Friday, October 11, 2013

What do you do?

A question that used to be so easy for me to answer has become a difficult one. What was a simple and confident answer, “I am a child life specialist at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital” has turned into, “I am not working….there are no child life jobs available.” I found myself needing to justify why I was not working rather than own it. I loved my job as a child life specialist. In fact, when I heard of what child life specialists did, I knew this was a job I was created to do. It was an incredible and life changing job for me. I miss it. But, for the past year and half Browning and I have been living in Birmingham, AL and my daily life has looked vastly different. I am now a proud stay-at-home wife, dog mom to Lady and a soon-to-be mommy to our son. I am grateful and blessed to look at where the Lord has brought us. It has not always been easy to own what my new “profession” is. It took a lot of prayer and a heart change.  Rather than looking at this season of my life as something the Lord desires for me, I often looked at it as a season of my life I was wasting.  I have battled with my pride over and over again. What is it about our culture that prides itself on what you do, how much money you make, etc? Why it is that it’s not culturally acceptable for wives not to work? It has been a humbling and rewarding year and a half. When I envisioned moving to Birmingham, I saw myself working as a child life specialist. It has taken our whole time living here for me to accept that the Lord had a different plan in mind. I am grateful that He is in charge. I am blessed that He has designed this path for me. I trust that He will remain faithful.

As I was walking in this new profession and wrestling with these thoughts, I read a book called Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney. I read it as I was leading a college small group, hoping to grab some tidbits of wisdom to share with my girls. Little did I know that one chapter was going to rock my world. The chapter was fully devoted to homemakers. This was a title that defined my days, but I didn’t want to accept it. As I was reading those pages, I felt as though my heart had written those words. Carolyn wrote, “I am a homemaker by profession, and I was embarrassed to admit that is what I do…. I had succumbed to worldly thinking rather than viewing my profession as the Bible portrays it—a high calling from God.”  I thought to myself, “YES!” Then I read more. “The profession of homemaking is not very popular these days. It has dropped very low on our society’s chart of worthwhile contributions—if it even makes the list at all! Many women are reluctant to stay at home because of the lack of respect they receive from our culture. Homemaking is deemed as a low-status job.” These were my thoughts. This is what I viewed homemaking as. I was, and sometimes still am, embarrassed to tell people that I am a homemaker. Homemaking sounds boring, wasteful, purposeless and more or less terrible. Why would someone choose to stay at home when they can make an impact in the workforce? As a child life specialist I was making an impact in the lives of children and families, right? The field of child life misses me, right? I was good at it, right? It was what I was supposed to do, right? These are some of the ongoing questions and struggles I faced. I missed working. I missed child life. I missed having co-workers. I missed being able to tell people what I did with confidence and pride. How prideful am I? Who am I to place my identity in what I do? It became very clear to me that the Lord was teaching me a lesson. I am grateful the Lord has shaken my world and humbled me in ways I never expected.

As I read more, I began to ask myself the question, “What is a homemaker anyway?” Dorothy Patterson explains a homemaker as “being a full-time wife and mother—is not a destructive drought of uselessness but an over flowing oasis of opportunity; it is not a dreary cell to contain one’s talents and skills but a brilliant catalyst to channel creativity and energies into meaningful work.” This was what I needed to hear. What a beautiful reminder that even though I was not using my skills in the hospital setting, God was opening a door and giving me an opportunity to use my skills and talents in new settings. I have accepted this calling and view it as a blessing from the Lord. He has given me the opportunity to serve Browning in ways I was not able to otherwise. He has given me the opportunity to lead college girls and really invest in their lives. He has given me incredible opportunities to volunteer. He has given me amazing fellowship with new friends. More than anything, He has given me a new heart and has reassured me over and over that He is faithful and that He is in control.  Carolyn describes homemaking as, “a vocation often filled with mundane tasks and repetitive chores, most of which are performed in obscurity.  It demands a colossal amount of service and sacrifice… We look around us and perceive everyone engaged in meaningful work. Everyone, that is, except us. And our vision for working at home begins to flag… What we need is a biblical perspective. For in God’s economy, homemaking is a high and noble calling. By “working at home” we can present the gospel as attractive to unbelievers. Our homes can actually be a showcase for the gospel.” As for me, rather than feel sorry for myself that I am not working as a child life specialist, I choose to own and be proud of being a homemaker. My prayer through this season of life is that I would constantly point to Him. My prayer is that I am able to create a home where it is impossible to keep from thinking of God. My prayer is that Christ would be reflected in my life and my home. My circumstances may be different from yours, and I trust that the Lord has led you to be where you are for a purpose. Be where you are and allow God to move in your life. I have nothing against women and/or moms that work. In fact, if I was in control of my life, and thankfully I have surrendered my life to Christ, I would be working right now. This is simply a composition of my heart and my thoughts the last year and a half. It is an account of the faithfulness of Christ in my life.