Keeping my eyes open to glimpses of God

Monday, February 16, 2015

One Year

My Work Buddy
It’s amazing what God can do in a year. One year ago, I was pregnant, and I was getting a bit anxious—something I rarely experience—and I wasn’t sure how to handle my anxiety.

The first weekend of February last year, I headed out with a few girlfriends to Nashville, Indiana, to get away for the weekend and watch the live stream of the IF: Gathering. It was snowy and cold, and we huddled under blankets in our small suite to watch the speakers and answer questions about what God was teaching us.

Something had been nagging at me all week, and until I was still in that place, open to what God was telling me, I couldn't put my finger on it.

I knew my daughter would arrive in the next few months, and I had already put in for three full months of maternity leave. I was thankful that my brand-new supervisor seemed okay with my decision, and I was looking forward to being fully present with my daughter for three months after her birth, soaking up every moment before I headed back to work full-time.

Even before I was pregnant, I knew I’d want to head back to work five days a week. It was a no-brainer for me. I love my job. I love that I get to minister to church leaders through my work. I love that my work makes a difference. I love that I can use my God-given gifts in ways that build others up and help them carry out their calling more efficiently.

But a few weeks before my weekend getaway, a dash of doubt had crept in. What if I feel differently when my daughter is born? What if I want to stay home with her all time once I actually meet her? What if there are complications and I need to stay home with her? What if working every day is just too much?

To make matters worse, the week of the IF: Gathering, I’d had lunch with a friend, and she’d made a statement that was still ringing in my ears. When she heard that I wanted to head back to work full-time after Lucy was born, she looked me in the eyes and matter-of-factly said, “Oh. I see. Your identity is wrapped up in your job.”

It took me by surprise, and it rattled me. I didn’t think my identity was wrapped up in my work. Rather, I saw my work as a ministry opportunity that God had given me that fit my identity better than I could have imagined. It’s not that I wouldn’t know who I was without the job—it’s that I knew God had called me to this job because of who I am, who he has made me to be.

I guess I hadn’t processed it very well because that weekend the floodgates opened up. Through hormonal sobs, I wondered aloud if I was making the right choice. I begged God to show me whether I was choosing to work out of pride. I listened to the speakers with an ear toward hearing from God—especially related to my job.

The girls encouraged me to follow God’s leading—even if others didn’t understand or would choose differently for themselves. At the end of the day, I answered to God alone. They reminded me that I would know what was right for me once Lucy was here.

One year later, we headed down to Nashville, Indiana, again to watch the IF: Gathering. But this year, everything was different. The week we left, I worked on several work projects that I was really excited about. I left work feeling energized even though I pulled a few long days. I got two separate e-mails from readers who encouraged me saying, “I so appreciate this newsletter,” and “I cannot think of a more important topic to cover.” And at our weekly team meeting, we learned we’d met our goals for January.

On the four-hour drive to our rented cabin, I reflected on my week, and I felt pure joy. I am doing what I’m meant to do, I thought. God is using me. What a blessing!

I think his timing was especially perfect that week. I was encouraged and energized in my work, and I was convinced that I was doing what God wanted me to do. This was God’s grace to me.  It was as if he were saying, “I told you that you were supposed to do this. I’m not done with you here yet.”

Oh the difference a year makes!

Working full-time isn’t the best choice for all parents. I consider it a privilege that I have the option at all. I consider it a privilege that we have the resources to pay for childcare and a flexible schedule that allows me to work from home a few days a week and spend time with Lucy. And I understand better now the sacrifices that so many have to make in order to work and parent.

I also have a stronger faith, a firmer calling, and a deeper trust in God’s timing. And as I lean on God each day, I’m given grace for the challenging times. I hold my job loosely. Who knows? My company could go in a different direction. I could feel called to be at home more. I might need to work on something else. But in the present, I’m where I’m supposed to be, and I will lean into that calling.

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