My Stay-at-Home Journey

MaebynStay at home dad… that’s my current title but that’s not what I set out to be. I always wanted to be a husband and father but I just saw these things as a part of my life and not the driving force that influenced my every decision. What I really wanted after I graduated from college was a JOB.  A good job, a well paying job, and an occupation that was fulfilling. With out really realizing it, I began my quest to form my identity in a job. Thankfully, The Lord has never allowed me to and here I am as a stay at home dad, more fulfilled and purpose driven than I could ever imagine.I started my professional career as a car salesman. Not exactly the break-out profession I had in mind once I received my diploma. I was barely making minimum wage and i spent most of my time surfing the internet and trying to overcome boredom rather than honing in on any type of skill. No big deal, I knew I was going to quit in a year, move down to Cincinnati, and start my career after I got married. After I got married I started a promising new career in insurance. My father in law owns a Nationwide agency and I thought that this would be the opportunity I was looking for. It was a good job and I learned a lot from those two plus years. Unfortunately, one of the things I learned was insurance sales was not for me.

While still working at Nationwide, MaKenzie and I started rehabbing the house we bought. It was a lot of work but I learned a lot through the process. When I quit Nationwide I started the search for a new job. When nothing turned up I decided to work at Lowes while I continued to look for a new career. I thought I’d at least be able to get some discounts on supplies as we worked to finish our house. Needless to say, I was still a long ways off from where I’d thought I’d be after graduating from college. It was 4 years down the road and I was making less than what I did during the summers in college. MaKenzie and I spent many a nights talking about my dissatisfaction with where life seemed to be taking me. What was I doing? Why couldn’t I find a job? With a kid on the way I decided to take a crack at flipping a house in hopes of turning it into a business. We started the house while I was still working at Lowes and sold it shortly after Maebyn was born. It was a blessing and something we hope to continue to do but, for right now, it’s not something that I could turn into a career.

After all this, I somewhat begrudgingly accepted my responsibility to stay home with our daughter. I wanted my daughter to have a parent around at all times I just didn’t want it to be me. I was thankful that our daughter did not have to go to daycare, I just didn’t want to be the one staying home. I wanted to be the provider, I wanted the satisfaction of providing, and I was jealous of all the success MaKenzie has had in her career. Why the hell were our roles so reversed?

Through this whole process God has deeply humbled my heart. I spent the vast majority of our first 4 years of marriage complaining, whining, and being ungrateful for what was going on in our lives. When I look back now, I think to myself, Wow, what a waste of precious time! I did not believe that God was working for my good. I thought, He is screwing me and I don’t deserve this. Does He not see how hurt I am? I’ve been good, tried to live a good life, I deserve a good job. Thankfully, in His time, He has humbled me, crushed what I deemed as important, and had enough grace to reveal to me what He deems as important. My identity is found in being His son, and He is teaching me everyday through being a husband and a father more and more about life.

I still want to work and I still want to provide for our family but I am now thankful for my previous failures because it has opened my eyes to God’s grace and understanding of what it actually means to be a father. These are all insecurities that are still alive and well inside of me, but my hope rests not in my failures but in the provision of The Lord. There’s freedom in releasing yourself from the constraints of what our culture/society deem the norm. It can be scary to be different than what you’ve always thought you’d be, or find yourself in a situation you never thought you’d be in but the center of God’s will is the place I pray I always find myself and my family in, no matter how different or non-conventional it might look to the world. He is guiding my heart and aligning it with His so that I can be the leader our family needs. I’m seven months in and I can not believe how in love I am with being a dad.

Ross
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