When I found out I was expecting my first baby in the fall of 2007, I quickly began dreaming of quitting my teaching job and staying home with my baby.
My own mother had left the workforce when I was a toddler, and I don’t remember a time when she wasn’t a stay-at-home mom to my siblings and me. I aspired the same for my children.
But my motherhood journey began in 2008 — when our nation was in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. When our daughter was just six weeks old, I had no choice but to return to work full-time.
My dreams shattered. I felt like I couldn’t have the one thing I really wanted in life.
I’ll never forget leaving my newborn sitting in her swing the first morning I went back to work. Sound asleep after falling into a nursing coma, she was blissfully unaware that this would be the first time we would be separated since God began weaving her together in my womb.
After returning to work, I knew I had two choices:
- I could wallow in self-pity for “missing out” on my dream of being home with my daughter during her infancy.
- Or, I could trust God with His plan for my life and look for ways to draw closer to Him even when my life wasn’t going the way I had envisioned.
I chose the latter.
When I look back at that time, I think about all God taught me — and how He provided for my family.
He provided a wonderful caretaker for my daughter — one of our pastor’s wives. Her granddaughter was born the same day as our little girl, but she lived several states away. Taking care of our child met a need in this woman’s heart while simultaneously meeting our need for excellent childcare.
He provided Christian co-workers who prayed with me, encouraged me, and loved me through the huge learning curve of becoming a first-time mom.
He provided a season where I learned to trust in His provision and plan for my life.
Proverbs 16:9 says:
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Before having children, I had visualized my life as a June Cleaver homemaker and full-time stay-at-home mom. But God directed our family to a different path. When our daughter was 13 months old, my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home with her. My dreams were finally coming true, but it was not without sacrifice. It was a season rife with financial frustration. I learned to cook from scratch. We cut cable. We stopped eating out. And I made it my mission to spend as little money as possible. Still, we never seemed to make ends meet.
Over the course of the next four years, we added two more children to our family. Many months, I stared at a bare refrigerator and near-empty pantry at the end of each pay cycle as we awaited my husband’s check. It was during that time that God taught us His faithfulness in providing exactly what we need when we need it.
When I still had toddlers underfoot, He led me to pick up the skills I had acquired in college and the workforce to begin making an income from home.
Our daughter turns ten in a few weeks, and I continue to stay home with our now four children — as a full-time work-at-home mom. Being able to write from home has allowed me to cultivate God’s gifts for my life while also achieving the dream of staying home with my children.
I can confidently trust that God’s plans have prevailed and that He ordained this path for my life long before I ever became a mother.
Psalm 139:16b says:
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
What certainty and freedom it brings to our lives to know that God’s plan are perfect!
Written for FaithGateway by Erin Odom, author of You Can Stay Home with Your Kids, copyright Erin Odom.
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Have you ever felt like you can’t have that one thing you really want? Have you felt your dreams slipping through your fingers? I have. It can lead us to wonder Where are You, God? Do You see me? God is our great Provider and the Great Planner of our lives! He sees you. He sees your need. He sees your heart’s desires. Let’s keep our hearts focused on what He has planned for our lives. Come share your thoughts on seeing God’s plans for your life realized — even when it was much different than what you had envisioned.