Monday, April 2, 2012

Be Content with your Promotion

No one from the east or the west
or from the desert can exalt themselves.
It is God who judges:
He brings one down, he exalts another.” ~ Psalms 75:6-7

               Another way to look at the word “exalt” is “promote” or “raise.”  At work, we cannot give ourselves a raise.  We cannot give ourselves a promotion.  Our boss can, but where does he get that authority?  From God.  (there are many verses which support this, but I am writing this too late and I am too tired to look them up – sorry!)

               When I read this verse, I thought back to two years ago.  I was working full time, teaching in a public school.   I loved teaching my students and I enjoyed the friendship which I had with my other teachers.  Living on two incomes, our bills were tight, but they were mostly getting paid.  The flashback brought on another question – did God give me a “de-motion” by sending me to work at home with no pay?  To teach only my one child and care for my husband and my home?  Had I done something that displeased the Lord so that He felt I was not capable of earning a promotion in my former position?

               The thought had not even fully entered my head before I realized how wrong that thought was.  As much as I loved my previous position (and I still love hearing from my former colleagues and students on Facebook and occasionally seeing them around town) what the Lord gave me was a promotion.   He allowed me the position which only I can fill – the mother and caretaker of my home. 

               With my daughter who has special needs (and, okay, sometimes my husband can fit into that category – who ever heard of “stir fry” for breakfast every morning??!), no one else is suited to care for my home.  God has brought me through the special “training” (a.k.a. “life experiences”) which are needed to help my family.  He has finally promoted me to this position as Homemaker and Homeschooling Mom because he felt I was ready to be “exalted” to this job.

               But, don’t most promotions come with increased pay?  My leaving the job market cut our household come by 60%!  What does God have to say about that, huh?

               Money is only one form of payment, and as inflation increases, it’s a pretty fickle payment, at that. The cost of a loaf of bread and a gallon of gas are constantly changing – and have you priced a container of coffee these days?  Outrageous!

               Luke, the writer of two books of the New Testament, described a situation in Luke 3 where Jesus was telling people what they should do to obey the Will of God.  Some soldiers (presumably Roman soldiers) spoke to Jesus. 

“Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?"

He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely--be content with your pay."

~ Luke 3:14

            Be content with my pay?  I’m not getting any “pay” to be content with! 

            As I sat there, I remembered every morning when my daughter comes out of her room and says, “Good morning, Momma,” then she gives me a hug.  If I’m especially lucky, she might snuggle on my lap for a few moments while she wakes up. At nine years old, I don’t get those snuggles as often as I used to.  J  However, when I worked full time, our daily wake-up routine was my yelling at her to get ready and rushing her out the door.  Even throughout the day, I will occasionally get a completely unexpected hug.  And, we laugh together.  I can’t remember doing much laughing with her when I only saw her for forty-five minutes in the morning and a couple of hours at night before bedtime.  Such a wonderful “payment!”

            A friend recently asked me about my daughter’s scoliosis, which was progressively getting worse.  The orthopedist even shortened the intervals between her visits.  He had given no instructions on how to help her, so I assume his position was (and still is) to wait until her back becomes bad enough that she needs a body brace and pray she will not need the next step of surgery.  My friend convinced me to try some treatments which could be considered “alternative” treatments, including reflexology and back massage once a week and going to a chiropractor.  For three months, I took her to a chiropractor 3 days per week, though now we have backed off and only seeing him once a week.  Many of those appointments included a wait time of one to two hours, which we filled with school work which we were missing at home.  Had I still been working full-time, there is no possible way I could have missed that much work, so she just wouldn’t have gotten those treatments.  Babygirl also has daily exercises, which she is supposed to do twice a day, thanks to the chiropractor.  If our morning routine, as it had been when I worked, had continued, she would never have been able to exercise in the morning and then in the evening, even if somehow we could have continued going so frequently for treatment.  Current x-rays are showing marked improvement to her spine.  God’s “payments” in this area of our life are incalculable!

            As far as education, I don’t even know how to begin to describe how far my daughter has come. If you have read my previous posts, you know my daughter couldn’t read when we began homeschooling last year, her second grade year.  She ran away from me – literally – every time I tried to start school for the first two months of homeschool.  I tried every “trick” I had ever learned and made up a few as I went, but slowly, God helped me to get through to her.  Even a year ago, she could not read something and then discuss what she had just read.  Now, however, she is able to not only read a passage (first or early second grade level) but now she can discuss intelligently what she just read.  She continues to shock other children and adults with her ability to discuss topics in depth.  She is still uncertain with her handwriting and math, but we continue to work on those skills so she can develop her confidence.  She can now look people in the eye and talk with them – carry on a conversation.  Before we homeschooled, that was an impossibility.  (No, unfortunately I am not exaggerating).  God has abundantly blessed our homeschool so that my daughter is able to learn academics in the manner which is best for her. 

            But what about cash?  We need money for some things.  Couldn’t God’s “promotion” for me have included some type of “monetary compensation? 

               My husband does bring home an income, though not as much as our previously combined income.  It is enough to provide our basic needs.  As Jesus told the soldier: “be content with your pay.” The blessings to my home have been wonderful and inconceivable only a couple of years ago, but this phrase also includes money.   Yes, I occasionally teach classes in writing to homeschoolers.  Yes, I tutor a couple of wonderful high school girls.  The money which I bring from these side-jobs provides a little more to our income, helping us get through the difficult months when my husband doesn’t get overtime.  Contentment, though, is what I also need to find.  I need to be content with my husband’s pay.  Another verse came to my mind.

“Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.” ~ Isaiah 55:2

               Yes, I do want extras. I want a vacation every year. I want to get nice clothes and shoes for our family. I want to have spending money to buy a ten-dollar book on a whim. I want a new i-pad and i-phone with unlimited minutes. I want a new car every few years. Those are all wants, however, not needs.   With my staying home, I am able to cook, and we eat well.  I now run a produce coop out of our house every two weeks, which provides many fruits and vegetables for our home.  I am able to bake homemade breads and healthy desserts (sometimes more healthy than others).   We still eat out occasionally, some weeks more than we should, but we have never been hungry.  God provides what we need. 

               Like most things in life, our current situation is not permanent.  My daughter will grow older, get married, and have her own family someday.  My husband may find different places to work, or even move us to a different place to live.  I will get older, and my health will change.  However, God is using my current position as training for my next promotion, whatever that will be.  For now, I will happily accept my promotion with gladness.

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