Like most little girls, I was asked frequently what I wanted to be when I grew up. Because I grew up in a pretty sheltered environment (NOT a bad thing, by the way!) in south Alabama, most of the ladies I knew were either teachers, nurses, or secretaries. I always said I wanted to be a teacher and that was true, but what I REALLY wanted to be was a wife and mother. The Lord granted all of those desires and many others in His time. I graduated from college, taught for several years, went to graduate school, got married, and was blessed to be a stay-at-home mom until after my oldest graduated from our homeschool just a few months ago. (My youngest – twin girls – are high school seniors at home this year.) Ryan, my first husband (and the biological father of my three children,) suffered from chronic illnesses for most of our marriage and passed away 20 days before our 10th wedding anniversary. I was devastated, but the Lord had prepared me and my faith was strong. Our young children took their cues from our faith and survived the loss of their daddy, too.
Always faithful, the Lord brought a wonderful, godly man named John into my life shortly after Ryan’s death; he had lost his wife the previous year after years of medical problems and that was only the beginning of many important things we had in common. We married quickly and he stepped into the role of Dad easily. There was no “You’re not my real Dad” junk and the only opposition to his presence in our lives came from those whose concerns were selfish and uninformed. Just a few months after we married, we moved several hundred miles away to North Carolina for John to attend seminary in preparation to fulfill God’s call on his life as a pastor-teacher. Our family loved seminary life, learned a lot through the victories as well as the struggles, and made some dear friends for life. John pastored during the latter part of his seminary days, graduated with an M.Div. in Biblical Languages, and after graduation, we moved to Florida where he pastored full-time. After a few years, the Lord moved us to Kentucky for John to do Ph.D. studies (we thought!) and a few churches, medical difficulties, and moves later, we spent a year in Indiana where he pastored in an attempt to prove he was healthy enough to do so. While we were there, his health declined to the point that he was no longer capable of vocational ministry (or, for that matter, employment of any kind) and we returned to our beloved Kentucky where he immediately filed for disability benefits.
That was a year ago this month and he has still not been approved for those benefits, though he is absolutely and unquestionably disabled. We are frustrated about that, but never surprised that the Lord is faithful and provides exactly what we need when we need it. When we moved back, I immediately began looking for employment, but I will admit my heart was not in it at all. I resented the why and how of our move, I had absolutely no desire to be anywhere but home, and I was angry with God for allowing this to happen. I mean, come on! We were working for the Lord! We know He has the power to just heal my husband, or provide for us financially without me having to go to work, or send us the perfect way to make money without having to leave home. I found a couple of part-time things to help us survive, but it was not until June that I found a position. It was the first time in 19 years that I had worked full-time and it was a tough transition in every.single.way. Standing for 8 hours at a time, not having dinner with my family every night, learning skills in an industry I had never been a part of, working where I did not know a single soul before I started, and coordinating transportation for my job plus the jobs of all three teenagers – those were just the tip of the iceberg.
It has been two months now and I must admit – AGAIN! – that nothing happens by accident. The Lord’s plan and timing are perfect. I am still not totally comfortable with every detail of our new normal, but I LOVE my job, the people I work with, and what I do. I’m good at (some of) it and I feel very sure that this is where I belong. Much like Esther, I believe that I was born “for such a time as this.” I’ll share more details about my new job later, but suffice it to say that I am OK with not being “just a homemaker” for now. This season of my life has brought more surprises than any other. I wouldn’t have chosen any of this – having a career, not spending every moment with my family, having a sick husband (again!), learning a new job – but I am so thankful that the Lord knows better than me. He guides my steps even when I fight Him. Why can’t I learn and remember once and for all that His way is always best?!