Fellowship of the Unashamed

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast, I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made; I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.

I'm finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tainted visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I now live by faith, lean on His
presence, walk with patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power. My pace is set, my gait is fast, and my goal is Heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear!

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up, until I have stayed up stored up, and paid up of the cause of Christ. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till I know, and work till He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear.
Henry b. Eyring

Thursday, October 6, 2016

I love General Conference!  I love how inspired and hopeful and light I feel by the end.  I love that our leaders face so much injustice, so many insults, threats, and turmoil---and that in return they send out love, comfort, understanding, but also firm doctrine.  My goal is to one day emulate them, especially in returning good for evil.

In the meantime, I felt like I should start blogging.  Honestly, I think this is for me, more than it is for anyone else.  But if this can help someone else too this will be doubly worth it.

Today I wanted to talk about my decision to become a full "homemaker", or "stay-at-home mom".

In another post I will talk about infertility.  But not today.  However, just to let you know my mindset at the time: I was working full time in a Mortgage Department when I discovered that I would probably not be able to bear children.  I was crushed.  Honestly I'd taken the job at the Mortgage Department to learn, and to provide for myself and my husband while he went through the Fire Academy and the Paramedic Academy.  In my mind it was a temporary situation of a few years.  Now that I knew I might not become a mother, I needed to get into a job I could see myself loving and being happy with for the long term.

I remember interviewing with Rob at BYU (Conferences and Workshops) like it was yesterday.  In most of my interviews I walked away with a list in my head of how I could do better next time.  Even though the interview didn't go perfectly, I felt so much peace as I walked away.  I had even told Rob at one point that being a mother was still plan "A", but not possible at the moment.  As I walked to my car I remember thinking "whomever is MEANT to have that job is going to get it, because they are obviously going off the spirit.  I don't even care if it is me, I'm so glad I got to be a part of this."  Long story short-- I got the job!

I will have to write a whole post about working at BYU one day.  The environment was stressful at times but the people were fantastic.  I started writing about each person and it was getting really long. Lets just say this:  I thrived at BYU.  It was stressful, there was a learning curve, and yes I faced a few angry situations.  But overall I loved soaking in the wisdom and knowledge of my co-workers.  They each radiated light.  I learned a LOT in my year and a half there, and I was ready to stay there until I died.  I really was.  I was in the happiest plan B that Heavenly Father could've given me. Period.

And then plan A became real.  I'm jumping a lot and for that I apologize.  I will have to blog about the miracle of getting pregnant, and then the miracle on top of that of NOT miscarrying like we confirmed via ultra sound....(do I have you hooked to keep reading yet?) But those are stories in themselves.  So lets jump ahead to when my Director Rob, asked me what my plan was for work after the baby arrived.  Would I stay?

For the first time in my life, I was truly torn in two.  On the one hand, I had tasted a few years of the bitter reality and future of a life with no children at all.  I knew how empty that future had felt and looked--so I knew having children would bring real meaning to my life.  I had longed to be a mother.  I longed for the simplicity of being a support to my husband and juggling only his work schedule.  I longed for a family to call my own.  But on the other hand, I LOVED my job.  I was GOOD at it.  I was working for someone I respected and looked up to.  I had co-workers I loved speaking with and learning from.  My personality, talents, and ideas thrived in my position.  I could happily see myself working at Conferences and Workshops at BYU until I retired.  I felt I was making a positive difference in the world.  AND I was getting paid a very fair pay, with the promise of a small raise yearly if I followed my goals and directives.  I worked for a company with some of the best insurance in the world, and at a time when most people were struggling and frustrated with insurance.  I HAD IT MADE.  In fact, I heard before I got the job at BYU that jobs opened up rarely at BYU because no one wanted to leave a BYU job--- you have to wait for someone to retire, die, or move up essentially.  I understood that all now.  Could I truly walk away from all of that?

Rob was patient.  Did I mention I really respected him and appreciated my director?  It took me a few months to get back to him.  During that time I was studying my heart out.  I wanted to do the right thing.  I thought I knew what that was, but did I have the courage?  I was reading the Church's Eternal Marriage handbook on Parenthood, Motherhood, and working outside the home.  I talked to my wonderful co-workers.  I talked to church members.  I talked to family.  I prayed.

In the end it came down to a quote from Elder Richard G Scott in April 1993 Conference:

"A mother with children should be in the home....we realize some of our choice sisters are widowed and divorced and that others find themselves in unusual circumstances where, out of necessity, they are required to work for a period of time....you in these unusual circumstances qualify for additional inspiration and strength from the Lord.  Those who leave the home for lesser reasons will not."

BAM!  That was my answer.  That was what I needed.  It all came down to this for me then: could Tanner and I live and own a home on his one income?  That was all we needed.  If we could, then my work wasn't needed, it was for "lesser reasons" that I'd be outside the home working.  So in faith I talked to Tanner and we decided to start looking for a home.  Tanner had only been working full time for less than a year, and myself for almost 3.  But (plug for saving like the church advises) we had managed in that time to save enough for what we hoped would be a good down payment for a small home.  We had long discussions narrowing down what we truly needed in a home, and our most important wants.  With Tanner's handyman skills and willingness, we knew we could purchase a fixer upper to make our own.  What we most wanted was land for the kids to run and learn on, space for a garden, and room to grow within the home.

When we approached our Real Estate Agent Scott (if you want his info please let me know, he was SO good to us, and patient with us!) he was a bit amused.  "You know you are asking for the exact opposite of most people our age right?"  Most people I guess, are looking for a nice new home in a boomer neighborhood with a small yard, preferably with an HOA to take care of said yard.  We didn't mind an older home and wanted a big responsibility of a big yard!  We knew we were "weird", and Scott was willing to help, and so our adventure began.

It was a slow adventure.  Really slow.  Houses within our parameters popped up only occasionally.  The first house we saw was in a perfect place for me, but not for Tanner.  It was also trashed on the inside--it obviously had large pets and smelled of accidents and infrequent cleaning.  (I won't gross you out by telling you what was inside the fridge when we opened it).  Anyway, I was willing but for Tanner it was a "no".  The next few options were far too far away for me-- from family, from stores, from people.  One option popped up in a great neighborhood and area---but it was at our max budget AND had major foundational issues and a terrible layout.  And these...say... seven options had come over the period of several months.  Our Real Estate Agent Scott let us know that he was going to continue to be patient, and that his first job wasn't real estate so he wasn't chomping at the bit for a paycheck---but he did kindly remind us that our parameters meant we wouldn't have a world of options.  We were being really picky.  Oh boy was he patient with us!  Luckily it was only about a month later that he took us to a house in Payson.  Tanner and I were lucky.  We had been praying where we were needed.  We longed to make the right decision.  And in our case Heavenly Father was kind enough to make it clear.  As we walked through the rooms in that Payson house, our home now, we kept looking at each other for confirmation.  We could clearly read in each other's eyes "Are you feeling this too?".  We had found a home we could love, and live in, with just Tanner's income.  The Lord answered my prayers, desire, and strengthened my faith.  He let me see just enough ahead that I felt I could loosen my iron-grip on my job.  We could have security without my job at BYU.  Looking back I know the Lord didn't need to do that.  Honestly I'd read enough that I should have had enough faith to step into the dark without being able to see ahead at all.  But I've found the Lord doesn't do that to me.  Because my heart and my desire are right, he sends a few miracles my way out of love, comfort, and security.  He lets me know He loves me, listens to me, and cares about my feelings.

That miracle was what I needed.  I was finally able to tell Rob that yes, I would be leaving my job.  And I will have to write about the miracles that accompanied finding my replacement, leaving, moving into a new home at 8 months pregnant, and my little James being born.

I needed that period of study, reflection and prayer.  I needed to gain a personal testimony of motherhood--something that was 100% mine.  Since that day I have become aware how rare a truly 100% full time mother is.  I have met women who couldn't wait to get back to work after their babies were born--they told me their time with their children has more quality because they get the break they need.  I have met others who, on the same token, are working part time or are part of MLM for the same reasoning.  Other mothers I love and respect seem almost defensive or guilty about not working.  My own mother who felt guilty her whole life about not working started to make sense.  And myself?  I found myself saying "I'm JUST a stay at home mom" when asked what I do.  When I wondered why I had said that I realized months earlier we had purchased a water softener and the salesman had kindly noted he didn't need my information because I didn't have a job-- nothing to contribute to the payments.

Something has stirred within me since that day.  I realized that even within the church we women are buying into the worldly mindset that being a mother is...somehow less than anything else.  I realized that in ME.  BUT I read about this!  I have a testimony about this! This is what I've been reminding myself.  And so, I want to stand up and stand out.  I want to share my testimony and experience about being a mother.  And I hope you will feel how RIGHT it is to be a mother.  Fully.  Completely.  Another one of Elder Richard G Scott's talks (The Joy of Living The Great Plan of Happiness in Oct 1996) speaks to me:

"As a woman you can do exceptionally well in the workplace, but is that the best use of your divinely appointed talents and feminine traits?"

Ladies, I think we've proved something in the world.  Today, October 16, 2016, no one is going to argue that women do "exceptionally well in the workplace".  Geez we THRIVE there!  Like I did.  We are naturally good at it.  BUT, the world is telling us that because we are so naturally good at work, we waste our potential by staying home.  In fact I remember angrily listening to our own President talk about what a waste it is for women to be in the home.  My fellow sisters, the question isn't whether we CAN do well in the workplace, the question is do we want to step DOWN to the workplace?

NO ONE can replace a mother in the home.  Not schools (though they push teachers to try), not churches, not activities, coaches, peers or mentors.  (The world surely tries though?).  If we women do not raise our own children, NO COMBINATION OF OTHER PROGRAMS can make up for what was lost.  That doesn't mean the programs don't have a purpose.  I mean, the quote I mentioned earlier clearly states that women who need to work WILL BE SUPPORTED BY GOD.  That he will help them in their double roles.  But if you were like me, with no NEED to be there, then the quote also says clearly we don't qualify for that help.  Because it isn't for a NEED.  I hope that makes sense.

The most beautiful thing of all about that first quote is that it is deeply personal.  I found out for myself through study and prayer-- even a leap of faith asking to see that we could find a home on one income--- that God didn't feel work was a "need" for me.  Each couple has that same opportunity to go before God as a team and find out His will for them.  And I am free from the need to judge others for the choices they make.  In fact we all are.  BUT I can share my testimony and see if anyone is touched by it, learns from it, or is strengthened by it.  (I really hope it does some good).

For any mothers out there who read this, I just want to say this: I have a testimony of motherhood.  I KNOW that we are irreplaceable.  I know that God wants us to be with his precious little ones all day every day if we possibly can.  I also know He answers our prayers, listens to our hearts, and speaks to us in ways we need and understand.  I feel like my testimony is like my son, a little infant, and that only through continual strengthening will it grow and stay strong.  Yours is probably the same.  There are a LOT of ways that motherhood is being demeaned and disrespected these days.  My plan for my life is to take a stand  in my mind and in my heart.  I plan to confront these messages and match them with my own answer and testimony.  I know I am where I am supposed to be.  I hope you can feel that same confirmation in your own hearts!

Again to summarize--it all came down to this message for me:  If you NEED to be in the workplace, God will support you, lift you, and make up for the time you are away.  If it isn't a need, he won't. I'm so grateful for doctrine that makes things clear amidst a confusing world.  And I really am so grateful to be a mother--even if it isn't easy!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your beautiful and thought-provoking personal insights. I appreciate them. :)