Updated: Aug 16, 2021
It got me thinking about all I've given up. Why I did it. And all I've gained. It's been almost 7 years now.
The things I gave up when I left my job as a biology lab researcher were everything HR touts: great salary, lots of paid time off, health benefits, 401K, pension, room to grow my career with a major pharmaceutical company... ALL the things. And, I left all the intangibles: dear friendships you build over days, months, years of lunches and conversations across lab benches with interesting, caring, smart people. I walked away from it all.
I know God doesn't call every mom to stay home. I am confident that he uses some women in the workplace. He placed me there for 10 years, and it was a challenging and rewarding experience that I wouldn't trade for anything. It played a part in forming who I am today. But for some, there's a moment when there's another path to be taken, a road less traveled.
This is why I did it. Because when my boys woke up in the middle of the night, they didn't call for me. They called for daddy. My husband is fun. He's tender. He's tough when he needs to be, and he expects a lot. Our boys ADORE him. But he was playing the leading parenting role for those years when I commuted and worked a 40 hour week, and I realized that the years of boys sitting in my lap, letting me kiss chubby cheeks, and making childhood memories were passing me by.
It was so much harder to be home than I ever imagined. I had seasons of anxiety that clouded my days. I missed those annual reviews, the pats on the back from bosses happy with my hard work. I worried about finances, skimping and stressing. I feared that I would have to go back to the corporate world, and I worried that when the time came for me to seek employment the right thing wouldn't be there.
But when the right time came, our boys' wonderful school, Highlands Latin School, had an opening for someone to teach biology to high school students, and I found a way to share my passion and experience with another generation of scientists.
And when the time was right, God inspired me to do something I never dreamed of... start Audra's Gardens. It has been an exhilarating whirlwind of learning new things... photography, marketing, website design, succession planting, flower conditioning techniques. And I have praised God countless times for the ways he's shown up. In those tiny moments I feel a shared pleasure with the Creator in admiration of his handiwork, work in which he lets me participate.
The other way God has blessed us in all this is that Justin's business has absolutely exploded in the last 7 years. You may know that he designs and builds AMAZING period furniture. It's a burning passion that he has pursued for the last 14 years, and since I started staying home, God has brought client after client across his path, people who love traditional furniture as much as Justin does. For this, I credit my husband's incredible work ethic, unparalleled talent, and passionate spirit for his craft. And to God's provision for our family. (www.kauffmanfinefurniture.com)
Last but not least, the biggest blessing from that decision. These THREE blessings. Memories I will carry to the end of my days. Summer days with no agenda, splashing in the kiddie pool. Polar vortex when I had no commute, but instead we made hot cocoa the old-fashioned way and built forts. Lunches at my parents', hanging cloth diapers on the clothesline, days I was so anxious that I asked my 6-year-old to pray over me, passing on my love of cooking to our oldest, sharing my love of growing flowers with our middle son, reclining in the lazyboy with our youngest, reading book after book while I drank my coffee, every single day.
And it has been worth every anxious week, all the lost career notoriety, every financial sacrifice we've made. All the praise to God for his leading and his blessing through this and every season.
If God is calling you to something scary, something that feels risky or unknown, don't sit in the familiar and comfortable- you may be missing out on the best opportunity of your life!