MY BEST INVESTMENT!
As I watched my children playing outside recently, I was overcome with emotion and joyfully thanked God for them. I realize what a gift from God they are. I am blessed to know what motivates my four year old to move so slowly (patient perfectionism), to be able to understand my two-year-old's unique language and to be involved in teaching my six-year-old to read. I am blessed by her maturing and lovely personality, as she sits quietly beside me to read, or jumps up to help when my hands are busy.
I thank the Lord that I can watch the children playing with each other, lumbering through the snow in their bulky snow suits, following each other around the yard from one activity to the next, co-operating, sharing and helping each other. I am thankful that I don't have to leave my precious infant with someone else because, no matter how capable or reputable they may be, they are no match for their mother. My children truly are a blessing to me, not because they are perfect, but because God Himself promises that it is so and He doesn't lie.
I am the last person on earth you'd expect to be writing this article. Ten years ago I was fresh out of Veterinary College (yes, I spent nine years in University) and had every intention of specializing as a surgeon. I loved being a Veterinarian but my husband and I, both professionals, working long hours and making a comfortable living, faced a decision when it came time to have children (at that time we thought having children was a decision we made when it suited us.) Do we make the adjustments required to live on one income? Or do we use daycare and live more comfortably?
We decided to live on one income and trust God to provide everything we need. God graciously worked it out for my husband has the flexibility to stay at home on Fridays (the children's special 'Daddy day') and I am able to work at a near-by clinic during the seasons when there are no infants in the house. In this way I am able to maintain my skills but feel like a stay-at-home mom. I realize what a blessing this arrangement is, but do not hold it too tightly. I am ready to walk away from it altogether if it becomes too difficult to be a helpmeet to my husband, to home school or to manage our growing household.
When money is scarce (my husband is a self-employed physiotherapist, not always guaranteed an income and has no benefits) I draw comfort from Matthew 6:31-33 which says, "Therefore do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' (or how will we pay for the dentist?) "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
We have seen God provide over the years in marvelous ways. Truly, He has not only provided what we need, but abundantly more besides. Every year quality hand-me-downs mysteriously show up for each of the children. Our back yard has play equipment that would make any school child jealous (all purchased with gift money and at sale prices), and I have spent, without restriction, on the best quality curriculum for our home school.
There have been times when the temptation for me to work more has arisen. Many are incredulous that I don't work more. "You are wasting your education," they say. My answer to that is found in Matthew 6:19 where Jesus Himself gives this wise counsel, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." What has more eternal significance? Furthering my career and prospering financially to accumulate more 'stuff' and live more comfortably, or investing my best time and energy in my home.
It saddens me that many women are 'liberated' from their homes, believing the lie that they are missing out on something by choosing to stay home. Psalm 113 exposes this fallacy. This is a psalm of praise to our great God who "raises the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy out of the ash heap, that he may seat him with princes of His people." Along the same lines He "grants the barren woman a home like the joyful mother of children" (verses7-9)
Which of those needy ones mentioned would look longingly from the seat of princes to the ash heap and choose to go back? By implication, it is just as ridiculous for us moms to look outside our homes to seek God's best for our lives.
Oswald Chambers in "My Utmost for His Highest" writes,: "...if you are living the life of faith you will exercise your right to waive your rights, and let God choose for you." Yes, to be sure, children bring with them seasons of toil, self-sacrifice and even hardship, but which of these eternal souls would I give up now to gain more ease? And which would I turn away that God wants to give me in the future? None! I would gladly suffer again the discomfort of pregnancy, the pain of childbirth, the fatigue of nursing each infant and the persistent efforts involved in keeping house and keeping order! As I write this, my six-year-old daughter is singing "I have decided to follow Jesus" at the top of her lungs!
What a blessed occupation occupies my time! I thank God constantly for the privilege of spending every day with them!
Veterinarian by trade, stay-at-home mom by choice.
Collingwood, Ontario, Canada