I never expected I would be a working mom. I only wanted to care for my children and husband, work at home, and volunteer in church in ways I enjoyed and believed God could use me.
Several years ago, I was pulled away from being a stay-at-home mom and brought unintentionally into the workplace. The situation was not planned … my husband had underestimated the extent of his disability and had accepted a job with our church that he could not perform. Ben, a former college music teacher and orchestral musician, was now spinning his wheels to run our church’s Music Academy. I am naturally organized and gifted administratively, so it made sense for me to pick up the administrative portions of Ben’s job.
This arrangement worked well for us for a while. But then Ben’s seizures started interfering with his work.
After several hospitalizations, it became clear that Ben could no longer work anymore. I took on more roles in the church and school (my dual degrees in Music and English education and my administrative giftings served me well). I was working a full school day, administrating the Music program, teaching Choir and English, and I was blessed to be able to spend each day in the same school building as my children. My job was a mishmash of things I enjoyed and had been trained in. Despite the disjointed nature of my work, I poured myself into it. I suffered occasional burn-out, marveled at the unplanned ways I had become a mom with a full-time job, but daily thanked the Lord that I could work in the same school where my children attended. And through it all, I still believed God would one day heal Ben and I would no longer need to work full-time.
Then things changed. The doctors said there was nothing more they could do for Ben. The school decided they really needed someone who could teach band. I was “let go.” For the first time in my adult life, I had to find a full-time job to support my family of five in one of the most expensive counties in the country. I had no idea what I was qualified to do. I have an undergraduate degree in teaching music and a graduate degree in teaching English. But my teaching certificates were not current and I was burned out and had no desire to teach.
I found a job working as senior staff with an educational association. It seemed like a great fit. I enjoyed the work. But it required that I travel. A lot. And each time I traveled, Ben’s health grew worse. No matter how hard I tried to arrange our circumstances, Ben continued to have multiple seizures each time I would travel. I grew weary with all of the trying. Trying to arrange family life so that Ben’s health would be OK. Trying to do my best at work. Trying to trust the God who had provided this job for me, while allowing my family to suffer. It was clear I needed to find a new job with no travel so that my husband could heal.
So I had to find a new job. Again. With limited skills in a difficult economy and a now spotty work history.
God provided a new job for me in government contracting. I wasn’t really keen on accepting the position, but it seemed like God had provide this good job with a good salary to help my family heal.
The truth is, my family is finally thriving … and I am miserable. I vehemently dislike the industry where I am working. I have not made a single friend at my job. I have watched co-worker after co-worker leave due to the poor environment. I find myself wondering how I could have so grossly misunderstood God’s plan for my life. The truth is, my husband’s health is as stable as it’s been in years. My kids are thriving. Yet I am withering on the vine in a job that is far from home and seems to drain away all hope and good feelings I have.
How can I explain what it’s like, to be a working mother almost by accident. I have really fallen into each of my jobs as a means to an end. I have never had a chance to ask myself … what do I want to do? What would I enjoy? What kind of people do I want to work with? And who would hire someone like me, with such a spotty, unplanned work history? And where does God fit into all of this? Does he even care?
Would you please pray for me? I have finally realized that I will be the sole supporter of our family for the foreseeable future. I would love to be happy … even fulfilled in my work. But I feel so guilty for asking for this. And God seems so far off. So I covet your prayers.