feel tremendous freedom to explore what that looks like. In some ways I feel like my years-long writers block I have wrestled with is dissipating. The fog is still there but I can’t wait to see what’s on the other side.

I’ll just be a Mom and something else….

In the mean time, I have decided I am going to soak up every moment of the present as the gift that it is to me and our family. I haven’t read Present Over Perfect yet, but I love the idea of it that Shauna Niequist has introduced to Christians. I want to take in what is today and be willing to wait on a good God to show me the invitations He has for me. His timing in my story past has always been right, though it has not been mine. It will be right in this new season too.

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Thanks for listening and joining me in my 10 year milestone. I can’t wait to see what God does next!

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Rhythm and Mystery

Our church home has rhythms it repeats annually. I think most organizations and even families do this naturally, without realizing it. But when you claim it as “your thing” it takes on deeper richness and meaning. We as a society know that children (and adults) learn through repetition. We’re forgetful, and to continue to learn we need reminders of our purpose and how that plays out in day-to-day life. So a rhythm, a repeated beat, like a heart beat, it plays on-and we learn. Music happens as we play our part.

It’s January-a new year has dawned. 2017 is here! This new year brings about the first rhythm of our church home, the spiritual disciplines; prayer, study, fasting and meditation. This past week, one of our pastors led us through the Lord’s prayer from Matthew 6.  Collaboratively, our church family has been daily praying through one section of the prayer on our Facebook Group page. We broke it up as follows…

“Our Father in Heaven,

Hallowed be Your Name,

Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven,

Give us today our daily bread

and forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors

and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:9b-13

It’s been an exercise that has brought a lot of emotion and reflection into my field of view. We are taking this whole week day by day to pray this prayer in chunks. And today was the third line as I wrote it above, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”.

I find myself rejoicing in the adventure and mystery that 2017 holds for me. It feels full of promise as much in my own personal life is transitioning. Yet, already it holds a lot of sorrow and sad news.  I long for God’s Kingdom to come. It aches to be in the midst of the ruins of sin. Broken relationships, death, sickness and sorrow, fear of the unknown and uncertainty for how things will play out for our families, our homes, our nation.

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This focused look at the rhythms of prayer, study, fasting and meditation though, it’s pulled me back from getting too far ahead of myself. It’s helped to ground me and center me on what matters for today. The future stays in the future until today dawns on us. There is little we can do about it but live each day to it’s fullest. We love to the best of our ability, we serve in the capacity we can offer.

“That is why I tell you not to worry about every day life-whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” -Matthew 6:25-27

Today could very well be the last day any of us have in this life. This Scripture has challenged me to rest in what I don’t know as well as in what I DO know. These rhythms have encouraged me afresh as this new year sits before me like a blank canvas. Right now I’m sitting and staring at it with hope in my heart. I’m challenged to rest there and enjoy being present as the Artist I serve and worship paints and to look for opportunities to join Him along the way.

I’m so grateful for the joy of where it could lead, and yet I realize that there will probably be valleys full of challenging circumstances along the way. So I long for His kingdom to come and His will to be done, and I walk on until it does.