Whirrrrrrr. Buzzzzzz. Eeeeeeeeeeh. As I look around the gloomy warehouse and hear the droning conveyor belts, low and high-pitched alarms, and other machinery, I think to myself, am I crazy?
Yesterday it seemed so clear. I decided to turn down a cushy office job that pays more than I have ever made, choosing instead to stick with this warehouse job. Why? Because of what I feel the Lord would have me do during this season of life.
Did I mention I was having this conversation with myself regarding my sanity at 3:45 am? Let me back up and explain. Before COVID, I worked for over 19 years for a Christian ministry. I loved my job. During those 19 years, I went from being married and childless to having four children and homeschooling. I went from working* 40 hours/week to 30 hours/week, and I was very privileged to have a flexible schedule that allowed me to work from home for nearly half of those hours. Then, late in 2020, I found out that the financial damage inflicted by COVID lockdowns was so severe that my position was eliminated.
One of the first things I learned when I started searching for a job for the first time in over two decades since my ministry job came from a targeted three-year pursuit of employment with them, was that flexible 30-hour/week jobs do not grow on trees. In fact, part-time jobs are hard to find.
We want to continue homeschooling, so I ruled out the 8-5 jobs, which eliminated most offices, my comfort zone. I would be a horrible waitress, and retail really does not appeal to me. So I started applying for just about anything else that would fit my schedule, going by the philosophy of throwing lots of darts and seeing what sticks.
An acquaintance recommended the cushy job. He has been with the company for many years and loves it, and he stoked my interest with talk of the many different career paths, financial rewards, challenges, and the great culture of this company. They have an evening shift, so I applied.
After multiple interviews and an online assessment, I received a job offer. Great! Success feels good. But the start date was six weeks away, and I still was not sure about 40 hours plus 7-8 hours of drive time each week. When my 16-year-old daughter stated that she would miss me, I really felt it—the pang of watching our children grow up so fast and not wanting to miss it. Moms, you know what I am talking about. Dads do too, I am sure.
A fellow homeschool mom told me about her part-time job working the “sunrise” shift at this warehouse. So I applied and am starting my third week there. Pros: short drive, home by 9 am, good benefits (even for part-time), decent pay, opportunities for advancement, simple, low-stress work, great supervisors and co-workers, exercise included. Cons: dark, dreary, and noisy environment, bruising, muscle aches, much less pay than the cushy job, not very mentally challenging.
When talking to friends about this decision, most of my homeschool mom friends look at me like, “it’s simple—I would choose time with my kids over money and a career.” Most of them have already made that choice and never looked back. My husband wants to support me either way but asked me about using my college degree and being happy with my work. We can meet our budget either way.
After much prayer and discussion, I decided that my main callings at this point in my life are raising my children and helping my husband, and the cushy job would require too much energy and time for me to be able to do it all well. This is not true for every mother. Please understand that these are individual decisions, and I would not judge another parent for their decisions regarding their careers and/or their children’s education.
We are each accountable to God for how we raise our children, and every family’s situation is different.
The Bible says “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). Sometimes we make decisions that might seem crazy to outsiders, non-Christians, and even ourselves when we try to be objective.
When I compare the drone of conveyor belts to the soft hum of computers, the choice seems obvious. But when I compare getting home at 9 am to being gone for 10 hours a day, the better decision is clear, and that is my priority at this time. So I will trust that He will bless the decision, I will seek to be a light to my co-workers (which is new because my co-workers were all Christians before), and I will work as though unto the Lord, even if my job seems menial to others. To me, that is what makes my faith more than just a belief or just words.
In what ways do you step out in faith? Giving? Serving? Telling others about Christ? Often following God’s leading is most difficult when we take the first step out of our comfort zone in a particular area, but then it usually gets easier.
* When I say “working” I’m referring to the work that actually pays, not the work of motherhood, which is the hardest job I have ever had, in every way. It just does not pay the bills. Never underestimate the variety and difficulty of the work mothers do.