Originally published Saturday, 17 May 2014.
Hi, I'm Melanie, and I'm a Christian, working mom... and I think it's about time I stop apologizing for it.
For many years, I've felt the need to somehow justify my 9-to-5, especially within the Christian community. When asked what I do, I often responded with "I'm a software developer." But instead of leaving my answer at that, I've felt the need to somehow apologize it away -- with a list of reasons I need to work, financial information, need for health insurance, my husband lost his job, etc....
Don't get me wrong, I love ALL women as sisters. I love working moms, single ladies, stay at home moms, widows, divorcees, single moms, women struggling with infertility, adoptive moms, etc. We are all in this thing called life together. But why do we make one another feel like if we don't fit the mold of what someone else wants us to be that we are somehow an outcast? Less than? Not enough? A bad mother.
Or, even worse... a sinner.
I don't know anyone else's heart. I only know my own.
And I know this: I am not working a full-time job to find my significance. I find my significance in Christ alone. I am not working to buy myself fancy things. The material things will all just collect dust and then be divided up into dumpsters when I die. I am not working to get away from my children. I ache for them every single day when I leave. Even after almost 10 years of being a working mom, it doesn't get any easier.
However, God gave me a skill that I can use to help my family. I am good at my job, and I don't feel any condemnation from the Holy Spirit for helping my husband financially provide for my family. In fact, my husband has been and continues to be my biggest cheerleader. We are a team. We are in this together for the long haul.
One morning, I read a blog that said Christian ladies could not keep God as their top priority if they held a job -- and applied this opinion to moms / women without children universally. My rebuttal to that would be that when we work, we do it as unto the Lord, not for human masters.
God is and will always be my top priority.
The physical location of my body between the hours of 9 to 5 does not determine whether God is my top priority. My heart decides that.
Whether I am at home, at work, in the hospital, on vacation, etc. -- my heart determines if God is my top priority.
I love my children more than life itself. I would die for them. I would fight a pack of wild dogs without any fear or concern for my own safety. I would sacrifice anything I have to show them how much I love them. Even more than that, I want them to know the love of Christ. When they see their mom cry from never being included at church because she is a "working mom", sweet friends, it hurts children. When other women shame the mom they know loves them, it breaks their hearts.
We have got to stop doing this to each other. Please.
I know this behavior goes many ways. Sometimes, we condemn one another for working, raising children, nursing, bottle feeding, home-schooling, public-schooling, private-schooling, buying new, borrowing used, eating organic -- goodness, gracious!
It breaks my heart...
We should support and cheer on one another! Life is hard enough, sweet friends. Let's encourage each other and provide hugs, whisper prayers, meet needs, laugh together, cry together, and just live life together instead of mandating what each other should do!
Whether you work at a job, work at home, are a mom, aren't a mom, like bacon, or don't -- do your thing, and do it as unto the Lord. Pray and seek God's face. Where does He want you? What does He want you to do everyday?
And when you determine what God wants for your life, stop apologizing. It's between you and God Almighty. Be proud of the person He has made you to be and present each and every day as an offering to Him alone.