I want to say this, before I forget…before it slips into mist and memory…
It wasn’t the job. It was me. And I would never call into question or judge a mother who pursues employment. That is not what is at issue for me here, at this way station in seasons.
I’ve whispered of it here and there, but we’ve faced a mighty battle with debt- particularly student loans. It was precipitated by two years of unemployment. All in all, our nightmare has lasted just about three and a half years. It began not four weeks after losing our fifth child to miscarriage. I have known the darkness, the inky black night, the shadowy whispers of pain that blind.
But He promised us that He was mighty to save. And He has. And He will. Yet- somewhere in the middle, I kept company with Sarai and Hagar, Abram and Ishmael. I lost confidence in my Lord’s will, and I thought I could fix things. And so, as Sarai sent Hagar to Abram, I sent ‘a promising email’ to my husband, a job, a work from home position. My beloved had reservations. Many. And I, in my desperation, shoved past the red flags of wisdom crying out for attention. This is not to say that some sort of employment was ahead for me, or that He had provisions waiting for us if we had trusted His timing…but I can tell you even then, we knew this job was not the wisest course of action for our family. I ignored it.
I would spend the next year and a half trying to find a balance that could not be found. I lost perspective, lost purpose- I would care for our family from dawn until dusk, and then would work from dusk near to dawn again, each precious hour of sleep and clarity slipping into the darkness, never to be retrieved. Chronic exhaustion takes its toll; depression soon became my constant handmaiden and companion.
I cannot emphasize this enough, dear friends. I don’t care what vocation you pursue, but if you sacrifice the rest our wise and gracious God has ordained for us, something is not as it should be. If it’s a constant, instead of an occasional, occurrence, check your heart-call. I have serious doubts that the Lord would call you to a task that includes such a thing. His yoke is easy. His burden is light. In Christ’s ministry, there was always a balance between rest and action. Always. If things are ridiculously hard, if you’re making decisions that are totally contrary to your heart, maybe the Lord is creating the friction to call you back to His purpose.
I speak from my life. I should have heard Him clearly when I fell so ill last year. It’s almost laughably obvious. I fell so ill quite simply because my body could not run on fumes—and yet—I would go on to work for the company for another year. A year. And I could not understand why I could not heal, why I could not get well. But I wouldn’t stop. For another year. I have paid the price. I will probably never be as healthy as I was before I began this job, unless the Lord sees fit to restore what the locusts have eaten. I will spend the rest of my life caring for my body because I nearly destroyed it in desperation.
Oh, that I were not so stubborn! The Lord needed a two by four to smack me across the back of the head, and so, late at night on a family outing to a local Christmas light show, I missed the (rather obvious) hitch point protruding from the back of my fifteen passenger van, tripped…and shattered my wrist. My right wrist, my dominant hand. I could no longer work in any capacity- I could not type. I could barely dress myself, comb my hair. And then—I finally heard Him. I submitted my resignation within days. I will always see my deformed wrist now, and think of Jacob and the angel of the Lord and Jacob’s thigh… I will bear the mark of stubbornness the rest of my days.
I beg you, dear friends, to trust in the Lord and lean on His understanding, and acknowledge Him in all your ways. Don’t ever get to the point of desperation that you feel that you must trade your heart and body. Debt is awful, but it is never worth that. It’s never worth running ahead of God. But- if you have found yourself right-tangled, as I have, know that He is might to save, and He will not forsake you. Confess, repent, and trust. The storm will still rage, perhaps even for a long time- but He will be with you.
Here I stack these stones, mark an Ebenezer. May the Lord in His grace lead me away from this place of sorrow.