Several times over the past weeks, I have heard myself responding to my kids “I didn’t choose this” As I said in one of my other posts, Summer Sadness, this has been a tough summer for us this year. It is the first summer in 11 years that I have worked and basically the only summer in my kids lives that I haven’t been home with them all summer.
When our first child was born, we knew that we didn’t want to have our kids raised in day care, we planned to do it for a bit and then try and figure something else out. We placed my daughter in day care for about the first 3 months and then I was fortunate that my job allowed me to work part-time doing 19 hrs in the office and a few hours a day at home. Since my husband and I worked at the same place, we adjusted our hours so that I went in at 6am and worked till 10am and he worked 10am to 6:30 pm. We did this for nearly 2 years until my son was born, I went back to work and soon found out that having to get up and go to work at 6 am with two children under 2 was not working well. We made the decision that at the end of that year I would stop working and be a stay-at-home mom. I loved my job, I had worked there for 15 years starting practically out of high school and working my way up to assistant supervisor and on the way to being a manager. It was a hard decision to make, but I never regretted it for one minute. I wouldn’t have traded anything for being able to be home with my kids every day.
However, when my husband left, everything began to change. I was fortunate to not have to immediately look for work , but as a year or so passed and my kids were getting a bit older I began to look for something that would work with the school schedule. Finances were tight and I needed something that would provide a bit of relief. I applied for a job in the school and although the interview went great, someone within the district wanted the job and so I was back to square 1. It was then that my church asked me if I could fill in for our receptionist and I have been there ever since. Fortunately, they have been super flexible with working around my kids schedule during school. Summer however brought it’s own set of challenges. Thankfully again, I have been able to take a 2 days a week off during the month of August to spend some time with my kids. This is a blessing that I don’t think my kids fully understand.
Numerous times over the summer, my daughter in particular, has taken her frustration out on me. Frustration about the lack of funds we have to do things, the frustration about me having to be at work, the frustration and hurt she still harbors towards her father. I know I shouldn’t lose my temper, but it is at those times I have found myself replying…I didn’t choose this! I didn’t choose to be left alone, I didn’t choose to have raise 3 kids on my own, I didn’t choose to have to take care of the house, and all the chores on my own, I didn’t choose to have to worry about finding a job after giving up my career trusting in the fact that when the time came I would have my husband at my side when I started working again…..I didn’t choose this! And I certainly didn’t want this! Now I know, my kids didn’t choose any of this either. It is then that I take a breath and explain to them that I understand, they didn’t choose or want this either. I tell them, that there isn’t anything that any of us could have done to prevent this(believe me I tried, willing to do whatever it would take) This isn’t what we chose but it is what we were handed. So now we have two courses of action. We can get angry, fight, take our hurt out on each other and wallow in self pity OR we can be understanding, rise up together, move forward, and trust God.
While I didn’t choose this, I know that nothing that happens to me is outside of God’s sovereignty. Nothing takes him by surprise. He knows every page of our story because he is the author of it! (Psalm 139:16) He promises us that everything in our lives will work together for our good and his glory!(Romans 8:28) Tim Keller said
“God will only give you what you would have asked for if you knew everything he knows”
Now I am not claiming to fully understand that statement. But that is where faith comes in. That is where knowing WHO God is comes in. I trust that if God has allowed this in my life, it is for a reason and that if I knew everything that he knows, I would understand. As it is in his great mercy, God has allowed me to see much good that has come out of the situation that I am in.
So maybe you are in a situation that, like me, you didn’t choose and certainly don’t want. Instead of allowing yourself to focus on what you didn’t choose, focus on what you can choose…to trust God and know that He has you in his hands and he won’t let you go.