So many times I see moms and dads missing out on their young children’s lives by working crazy hours, doing jobs they hate to pay for bigger houses, bigger cars, vacations their toddlers won’t remember, among other things.
I struggle financially; I have since my husband decided that marriage was no longer an option for him.
But not just for him; he decided that for me and for my three children. The boys were very young, my daughter in high school struggling with mental health issues that continue to be present into adulthood.
When I got married and we had the boys, the plan was for me to stay home with them. That was the decision…we both had a say in it. We both wanted me to stay home and be present and be able to volunteer at the school and make sure there was always a parent around.
Of course I went to work full time after the divorce, and continued to work (often multiple jobs) throughout the separation and prior to cancer.
One of the things I have learned though is that working my butt off for things that don’t matter is much less important than being present for my kids.
After a comment made on my last blog entry, I took some time to really look at life. What do I truly think about being in this constant state of financial struggle? What am I willing to change? I wanted to share that here.
Being in a state of struggle is definitely a choice. It was not, is not and will never be an easy choice to make. I could very well work a 40 hour per week job where I make more than enough money.
If I worked that hard just for money, my children would not have a mother. I would come home from work at the end of the day and I would crash…how fair is that to them? They’ve already lost their family unit; should they be exposed to an overworked, exhausted mother as well?
In my opinion, no.
I barely scrape by, and I know it is a prevalent subject here; my intent with this blog is to share real life…raw and unfiltered. Poverty is a part of that life.
When I am true to myself, I am at my most happy. When I made the decision to follow God’s calling and be present for my children, it was not an easy decision to make.
I knew there would be struggles, I knew there would be backlash, I knew I would be judged. Let’s be honest, I’d be judged no matter what choice I made…so making the choice that I could live with and hold my head high through was the most important to me.
So I asked God.
Where do I belong?
What is my job?
What is my purpose?
Where do I go from here?
As we crawl back from the brink, my priorities have changed. There had been a slight shift through the divorce process; cancer merely solidified my resolve.
I trust God with my whole mind, body, soul. I listen for His direction when it comes to parenting decisions, employment choices, volunteering, finances…everything.
Rarely is living for Christ nothing but Skittles and rainbows. Truly, it’s tough.
And it’s worth it.
All I ever asked for when I was sick was to spend more time with my children. I am getting those days now. I would do it all again for the relationships we have built with each other and those few people we let into our small circle.
It would not only be a slap to the face of God, but to my kids to put them through the fight that was cancer only to work myself to death and have no relationship with them.
The sacrifices I make: Not being able to take trips home even though I want (need) them, asking others to help with purchasing school supplies and shoes when it’s just not in the budget. That’s what the church is for, to help each other live their life according to God’s calling.
I don’t expect handouts, I’m actually a very hard worker. I just know that all of this is God’s plan for me. To teach people how to prioritize and how to be present for real life instead of laying on their death bed wishing they had been more present.
If people feel called to help with new shoes, school supplies, sports fees, and other things so that I can live the life I’m led to; I am humbled. I am always blown away by the people who surround us and want great things for us. God is showing them that they are part of those great things.
If we never experienced bad, how would we know what was good?
These trials, the adversity, the poverty…they are teaching my children lessons in faith and love. They will never question if they were important to me. They will never wonder if they were good enough.
God calls me to be present for my children, and this is what it looks like for us.
As people are given access to my innermost thoughts and details of our situation, may You help them see Your great works at hand. Show them Your faithful and steadfast love.
I ask for help in staying the course. Patience, perseverance, and a positive attitude even on the days when I cannot make any sense of things.