A Testimony of Obedience

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obedienceI remember the first time I ever held a baby.

I was 7 years old. Mom said we were finally big enough, the baby and me. I patiently waited for the weekend anticipating the moment that I would get to hold a baby.

I remember being afraid I was going to drop her. They sat me down in a kitchen chair in the middle of the dark kitchen although the sun burned bright outside in the Mississippi summer heat. Someone handed her to me, and I sat there, holding her in my lap, “grinnin’ like a opossum” as we say in the South.

This is one of those rare memories that I can close my eyes and still see the details as if it were yesterday.

From that moment, I knew. This is what I was made for. Even as a little 7 year old girl, I knew “mothering” was my purpose. God whispered it deep down into my soul.

But even a little 7 year old quickly learns that “mommy” is not the expected answer to the question we are asked repeatedly during our childhood and adolescent years: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Depending on my age, answers ranged from teacher to pediatrician to neonatologist. On a youth retreat in the 8th grade, I surrendered to full-time ministry at the same camp that 8 years later, God would use to shape my final career choices as I served on staff there. Ultimately, I ended up with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Marriage and Family Counseling.

I firmly believed God called me to both of those educational pursuits, but in the background of it all, that small voice still whispered that I was created to be a mommy. 

However, I was not a mommy yet. I was married, but we agreed to put children on hold until we both finished our graduate work.

Then the stick turned blue.

obedienceSuddenly, I was a mother, and everything changed. The whisper was getting louder. Becoming more of a reality. I was in graduate school at the time, and God graciously paved a way for me to graduate on time despite having a baby in the middle of my final semester.

Then we began to make preparations to move home, and the question lingering in the back of my mind was spoken out loud:

Should I work or stay home?

We always said I would stay home, but there in the moment of financial uncertainty and 3,500 necessary supervised hours to obtain my license in professional counseling, the answer was unclear. We decided that I would put out some resumes, and if I got a job offer, that would be our answer.

Quickly, I was in the midst of interviewing for a part-time Children’s Ministry position. All signs indicated this was the perfect job for me, and it was mine if I wanted it.

Until it wasn’t.

Just as suddenly as the job opportunity appeared, it vanished. Leaving me heartbroken and uncertain.

Through that interview process, I was introduced to the owner of a private counseling center. It seemed liked God was using the loss of the Children’s Ministry job to open the door to another job. It seemed like the perfect fit:

Licensure for supervision included

Working only when my son was at Parent’s Morning Out

So I took it. It was perfect, right?

Until it wasn’t.

My limited hours led to a small number of clients. To increase my case load, I took on additional hours in the afternoon and hired a babysitter. Eventually I was seeing 12 clients a week and consequentially, was away from my son for two full days per week until late in the evening.

This works for some moms, but it was not working for me. I was frustrated. What was I doing? What was God doing?

In the midst of a prayer retreat, I voiced my frustration to God, asking Him to help me trust Him with my career. Moments later, I was filled with peace because God had spoken.

Quit. Just quit.

Stay home with your son. Be a mommy. That’s what I created you to be.

obedience

The peace lasted about a day before the fear crept in.

What will people say? Words floated in my head: wasting your gifts, ungrateful, a disappointment, lazy.

Again, God spoke peace into my heart: Stop trying to please man. Focus on pleasing Me. You are enough in Me.

Despite my fears, I knew that same small voice I heard as a little girl was beckoning me to come and rest in who He made me to be. The choice was easy.

I said no to pleasing man and yes to pleasing God. <—Like it? Tweet it!

It’s the living it out that’s hard.

{I wrote this post 3 months ago but never published it. I’m still in the process of becoming a full-time stay at home mom, but I’m at complete peace with my work schedule. It’s as if simply making that commitment to work towards that goal and facing those fears lifted a burden. Once again, God is faithful.}

What difficult changes have you had to make in order to be obedient to God?
What fears did you face in doing so? Let’s chat in the comments!

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Multitudes on Monday
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On, In, and Around Mondays

Motivating Mondays 

Comments

  1. Beautiful, beautiful…pleasing God is all we can ever really hope for in life, as pleasing Him, I believe it pleases others as well. Amen to you for putting your family first. I had rarely held a baby before my own, and now, there is NOTHING like that feeling of being home raising my son-I am so incredibly happy here with him. Wishing you God’s peace…and thanks for linking. Been so crazy here lately, so it was refreshing to stop by and read this! Blessings girl :)

  2. I loved this post! What a great way to get to know your heart. And it was just the encouragement I needed right now in this season :)

  3. I’ve always wanted to be a stay at home mom and was given the chance fresh out of college. Now I’ve been home for eight years and have four kiddos to guide. The hardest thing for me has been redefining what “calling” actually means. As believers, our first calling is to follow Jesus. Everything else is just the way we do it. Following Jesus while living out my calling as a mom is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but the most sanctifying and rewarding. I jokingly tell people that’s why I’ have so many kids, more kids equals more sanctification opportunities! :) Jesus can work wherever we’re turning over our control. Welcome to complete and utter chaos! You’ll love it!

    • I completely agree. Even though I’ve only been at it for 18 months, I have done lots of growing in the Lord in those 18 months. I hope to have a houseful one day! :)

  4. What a great post! New to your blog!

  5. soulstops says:

    Proud of you, Mary Beth, for listening to God’s voice, and not to fear…such a gift to be a mom…blessings to you :)

  6. Mary Beth, that is an excellent post about the best decision you could have made in the world!! I quite my job to stay home with my children over 25 years ago and haven’t regretted it for a moment. I also have a college degree and never felt like it was a sacrifice but a privilege to be a stay-at-home-mom.

  7. How precious! Knowing that you are pleasing Him should be our ultimate goal! It can be so hard to do that though when the world says it should be done a different way! Blessings will be yours my friend for doing it His way!

  8. Mary Beth, this is heart-warming! Of all the different kinds of posts you write, this is my favorite. To your question: earlier this year, I felt God asking me to leave a Hello Mornings FB group made up of 7 of my church friends. It was SO hard, and it made no sense to me to leave. Until it did;) Contrary to the intent of the group, I often felt discouraged with it–instead of supported and motivated. I feel like God is redeeming that experience through Mosaics:) How faithful is He?!

    • You are so sweet! How would you describe this type of post? haha. That may seem silly, but I want to know!

      Oh that’s hard stuff. I don’t know if I would’ve had the guts to leave a group of people that I knew!! I’m so glad God is using Mosaics! I’m loving it!!

  9. SimplySurrender says:

    Ah yes, the words that float around…they taunt but His whisper brings peace. Obedience is never the easy road but always the best path.

  10. StefanieYoungBrown says:

    I left the “traditional” work place right ater my son was born. I worked from home the first 6 years, then one year at his school as a nurse. Now, I’m home, learning how to be home without paid work. Ironically, it’s been a bit tougher than I thought, learning a new schedule, new way of life. I’m thankful and know it’s the right place for me, just learning the way to live it.

    • That’s where I am right now…Trying to figure out how to live this life! That’s one reason why I started the blog…I needed a creative outlet and something to structure my time…or I’d be watching the Kardashians all day long!

  11. Oh I get this…so much. And wow—so proud of you for posting it! just wow!

    I have so many examples it’s not even funny. I’m so stubborn. Take for example schooling. I wasn’t going to be a homeschooling mom. (I was going to go back to work at least part time when they got to be school age) I was going to be an active mom in their schooling, but thought the social aspect of public or at least charter school was necessary. Then God showed me otherwise and introduced new concepts of socialization that I hadn’t thought of in my naivety. Then he gave me a son who was ready for kindergarten before my state would allow him to go. And next week, I start my homeschooling mom adventure…with God’s grace! Thank You, Father, for making Your dreams my own….

    • I think homeschooling will be our next big issue but I’m just not gonna borrow trouble yet! haha! I’m learning what I can about homeschool in our area so I will be better equipped to decide when the time comes!

  12. It’s not easy, is it, Mary Beth? Trading the good for the best? I stayed home with my boys for 10 years and I still remember that struggle. I’m glad you are working through it in a way that is bringing peace. Sending some prayers up for you, my friend.

  13. You are fabulous and I am so proud of the commitment you have made to your family! Following Jesus is always the best path, regardless of where it leads. :-)

  14. I felt privileged to stay at home with my kids and really, I think I might never have fallen into a career in writing had I stayed in the career path I started before having them. Staying at home actually opened doors to do things I would’ve never imagined doing in those early years of college and career. Love the photo of you with your little one on the beach. Savor those moments, what everyone tells you is true, the time flies.

    • I really do see it as a privilege. I fully understand that not every mom has the financial ability to stay home with their kids and I am ever so grateful that its a possibility for us.

      Thank you! He loves the beach!

  15. It can be so easy to feel like we are wasting our talents. schooling, etc as SAHMs. I truly believe it is a lie that Satan whispers in our ears to keep us from following the Lord when He calls us to stay home.

  16. Thank you for sharing your journey. I think a lot of moms struggle with many of the same feelings that you do/did. In some ways, it’s a cultural thing. We are taught that we are nothing if we don’t have a degree that comes with a well paying title. I don’t think we mean for it to happen (well, at least not most christians) but it does. I can say this, I may be sacrificing any sense of title or identify outside of “mom” but it’s worth it all to walk this journey with 4 little people as they experience the awesomeness of Christ!

    • I also think this thinking falls into the feminist movement. Women today want to be independent and able to support themselves…not having to depend on a man. Which is good because you never know what may happen. In the even of my husband’s death, I know I can make a living. But that mindset can also send the message that we aren’t as valuable if we are not earning an income.

      I agree with you. My 18 months of being mom have been totally worth all the sacrifices it requires.

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