Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or you work at a corporate job, run your own businesses or spend your days going from soccer practice to ballet, we all have work to do; it looks different for everyone, but there is always something to do.
I went to school to be a nurse and I loved helping others, feeling productive and being useful. What I was not prepared for was using my nursing skills to nurse my husband, Scotty, back to health after a suicide car bomb blew up 30 meters from his face while he was serving as an infantry platoon leader in Iraq. I quickly switched from 12 hour nursing shifts, 4 days a week to 24 hour shifts, 7 days a week caring for my newly blinded husband.
My new work place was the confines of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Ward 58, where Scotty remained for weeks after the injury. I trusted God against all reason and even though I cried many tears I prayed and showed up for this man every day. I knew without a doubt that God would use his tragedy for something great. I knew that God had a purpose and a plan and I was willing to be the vessel that helped Scotty get back on his feet.
Although I never imaged that I would ever do anything for work besides nursing, I quickly found myself starting a speaking business for Scotty, helping him write a book and then traveling all over the country to speak and promote that book. It became my baby, I labored over this business and poured my heart and soul into it. I was fearful and had many frustrating days learning the world of business; W-9’s, W-2’s, answering emails, taxes and invoicing, but I also got to see firsthand the powerful impact Scotty’s story was having in people’s lives. My little bit of hardship was well worth my effort. I had a part in his success story and in impacting others for Christ.
After a while though, this little baby of mine started to grow into an idol. I was the one all be all. I handled the development of the web-site, the design, branding, speaking engagements, media interviews, book signings, taxes, you name it, I thought I had it covered. I ran myself into the ground, I thought there was no one else that could do the job as good as I could, this was MY baby and I was holding it too tight. I was becoming very ungrateful, I was stressed out and overwhelmed most of the time, when my family talked to me I was snappy and began resenting the responsibility on my shoulders.
Then God did something amazing.
Through my disobedience and ungratefulness, He led me to a complete and utter breakdown. I had to raise my white flag and surrender and admit I’m not actually superwoman and I’m clearly not capable of doing everything on my own. After a lot of prayer, Scotty and I made the decision that I should completely step away from my work at the business. We hired someone to help us and in my mind, I thought the business would fail, some pride huh? God was using this to show me that nothing is in my power, and when we become ungrateful for gifts He has graciously given us, they have probably become too important to us and it might be time to step away.
I had lost my thankfulness for all God had given me because I thought it was within my power. I’m now so thankful for the reminder that God gave me. I could be thankful for Scotty’s success, for my healthy little boys, thankful for the fun trips and adventures we go on as a family, but if I was not thankful for the work God created for my specific hands to do, then I was missing the whole point.
I returned back to work with amazing gratitude and humility. I came back with a renewed spirit and God has allowed me to write and share amazing things, right along with my husband, about all He has done in our lives. When I think about the lesson God has taught me, I always think of this Scripture:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” Proverbs 3:5-6. (NIV)
Just by simply letting go of my burden and being thankful for all the gifts he had given me to do HIS work, I was able to enjoy my work again.
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Discuss: Where are you at today with your job? Maybe you struggle to see how picking kids up from school or answering phones for your boss is doing God’s work. Have you started to feel ungrateful and discontent in your job? Take a moment and reflect on the beauty of where God has you, because He has you there for a reason. Think about the goodness of work and the difference we can make in each other lives by being thankful for all God has done through it. It’s not about you, it’s about HIM.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” Colossians 3:17 (MEV)
Lord, I pray that this will not just be a season of thankfulness, but that as Christians we will be thankful for all things, including the work you have given us to do. Thank you for our abilities and gifts and how we can impact others for your glory. Thank you Lord.