Today we will see how all of these things fit together:
- My Dream Job
- Biblical Submission in Marriage
- Experiencing God’s peace
- God’s Grace and Goodness
- No Turning Back
- All in
I have asked Sarah Bartmier to share with us as a regular guest blogger. Sarah is the daughter of one of my lifelong childhood friends. Sarah is a coach’s wife and busy mother of 4 adorable kids, and a fully devoted follower of Christ. Check out her regular blog at http://gracebeforepeace.blogspot.com/ and www.instagram.com/crossanchoredmom/
Having Nothing, Yet Possessing Everything!
Deep breaths, in, out, in, out, I keep saying in my mind as I will my fingers to type the words I never in a million years thought I would ever write; my resignation letter. I know some of you may be thinking “soooo people write letters of resignation all the time.” Yes, yes they do. So why was I struggling? Was someone forcing me? No. Was there an extenuating circumstance putting me in a position that I felt I had no choice? No. Was I ill? No. Had I lost my mind then??? To the world, YES! One hundred times over YES!
My Dream Job
This isn’t just any job I am about to walk away from, it is my dream job! You know, the job you dream about while you are in college. When all this exciting knowledge is fresh, you just cannot wait to put it into action! You feel like you are about to burst with all the new-found wisdom and have so much to offer… if only you can land THE perfect job!
I did not land this job right out of college, nope. I had to wait on the Lord for 12 years; 6 other jobs, giving birth to 4 children, moving 6 times, and 12 years of marriage to my tall, dark and handsome before God opened the door. God did not just open the door for this job it was one of those times when you feel like God has aligned the universe and a small glimpse of heaven has just shined down upon you. Yes, that’s how much I enjoyed this job. I am sure at this point you are wondering what this amazing job is; may even be thinking “ummm I need to know what this job is that you are giving up because I may need to apply for it!” It is teaching Digital Design and Photography to a group of outstanding high school juniors and seniors handpicked by me.
Now you might be thinking… “that’s your dream job?” Haha yes!! You see every day I am working in a one of the most prestigious business buildings, in one of the United States top #5 places to live. Working with outstanding businesses like Walmart Home Office, non-profits, fashion designers, and the Arkansas World Trade Center. I was helping these incredible young people learn the skills to achieve their life dreams right out of high school and seeing it happen right before my eyes! I was doing this every day and still done early enough to pick my kids up from school, be an involved mom, the women’s ministry director at my local church, teach weekly women’s bible study, and did I mention I was living in my childhood dream home?? Picture it… a yellow Victorian style two-story home, the huge white front/back porch, beautiful gable trim, picket fence, colorful annuals all over the yard, and garden growing huge sunflowers in late summer.
Back to that letter I was struggling to type… slowly, I refocus my thoughts on the truth I have felt God putting in front of my heart over the past year; truth that if I am to truly live, I must die. If I want God to yield a harvest in my life, brokenness must happen. If I want to be an authentic teacher to women, I must practice what I teach.
Back when I was a teenager, I felt God calling me to claim Philippians 1:20-21 as my life verse and now I was standing face to face with it.
“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
In the deepest places of my heart there is an excitement bubbling up that I cannot deny! No, not what I ate for breakfast…haha! To the world it might be labeled crazy, but to me it was so clear that what I was about to give up is so small in comparison to all that God is calling me to. Did I mention I have no idea what this calling is?
No turning back
Let me clarify, I am not saying my job was a mistake, I am 100% certain God gave me that position to make a difference in those students lives. I am also 100% certain God asked me to give up that job, that house, my church position, everything I knew to be of great value in my life… with the exception of my tall, dark, and handsome and my 4 children (and of course the two crazy sister dogs we adopted during a momentary loss of sanity). I knew God was calling our family in a new direction, but everything hinged on me, my willingness to give up everything, and truly give it up… no looking back.
So, with that I hit send… No turning back. God, I have never been more vulnerable in your hand than right now.
Open to follow
So where did this all come from? Why did I feel so passionate about giving up my job. You see, over the past year I could sense a longing in my husband to go back to coaching. He had coached for eight years earlier in our marriage. He did his best to not let it bother him, he didn’t complain or gripe about the job he was doing. He actually enjoyed it very much, but I could sense a longing in him to get back to what he felt God had truly called him to. Over that year I felt I was doing whatever I could to encourage him in his current job, tell him how great he was at it. The schedule was great, the money was enough, always thinking I was doing my part as a godly wife to support and love him.
Finally, one evening on one of our monthly date nights, Nick mentioned very tentatively he was feeling led to get back into coaching. He followed it up with “I have no idea when or where but just want you to know what I am thinking.” Initially my thoughts were ok, no big deal, lets pray about it and just trust God to lead. Never did it cross my mind giving up my job would be required for my husband to following God’s calling to coach again.
Over the next weeks I was encouraged by my sister to listen to a podcast about being a godly wife. It was a teacher I had listened to before, so I knew what I was getting myself into… truth, conviction, and wisdom, but never did I expect to have such a conviction over being a submissive wife!
You see I felt I had been a submissive wife. I was raised to respect and honor my husband, that he is the spiritual leader, God made me his helper, and I had even taught bible studies encouraging women to be biblically submissive to their husbands. Now, this is not a blog about the definition of submission in marriage… that’s a whole other study. But here is what I became very aware of: If the man God had called me to help was to be free to obey the calling God had put on his heart, I knew I had to willingly and with joy give up my job.
My job was the one thing holding Nick back from pursuing a job he felt he needed to apply for. He knew if he pressured me to give up my job the root of resentment could/would begin to grow. Nick never once asked me to give up my job, never hinted at it, or pressured me to give it up.
Following God’s call
I came home one afternoon, a day like so many others… full of exciting projects between my students and clients, and through tears of sadness for loss of something I felt I had worked so hard on, and tears of unexplainable joy because I knew I was following Jesus’ calling on my heart, told Nick I wanted him to apply for that job. I told him I knew this meant giving up my job, my house, my church and that I was ok with it, more than ok! No looking back. All in.
My husband got that job. The weekend of June 1st we pulled away from the yellow house, and hours later pulled in to a much smaller home, in the middle of one of God’s masterpieces (Boston Mountains behind me and farmland all around).
Experiencing God’s peace
My calendar has never been so clear, my most reoccurring response to if I have something going on today is “I am scotch, like the tape!” I begin nearly every day sitting on the porch reading God’s word, drinking coffee, and soaking up the beauty of God’s creation around me, our family has had dinner at the table nearly every night, and end most nights looking at the stars with my tall, dark, and handsome. We have less than we have ever had (sold A LOT when we moved), I don’t have a job (outside of being a wife and mother) as of yet, I am completely at peace that God is working out all the details… I have never been at such peace with where I am so supposed to be.
2 Corinthians 6 has been my strength over the past months especially verse 10.
“Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.”
My husband’s helpmate
While I do not know if or when God will provide a new job for me, here is what I do know…
The pride and love for my job could very easily have been what kept our family from following God’s leading, and who knows what the repercussions could be of my choosing my own success over my first calling to be my husband’s helpmate. I shudder to think about the disaster I was so tempted to pursue. According to so many people around me, I had the right to keep my job… I was good at it, I was impacting so many students’ lives, our church needed me, on and on all the reasons to convince my husband we should just stay, and he shouldn’t pursue this calling.
God’s grace and goodness
I love my life! I am overwhelmed everyday by God’s grace and goodness in my life! I have never felt more at peace.
My marriage has never been stronger, and I know that also means I have never been a better mom to my children!
I have room in my life for God to make himself more and more real to me every day! I am more rich than I have ever been in my life!
While I know it’s not the same, I think of this as my Abraham/Isaac experience… God gave me a wonderful life (job, home, church), then he asked me to sacrifice and give it all up, and I know I must be like Abraham… be obedient and have faith that God is working to provide something better than I can even dream of, even though I don’t see it clearly and may never see it clearly this side of heaven!
Friends… What is God calling you to give up so that he can bless you?? I challenge you to simplify your life, make room for God to work out his plan! If I hadn’t, I could have lost my marriage, my relationship with my children, and my testimony to everyone around me! I could have lost EVERYTHING but instead I feel like I have gained more than I ever dreamed!! Pursue GOD! NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION! What are you waiting for?