I came into marriage with a well established job in a cushy office and a decent paycheck. During the first year Jason’s job fluctuated, but my steady income kept us afloat during the rough patches. Then, when our daughter was 7 months old, I tried to make a career change and ended up unemployed.
The situation had done a number on my confidence and I felt completely inadequate to jump back into the workplace, but I knew that we couldn’t function on one income. I finally decided to try starting a home daycare, and have slowly been establishing that. But it has been crazy, going abruptly from dressing for success and rushing the baby to daycare every morning to wrangling rambunctious children and finding the best recipes for homemade bread.
In one sense, I am happier. I feel like I actually live in my house, the dishes get washed, I make supper most nights, I actually spend significant time with my daughter that I felt cheated of before.
In another sense, it is really hard to go from consistent paychecks to sporadic families paying for childcare. It is stressful to know that I’m not yet making enough to fill the gap that my old income left. I am the type of person who will ruminate and agonize over money until I am wallowing in a miserable pit of despair.
There are days when I snap at the kids because I am so busy wondering how we will pay the next bill, there are days when the parents don’t pay me and won’t answer my calls. How can I find contentment here?
There are days when I have no idea how to be competent at being a homemaker, when my brain is completely blank and I get nothing productive done all day. How can I accept the grace of God to be sufficient for my inadequacy?
There are days when I feel that staying home was a selfish decision and I wonder why I ever thought I could make enough money without a traditional job. How can I recognize that my worth is not in what I can bring to the table?
I stumbled upon Psalm 127 and read this:
“Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.”
I felt God speaking into my heart and reminding me of who he is. He is the one who establishes my steps, he is the one who sustains me. He does not need my anxiety to accomplish his work in my life, he needs my daily discipline, my cheerful obedience.
He promises to give me rest.
And so, when I am living in this day and I feel like I am failing at adulthood, I set aside my anxious toil and I bake bread. I gather the kids and we make cookies. I pull out the crayons and the play-doh. I wash the dishes, do the laundry, clean my house and cook dinner for my husband. I make sure that my daughter’s life is full of love and laughter. I sit quietly and read my Bible, turning every aspect that I am not able to control over to the Father.
And in this daily obedience, I find that he gives me the rest and contentment that elude me everywhere else.