You know those girls who were excited about being homemakers? The ones who always knew they wanted to be wives and mothers? Yep, I knew them too, but I was definitely not one of them!
Oh, I love it now, but I didn’t always love my life at home. As a newlywed, my #1 mission was not taking care of my new husband or my home. It was finding an important career. I loved my husband and loved being married, but that was really secondary to my primary goal – establishing a career.
(Now, before all the work-outside-the-home women throw rotten tomatoes at me, I want to be clear – this post is not a criticism of career women in any way! This isn’t a discourse on whether women should stay at home or work outside the home. This is simply my own personal story of disobedience, of not following God’s priorities as described in his Word, and of putting my will before His will for my life.)
“but the Lord determines our steps.”
Have you ever heard the verse, “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9)? That is the story of my adult life! In 2008, during my junior year of college, I discovered a field of study called library & information science and fell in love with it. In a whirlwind of research and exploration, I made plans to attend grad school after college. Right before my senior year of college, however, I fell in love again. With a wonderful man named Levon. After a quick courtship, we got engaged, and a month after my college graduation I was a wife!
While meeting and marrying Levon was a pleasant surprise, I wasn’t going to let it interfere with my goals. I followed through with my plans to attend graduate school, and two years later I had a Master’s degree in my pocket and big dreams in my heart. However, things didn’t go quite how I had planned. Jobs were not exactly abundant in our small community, especially library jobs. And I was in the catch-22 position of having too much education for some jobs, and not enough job experience for others. Or the geography wasn’t right. Or I didn’t have quite the right certification. Doors kept closing every direction I turned. As the months rolled by, I grew resentful. Resentful to God for not bringing what I was sure was the thing that would bring me true fulfillment, and resentful to my husband for tying me down to a location where I had very few job opportunities in my dream field. Neither of these were justified, nor were they honoring, but they were my feelings, nonetheless.
The Search for Contentment
In the meantime, I was very unhappy being a stay at home wife. Because it was not what I wanted to be doing or planned to do with my life, I basically just pouted. I was depressed and miserable, and I retreated into activities like reading chick lit and watching tv in a desperate search for happiness. My entire identity for years had been wrapped up in working towards professional goals, and I didn’t know who or what I was without it.
After about a year of this childish behavior, I think God had had enough of my pity party, because he put two books in my hands that were exactly what I needed. Those books were Resolution for Women, by Priscilla Shirer, and A Woman After God’s Own Heart, by Elizabeth George. As I read these books, it was as if someone took me by the shoulders and shook me until I came to my senses!
I came to a few conclusions over the next few months. First, regardless of how I felt about the season I was in, I could either throw months of my life away feeling sorry for myself, or I could choose to be content and satisfied while I waited. Second, God would probably not give me greater things to do until I started honoring Him in my current responsibilities. Third, God had blessed me with a wonderful husband, and I should have been thanking Him every day for all He had given me.
Finally, as I studied what God’s Word had to say about being a wife and homemaker, I began to see the beauty of my role in the home. It’s not a burden, an interruption, or a hindrance to grander plans. It is a noble and special responsibility that God uniquely designed me to fulfill. I began to take pleasure in taking care of our home and my husband, and a new joy filled my spirit, my marriage, and my life.
Where I Am Now
Currently, I work part-time outside the home managing a Christian bookstore, and I love my job. I don’t regret getting my Master’s degree, and I haven’t let go of the dream of one day having a career. But things are different now. Now my priorities are in line with God’s. My husband comes first and my son is a close second behind him, and any job I may have has to take a backseat to them. Proverbs 14:1 says, “A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.” I want to be a woman who builds her home, not tears it down. Whether I work outside the home or stay at home full-time, I resolve to make that my mission and love doing it!