The last couple of weeks have been challenging. Between starting a new semester, moving for the umpteenth time, a few financial emergencies, anticipating and then accepting a full-time job – after not working full time in over a year and a half – my stress levels have been pretty much through the roof.
I am anxious and excited to begin this job, truly. But that hasn’t yet elevated some very real concerns. The biggest is knowing that for the first time in her life, I won’t be home with Emma. I have been so blessed to spend every day with her, to see her grow and to learn from her sweet spirit. I know I have been spoiled, as my mother didn’t get as much one-on-one time with me, and many women – of necessity or choice – don’t get that time with their children. I cherish that gift, and have been so thankful of the circumstances we have had that allowed that. But circumstances are notorious for changing.
Mickayeen had a remarkable first semester and has been enjoying his classes so far this spring. I am approaching graduation – although not quickly enough for my taste – and have necessarily needed to plan for when I am no longer receiving student loans. Mickayeen had previously tried working full time and going to school full time, only to find that it was impractical and unproductive for both arenas. When he determined to go back to school last year, we made the decision knowing that I would graduate and then work to support us until he is in a position to “take over”.
I can’t regret the decisions that have brought us here, because they were all so obviously correct and sanctioned by God. And the more recent decisions have followed neatly in line. Moving has already manifested new friends, promising outlooks, increased convenience and improved environment. This job and the process of interviewing, deciding and accepting it, were all very spirit-led. But there are still inherent challenges, even when things are right. Opposition has always accompanied goodness, because without it we would surely fail to value the many tender mercies bestowed upon us.
While being a working mom is far from the ideal, I know that God understands and supports us in this situation. I feel sure that this job, while a necessity for our financial support, has more potential and purpose in God’s eyes than even what I initially see. And because of that, I am determined to work diligently, to magnify the position I have been asked to fill, and especiallyto consecrate my efforts to the Lord; for I know that through him, this job can become a divine experience for my growth and a potential stepping stone in furthering his work.
Even in the midst of these challenges, God has not failed to show me how aware he is of me. One of the biggest roadblocks this past week was finding appropriate child care for Emma – a daunting feat considering no mother wants to hand her child over to anyone with standards for the child’s well-being lower than her own. Melaleuca has a wonderful off-site day care facility that we planned to use – that is until we found out they were full. My search commenced with a visit to a convenient Rexburg day care that left me with trauma issues. No way could I imagine sending Emma there full time! I just wished that I could find something like my childhood sitter. Something in a home with good values and healthy practices.
We had been planning on attending the family ward for our boundaries until one night when two brothers from the Married Student ward stopped by. We ended up chatting for over an hour and their friendliness and openness had us interested in maybe changing our plans. They encouraged me to contact the relief society president about potential sitters and she directed me to their group Facebook page where I received several quick responses from sisters willing to take Emma.
One name stood out to me in particular. After conversing and coordinating, we discovered that she lived right across the parking lot. Her nearness opened up whole new avenues as Mickayeen can now drop Emma off and pick her up at more reasonable times than my work schedule will demand. His schedule also worked out so that he can watch Emma on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If she attended daycare, she would likely be there for 10-11 hours a day.
We were able to work out a deal with this willing sister, and in doing so she professed that she had been praying for a child to watch, to bring in some extra financial support for her own family. Heavenly Father’s joint awareness of us both and his perfect coordination in bringing us physically so near each other to answer one another’s prayers is both baffling and wonderful in the best ways. The fact that she is a kind, sweet and strong daughter of God and that our husbands and daughters all get along swimmingly is a delicious cherry on top.
I am still easily overwhelmed at what lies ahead. Being away from home 10 hours a day, needing to cover nine credits worth of schooling and assignments, becoming an attentive and present mother with the time I have and striving to support and love my husband as much as possible is an intimidating load. I fully expect my own capacity to be insufficient. I already anticipate relying heavily on that which is stronger than me, and I am so thankful that not only I have that grace and power available to me but that I am blessed to know it. So many others who struggle do not. It’s a privilege that I aim to be worthy of.