I walked into my new office, sat at my desk, and sighed. There I was beginning a new position, a much anticipated and exciting season following my maternity leave. It was always such a thrilling way for me to bookend my pregnancy; to begin something new and more accommodating to our new schedule and little one. I clung to this happy sentiment tightly – but it wasn’t to be.
As days and weeks progressed, I was overcome with anxiety, frustration, and heartache. Though I was at work, my heart and mind were elsewhere with my daughter. This was a new feeling for me, an uncontrollable aspect of my life. You see, up until having my daughter, my life seemed to ebb and flow in accordance with my career goals and aspirations. In hindsight, I see that these career goals weighed far too heavily on how I valued myself. As these thoughts crept in and increased, I began to silently plot how I could change things or what I could do to make them better. Surely, not stay at home with my daughter.
Weeks turned into months, and frustration turned into anger. I was furious at myself that I felt the way I did and resentful towards my husband because he couldn’t read by mind (while I was resistant to being transparent with him). My emotions peaked one evening after a long, emotionally draining day. My words were careless, thoughtless, and filled with complete honesty. I wanted to be home with our daughter. The reality of these words seemed too farfetched for me to even imagine. How could our budgeting, two incomes, and “first-time parents” label cut more than half our income? Everyday my gut tightened at the thought of the many impossibilities. I prayed. I prayed tirelessly. I did every devotional I could find to help inspire and offer wisdom or comfort. I sought counsel from spiritual mentors I trusted. I re-figured budget after budget to see if it could somehow work this way or that.
Several months later my husband and I both felt we had done our best, decided on a budget that would work, and saved a little extra money. Finally my husband came to me one week and said the most comforting thing I have ever heard: “Beverly, there will never be a perfect time. I think we just need to rip off the band-aid. God will provide.”
He spoke this with such peace. I envied him and felt such complete solace at the same time. We both had peace that this was the right decision, and at some point we needed to step out in faith and trust in God to fulfill the desire He had placed in our hearts.
I feel like I am on the other side of the valley now, not that there aren’t questions of where and what God is calling us to, but my heart and approach to these questions have changed. Here are a few slices of both encouragement and insight that I have surmised as we continue through this new season:
Perspective, perspective, perspective. Amidst this season, it has been all about being intentional about putting on my “rose colored glasses” and recognizing that my thoughts will inevitably affect my behavior. I know that I must focus on what I can control, do my best, and then let the chips fall. This sounds simple enough, but trust me when I tell you: It is a lot easier said than done. Focusing on the positive aspects of life, the blessings, the overcoming of hurdles, these are helpful to focus on when walking through a difficult season. Your perception of a situation can change your thoughts and actions surrounding even the most trying of times.
Kinship with those in similar circumstances. When my husband and I first began discussing me staying home with our daughter, I racked my brain trying to think of women that I knew had made a similar transition. I was desperate for advice, but above all that, I think I was desperate for reassurance that my staying home was even possible. I asked these extremely kind and patient women for insight into grocery shopping on a tighter budget, thoughts on how difficult or easy it was to transition to one income, and self care. Their support and encouragement was a cornerstone to my sanity. I was thankful that God was allowing these knowledgeable women to speak truth and encouragement into our lives, and from that point on, I make it imperative to share whatever insight I have to someone going through a similar journey.
God’s timing is the best timing. Struggling with not getting what I want and not seeing the importance of waiting has never been a strong suit of mine. My selfish need to have what I want at exactly when I want it frequently overrides what I know God has deemed best and most impactful for my life. The story of Job comes to mind when I think about patience and timing. He went from wealthy, family man to suffering so much loss, and yet through it all, he remained faithful to God and believed that His plan was inevitably the best for him. In the end, God was able to bless him tremendously. If we believe He ordains our lives, can’t we trust in His timing as well despite how difficult or long that may seem?
Seeing blessings in the nothingness. Often times during this season, it has felt like I have almost been walking through a desert (a conflicting and empty desert it seems some days). I can recall on Sundays nights, just before heading to bed, knowing that in just a short amount of hours I would awake to a routine that seemed to be sucking the life out of me as well as keeping me from feeling like I was completely present when spending time with my daughter. I felt a lot of hopelessness during these moments, but make no mistake, there were blessings being presented along side my brokenness; blessings that were paving the way for so many positive things such as jobs, health insurance, a comfortable home, and a supportive family. When I began concentrating on the blessings that were already woven throughout my life, it softened the hardship. So I clung to the sweet sentiment that it is often during seasons of strife that God refines us and prepares us for wonderful blessings ahead, and I was and am already so blessed.
Learn to be content. Contentment. This was and is my family’s word for this year. We felt it was placed on our hearts back at the start of the year, partly to convict us and teach us how to be mindful of the here and the now. I have always felt there is a fullness that comes with cherishing and relishing each new day as it comes, whatever blessings or hardships come your way. It’s recognizing and humbly accepting that what you to have in your life is enough, and being thankful for your small provisions in the process is part of finding peace and happiness amidst hardship. To live a life of contentment, especially during a difficult season, is to live abundantly, which is what God ultimately calls us to do.
Whatever season of life you are walking through, whether an encouraging or difficult circumstance, God will equip and fulfill His calling on your life. This season of being at home has been a rocky one for me personally, yes, but perhaps that is not such a bad thing. I like to view this brief season of my life as almost a kind of challenging period of refinement. Remember, Satan does things to encourage distrust in God. My challenge to you is to be bold, pray intentionally and stay focused on the calling and dreams God has placed on your life.
And whatever season of life those dreams drive you through, stay fervent – knowing He is in control.