Holding Out

There was a time in my life that I wanted to be a nurse. I went through three semesters of classes and prerequisites, got my CNA license and starting working as a nursing assistant before I decided otherwise. There are a lot of things that changed my mind. The truth is that I can’t really see myself doing anything other than nursing, but it isn’t what I want anymore. I’m not lazy. I LOVE school. If someone would just pay me to go to school for the rest of my life, I’d do it!

But that isn’t going to happen obviously.

  I’m not going to waste my time and money going to school for something if I’m not certain of what I want to do. So here I am. 25 years old, working a low-paying job, barely making ends meet. I live with my best friend’s parents because I wouldn’t be able to afford an apartment even if I had a roommate. Or several roommates. I try not to stress about it, but it’s hard not to.

I know people look at me and wonder what I’m going to do with my life. Can’t live in the basement forever! Even my friends go through the list of career suggestions with me every so often. When I tell people what my heart’s desire is, when I tell them my life’s goal they don’t know how to take it.

When I say that I just want to be a housewife and stay at home mom they always react one of two ways:
1.Laugh. This reaction somehow always catches me off guard. I don’t know what is so funny about me staying home and raising children. Unless they are imagining me in a sit-com like The Brady Bunch or Everybody Loves Raymond. That might be funny.
2. Smile awkwardly and nod hesitantly. Which I take as nonverbal communication for “You poor thing”.

People argue with me about this goal, saying that I will get bored with staying at home and that I will hate it after a while. Others grieve over my “wasted” intelligence that I am apparently obligated to apply to a more worthy cause than loving and serving a husband faithfully and training and equipping the next generation.
I am sick and tired of the raised-eyebrow skeptics who scoff at my choice of “dream job”. I know there are flaws in my plan. For example (and probably the biggest issue currently), I am unmarried. Not only that, I am not in a relationship at all. Haven’t even been on a date in over 3 years. Kind of hard to be a stay at home without a husband! I am terribly picky, because I know EXACTLY what I want in a husband. And I will not settle for less than that. I understand compromise, but there are things that I am not willing to compromise on.

  I ask myself all the same questions that other people ask:
What if I don’t find this elusive man who I wish to marry?
What if I do and he doesn’t make enough money for me to not work? What will I do then?
What if after a few years of marriage, he dies in an accident? How will I support myself and/or our children?
Don’t I want to be able to live independently?

I HATE trying to live up to other people’s expectations of how life is supposed to work. What business is it of their’s what I do? Do I know that I have the potential to be great at many things if I were to go back to school? Yes. I could get a degree, work my way up in a company and make $100,000 dollars a year. I could live a life of luxury in the suburbs with my husband and two kids and our dog. I could work long hours, pay babysitters and daycare to raise my children, give generously to church, missions, and charities. I could enroll my kids in the best schools, the best sports programs and music lessons of all kinds. I could take amazing vacations to New York, Paris and Disney World.

Or I could live a quiet, simple life working a nursing job in some hospital. My children would have everything they needed and most of what they wanted. I’d have a decent house, a nice car, money to spare. I’d take a vacation here and there, be as involved as I could be as a working mom in my children’s lives and only see my husband when our schedules didn’t clash.

But I don’t want any of that.
The thought of those lifestyles makes me physically ill. I am willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to be there to raise my children myself. I don’t want the American Dream. I don’t want my children growing up thinking that they are entitled to anything. I’d rather raise my children in Africa, relying on God for anything and everything. I’d rather live the simplest of lives, without the distractions of cable TV and smart phones. I’d give up pretty much anything. Because the important thing is to live life for God’s glory and to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. 

I was blessed enough to have a mother who was able to stay home with my sister and me for much of our childhood.  The things that I learned from her are invaluable. She taught me how to read, tie my shoes and cook macaroni and cheese. She tucked me in every night and made me toast (with the crust cut off!) every morning. She taught me how to manage money wisely, stretching every penny when we had very little. She taught me that buying things at the thrift store isn’t shameful or gross, it is smart. She taught me that food on the table is a blessing and if I didn’t eat it, I wasn’t eating anything else. We ate dinner at the table, not in front of the  television. We spent time playing card games together as a family instead of playing games on an iPad. My mom prayed with me and for me daily. She spent time in God’s word and lived as an awesome example to me and my sister, and she still does.
We may have never had the coolest clothes or the newest toys, but we had the best mom in the world. She sacrificed everything for us so that we would always have what we needed. If my children have even half the love and fond memories of me that I have for my mother,  then I will count my life more than worthwhile.

So what do I want to do with my life? I want to be a mom. Money means nothing to me. Status means even less. I am so thankful to have had the upbringing that I did. I don’t have a sense of entitlement, because I was taught to appreciate what I have. I learned to cherish people and memories rather than things. That is life I want for my children.

There are too many kids in this world growing up with absent parents. Children who come from single parent homes or whose parent’s both work full-time. These kids are raised by whoever is left to watch them…Grandparents, daycare workers, babysitters and friends. There is a lack of consistency and no real sense of PARENTHOOD. I believe that the main reason that this world is deteriorating so quickly is because of a lack of leadership and role modeling in the home.

Now I understand that it isn’t always possible for moms to stay home with their kids. I also realize that not every child raised by his grandparents grows up to be a serial killer. In fact, many of these kids rise above circumstance and grow up to become amazing people! What I am saying though, is that I want the opportunity to be one of the main influences in my children’s lives. I want to instill in them the same values that my parents planted in my heart. I want to play with them, pray with them and see them come to know and love Jesus. I feel as though that is my responsibility and calling.
I want to watch my kids go out into the world and make a difference. Because every life that they touch, I will have had a part in. I see nothing more worthy of my life’s dedication than staying at home changing diapers, sweeping floors, cooking and doing laundry. The rest of the world can turn their noses up if they’d like.

Yes, I’m still waiting for that husband to make that life possible, but I’m trying to keep my head up while I wait.
So keep your comments and your advice to yourself please.
No, I’m not living the typical American lifestyle. I’m not working toward some lofty career goal. I don’t have a five-year plan. I barely have a five-day plan.
So what?!
I know what God’s call is for my life. And I’m holding out for His best.

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One thought on “Holding Out

  1. Amber, I am so blessed to know your amazing parents. I absolutely know where you are coming from. Chaplain Harris once said at Chapel that being a mom and raising your children is the most important job you will ever have. I pray that you have that awesome experience. You are such a breath of fresh air. Love you!

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