Life is full of choices. Sometimes we want to blame others for the situations we are in, but often, they're simply a result of choices we've made. Of course there are the obvious times when we screw up and have to deal with the consequences. You hurt someone = lost relationship. You spend to much money = too much debt. You stay up late = you're tired the next day, can't think clearly, and often end up making more bad choices that lead to even more consequences.
But sometimes, even the good choices we make can lead to consequences. We call it sacrifice. That's a nice word. We like to think of ourselves as sacrificing for the good of others...especially mothers. I've made many choices as a mother. With my first, I chose to work outside the home. I really felt I had no choice...I was single, no help from the dad...again stemming from a choice I made. But in all honesty, I did have a choice. I could have gone into the system, lived in subsidized housing and off the government, or my family. And to a point I did rely on those services. However, I chose to work and get through the rest of my college. I didn't have as much of a social life as my friends. My child spent a LOT of time with grandparents, which I'm grateful for. But it was hard to be away from him, and eventually, I quit an amazing job at Toyota because I just couldn't stand having other people raise my child. My choice.
I took a job at a social work agency. LOVED what I was doing. Felt like I was really helping people. And I still got off in time to spend quality time with my kiddo. But it wasn't all roses. Our income dropped drastically. Debt incurred. Stress developed. And frustration set in. I began looking for another job and landed a great position at a community college being a part-time instructor. The hours were better and so was the pay. And, I love teaching...still felt like I was helping people. My kid was in a good school. I had another baby. Life was good.
Funny how life events change our perspective. When she was three months old, we lost our second child. It was sudden and unexpected. And of course, had a profound effect on me. I realized how short life is and how precious our children are. I wanted to dedicate my life to them. God had given them to me as a gift. He had placed them in my care and I wanted to give them the very best of me.
When I was growing up, I always had notions of being a strong working mom. I watched my mom do it and had so much respect for her. My dream was to have a successful career. I had a real drive and ambition. I planned on going back to school, getting my MBA, and blowing the heck out of those glass ceilings! Never did I consider being a stay-at-home mom. Thought never even crossed my mind. Ever. That's why I know it had to come from God. He changed my heart. He turned it toward my family. Then He provided a way.
I wanted to bless my family with all of me. And my arms that had ached for another baby after our loss, now wanted to have a house FULL of them! God placed women in my life that had the same calling who taught me a lot. We began homeschooling. And I LOVED it. I had always loved teaching. There's a connection created between teacher and student when something is learned. That connection is magnified and so much more special when it's your own child. I don't profess that parents who don't homeschool are bad parents. I think it's a choice we make. And I thank God for allowing it to be an option for us. We revisit the decision often and if we're ever called away from it, then we'll follow God. Our oldest is now in school. I question this decision often, but am trusting God has a purpose and a plan for him. He's been able to reach out and invite MANY of his school friends to church. Perhaps that is why God has him there now. But I'm glad we were able to pour into him in the beginning so he could have a more solid foundation.
Or perhaps God was using our first child to prepare me for our third...who would seriously struggle in a traditional school setting. But none of that matters. We were prepared to meet his needs and continue on with our homeschooling, knowing that God is providing the best for him through a loving and non-threatening learning environment. A place he can learn his way and be encouraged, not judged and compared. Again, there may come a time when God has him in school, but until then, we feel strongly that this is what God wants for our family. So this is what we choose.
So what is the sacrifice? That corporate driven side of me has to be held in check a lot. It will rear it's ugly head and cry, "What about me? I can do that! I want to be involved in that!" I want to be successful in what I do. I admit it, I want to be respected and valued. Sometimes, people look at me and see only this stay-at home mom who's homeschooling her kids...weird. :) They don't know the side of me that has a degree and fought with the big dogs in corporate America. Or the fact that I've been in ministry for nearly 10 years. They see only what's in front of them...and often I fall into the trap of proving myself. Jeesh. Why? I don't have to do anything except what is pleasing to God. Why do I seek the approval of man? Why do I care if I'm overlooked or left out?
I've chosen this. Me. If I want the other...to run crazy hard after another great mission and vision...I have to let this one go. And I don't feel God is calling me away from this one just yet. One day. Yes. One day, the kids will be grown, or they'll all be in school. And then, I can run hard after something else. Until then, I have to give the rest a little less. Right now God has given me this as my priority and I'm choosing to follow and trust Him on it. He has given me a mighty mission in my family. An admirable one. I will not run away from it. I will not give up. I will not blame others for the decisions I've made. I will embrace this season of my life and be grateful for the choices God has given me. And the beautiful children he has blessed me with.