I always remember my mom telling us that all she ever wanted was to be a mom. My mom is a great mom. She’s an amazing seamstress and cook. She can clean anything. Clothes never wear out when she does the laundry. She always attended all our sports games and ran us to our lessons. Seeing how much my mom loved being a mom made me think that I would live a similar life. I would meet my husband at college, get married, graduate, and then stay at home with my children. But my life turned out differently.
In high school, I developed a love of reading and history. I decided that I wanted to be a part of history so I studied political science. I loved the complexity of politics. I loved analyzing cultures and countries. I moved to Washington D.C for an internship with a Congressional committee. I was ready to change the world and thought I’d meet a fella just as ambitious. Well, I didn’t meet anyone and my internship was BORING, so I decided to pursue business. I applied to go to MBA school but was rejected, so I pursued work experience to build my resume. I started working at a company and I loved it. However, after some changes in management and a downturn in the economy, the job was no longer as enjoyable.
After some thinking, prayer, and research, I applied to graduate school to become a Marriage and Family Therapist. My friends had been telling me for years that I give good relationship advice, but I had never seriously considered a career in the field of psychology. As I applied and interviewed, I was astounded by the fit. My political science degree had sharpened my analytical writing skills. My work in business helped me to understand how to run a business and work with people. Both of these experiences prepared me for my work in marriage and family therapy.
While studying, I met and married my husband Isaac. I decided to stop school after completing my masters degree because I didn’t need a PhD to practice therapy. I also wanted to start having children since I was already approaching 30. After graduating, I formed my own private practice, which allowed me to create my own schedule and contribute to our income. We decided that Isaac would work full-time and be the primary breadwinner. At first, I worked at night so Isaac could watch our son. We eventually realized it would be better to find childcare so I could work during the day and we could spend evenings together. With time, my client load increased and I was earning not much less than my husband.
I went on to have a second child. I continued to love my work but sometimes wondered if I had made a mistake by not completing a PhD. I love teaching but I couldn’t teach without a PhD. As I attended continuing education courses, my desire to research grew. I felt that maybe my gifts and desires weren’t selfish, but maybe they were from God. After sharing my thoughts with my husband, he encouraged me to go back to school. However, I didn’t feel like I could go back to school while raising two toddlers. Then, this past fall my husband died in a tragic car accident. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for my work and my education! We didn’t have life insurance for my husband. I’m so grateful to have options for education and work now that I am the sole provider for my family. I’m grateful to have a career that I love and that my husband’s death didn’t force me to get whatever job was available in order to pay the bills. I’ve decided to go back to school and get my PhD. I know that the Lord has been pushing me and interrupting me along my career path to get me to the right milestones at the exact right time.
Some might look at my story and say, “God wanted you to work because He knew you’d lose your husband.” My education and work is not for a worst case scenario. My education and work are part of who I am. My work has helped me to be a better wife and mother. My work brings me happiness and keeps me balanced. It has helped provide for my family and allowed for my husband to pursue a profession where he had time at home in the evening with his family. Had the financial burden been solely on him, we might have given up precious time together for a lucrative career that never came.
I no longer worry that my children might feel rejected because I don’t stay home. I don’t work to run away from motherhood. I work because I deeply care about my role as a mother. I am one of my children’s most important role models. They will look to me to pattern their life. I hope that they will see that they can pursue their passions and use their gifts. I hope that they will see that work is not just about money but about making a valuable contribution to your community. I hope they see how to balance between taking care of yourself and taking care of others. I hope they see that in marriage, you need to evaluate each spouse’s needs and talents and make life decisions based on mutually agreed upon values. But most of all, I hope they will see that learning is a God-like attribute and one worth pursuing.
Rebecca resides in Lubbock, TX where she works as a marriage and family therapist. In her free time she loves to cook, be active, play the piano and guitar, and spend time with family and friends. She is a widowed mother to two small children who love to sing, dance, and be tickled