For years, I have struggled with accepting my role as a working mom. Since my kids were toddlers, I have worked outside the home in various positions, always looking for that magical idea that would get me back home. Often times, in my great desire to find something that would work, these ideas set us back instead of moving us forward. I would recite Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” In my mind though, the only thing the “all these things” could be was me being a stay at home mom and I was still waiting on God to make that happen.
In the meantime, while I was waiting for the perfect set of life circumstances to fall upon us, time continued to tick and my kids continued to get older. I would think about all of the neat stuff we could do when those circumstances hit us, but until then, I was just biding my time…waiting. And then one day, it hit me. What if this is my life? And I am missing it?
The book of Philippians seems to have the answer to anything I may ever need to know.
Philippians 4:4-7 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
When I assessed our situation, I had to ask myself some questions. If I can’t ever be a stay-at-home mom again, could I live with it? Are we doing the best that we can to make sure our kids grow up to be Christians? If this is all that our life ever is, could I be happy? When I thought these things through, a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. When I realized that the answer to all of those questions was an overwhelming yes, something changed. I was no longer trying to reach that unattainable, unwritten, perfect picture of a Godly wife and mother that only existed in my head, but I could now do the best with what I had each day. My anxiety level dropped tremendously, and I felt so thankful and free. It really was a peace that I couldn’t comprehend.
Philippians 4:8-9 tells us,
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
My assessment made me realized how very, very blessed I am. I get to start each day in God’s word with my family. I get to see the beautiful example of my husband who works hard each day to serve others in hopes of reaching them with the gospel. I get to enjoy the silliness and craziness of life with my 12-year-old girl and my 9-year-old boy. I get to work at a job that I enjoy, with an abundance of time off to devote to my family. I get to enjoy the wonderful support of extended family and friends that loves us and takes wonderful care of us. I get to worship each week with a small, wonderful, core group of Christians who faithfully, sincerely, and truly follows the Lord. Wow! So much to “dwell” on!
Continuing on in Philippians 4:10-13, Paul says,
“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
So many times, I have wondered what life would have been like if only we would have made a different decision here or there, if only we had never gotten into debt, if only we would have had enough support at preaching school, if only we’d started the Dave Ramsey plan earlier, if only we had waited to have kids, if only…But now, I wouldn’t change a thing. Looking back, I know that I wouldn’t be where I am without going through what I’ve gone through. How many lessons have I learned out of necessity? How many times has someone shared their great wisdom with me, which meant nothing until I had to gain that wisdom for myself? How many times have I cut the budget hoping that extra money would magically appear and I could be that perfect mom? It is time to stop thinking about what could have been or what could be. It is time to stop missing out on this great life that God has given to me, and to start living each day better serving Him. If I truly believe God when he says in Matthew 6:34, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own,” then I need to start living like it.
It is time to stop thinking about what could have been or what could be. It is time to stop missing out on this great life that God has given to me, and to start living each day better serving Him.
By Heidi Sprouse