Learning Obedience

I’ve had an idea for a post on my heart for some time now, but it wasn’t until this week that I knew just how to share it. My original focus was how to handle the good and the bad coming at the same time – it seems, though, that the real issue at hand was and is obedience.

God calls us to be obedient, and we learn in Scripture that He learned obedience just as we all do. Then He certainly knows how tough it can be to hear and follow what God is leading us to do…or stop doing.

Sometimes, drastic measures are needed to get the message across.

Back in August, things were tense here at home. Money was tight already, and while Arthur’s amazing GG – my Grammy – was still our primary caregiver, she told us at the beginning of the summer that she would have to stop watching him regularly for the sake of her own health. I’m blessed to have a young and vibrant Grammy, but she’s still in her mid-70s and Arthur is by no means a slow-moving child. After figuring the cost of a quality daycare versus what we were each bringing home, Brian first made the suggestion that I leave my job and become a stay at home parent.

It was tempting at the time. I was bored and unhappy at my job, doing unfulfilling work for little benefit other than the paycheck. I also realized – not for the first time in five years – that I was the only person there who was invested in my growth. But I still resisted; God couldn’t be demanding my obedience to this plan. There had to be another way for me to do absolutely everything without giving up my identity as a professional woman. Finally, though, there was nothing to do but go in and announce that I was leaving at the end of the week.

If God wants me to stay here, I rationalized, He will make a way. I gave notice on Wednesday; by Friday I had agreed to return full-time for a modest pay increase and a new official job title. Clearly I was being obedient – hadn’t God met the conditions I set? We could afford daycare and I could continue working and being who I decided to be.

The funny thing is, who I had decided to be was not who God created me to be. Soon enough the good and the bad came in tandem, and He gave me a second chance to get this obedience thing right.

Two days before Thanksgiving, we found out that we’re expecting a new baby. (Updates on Baby Z to follow in a later post.)

One day before Thanksgiving, I lost my job. My salary, my new official title…and with them, all the misery of five years and counting.

Without violating the terms of my separation agreement, I can safely say that I dreaded going into the office more and more each day. I struggled to focus and my frustrations mounted, and voicing them to seemingly sympathetic ears offered no relief. My only regret was mired in my own pride – I wished I could have left on my terms instead of someone else’s. Despite that, I felt light and free when I drove away from that building for the last time.

Maybe I got the wrong message before.

God never called me to work in that office. He provided the opportunity when I needed it, to be sure, but I’ve been called to be a wife, mother, and pastor. Back in August, what I perceived as a somewhat insensitive request on Brian’s part was actually God using Brian to direct my next steps. And just a few hours before Thanksgiving, that gentle direction turned into a push out the door.

Obedience has come gradually, through understanding and finally accepting God’s plan over my own. Things aren’t perfect, but they’ve improved drastically in ways that I couldn’t or wouldn’t have imagined they would. I have embraced my role as a stay at home parent, as well as the greater opportunity it offers me to work through my candidacy process. There will be other challenges ahead, but I will continue to learn obedience to God’s path through them.