These were the kids that nobody wanted; but I loved being their teacher and they loved me as well. There was just something about being able to give them the knowledge to help them prepare for life. It was like deep down inside there was goodness about them that I could help bring out. You had to let them see what was inside themselves. Let them see their own self worth. Being their teacher was very enjoyable and fulfilling in my life.
Yet despite all this I had made up my mind; I was quitting my position. I was putting aside my teaching position for a new position that had recently opened up. I was becoming a mother. Although my husband does not go to church, he backed my decision to be a stay-at-home-mom. Because his mother had been a stay-at-home-mom he saw the importance in that decision.
When I let the faculty of the school know that I would not be coming back they were very shocked. Everyone knew that I loved my job and was quite surprised I would be giving it up for my baby. They kept asking me, “Are you sure? Are you sure this is what you want to do? Are you sure you don’t want to just take a maternity leave?” I knew in mind that what they were really trying to ask me was, ‘is it worth it? Is being a mom worth giving up your career?’ But it didn’t matter what they said I was sure about my decision and to me it was worth it.
The moment I held Theresa, my firstborn in my arms, teaching was put on the back burner. I had a new passion, a new dream and a new career. I was a mommy now and I loved every moment of it. It was just the best thing. You have this little person that was created by God, given to you to care and nurture for. I had such good times.
When my second child Joseph was 3-months old I got a phone call. It was the Vice- principal of the private school I had taught the boys at. She was calling to tell me that she had recently become the principal of the private school and that the vice-principal position was now open. After thinking about it she felt like I was the best person for the job and was calling to offer me the position. WOW! I was honored that without even an interview I was being offered the vice-principal position.
I remembered the decision I had made about staying home with my children. The unspoken question went through my mind, “is it worth it?” I looked at my precious, little 3-month old baby and made up my mind.
“Sorry I said to the new principal, but I am a mommy now and that is my job.”
The principal was quite shocked by my response, but as I rocked my little baby in my arms, I knew it was worth it.
In all, I ended up having five children. My husband did not have a college education so his job was not as high paying as mine had been. My income had added a lot to our financial status. Because of this there were times when money was quite tight. What it really came down to was sacrifice. There were some things in our life we would have to learn to live without. The bible says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”(Matthew 6:19-21)
I felt that by staying home with my kids, Theresa, Joseph, Mary, John and Abraham, I was laying up some treasures in heaven.
There were some times when things were hard. I remember the time our wash machine broke and for eight months I hand washed our laundry. My arms would be so tired and I would think, is it worth it? I remember when in the middle of the Arizona summer our swamp cooler went out and for 3-months we went without any kind of air conditioner. As the sweat dripped down my brow, I would think, is it worth it? As I looked at the one, worn out dress in my closet, is it worth it?
It wasn’t always easy or fun to stick by the decision I had made. We never had money for extras. We never had money to go out to eat, not even for fast food. We rarely went on vacations. Having a house phone was just an extra expense so we had it turned off. We had no health insurance and no house insurance. Sometimes we would eat the same exact meal, rice and chop meat, every night for months, because I had stocked up on those items when they were on sale. People would say, “ How could you live like that?” It’s called trusting in God. The bible says God will supply all our needs; I just had to trust that God would take care of us.
Sticking, to my decision was a continuous sacrifice and even though it may have seemed like we were really destitute, the reality is that we were really just fine without all those things. The truth, although this may seem hard to believe, is that, wash machines, air conditioners, extra clothes, house phones, cell phones, and restaurants are all luxuries. Things we really like, but don’t really need!
There were times when God gave our family miracles that helped along the way and there were other times when we just had to trust in God. I remember one time we had no food and no money. Somehow I found myself in a grocery store, trying to figure out how to get food for my family. I remember feeling so desperate I asked God, Would it be wrong if I just took a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk for my children? God said, “Wrong is wrong!” So I went back out to our van, sat there and cried.
Was it worth it? I could have been in a well off position with a secure job. Instead I was trying to figure out how to get food to feed my family. Yet, more than anything else, I still wanted to take care of my children. I wanted to be there when my kids got up in the morning. I wanted to get them ready for school. I wanted get them on the bus and be there when they came home. Even though by now my 3 older children were in school, I still couldn’t get a day job because I still had two little ones at home with me. I didn’t want them being taken care of by ungodly people. So I continued on.
I remember one day my daughter Mary came home from fourth grade and told me about something that happened that day at recess. She said that her and a group of kids were standing around talking. All the kids were bragging about their parent’s careers. Some kid’s parent’s were doctors, lawyers, police officers etc…then they turned to Mary and said, “So what does your mom do?” As a child, Mary was very quiet and shy so when they asked her she said that she was kind of embarrassed when she explained that her mom was just a mom. She said the kids kind of snickered when they heard this and said, “You mean she just stays at home and doesn’t do anything?” When they did this Mary got annoyed. She squared her shoulders, stuck out her chin and said,
“Well actually, my mom has her Master’s degree. She could work if she wanted to, but she chooses to stay home with her children because she says that we mean more to her than all the money in the world!” It was moments like this that my decision to stay home was reconfirmed.
Despite the hard times there were also some great miracles God did for our family. When we first got in the church I remember sitting down and figuring out our finances. After paying all the bills and paying tithes, we had no money left for food. I remember praying and asking God to somehow supply food for our family. All of the sudden there was a knock on my door. It was my sister-in-law with boxes of food. “Here,” she said breezing in, “my husband’s mom thought you could use these.” Then she was gone. I was so grateful for the food I called the lady that had them to thank. She said told that she was going through her pantry and just found all this extra food that she wasn’t going to use. So she boxed it up. Then on three separate pieces of paper wrote the names of three families she thought would benefit the most from the food. She put the names in a box and prayed that God would help her to pick the family that he wanted it to go to. Our family was the name she picked.
Another time I had figured out all our bills to the exact amount that I had in our bank account. I wrote out checks to all the bill companies, put them in a stamped envelope and put them in the mail. As I was driving down the street I realized that I had miscalculated the amount of money we had in the bank. We were exactly ten dollars short. I knew that this meant our account would bounce and extra fees would be added on as well. But it was to late, the checks were already in the mail. There was nothing she could do, except pray.
“God, I prayed, you have to help me somehow get ten dollars so our account doesn’t bounce!” We stopped at a red light between Tatum and Shea, when all of the sudden I saw something green blowing back and forth in the intersection as cars drove by. I squinted my eyes to get a better look. “That’s MONEY!” I yelled. We got a green arrow so all the other cars stopped driving. My daughter Mary was about 9-years-old at the time, volunteered to get the money. She jumped out of the van, ran out to the intersection and grabbed the money. (Really, it was safe!) She smiled as she got in the van and said, “It’s ten dollars!” We immediately turned the van around and put it in the bank.
Another time I was getting in the van at the post office when I saw something fluttering in the wind. It was a fifty-dollar bill. At Christmas time we were always blessed with presents for the kids. God put in on a man named Claude Jacot, who lived in Switzerland to give us money twice for new vans when we needed them. God ALWAYS supplied our needs.
I look now at my five children all grown up, living for God. My oldest daughter Theresa co-teaches with me in the toddler bible class at church. She has two foster children and is planning on adopting. Her foster daughter Marry Joe says that she has a happy home now and that her new mom has made her happy.
My second born Joseph is involved in preaching and has done some missions in the Philippines. He recently married a beautiful Filipino girl named Jewel, the daughter of a pastor in the Philippines. Jewel is a blessing to our church with her singing. They will soon be having their own baby.
My middle child Mary loves writing for the Lord. She teaches the young girls bible class and is very involved in outreach and helping bring people to church. She is a nanny to two children and has the opportunity to impact their lives. Mary feels especially called to the African refugee people God led her to several years ago.
John is my second to last. He teaches the young man’s class at church. He is involved in outreach and does the PA during church. At age 16 he was diagnosed with Leukemia. Throughout the whole process he kept a good attitude and I never heard him complain. He is currently in remission and actively involved in the work of God.
Abraham is the baby of the family. He is a hard worker and loves God. When he was 15 years old he moved out of our house to live with his elderly grandfather. He helped take care of his Grandpa for the last two years of his grandfather’s life. Abraham is also involved in outreach and dreams of one day having his own farm.
The fact that I have five children living for God, when they were raised in a home where only one parent was living for God is an absolute miracle. I honestly believe that it is because of my decision to stay home with them. They already had the worldly influence of one parent in the home. If I had been at work instead of at home, their caregiver would just have been another worldly influence in their lives.
I am not saying all this to give myself credit. All the glory and honor goes to God. My desire to share this is that I might help inspire or encourage other woman to make the same sacrifice. Yes, it may be hard at times but if you trust in God he will give you the strength. Our financial situation was extreme. Most men have better paying jobs than my husband. Remember, sacrifice is giving up something good, for something better.