a testimony I've been waiting to share

1, 2, 3, 4
12, 3, 4  

Disclaimer: this post is not me forcing my opinion about whether or not moms should work, it is only me sharing our testimony of what we believe the Lord has for us and what He's done for us. I know really wise, God-fearing women who work in the home and really wise, God-fearing women who work outside of the home too. And don't even get me started on single mamas. Working their sweet tales off in the home & out of the home. My heart is for you ladies. Bottom line: no condemnation here for anyone, ok? 

At dinner with friends the other night, we shared what we believe are the most common misconceptions about ourselves. I feel that mine, by far, is that I'm a mom-mom. You know what mom-moms are right? The girls that dream of being moms. That girls that got married to be moms. That were born to be moms. I'm no mom-mom. I've been terribly surprised at how much I love being a mom, but my intentions when we got married were a) not get pregnant for a looooong time (we lasted 8 months) and b) NEVER have kids close together (bahahahahhaha). My Nana can't take one look at me & my brood without declaring, "and we thought she'd NEVER have kids". 

So naturally, I began working outside of the home shortly after having Elias and was convinced I'd work outside of the home once Glory was born. Cause there was NO WAY I was staying home with two under two. Very long story short, my husband sat me down one evening and explained extremely lovingly and patiently that his end goal, his vision for our family, was not that I continue working outside the home. He knew that was terrifying for me and he wanted to walk slowly towards our goals, but he truly believed that to have the family dynamic he longed for - I'd have to walk towards the Proverbs 31 idea of "working at home" and he'd have to head 1 Timothy 5:8 very seriously. To be totally honest, I've learned enough that when Nick has an idea - it's usually a good one. I agreed and told him I'd give it a shot, though I had no idea what I was getting into. 

Skipping ahead in the story, we moved cross country to run a maternity home, had another baby (three under three, oh my) and when we left the maternity home two and half short years after having that first babe - I found myself a true stay at home mom, in a horrible economy, with three kids, no family nearby, and a husband in grad school. 
This is when the real testimony begins. 

Um, are we SURE about this? That's all I could think. 
I had a 2 year old, a 1 year old, and a newborn. 
No money, husband out looking for work every day. 
Sharing a car. 
Wonderful friends but no family to help out. 
Sweet husband in grad school. 
This wasn't being a "stay at home mom", it was just torture. 
An Anthropologie opened in the area. 
It would be so easy to just go. 
I'd managed there before. 
So we did it.
Only NICK applied, not me.

I think most of our family was confused about why I didn't just hop out and get a job, or at least try. But ya'll, we'd read all the scripture on Biblical marriage roles and our interpretation was that if the Lord intended for Nick to provide - He would provide for the providing. I had some incredibly, incredibly rough days as a mom that year and Nick had some incredibly, incredibly awful days searching for jobs and working at whatever he could find. We had ridiculously hard nights worrying about our family, praying for our family, releasing the care of our family to the Lord. And when we really asked Him what He wanted, we felt He always directed us to let Him provide financially through Nick, while I worked at home. At one point, I even tried tirelessly to do design work at home but it was a no-go. The inspiration, the customers, none of it came to me. 

What did come was intense trial-by-fire mothering. And Nick experienced leading a family through poverty while trying to keep himself encouraged. We both went through some of the hardest things that our biblical roles had to offer and the Lord provided. We lived WELL below the poverty level but we never missed a meal, our power was never turned off, and we had all that we needed. We rarely had want we wanted, but it was still one of the most powerful seasons of God working in our life. And we're thankful, not just to the Lord but to the friends and family who loved us and blessed us during that season. 

And now we're here. 
It's not a world of difference. 
Nick has a full time job and we're fairly certain that every job he has after this one will (Lord willing) be in ministry. I'm still at home with the kids. But here is the difference: we know how little we can live on. We know what we can do without. We know what it means to bless others when they need it, because we've been so incredibly blessed. I'm still wrestling with my biblical roles and Nick still wrestles with his and on bad days, I want to drive to Charlotte, walk in to Anthropologie and ask for my job back. And you know what, I think a lot of times - my kids would probably LIKE a nanny more than they'd like to be here with me. But the growth and fruit the Lord has set aside for us this season is more often found on the floor with my kids playing or laying in their bunk beds after a temper tantrum, talking about the gospel. You'll find growth when I'm praying through my frustration of not having a dishwasher, or when Elias asks why we live in such a small house, or when I put Benjamin in time-out even when it hurts my heart to do so, or when we bounce back from a bad day by throwing on some worship music & having a dance party. 
It's so hard for me and it's definitely not my dream job, 
but there's no where I'd rather be. 

And, for whatever reason, the Lord is prospering my little Etsy shop. I felt certain He told me to try design work back in April and I've been incredibly thankful for how He has faithfully brought customers to the shop & readers to the blog. I consider it God's vision for me "selling sashes to the merchants" like Proverbs 31 talks of. Also, we REALLY could've used that money to by BREAD AND MILK two years ago, and now we're able to bless others through adoption fundraising and fun things like that. So He chose not to grow it then and TO grow it now, and we're just kind of holding it all up to Him and asking Him how to use it. And not only has He brought business, He's brought ABILITY. He's given me the creativity and the time to run this shop & this blog and all the while, my kids don't know the difference. They wouldn't know what a blog is if you asked them and they could care less about Etsy.  

And that is our story. And maybe yours is totally different or maybe it's the same. And maybe you interpret scripture differently and I am totally ok with that. It's between you, and the Lord, and your husband. But my story is for the women who worry about money and more than money - they worry about ability. You can do it. 
Scratch that, you CAN'T do it. But He can. 
He'll provide. 

And, I want to share with you some other moms that are in the same spot, staying at home, doing side businesses to bless their family or their communities. My desire is that you'd want to bless them with some business as well.
Ellen from Handmade Recess makes INCREDIBLE bags
Danielle at Sugar Money is raising money for their adoption
Sara sells Noonday Collection to raise money for her adoption
Katie sells amazing TopKnotz Bows
Tiffany does great art of all kinds at Lalalu
Courtney from MaddyNBella will blow your mind with her jewels
& Laura from Splendor rocks my socks
Jacy at Lucylucybangbang has some BANGIN' dish towels   

and a deal for you: 
And in honor of all moms, future moms, or people supporting mamas selling' their sashes, here is a coupon code to my shop good for this whole weekend: use code SASHES for 10% off. Happy friday.