I suppose this post should really be titled, "How We Made the Decision for Me to Stay Home." But that isn't nearly as fun as sharing about Eliana's latest fascination with ants. There's a connection... I promise. Hang with me.
A few weeks ago, I was out back talking to a neighbor who is also a teacher in the school system in which Spencer teaches (and in which I am currently on leave). She asked me, "How in the world are you able to make this work?" Clearly, she knows about how much Spencer makes since she works in the same school system. My honest answer to her was this: I really don't know.
You see, while we were able to prepare some financially for this year, the decision for me to take leave from teaching was less about the how, and more about the Who. And when that finally clicked (which, truthfully, was only a few months into LAST school year), the decision was totally easy... not because we have some hidden treasure in financial resources, but because we have a greater treasure than this world could offer... and that is a God who loves us and will provide for our every need. Not necessarily our wants... but definitely our needs.
We knew that foregoing my income meant that Spencer's salary wouldn't cover our minimum monthly expenses.
We knew that foregoing my income meant that we would no longer be able to save or accelerate mortgage payments.
We knew that foregoing my income meant that there wouldn't be a trip to Disney in our near future... or really any trip or vacation that didn't involve a free place to stay.
We knew that foregoing my income would be a huge sacrifice, that the numbers didn't totally add up, and that it was a huge leap of faith. We knew that it meant trusting in the promise of Matthew 6:25-33--
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
I also wanted to say that I recognize that there are some of you reading this who just may not be able to swing it financially to stay at home; I want you to know that you are no less of a mother because you are working outside of the home. I realize that for some, staying at home just isn't an option, and a recognize what a sensitive and divisive topic this can be. We just know that given all that unfolded in our lives over the last year, that this truly was God's desire for our family for this season.
So, as I sat and watched Ellie watching the ants, I marveled again at how those littlest creatures are cared for by our God; and how if even the ants are cared for and provided for, then how much more will we be, even if we didn't have it all figured out. He does.
I had to chuckle as I thought about how fortunate I am that I get to sit and marvel as I watch my daughter so engrossed by the ants... and learn to count... and sing the ABC's... and help me make pumpkin pancakes... and the list goes on...