Yesterday my daughter’s blog post was a powerful one. I asked her if I could share it with you today and she gave me permission to do so. May you be both encouraged and challenged by the thoughts she shares:
Current Status: No Margin
By Anne McClane
Over the last four weeks, I have been processing this concept of “margin” in my life. Actually its more than just processing, God has been hammering me with it!
In July, I gave my work notice that I would be leaving my job as a high school secretary. But, I agreed to stay on until they found someone to replace me (big mistake not to give a specific date…but I was trying to be nice! Trust me, I learned my lesson.) I’ve been working full-time for the last four weeks and it has done nothing but confirm my decision to stay home with Rilyn. Not just for Rilyn’s sake, but also for my husband and for me.
Initially, I made the decision to stay home logistically for Rilyn. Aside from my struggle with leaving her all day with a babysitter, financially it just didn’t make sense. Most of the money I would make would go to her sitters.
But since I’ve returned to work, I’ve gained a new and even greater perspective on why it is important for me to be home: Margin.
Margin in motherhood. Being at work all day, even just sitting at a desk, is exhausting. And being a mom, especially to an infant, means no rest time once I get home. I go through the motions of taking care of Rilyn and trying to be in the moment with her, but I’m not mentally there.
Margin in my marriage. Having my work hat on, then immediately switching to my mommy hat also places challenges on my wife hat, which in my mind should be on before the others. It is important that I am available to support my husband both at home and in ministry. In the last four weeks, I haven’t had as much to give as I’d like. Yes, my marriage could survive in this atmosphere, but I want it to thrive. I want to be an active partner with my husband in life and ministry, but right now its taking a lot of work to be more than passing ships in the night. I’m a better mom to Rilyn if I’m a better wife to my husband first. If I’m being honest, in the last four weeks, I find myself being Mom first, Wife second. Rilyn’s needs are screaming at me (literally screaming sometimes). Matt doesn’t need me to feed, bathe, change or hold him. Being home will provide me the needed margin to set my priorities straight.
Margin in my faith and ministry. Sadly, what little time I was finding in the last few months with God, has become nothing. I’ll be honest, yesterday was the first time in four weeks that I even opened my Bible. I’m empty. And you can’t (or shouldn’t) serve out of your emptiness. Romans 15:13 (The Message) says, “May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!” I can’t be filled with “the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit” without spending quality time with my Savior.
Last year, I stepped down from leading a high school girls small group because I didn’t have the time or energy working full time and being pregnant. I wasn’t able to have the deep relationships with the girls that I used to have. And I miss that. In the last four weeks, I’ve had several ministry opportunities that I just haven’t been able to do because I’ve had to make my family a priority with what little amount I had available.
Margin for me. Being home will also allow me to find time for me. This summer, I had a weekly play date with some other mom friends. I miss that time! I struggle adding friends into the mix when I don’t even have quality time with my family. I also struggle with not feeling guilty when I go have some “me” time. I feel like I should be spending that time with Matt and Rilyn. I don’t even have time to update this blog! Once I’m home full time, there will be more of a balance and more margin for personal time.
I understand that staying home isn’t the answer for everyone. But I do believe that its not only for the sake of a child; its also for the family, marriage and personal lives of those who choose that. I don’t think enough people take that into consideration. I’m not quiting my job because life is too difficult. I’m choosing to prioritize.
Yes, I could find a better paying job. But is that necessary? No, not for us. Yes, we will be giving up nice vacations and Starbucks. But finding margin for the more important things in my life is so worth it!
Anne McClane is the oldest of the Savage kids. She and her husband Matt have been married four years. They are the parents of 4-month-old Rilyn. You can find Anne online at www.annemcclane.blogspot.com
What about you? Where do you need to find more margin in your life? What decisions have you made to increase the margin in your life?