Today has been another strange day for me. I am "supposed" to be working. Let me clarify. I'll start at the beginning since I'm so fond of typing and of general exposition!
I have always thought that I would work. I've never pictured myself or dreamed that I would stay home for any reason. After I got married, we "needed" my income but the tension started. My hours at the nursery were irradic and long during the growing season, particularly in spring. During my brief stint as a hairdresser, I worked weekends, naturally. Moving to Alaska did nothing to help these tensions that by this point, had become just a little more palpable. In fact, when we moved, Pat's income was greatly increased, and mine was greatly decreased which created an entirely new issue. I did eventually quit the hairdressing to commit entirely to the greenhouse, even if it was only a 6-month stint. This was a HUGE act of submission for me. Let me say this was not only a submission to my husband, but to where I felt God was leading. At this point, my mind was looking at the possibilities of my moving up in the greenhouse and solidifying my career there. Last year was such a hard year for me at work. I struggled so much with what I envisioned for myself with the tensions that were mounting in my marriage.
This spring, a good friend of mine simply suggested that I do what I need to do for my marriage as a first priority. This sounds so simple, and in effect it is. That was such a splash of cold water for my heart. Why was I so bound up in the work thing? I've thought it through and realized that I had a few issues. First, I was really not sure what people would say about me working part-time. We don't have children to keep me occupied, so what would I possibly do all day? I knew people would automatically think I was lazy and should do more to contribute to society. To my credit, I have had a couple interesting looks when I tell people I work part-time and have no kids! Is this really a good reason? Am I really more interested in what other people may think than what my husband feels? I take much better care of him when I have time to do so! I also take good care of our finances, if I do say so myself. I take better care of our home and dogs when I am home. I think these things are "givens" but aren't they important, too?
I have also realized that I had a bit of pride. I really took pride in my work and my position. Our society does not put as much of an emphasis on "stay-at-home wife!" In hearing my friend's advice, I realized I needed to put more value in my first job: Pat's wife. In feeding my work-pride, I was starving the place that needed feeding. It is still a struggle. I love my husband's praise for what I've accomplished during a day, but I still long at times for the public affirmation. I am so thankful for friends who will point out to me where I need to focus my needs. The Lord WILL give me the desires of my heart, but only when I seek His will for me! So simple...
O.K., back to the strange part. I "demoted" myself this year. After my refreshing splash of water, I talked to my boss and told him I would only work 4 days a week this year (for the 6 month stint), and would not be available on Memorial Weekend. This is our anniversary and for the last 2 years I have worked while Pat has had that time off. What peace! God worked this out before I even told my boss this, as he had already been asking a gal who worked for us for a few years to come in more often. She has been willing and able to work full-time. I have been so thankful that I did not put them in a bind for workers, and this gal is a great worker and person! It's been a bit harder for my pride again! I had put myself in the category of "necessary." I'm discovering that I was not necessary. I was wanted, and I still am, but I'm not needed in the same capacity. I am so thankful that I had not let my pride swell more than it had, for that may have led to a much more painful fall! Oops! I neglected to mention that I haven't been to work for almost 2 weeks! I'm the one to be left at home now unless there is enough work to be done.
My study of Esther has reinforced this quelling of my pride. I've seen how pride can fill someone to such horrible and destructive levels. Lord, keep me far from becoming a Haman! I've also felt that God has other plans for me. I don't know exactly what those will be, but as I fade back from working, I think He has other work for me to do. I have wondered why we are still in Alaska since we're long past our 3-year plan! For such a time as this! God has us where we are for a reason! I'm very excited to see where He takes me! I will share that I emailed my pastor about starting a women's group. I haven't heard yet, and I don't know if this is exactly what God is leading me to, but I have to see! One thing I have been able to discover is a renewed prayer life. It seems there are so many needs that I have been oblivious to, and it is such a joy to participate in prayer with others, even those I don't know.
How cool is this? This is one of the ash clouds from our eruptions. I was challenged by a friend to want my desire for Christ to erupt as such! Does my love for Christ ascend above the cloud of society? Oh that He will fuel the fire until it does!