I have a friend who is older than me, and very wise. I don't get to see her often but when I do she always gives me food for thought.
"Do you miss working?" she asked me straight out the last time I saw her. I paused and thought, and said, "Yes, I do. But it is not for the reasons, I thought I would. Money is tight, there is no doubt about that, but we have managed to live simpler and not go into debt. I do miss my friends at work, but frankly my energy is now taken up with my children. I love teaching my youngest to read and write, it gives me much joy to see her learn. At first, I was starved for 'alone time', but I have grown use to the chaos, the unceasing chatter, and it seems too quiet when my girls are not here. The one thing I miss is recognition for a job well done."
For me, staying at home has been a lesson in humility. This is a not a place where I can get a raise, a performance bonus, or even a pat on the back. I choose to stay home because I thought it was the best decision for my children. They needed more attention, more security, and a more stable environment. Daycare, was not working out for my youngest child, she had been through too many changes, in too short a time.
However, my friend challenged me. "A+B doesn't always equal C,” she said. “Just because you are making the sacrifices to stay home, doesn't mean your kids will grow up the way you want them too. The end results don’t always equal the time and effort you put into it. Because in the end, children are their own persons, free to choose. They are not yours; they are on loan from God. They will accept God's free gift of grace or not. Their future successes and failures are not yours, they will be theirs. "
She was a career woman who decided to find a way to work from home so she could spend more time with her daughter. Her husband and she sacrificed so they could send their child to a private Christian school. Their daughter is now married, and with her husband runs a mission ministry in a low-income neighborhood. They recently visited her, and were complimented b the pastor on what a fine job they did raising their daughter, and what a wonderful Christian woman she has become. My friend told the pastor that it was the gift of grace working in her daughter, not what she or her husband had done as parents.
Talk about humility.