I’m glad to welcome a new voice to the #BeBoldGirl series. I know you’ll enjoy Jenn Bryant’s story of boldly finding her identity in the midst of a difficult situation.
The office felt so cold and lifeless. What was once brimming with activity, was now abandoned, dark, and deeply lonely. Embarrassed and heartbroken, I slowly placed my things in a box while a steady stream of tears dripped down my cheeks and melted into my black slacks. I thought this was my dream job. Why now? I don’t understand.
One coworker came and tried to cheer me up. One ignored me like nothing happened. And one sat to hug me, and just cry. Together, we carried my things to the car, and with the slam of my door, I drove off in shock and bitter sadness. Over the next few weeks, I would spiral down into a dark hole of despair, barely able to move, eyes crusted over with old tears.
It’s been almost three years since that pain swept over me like a flood of failure, and every time I think about it, I cry. But no longer in grief. In complete and utter joy.
I needed to lose that job – the thing I held so close to my heart, found my worth in, and placed above my husband and kids. They needed me to be there, but I couldn’t give up the job. It was all about me and what I could prove. It was about what I could accomplish and show for my four-year degree. It showcased me, and when I was taken out of the equation, I felt like a shell of a person.
In reality, I was trading one position for another, but my new job was about to change my entire perspective. I used to think that stay-at-home moms just didn’t take themselves seriously, but in reality, “homemaking” is the profession that lives to support all others. We “make” our home. Into what? A place of rest, solace, safety, and security for our families. For me, a professional job took away the beautiful, unique mother my family needed to thrive.
I took a bold step into the undercompensated position of caring for my family first. There are no certificates, promotions, or bonuses. But I had to see that my value as a woman was not in the task, it was in the wisdom of knowing that God uses the family in powerful ways to impact a crumbling society.
What I realize now is that in the name of education, I was resting my self-worth in my circumstances and position rather than allowing the value of my experience to show through. I thought my value would decrease in staying at home, but that’s different than staying put; immobile, unusable. Being at home has opened more doors to be creative and bless others than I could ever accomplish in that tiny office.
Am I saying that working moms should stay at home? Certainly not. Each of us has a place in society to inspire others for a special purpose. Many of you do not have a choice. But, if you do and if you’ve ever found yourself overcome by the job, I encourage you to be bold enough to ask: am I still here because of the status this job offers me? The money? The pats on the back? A sense of belonging or obligation? Or am I here to fulfill the mission God has given me?
I took a bold step of faith to put my personal pain out there in the world and allow the Lord to do something new. Now I write and speak to encourage women to find their identity in Christ first. While I’m free now to be there for my kids in times of sickness and joy, I’m soaking in those moments and pouring out the every-day lessons I’m learning about what it means to live practically, simply, and honestly open to God’s leading.
We are free in Christ, but not to use that freedom as an opportunity to find value anywhere else except His love and truth. You are already proven worthy through His eyes. Now glorify Him with your talent, and watch for signs of neglect in your home; then it may be time to back away and focus on your family. No one can replace you in that assignment.
Jennifer is a Christian, wife, stay-at-home mom, business owner, and writer. She founded PracticalFamily.org where she encourages others to build practical skills for simple living, healthy communication, and discover the beauty of their identity in Christ.