I know the exact moment when I realized just how true it is what the experienced mamas tell you, that time really does go so fast.
I guess I had seen it before this moment, but the reality of it hadn’t quite set in.
But then my oldest started Kindergarten.
And in that moment, it wasn’t that I just realized how fast time goes, but that I couldn’t get those years back again. As a full-time working mother, that hit me really hard.
Yes, she had been well cared for, first by a lovely mama and then by her dad when our third child was born and we decided he would be a full-time stay-at-home-dad. And I had spent all the time I could with her at night and during the weekends and summers. Thank the Lord for summers.
Perhaps it was my feelings that I had missed so much with her. Perhaps it was my overly sentimental mama self. Or perhaps it was the reality that my dream hadn’t been fulfilled.
Because really, my dream for so long was just to be a mom. Just to be home with my kids.
Sure, I think I had other underlying dreams that were planted back when I was working. But those all paled to being home with my kids. And some of them required that I was at home so they seemed like far-fetched impossible notions anyway.
I had watched friend after friend have children and get to stay home right away. I followed a lot of blogs back then when blogging really took off. I watched mama after mama get to have the dream that so desperately pulled on my heart.
I’m sure I asked God many times that infamous “why” question. I’m pretty sure I doubted God’s love for me along the way when it seemed like being home was impossible for me and I saw it working out for so many others.
But to be honest, my faith wasn’t in the same place ten years ago as it is today.
I feel like God’s been asking me to share parts of my testimony over the last few years in this little space of mine. I’ve been hesitant, simply because we haven’t moved from this season we’re in to the next. I haven’t seen so many promises fulfilled that I know are coming. And so selfishly, there are words and promises I don’t want to write out for others to see, for fear of me confusing my voice with His. And yet, there are some things that I feel are so clear for us, but I’m just not ready to put out there. But the prompting is there.
As I approached this motherhood series, I knew that I could share this little piece. This part where I finally decided it was time to come home. In the hopes that it might bless another mama out there, another mama who knows exactly what I’m saying.
Before I became a mama, I had goals for myself as an educator. I finished my master’s in Reading Education a few weeks before Eliana was born. I was working for a school district in MD, and before I got pregnant and moved to PA, I saw myself staying in this district forever. I saw myself moving out of public school and working for a professional development company. And I could have done that and found success.
I stayed with the MD school district and commuted after I had Eliana to finish the school year. It was only a few months so even though it was really hard, I knew it was short term. I started looking for reading specialist jobs in PA, not knowing the differences from state to state and district to district. I was really concerned about finding a job right away.
Even as I’m looking for jobs, I’m spending my nights rocking my daughter to sleep, praying and begging God to allow me to be home. I cried night after night when I put her to bed, just wanting to be able to be with her all day. But, my attitude was that I had to find a job because we needed two incomes. As I said before, my faith wasn’t in a place where I stopped and instead of asking God over and over, really just listened to what He was saying. If I had done that, I’m pretty sure I would have stopped looking for work and trusted in what He was doing.
Looking back at that time, God gave me an opportunity to say no. I interviewed with a district early in the summer and was offered the position. It wasn’t a district I wanted to work for but I wasn’t sure if another job would come up so I accepted. Here’s the crazy thing that happened. I’m sitting in their HR office, getting ready to sign the contract. The director is going over everything with me, showing me all the forms and things I need to know. As I’m sitting there, I start to get highly uncomfortable, like I can’t sit still. I’m shifting my weight and I just have this overall sense in my spirit that something’s wrong. That I shouldn’t be signing my name. Every part of me wanted to get out of my chair and just leave. Just get up and leave already my body was screaming. But my mind fought it off. I signed the papers and left.
Knowing what I know now that I didn’t know then, I’m pretty sure it was the Holy Spirit nudging me. Telling me it was okay to trust Him and leave. That there was something better for me. Perhaps it was another place to work (as I only stayed with that district for a few months) or perhaps it was Him telling me that He would bless my desires to be home if I trusted Him. Either way, I didn’t listen. And to be honest, if that same thing happened today, I know Him better and would hopefully recognize the prompting of His voice.
I spent the better part of the next five years caught in the same cycle. Asking to be home, praying to be home, leaving my house in tears in the morning. Even though once I got to work I was able to focus on work, my heart still wanted to be home. Micah was born and then Eden was born. Shortly after her birth, the district I was working for was in a lot of financial trouble, and I saw the writing on the wall. I knew my position would be eliminated at the end of the year.
It was around this time that our church was going through some transitions and we were learning about the Holy Spirit in ways I never had before. I experienced the baptism of the Spirit and had some really crazy supernatural experiences. I was still such a baby learning about this stuff, learning how to recognize God’s voice in my life, but here I was again. Having prayed for years to be home, knowing my job would be eliminated.
But again, instead of seeking in faith the desires of my heart, I assumed that I needed to keep working. We made the decision for Jason to stay home full-time as we now had three kids. I looked for another job.
Looking back at this time, I can see that God was being so good and patient with me. He held open the doors to a job in another district and I was able to transition there. So even though he put an opportunity in front of me to leave my job when it was eliminated, what I wanted with all my heart, He still opened a door and made it my choice.
I stayed with this last district for almost three years. They were a very hard three years for me. Even though I enjoyed my job to a degree, I was finally realizing that I just didn’t belong in public education anymore. My ideas about education were changing, God was changing my heart in a lot of ways and putting new passions inside of me. As I was getting to know Him more, He was aligning my heart with the things of Him, and this was making me realize where I was, was no longer where I belonged.
I belonged at home.
But you see, I never left my job before because I “couldn’t.” We didn’t have enough on Jason’s salary to even pay our bills, let alone buy food for three going on four kids. I always assumed a new job would come first for Jason and then I could leave. God was not doing it that way. He was doing it His way. Sometimes I get so caught up in how I think God is going to work or how I want God to work that I miss what He is doing. How he IS working, even though I can’t see it.
The best part is coming. But I’m getting long-winded so tune back tomorrow for part 2!