Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Road Less Traveled

Do you ever feel on the edge of a cliff?  Just peering over the edge.  Trying to decide if you are going to jump, fall or turn around and head back down the mountain.  Sometimes I feel like I have been in that place far too often.  Your whole being is in turmoil and you aren't sure what decision to make.  The what ifs, why nots and the what-will-be plague every waking moment- it consumes you.  What will happen if I make the wrong choice?  Where will it lead me in the next year?  Which decision should I make?

I have always wanted to be a mom.  That was one of the only sure things I have known since I was a little girl.  As I grew, I knew that I wanted to be able to stay home with my kids, if possible.  For the last 10 years, we have made a LOT of sacrifices to make that happen.  I wouldn't change it for the world.  We have debt.  We drive crappy, high mileage cars.  Our house is small and so is our budget.  But I get to pick my kids up from school every day.  I get to go on all of their field trips.  I get to volunteer in their classes, be their room-mom and make special homemade treats for them to take to their parties.  I got to head up the Consignment sale at the preschool that helped raise 21,000 for my kids' education.

Last week I got a text from a team mate at my old school.  My old job was going to be open in the fall.  It seems like perfect timing.  My youngest will be in full-day Kindergarten in the fall.  We would finally be able to pay off some debt, do some things around the house, drive nicer cars, go out to dinner.  I could have my career again.  It is a perfect job for a mom.  I would still have summers off and be home at a decent time.  Yet I was in turmoil.

Can I do all that I do now and have a full time job?  No.  Not only that, what would happen to the photography business that I have worked so hard to build?  It would go by the wayside.   Who would do the laundry, cooking, cleaning and school stuff with the kids?  With me working 2 jobs and Chris doing his full time job and leading worship at church, could we hold it all together?  At what cost?  Our marriage?  Our children?

As I talked it through with most people, they encouraged me to take the job.  I was getting excited.  A new job, an identity beyond just "mom",  less financial strain.  And then Chris and I sat down and looked at the big picture.  Is the price of more money worth what it could do to our stress level and our family?  We have made huge sacrifices over the last 10 years so that I can pour into the lives of our children.  Does that stop once they are all in school?  If I go back to work I can't go on the field trips, volunteer in the classes, make goodies for class parties and be the room mom.  And that made me sad.

God has been extremely faithful to us and one of the things He has taught us the most over the last 4 years is...Trust.  Are we going to trust Him and what does that look like?

In the end, we decided to take the tough road.  To trust God that He will meet our needs and to continue on the path we are on and not go back to work full time.  It really is the road less traveled.  The road that is narrow and littered with high-mileage cars, a smaller house (filled with a lot of love) and a fair amount of generic cereal and mac and cheese.  However, that road brings joy, dependence on God and strong family ties.  It is littered with home-made cookies, field trips and hand-made gifts (because they cost less) and a happy mom who has more time to pour into her kids.

I understand that not all moms are as lucky as me.  Some have to (or want to) work and I don't want to make it sound like they are less of a mom.  I am just speaking of myself and how I am wired and the decisions that we have made for our family.

Once the decision was made, I felt a peace that passes all understanding.  I will continue with my business, subbing and take on part time work if needed, but teaching full time is not in my near future.

So often it is hard to discern what God wants us to do.  You have to follow the signs that God gives you, give it your best shot and trust Him to guide you.  Once you have made the decision, be confident in it and read through Philippians 4 and remember that whatever you do, do it with all of your heart.

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