Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be an at-home mom. I wanted to work too, but I had hoped that I could work from home once my children reached a certain age. I have never been one to dream of a successful career, but I deeply dreamed of having great relationships with my spouse and children. I know this is because I grew up without this type of close family relationship. I did not know how I would be able to work from home as technology was not as developed then as it is now.
When my husband and I started our family, we went through multiple babysitters, and I went through numerous jobs because of this. Along with this, our daughter was sick a lot and in the doctor’s office more than I was able to work. Working part-time also meant that we did not have insurance, and the cost of the medication was not always fully covered by Medicaid. Due to these difficulties and other circumstances, we decided that my staying home was more beneficial to our family. I was so happy but always worried about my financial responsibilities to our family. These days it takes two incomes to be able to support a family. I decided to babysit for other people and house clean one day of the weekends, which made me feel better and allowed me time with my nieces and time to myself on the weekends.
When my second daughter was born, I decided to go back to school. I disliked primary school, so I was uncertain about attending a community college. I chose the Medical Billing and Coding certificate program because this offered a chance to work from home in the future. Some of the classes I was able to complete online and others I would attend in the evenings. Going back to school with young children was extremely difficult. The amount of stress I was under was so overwhelming, I found myself having my first panic attack. Constant lies would replay in my head accusing me of being a terrible mother and selfish for not being home some evenings with my family. For sure, these were lies! I recommend that you go to college before starting your family, but I also understand that this is not possible for everyone. I believe anything that we do to better ourselves can be stressful. Just as a diamond forms with heat, pressure, and time before coming to the earth’s surface, what we strive for is going to put us through the same before our goals are accomplished.
Fast forward a few years, and I received my certificate in Medical Billing and Coding. Now the hunt was on to find a job that didn’t require me to travel a great distance. In my area of Virginia, it’s not so much the long distance traveling as it is the amount of traffic that increases the travel time. My first billing and coding job truly helped me get started while networking with other coders and learning hands-on. This job was short-lived, though. After only three years, the company merged, and I was one of the many that got laid off. I was devastated and not sure of how I would find another coding job close to home. I loved this job and all of the experiences that I had, but circumstances caused me to work late hours off the clock, which is usually illegal. I had been struggling to deal with working late hours and being away from home twelve-hour days and seeing my family struggling too. I remember sitting in the drive-way crying and knowing things could not go on the way they were and praying that God would help me fix the situation. I knew that God would help recover the relationships in my family and help me to balance working; I just didn’t know how or when.
We went on our summer family vacation right before I got laid off, and it was the first vacation my family can remember ever having poor weather the whole time. The outdoor pool was like an ice bath. We had to find indoor activities due to rain, and we didn’t get to enjoy some of our usual traditions. I would usually get upset about situations like this. Still, I had to admit this didn’t happen to our family often, and some families couldn’t afford to even take a vacation. I had to choose at that moment how I would respond, and I decided to believe God, that we could still enjoy our time together regardless of the circumstances. Just like our vacation, when I returned to work the following Monday, I had a choice to make. Would I allow myself to be upset and beaten up over losing my job, or would I chose to believe God’s word and that He knows the plans he has for me, to give me a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) I chose faith! God did not bring me this far to leave me stranded and “Till now the LORD has helped me.” (1 Samuel 7:12)
Within a month, I had a new job offer. This time I would be able to work from home and would be making seven dollars more an hour! There is no way to deny this was all God! I was so happy I cried when they gave me the offer! It was over the phone. They couldn’t see me, but she said, “Is this okay?” I thought this is more than okay and, of course, ! accepted the job offer! I shared with everyone that would hear of how God blessed me! I had not imagined working from home so soon and thought that my oldest daughter would have her place first since she had recently graduated high school. But God is able to do more than we can imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)
Once I was settled into this remote position, about two years and nine months passed, and the world met Covid-19. This pandemic has been a scary time, and I don’t know how anyone has had peace without faith. (Philippians 4:7) On April 22, I got the phone call no one wants to get and that I had not planned on ever receiving. I worked hard to keep what I considered my dream job. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I lost my job. I can’t explain it any other way except that God had to have been comforting me. (Isaiah 66:13) I cried like a baby as I was read all the required information. It was then that I realized I had a choice of how to respond. This time seemed more uncertain due to businesses shutting their doors and companies not hiring during this season. All the questions and accusations started to replay in my mind. Where would I work? My family is without benefits again. How will we afford our bills? Everything is on my husband’s shoulders again. How will I or will I find a remote position again?
I had prayed. I trusted God not to allow me to lose my job. I wanted to scream at my boss and the human resources guy, “Don’t you know this is my dream job and that God gave it to me?! You can’t take it away!”
I had to choose if I would listen to all the uncertainties running through my head, or go to God’s word to drown out the fears. God didn’t give us a spirit of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7)
There are so many stories and people that we can learn from in the Bible. It truly is a manual of how to handle life’s circumstances. We have to choose if we are going to take the time to study His word for ourselves or try to handle life on our own. I don’t know about you, but when I try to put together something on my own, I always end up getting the instruction manual and reading it even though I try to get through without it. I usually mess up something without following the directions. It’s like I know I should read it, but isn’t it more enjoyable to just do it my way? I have learned that this is not true. When I choose to trust God, I learn more about who He is and what He wants for my life. When we are in the will of God, we are seeking His righteousness, and everything else is added to us. (Matthew 6:33) For everything is to God’s glory and not our wisdom, might, or riches. (Jeremiah 9:23) We are to have pride in understanding and knowing God, that He is LORD, which exercises love, kindness, justice, and righteousness in the earth: for in these things, He delights, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:24)
When I think of Mary and Martha in John 11:21; 32 and how they told Jesus that if Jesus had been there, their brother Lazarus wouldn’t be dead, I think feeling this way happens to us too. When bad things happen, a loving God couldn’t be in our circumstances, right? Deuteronomy 31:8 says that He goes before us, will be with us, and not fail or forsake us, fear not. So why do pandemics like Covid-19 happen? Why are we losing loved ones that we cannot be with to lay to rest? Why are we losing our jobs? Why are businesses closing? The questions are endless, but God’s love is not.
When Jesus heard that he whom he loved was sick, Jesus said that the sickness was not unto death, but for God’s glory, and that Jesus might be glorified thereby. (John 11: 3-4) When Martha met Jesus, she told him of how her brother had died, and how she knew that even then, whatever Jesus asked God would give it. Jesus responded that He is the resurrection, and the life and those that believe in Him, though were dead, live, and whoever lives and believes in Him will never die. (John 11: 20-26)
When Jesus saw Mary and the Jews that were with her weeping, His spirit groaned and was troubled. Jesus wept. (John 11: 33; 35) He weeps with us in our times of trouble, for He loves us. Will our circumstances be restored as Lazarus’? Our circumstances may not change in the way we expect, but we can have faith that believing in Him gives us life! And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, to them who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) He will hear us and pay attention to our prayers. He wants to hear about our plans and everything that concerns us. (Jeremiah 29: 11-13)
Look at Job and all that he endured even though he was blameless and feared God and avoided evil. Job lost his sheep, servants, oxen, donkeys, camels, and his sons and daughters, but still fell to the ground in worship! He had a great loss, and many messengers came at once with bad news, and he fell to the ground and worshipped! (Job 1) What an example of faith!
Then Job was afflicted with painful sores and still kept his integrity, and his wife told him to curse God and die. (Job 2: 9) It can be hard to keep your morals when those around you aren’t in agreement and especially when your loved ones aren’t believing with you. We have a choice to maintain that integrity or chose fear and lies. Like Job said in Job 1:10, are we to accept only good from God and not accept trouble? Job trusted and kept his faith even in his hard times. We can learn so much from his story and see what real faith looks like—worshipping despite our circumstances and own understanding! Where then does wisdom come from? Where then does understanding dwell? The fear of the Lord that is wisdom, and to avoid evil is understanding. (Job 28: 20-21, 28)
The LORD, our God, turns the curse into blessings because the LORD loves us! (Deuteronomy 23:5) Our world may have met Covid-19, but Covid-19, and our fears, have to meet the God we know! God is a God of restoration, and nothing can separate us from His love.
I am a 41-year old mother of two beautiful daughters that I love so much and for which I am so thankful! They have helped teach me how much my Heavenly Father loves me and even more so, for He is perfect, righteous, and just. I have been with my high-school sweetheart for 24 years and married for 16 years. Our family has its ups and downs but, with God, we stick together and seek to better ourselves as individuals and as a family in Christ. I pray for our Country, our leaders, the lost, and believers to put our faith in God and watch how He blesses us in our troubles! I know in my heart that God has a plan for me, and I will find a new job, and I will worship and praise Him while I am waiting.