This blog (Women Behind the Scenes) has been inspiring, not only to me, but also to dozens (hundreds even?) of ladies across the world. Every few weeks, this leaves me struggling to write something transparent, uplifting, and useful, but those self-inflicted guidelines also leave me feeling defeated with severe writers block!
A few weeks ago, though, a thought struck me, and I knew that I had something GREAT to offer Women Behind the Scenes. Being a predominantly “full-time ministry lady”-influenced blog (Pastor/Missionary wife authors), it dawned on me that I have something that most of them DON’T have, and I’m super excited about my opportunity to share this thought.
When I became pregnant with my beautiful miracle baby, Natalie, in 2010, my husband and I had just returned home from living in Peru and were living with family until we both found jobs and established life in the states again. It was, lets just say, “Not the best timing” financially speaking to add a baby to the mix, but we had tried for years to have a baby, and God answered our prayers. We were NOTHING short of overjoyed!
There was never a conversation where the decision was made for me to continue working my job at the hospital or to stay home because we both knew that in our family situation, we both had to work. I was okay with that UNTIL…
Until the day that I headed back to work after my maternity leave, it didn’t register that I DIDN’T WANT TO DO THIS!!!! I felt SO guilty for leaving my little 6 week old bundle of joy behind and cried the entire way to work. I felt like I couldn’t be happy or have fun at work because that would mean I didn’t want to be at home with her. When I came home, I struggled to keep up with the things I once did with ease; I felt like a terrible mom and wife.
I saw several of my other mommy friends staying home with their children, pouring themselves into fun crafts, teaching them, and going to cool activities. I began to compare myself to them in the worst of ways. I felt sub-par compared to them like I was taking away from my child and husband by working. There were days that I even became annoyed and would say things like “Well, if I could stay at home with Natalie, she would already be doing _______ too!!” or “My house would look that amazing all the time, too, if I didn’t have to go to work” (Just being honest!)
But in all actuality, that wasn’t true at all. My daughter is on point (or advanced) in all skill sets, she has great manners (most of the time), and is the most joy-filled little girl I’ve ever known. She has not been hindered or neglected for a single second because I work outside of the home, and has probably even had MORE opportunities for learning, growing and being loved than a lot of other kids do.
I am neither a bad mom because I work outside of the home nor a bad Christian because I don’t serve in “Full-Time Ministry.”
What does that even mean anyways??? Aren’t we ALL “FULL-TIME”??? My ministry is different but no less significant.
We all know and strive to be like the Proverbs 31 woman, so why then is there a negative view sometimes of “Working outside of the home?” She worked HARD for her family. She provided and they called her blessed. She made sacrifices and was treasured. She saw the needs of those around her and fulfilled them with high honor…
Vs 28) Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
I know that I have fallen into the trap of striving to be the “Pinterest 31 Woman” instead of the “Proverbs 31 Woman”…I’ve looked at those other people’s lives until I am utterly disgusted with myself because I cant measure up to “Her.” I fail to focus on who the REAL amazing woman is, the one that God outlined so beautifully in His word. SHE is the one I want to be like. SHE is the one I should look to for inspiration because God knew that as women, we have a purpose to fulfill, and that purpose can be carried out in a multitude of ways. He gave us this godly lady to influence and encourage us to be the ladies that He designed for us to be. That design may be a pastor’s wife or simply a nursery worker who happens to work a 40 hour office job during the week.
Ladies, let’s take the time to be thankful for the opportunities that we have and remember that we are no more or less useful in the hands of our God and no more or less great mothers or wives based on our “job.” Maybe we can view our situations as great gifts to be lights in our workplaces (at home, on a mission-field, or in an office) that others may not have the ability to reach.