As we close our series on moms returning to work, I want to welcome a new friend with whom my connection transcends the amount of time I’ve known her. She is a specialist in the field of ultrasound and volunteers as the Director of Women’s Ministries at our church and I have just been in awe of how Sarah is created to minister to women. This woman loves Jesus, loves her family, and loves all around her with a heart that reflects God. Enjoy her wisdom and her story. Mom of four, she’s done this a few times.
On January 26, 2004 my oldest daughter was born and so began the greatest journey I would ever undertake. Twelve weeks, to the day, later, I returned to work. My advice, enjoy the ride…I regret not doing this more often.
I remember driving away that first morning with a lump in my throat that was so big I could hardly breathe. Although tired, I probably looked okay on the outside. But inside? I was a mess. I can remember feeding her before leaving that morning, kissing her little cheek and standing in her room watching her sleep. At that moment, I remember wondering how I was going to convince myself to walk away, feeling like I was the only mom to ever go back to work.
Gary Thomas wrote a chapter in his book Sacred Parenting that has stuck with me for a long time. This particular chapter is about the guilt we heave on ourselves as parents. Of those guilty parent moments, he commented, “But if I think I deal with guilt, I have to admit that I don’t come close to the world of guilt inhabited by working moms.” He’s right. I have found myself here more times than I can begin to count. There are endless moments, that we, as working moms, feel like we should be home and, conversely, moments we feel we should be at work. It’s a hamster wheel and I had no idea I could get off.
It is in the midst of this constant cycle, we realize we cannot succeed at this alone. God wants to carry this for us. He wants all of us, not just the mom part, or the working part, or the wife part–nor the tired and stressed out part. He wants the whole package. Joy and pain. We can take a step back and remember why we are doing what we are doing. Maybe it is because we are responsible for our mortgage payment, maybe it is because we have a passion in our field of work, maybe it is because we are a single mom, or maybe it is because we need a break.
No matter the reason, I believe if we take a step back and examine the ‘why,’ we will realize it is because we love our kids. We are doing what we do for them, the loves of our life.
And as we examine our day-to-day life knowing that truth, we may see our priorities clearly; we may be blessed by the time taken to see what God wants for our lives. When we allow God to hold the reins, we are guaranteed to be right where He wants us…work or not.
Finally, what I love most is that He speaks to us so clearly in the Bible, giving us permission to not know what to do or how to do it:
He asks us not to worry—Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
He tells us He will make us brave–Psalm 138:3
When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.
He tells us He will guard us in His care—Matthew 6:26
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
He tells us to offer our whole self to His purpose—Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for people.
Remember our kids are one of the greatest gifts entrusted to us by God and He chose us to be their mom.
He chose you.