YOU CAN GET WHAT YOU WANT, YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT, YOU CAN FIND WHAT YOU WANT, AND YOU CAN WIPE WHO YOU WANT
~ The Working Years, an epilogue ~
During that character-changing time in Louisville, I did much more than search for, avoid, and discover jobs. Away from home, away from my church, and away from the tiny bubble of a world I had grown up in, God graciously did some major, worldview-altering work in my life. Through biblical and expository preaching at our church, exposure to new and different ways of doing things, outstanding teaching and godly leadership from the Seminary Wives Institute, and mostly, from the work of the Spirit of God in my life and in my heart, I came home a very different woman.
A woman who, for the first time in my life, knew exactly what I wanted to do “for a living” and was willing to do whatever it took to get it.
The stay-at-home Mom is often lauded for the many “sacrifices” she makes. She gives up any chance of a successful career. She gives up her “identity.” She gives up daily opportunities to be around people her own age. She gives up the extra money, clothes, cars, vacations, etc. that her career might have afforded…
All of those are true, in a sense, and really are praiseworthy in the women who truly give those things up to follow their convictions…but I’ve got to be honest and come clean. It is no sacrifice for me to stay home. Not even a smidge. When I finally decided that the life for me was rocking the cradle, stirring the pot, and getting the stains out, it was absolutely, without-a-doubt, no question-about-it the one thing in the world I wanted to do.
In fact, the thought of waking up every morning, rousing the kids, getting us all dressed and ready and then rushing out the door to my job gives me the shivers! I would shrivel up and die. And I would do so for several reasons:
~ the first reason I would die ~
Take a look at the first 4 parts of this series of posts. I hate the working world. It terrifies me. It slays me. It even embitters me! It is like being pinned down by my older brother and having him dangle a long string of spit above my face.
~ the second reason that I would die ~
As much as I hate having a job, I love being at home. So much that, if I didn’t have kids to facilitate my stay-at-homeness, I would find a way to make money without leaving the house. I would open a soup kitchen (that sells soup, not gives it away), I would turn my sunroom into a consignment shop, I would move upstairs to the kids room and convert our master bedroom/bathroom into a bed-and-breakfast. Something, anything, to stay here and not go there.
~ the third reason I would die ~
And then there are those little things I call my children. Believe me, I had no idea that I would be one of “those” moms. In fact, that I am one has been the surprise of my life as I didn’t even want to be a mom until my niece Abigail was born, and then planned to wait until I had been married for a few years, seen some of the world and made some money before I “went forth and multiplied”. But the minute Gideon Michael Gore landed in my stomach, before I even laid eyes on his crazy face, the conviction was settled deep inside of me as hard and as fast as flint…I wasn’t leaving this boy, and he wasn’t leaving me. It was written on my heart by a Hand that wasn’t even mine that together we would walk through this life, side by side, day by day. Those maternal instincts that took over when I gave birth to my firstborn compel me not only to stay near my children (and I’m talkin’ within arm’s reach), but to school them, to disciple them, to nurse them (in the doctoring way, not the feeding way), until…forever? Yes, please!
~ the fourth reason I would die ~
I am the wife of a pastor. Sunday is not really a day of rest for us…in fact, it looks more like the scene I described as shiver-inducing, the one where I would have to wake up, rouse the kids, get us all ready and rush out the door. Saturday is also not really a day of rest for us…we’re cleaning up the house for company, getting church clothes ready, taking baths, packing diaper bags and leaving Papa alone to go over his sermon. So if I worked Monday through Friday, and then did not have a day of rest on Saturday or Sunday as God intended (mine is Monday, by the way), I would be an Old Testament commandment-breaker. Which may or may not result in my untimely death. And we can’t have that, now can we? (please tell me you hear the joking in my voice?…I would hate to lead anyone astray on the theological points of the Sabbath. )
~ the fifth reason I would die ~
Back to the kids part, if I was out of the home and they were being cared for and taught by someone else, and became attached to that someone else, and credited that someone else like I credit my high school English teachers for introducing me to all my favorite books and movies…yeah, that would also kill me. I carried them both for 9 months, I worked my tail and my patience off to get Gideon through that first year, and so the way I look at it is, any devotion and appreciation that my kids have for anybody…is going to me. And so the only person they will ever see or ever be taught by?…Me.
~ the sixth reason I MIGHT die ~
I could die in a car wreck on my way to work or in a work building fire or I could choke on my lunch-break salad or I could die from the fear of answering the phone all day or I could get a fatal case of the swine flu from a co-worker. Or Y2K, or…well, the possibilities are endless. I say “No thank you” to all of them.
So, you get the point, right? I almost selfishly want to be home, y’all, and God has been so good to allow me to do so. I was telling a sweet lady just the other day that Mr. Gore and I could give up so much more and still live very extremely comfortably before I would ever even have to consider finding work. Even with his single paycheck, we are living without debt, completely without need, and hardly ever without want.
And so the great news is not that my quest for a job all those years finally ended in my finding happiness and contentment or that I finally got to the self-sacrificing point where I would give up the entire world against my dearest wishes to stay home and nobly raise my children…the great news is that God is really good, just like the Bible says He is. The getting there might be painful, but He will mold and shape your heart and slowly change you into what He wants you to be, and then He will give you the desires of your heart, the ones He placed there in the first place. How would I ever have know how badly I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom if I hadn’t had that horrific job at Pottery Barn Kids? I really don’t know that I would have…
When Mr. Gore and I were meeting with our church’s pulpit committee in a preliminary discussion to decide whether or not they would pursue him as pastor, they asked me one question (scary!): If we hire Chris as our senior pastor, what will you, as our pastor’s wife, do?
My answer? “Ummmm..I’m going to raise and homeschool my kids and take care of my husband? I’ll probably still sing in the choir…”
Thankfully, that was the exact type of answer they were looking for. But it was one I meant to the bottom of my toes, an answer I really do try to live up to – although most days I fail by a couple of miles – because whether I get paid or not (not!), whether I still have my “identity” or not (not! thank goodness), whether or not I spend most of my days with grown-ups (not even close!) , and whether or not I go on yearly vacations (Southern Baptist Convention, anyone?), I am one happy lady, very content in my full-time job of being Mrs. Gore to one and “Mama” to two (so far…). I hope, after all the stories of misery I’ve shared with you this week, you’re as happy for me as I am.