Saturday, January 15, 2011

Journey to Peace: What I Lost

This is a continuation of my story about my journey to peace as a working mom. If you missed the beginning, read parts one , two and three.

Because of my constant badgering and whining about working, my husband finally relented and reluctantly let me change my status from full time to part time, three eight-hour days per week. I thought that would solve my problem, but it didn't make either of us happier. I still thought I could make it work, though. I knew I needed to get a part time job, but I wanted to get one that would allow me more time with my kids. To be honest, though, I spent very little time looking for a second job.

I did have an interview at a supposedly Christian preschool, but my heart sank when I walked in the door and saw how dark and drab it was. I felt claustrophobic. Then during the interview I began to sense that perhaps the staff did not really have a heart for helping these children learn academically, or more importantly, instilling in them a love for the Lord. It seemed like it was just a job for them. Happily, my availability would not fit their schedule, so it was an easy no. I was discouraged and so was Abdoulaye.

Months passed before I had any other leads and tension between Abdoulaye and I began to mount. I had really blown it, insisting on cutting back to part time. It was not working out like I thought it would at all. I was at home with E and Abdoulaye was picking up lots of overtime and coworkers' shifts to make up for the income I was not bringing in. 

But God, who is always loving and merciful despite my disobedience, graciously gave me a job at a truly wonderful Christian preschool just down the road from my house. When I walked into Covenant Christian School for the interview, my heart nearly leapt right out of me. Everything was bright and cheerful. The director shared that she had been praying for someone who needed this job and who would bless their kids. Upon reading my application, she felt that the Lord had answered her prayer. As she told me about the school I knew I wanted to be a part of it. She was flexible, willing to work with my availability which was four afternoons per week. She even said I could start bringing E in January when he would be 27 months old, even though the normal age requirement was 36 months. I would have to leave three-month-old A with a babysitter those afternoons, as Abdoulaye was still picking up shifts, but at least I could have one of my children with me.

I met the other teachers the following week and was warmly welcomed. Like the director, they were gracious, godly women who had a heart to show the love of God to these children and their families.

I worked there for nearly one full school year, when after much prayer the board decided to close the school. I had to either find another job or return to full time at my primary job. My husband told me I needed to take the opportunity to return to full time, and this time I listened.

We lost a lot of income during that year especially when I had only one part time job but also while I was working at the preschool because the pay was not equivalent to what we would have received if I had remained full time at my first job.

The fact that we did not make as much money is not in itself a loss. The real loss was the loss of peace between my husband and I and the fact that we missed what would have been a fantastic opportunity to buy a house. That was in 2009, when the housing market had dropped so much. We could have purchased a house and by now have been settled and well on our way to paying off our home. As it was not only did we not have enough savings, but we couldn't even qualify for loan because of my reduced income.

Again, God is merciful in spite of my stubborn disobedience and for five months now we've been living in our home and are paying for it little by little. I can't help but wonder, though, how blessed we might have been if I had obeyed the Lord's Word and submitted to my husband's wise leading.

Recently we have experienced a phenomenal transformation in our marriage, but I regret that I lost three years of living and working with my husband as a close and dedicated team, just because I held so tightly to my dream of staying at home and because I impatiently tried in my own selfish way to make that happen. God got a hold of my heart this past summer and when he did I wept for what I had lost. Read about that in my next Journey to Peace installment.

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