At the time, it didn’t seem extraordinary. But as I look back, I see God’s hand in it, especially because it became one of the parts of my life that made it a success, no matter what happened after. To me, it’s one example of God giving me my heart’s desire, before I really even knew what it was. I’m talking about the unexpected blessings of staying home with my children when they were young.
One day at lunch in the staff room of the school I worked at, three of us ladies were talking about the years we’d spent at home raising our kids. Each of us kept repeating how it was the most important and valuable thing we’d ever done. We even agreed that, had we done nothing else of value after that, our lives would still be a success because of the positive impact that decision made on our children and ourselves.
And I will add this: had I not seen a significant answer to a prayer after that, I would still know that our God is a faithful and good God.
My own mom was a single mom and had worked from the time I was a toddler, so it wasn’t an obvious choice for me to stop working at a permanent full-time job when my kids were born. I don’t actually remember having a strong conviction either way before I got married. Actually, there were some good reasons to keep working. It was not a strong financial time for our family, and it was the “dual-career 80’s”.
However, I believe that what (subconsciously?) had a huge influence on this decision was a Focus on the Family film series that my single friends and I watched at our church—years before we even had prospects of marriage.
As I look back, I see tremendous blessings that followed those years at home with the boys, which I had never considered, and which I don’t think would have happened otherwise. I hadn’t foreseen that these would be the most fulfilling years of my life (so far!). In spite of fewer financial benefits such as exotic holidays, a large house or a summer cabin, or tons of electronic toys, my sons thank me for staying home with them. Strong bonds between our family and our near neighbors continue 30 years later, adults and kids alike. Their early years were calm and relaxed, and they established an active, outdoors lifestyle from birth. And I developed a strong network of friends at church that I would come to need more than I even realized at the time.
I know the Lord better from this experience. I know He is even more kind and generous than I thought.
If I ever find myself in a state where I’m finding it hard to be grateful, I can always bring to mind this blessing that God gave, which I hadn’t asked for, and hadn’t felt I needed. It wasn’t just a one-time gift, but one that will last a lifetime, blessing all of us in the family, and also generations to come. And this is such a huge blessing, at the top of my value system and priorities, that any doubts or down times pale by comparison.
Posted by Ramona
[Flickr Photo "Quiet for a few minutes" by theirhistory]