One Door closes, another opens...
When I was young I always knew I wanted to get married (even though I didn't like boys until I was much older) and have children. I loved the idea of being at home, doing wifey, mummy, homely things with them. I knew I wanted a large family and a nice home. This was always in the background of my thoughts.
I loved drawing too. Apart from a brief spell of wanting to be an astronaut (so if the world blew up, I could take my family to live on another planet) and work part time in McDonalds (free milkshakes) I wanted to work in fashion. I enjoyed clothes, designing on my fashion world wheel, looking through clothing catalogues and drawing lots of clothing designs. As I grew older I loved watching The Clothes Show, art and modifying my clothes to a more grunge style (it was the 90s). I even remember turning my styling dolls head Betsy into a punk.
I studied Fashion and Textiles and got into my first university choice, to study Fashion Design and Marketing. I graduated with top marks across all categories. I wanted to work in the business of fashion, bringing fashion to the every day people. I was the first in our family to go to uni and I felt that having a career was what I needed and that 'Just' being a mum was not enough of a life plan - I was wrong. I was fortunate that when I graduated I started working straight away in the buying department for high street retailer, New Look. I really wanted to be a buyer and thought that when I had children I would then become a teacher at a university, teaching fashion design and business. I owed tuition fees but thought this was fine as it would be paid off pro-rota to my earnings. I was ambitious and wanted to have success.
It didn't really occur to me that I might not enjoy my career choice. I was so focused on the goal, of achieving success. Yet as a graduate, starting at the bottom (after coming from the top at uni) to do admin work and not a lot of fashion design, was not easy. There was a lot of pressure to get everything right and being at the bottom - you had no one else to help you. At uni, we did not do a lot of data entry/negotiations etc so it was a steep learning curve and at times, easy to loose focus on why you were actually there. I wasn't used to working career relationships, assuming people were genuine friends - rather than colleagues wanting to progress their career. Relationships and trust became a steep learning curve. This was a different environment to other part time jobs I had, had. There were lots of ups and downs. It wasn't what I expected but I learnt a lot.
I became engaged at age 17, so now I was working in my chosen profession, we saved up for our dream wedding. Once we were married, we were excited to start our family. Just over a year from when we were married, we had our first child. He was not an easy baby and it was a massive adjustment. I had always wanted to be at home when raising children but at the time, our finances didn't allow and at that point in our careers, I earned more money. However, during this time, I became a Christian and I prayed about what to do. I decided to go back to work part time. I took a different job, still with the same company and in fashion but with less pressure, working in buying projects.
I grew in my relationship with Christ and really yearned to be at home with my baby but I was practical in nature and knew we needed the money. I became pregnant with baby number 2. At this point, I was thinking about going back to work for longer hours and to hopefully progress my career more in the business analyst/project area because I thought I needed to look to our future. It was hard and I prayed about what I wanted, verses what I saw we needed. However, God had a different plan. During maternity leave I was made redundant and my husbands wages increased completely making up for my lack of income. God provided a way. He closed one door and opened another. He planted that original seed of being a stay at home mum and wife, He provided a way to make that happen. My heart had changed towards wanting a career verses being at home for my family. I did not know at the time, that this would be my calling as I thought at this point it was just for a couple of years but it was the beginning of trusting Him with our future.
There have been many times, especially when money has been tight, about wanting to return to work but each time the door has remained firmly closed. Its been hard to grapple with at times and counter culture but I have accepted this is where I am meant to be and my husband has been blessed in his career to provide for us all. I still have the student loans as I have not been earning to pay them back but I am having to trust that, along with our future, to God. I have to stop myself from thinking uni was all a waste of time and money because I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't been to university and I wouldn't of learnt the lessons/experiences, if I had not worked in my chosen profession. I am not careless about the future but accepting that right now, God has this plan for us and trusting Him with whats to come as He has always provided.
Phil 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus