“Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. 7 Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God. 8They have bowed down and fallen, but we have risen and stood upright.” Psalm 20:6-8 (NASB)
Have you ever wanted something so badly, so terribly much, that your focus became centered on the object of your attention? I can speak from personal experience of the potency and allure of “better” just beyond the present set of circumstances—or castle wall, if you will.
I had prayed for the Lord’s guidance regarding my own return to work–even though our kids are still quite young. I heard the Lord clearly as He gave me His approval to apply for and accept the job. Time to note, it was one of the dream jobs I had always wanted after finishing my undergrad of International Relations—one of influence, power and prestige. I was so excited to help join people together within that specific community and provide opportunities for shared joy and camaraderie. Yet, no sooner had I accepted the job, all began to unravel before my eyes.
In order to take the job, we had to hire a full-time, live-in nanny. In the country where we currently reside, this is extremely common. Yet, being from America, it was something that my husband and I were extremely cautious about. Being raised by another, outside of family, was neither a part of my husband’s nor I’s earliest years. Yet, as we both had a peace about moving forward, I began to see it as an opportunity to trust others.
Yet, a few weeks before I was to start my new position, our live-in nanny, stated that she would be unable to start in a few week’s time due to health issues. She had begun to struggle with heart issues as well as extreme back issues. She stated that her arms would go numb and that she was afraid of dropping our children. At hearing this, my eyes nearly fell out of my head. Of COURSE this was a deal breaker. No one is going to drop our children. We thanked this sweet lady and wished her well, as she stated that she was intending to take a job with a family with older children.
So, in order to stick to my word, we began to scramble for another nanny—who could start ASAP. The problem was, the kids were not scheduled to start nursery school until September. So, we only needed help from a nanny for five weeks. And, God provided. Another trusted nanny within this specific community came highly praised after years of work within the city and community. We welcomed her onboard. We prayed about it and thanked God for the opportunity to trust Him through difficulty. And with prayer backing our decisions, my career with the U.S. government began.
Leaving the kids in the morning for work, crying and calling for me was heart breaking. I was finally all dressed up again, high heels, long dangling earrings, designer clothes, etc. But, I hated the fact that it meant that I would be leaving my little ones—with nearly a complete stranger—until the afternoon. Again, this is common here—but it was not common for me.
As the weeks went by, my children never adjusted to the nanny. In fact, my daughter would hide under the table when the door bell would ring to announce her arrival in the morning. I told myself that this was all “normal” and “part of the process”. But, I would continually need to bring this back to the Lord. I was so conflicted. The job was proving much more involved than I could possibly complete within my part-time schedule. But, I had given my word—and God had opened the door for me to walk through. God was trustworthy (Psalm 19:7). I knew that He had a plan for this hardship. I knew that He loved our family even MORE than we did. We just kept praying.
“For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12 (NASB)
Then, after about a month into the job, my husband had to travel on business for an extended period. During this time, both of our toddlers became sick—prompting two separate doctor visits—and a week off of work. These illnesses were then met with two follow-on illnesses. The worst of our two toddler illnesses? SHINGLES. Yes, although incredibly rare, SHINGLES can indeed grab toddlers who have a compromised immune system (e.g. such as my sweet toddler who had just finished a week of being sick herself). So, I needed to ask for more time off. This coming after my husband needed to ask for an alteration to his work schedule one day in order to take our other toddler to the hospital to have him examined for potential R.S.V. Praise God that his lunges were clear! And as the reality of our situation became clear before me—I had to take it before the Lord.
“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” Romans 12:12 (NLT)
My husband and I again took this situation before the Lord. Within the past month of work, we had been able to see many milestones take place (e.g. I had learned to trust others with our children whom God gave us a peace about, I was able to work with a world leader and help to facilitate and plan events to unify a community, and my husband and I were able to spend some couples time together over lunch). Yet, all seemed to be “crashing down” on my dream job—the very one I had longed to have a number of years back while we lived in North Africa. Yet, the timing was not right. And now, within only a few weeks into the job—it seemed again, that this was not going to work out.
How could it? My children were sick and contagious. They needed their mommy. They were “cleared” to return to nursery school—but there was no way on this beautiful planet that I was willing to place my precious children back into nursery while they were in pain from illnesses. No way.
At that time, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had been able to look beyond my own castle wall of being a stay-at-home wife and mother and step boldly into the “prestigious life” of the powerful and elite of foreign affairs. Yet, when push came to shove, we did not have the needed pieces in place to withstand the challenges of “life” that came our way. And as the weeks passed, there was no way around the obvious; I would need to resign my post.
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6: 18-20 (NASB)
The fact that all of this had taken place at one time, was undeniably the Lord. It was as though I was allowed to see “what it would be like” to be away from my children—when I didn’t need to be. And, praise God, I did not have the backup resources needed to stay. I had been so determined to make this work—somehow. Yet, as each new illness continued to roll onto another, it became clear—I would not have been willing to leave my sick children with a nanny; even if I had had one full-time. God knew this about my heart.
The day after I resigned, I sat in the backyard as my children happily played in a cardboard castle that we had just built ourselves. As our beautiful daughter stood inside the stacked and taped, boxes, the reality of the Lord’s blessing impressioned my heart to a new degree.
As a mama, we are always on call. It is not about a paycheck—it is about instilling godly character into our young ones. It is not about growing our own professional empires—it is about growing the next generation to live boldly for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not about 401K contributions—it is about creating a living legacy that brings honor and glory to the name of Jesus Christ.
Thus, ladies, mamas, co-laborers in Jesus Christ, be encouraged! Regardless of whether you have chosen to work out of financial obligation or personal motives, know that your role as mama is still just as crucial as those who are staying home full-time. Our children NEED us. Praise God we were blessed with our babies. The Bible talks about children being a blessing.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” Psalm 127:3-4 (ESV)
As the reality of my chapter away from home came to a close, I had to thank God for allowing me to see, first hand, that distant castles and foreign lands, were not indeed better or more prestigious than the one have been given (beloved wife and blessed mama of two amazing toddlers who has been given the opportunity to stay home with our babies.). Despite what college, magazines, or even those around you may say, motherhood is indeed EXTREMELY important. Ladies, in all seriousness, you are being used by God to help mold the next generation of leaders. Some may be CEOs, others bankers, business owners, husbands, fathers, and even world leaders. The plan that God has for your little ones is not a mystery to the Lord (Jeremiah 29:11). May we pray faithfully for our little ones that have been entrusted to us and allow the Lord to speak to us—in our individual circumstances—to bring about His divine glory and eternal purpose.
Praise God that EACH and EVERY soul has eternal significance to the Lord! Jesus Christ Himself, while teaching in a synagogue in Capernaum, stated with boldness:
“35 “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again. 36 But as I told you, you’ve seen Me, and yet you do not believe. 37 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:35-40 (HCSB)
Ladies, regardless of your challenges in motherhood, regardless of the repetition of each day, take heart! Your “work” as a mother indeed has eternal significance. And it may be through your own modeling of Christ like behavior in everyday situations that help to lead your precious ones to the Lord at a young age. You were designed by God to be the mama of your children. Own it. Walk in it anew this very day.
“1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV)
May we be a generation of mamas to lift up the requests and unspoken needs of our children before the Lord. Why? Because our little ones are dear to the Lord and He alone is worthy of all our trust, adoration and praise!