Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
The thought of me staying at home next school year slipped to the back of our minds. As much as I would love to stay at home next year, we really can't afford it. Staying at home became a serious consideration, but it would most likely happen after one more year of me working. So we proceeded to find Scripture to support what we wanted to do.We only wanted it if God wanted it and if He didn't want it, the Holy Spirit would reveal that through the Word. Simple. Our prayer became, "Lord, if you don't want this in the future then please change our hearts." Again...already assuming it's not what God wants.
We began to really read to see what the Bible says about the role of a mother in a Christian home. Here are some things I read (mostly Scripture) that God used to reveal His plan for us.
"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled."
Titus 2: 3-5 (other versions say "busy at home")
"So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander."
1 Timothy 5:14
"Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children."
"You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth."
Deuteronomy 11: 18-21
"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."
Proverbs 31: 26
So we read and meditated on these verses and absolutely knew that God wanted me at home raising Lily. But, there was still no urgency. We still had a "when we have the money" mentality. My husband is a HARD worker and gives 110% to everything he does. He is devoted and committed to his work, but his job doesn't provide the income we need to live. We compared his income to what we need to survive (bare bones people...bills, groceries, gas...nothing else) and the budget doesn't allow me to quit working. So we decided on one more year of me working and pinching every penny...THEN I would stay at home.
And I read this article. Cried. And was overcome with so much conviction and urgency that I can't wait another year.
My biggest question has been, "If I quit working, how will I serve the Lord, where will my mission field be?" I love my students and enjoy the privilege of talking to them about Christ everyday. You wouldn't believe some of the discussions we have. God is working in the hearts of those children and it is such a joy to be a part of it.
But my ministry is at home. I will serve the Lord at home. My mission field is at home. My first and most important ministry is my husband and my daughter.
I serve the Lord in my home by cooking, cleaning, laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping, etc. all of which I LOVE to do. However, they become chores and bring no joy because I am doing them in the late afternoon while I am also trying to spend quality time with Lily who has been at daycare all day. Afternoons/Nights are stressful and full of guilt because a thousand things need to be done at the same Lily needs her parents to spend quality time with her. Lily needs my full attention. Not my left over attention.
My home is my mission field by praying for and encouraging Brent, teaching Lily to fear the Lord, and creating an environment where the Lord and His work are always welcome. My prayer for Lily everyday is that she would be part of the generation that truly seeks the Lord; that she would not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of her mind so she can test and approve God's pleasing and perfect will; and that she would only seek and desire the approval of the Lord.
I also read the parable of the talents (Matthew 25: 14-30) and it became SO clear to me what the Lord wanted. The word "entrusted" is used in verse 14 and that word kept coming back to me. The man in the story entrusts his money to three other men. Two of them invest it and the third buries it in the ground and has nothing to show for it. Let me break it down for you: God entrusted Lily to Brent and me. We send her away everyday to daycare. We are not investing in Lily, someone else is. And let me say right here that I LOVE Lily's daycare and teachers. They are wonderful and Lily has tons of fun there! But, those teachers are not her parents. We are. And we should be the ones who do the raising. If you think about it, the only day Lily is not in the care of someone else is Saturday (daycare during the week, church on Wed. and Sun.) and that's just not cutting it. As Granny Rosie said to me, "If God didn't want you to take care of a baby, he wouldn't have given you a baby to take care of."
I was so convicted by the Holy Spirit. God gave Brent and Lily to me and I was neglecting my most important ministry. The only answer is yes...I am going to be a stay at home mom.
We went from praying God would change our hearts if he didn't want me to stay at home in the future to praying that it would hopefully be possible after one more year of teaching to seeing the urgency for me to stay at home next year.
Lily is only young once. Her preschool years are a God-given opportunity for me to teach her to fall in love with her Savior. No longer did it matter that our budget said no. We've already been to the wilderness and learned that we don't live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. We don't depend on the budget, we depend on the Lord. And. He. Never. Fails. Us.
Part 4 will be full of doubts...and the twist, if you are lucky :) And the bad part is (for you), I'm going out of town tonight until Friday for a work conference. I'll be praying that God gives you patience :)
P.S. If you are a working mom of preschoolers, what you are reading is how God has spoken to me. "Working at home" as Titus says means that God has called me to stay at home. However, that may look different in your life, depending on what God has called you to. I am an open book, I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I want the world to know when God is moving in my life. I want God to use me and this blog to change the lives of others and that isn't going to happen if I don't tell you what God is doing. I don't mean to offend or bring guilt on anyone. My prayer is that in some way you have been drawn closer to the Lord.