Welcome to the second post in a brand new series of guest posts on the subject of our everyday work lives. For the remaining weeks of Ordinary Time, I’ve invited some friends to share a one-day snapshot into their work life that will help us see what they know to be true right now about who they are made to be.
I feel privileged to be able to watch the journey of calling unfolding in this week’s guest as she navigates the integration of her various gifts, skills, and passions. I’ve only known Amy for two years, but have quickly stepped into kindred conversations with her and am delighted to share this snapshot of her daily work with you all. While this particular day in her work life includes only a bit of Amy’s work as our church’s Children’s Ministry Director, please know that she embodies this calling in so many deeply loving and creative ways.
Amy inspires me with her commitment to integrating matters of both the heart and mind, truth and grace in her work and relationships. (Someday, maybe she’ll give me permission to tell you all the way she first introduced herself to me when we showed up at Church of the Apostles two years ago. It’s a good story, and may be the best introduction I’ve ever experienced in my life.)
Hi, I’m Amy, and I’ve spent the last seven years as a stay-at-home mom, with a few other part-time jobs on the side. But this year, I am in a transition: instead of stay-at-home mom with young kids at home, I am a stay-at-home mom with kids in school! Even though at this point it only affords me twelve hours of alone time per week, it’s causing me to examine my calling, as most transitions do. What do I want to do with this extra free time? What are my priorities?
What is God calling me to do to serve Him?
I don’t think we should ever stop asking that last question, whether we are in a natural transition of life or not. So I try to consider His will for me for the future, even as my days are full of the various callings in which God has placed me now
I drop my kids off at school and begin my day with a breakfast meeting with one of my current bosses: my dad. In examining the options of what I’d like to do with my new-found free time, the first thing that came to me was helping my parents. They are getting older but are still extremely busy! And as an only child, it will come to me to step up and care for them more and more. They don’t need physical help at this point, but they do need help with their business. So that’s why I am here at breakfast with my dad, discussing work. They run a very successful AirBnB, and believe it or not, that sometimes takes a couple hours per day to administrate! Occasionally I will help with cleaning, but for the most part I spend my time responding to inquiries, booking dates for people, sending information, and coordinating schedules.
After breakfast, I only have an hour or so left before I pick up my son at preschool, so I rush home to do a little work of a different nature. I respond to emails and do a little planning in my capacity as Children’s Ministry Director at my church. And then I get to do a little writing for my blog. This is one of my favorite parts of they day: sitting alone either here at the crafting table (some would call it the dining room table) or on the deck and writing, brainstorming, planning, or just daydreaming - whatever the day calls for. And I’m so thankful that I have the freedom to spend some of my time doing this.
After picking up my son, I decide to do a little cleaning up. I wish this photo could be another perfectly staged one with a lovely little flower in the background, but I figure a huge pile of laundry will be relatable to by most. And isn’t it just the perfect image for the work of a stay-at-home mom? The endless laundry, dishes, picking up, etc. and the feeling that I want to do something more important than these menial tasks (and frankly, something with more recognition and acclaim would be nice, too!).
And then I remember that I can even glorify God in these small things. And that is what he is asking of me right now, and perhaps it will always be so. Sometimes that is a hard lesson to learn.
I also get to organize a drawer filled with my children’s ministry things. And that’s always fun.
I make dinner while my daughter does her homework in her nightgown. It’s still pretty early but she and her brother had played in the rain earlier and were soaked through. She takes after her mom and will use any excuse to climb into her pajamas, and I must confess that “very wet clothes” is better than my “jeans are too tight” line.
It’s finally evening and after bedtime I can sit and do one of my favorite things: crochet. I have a small business of making hats and garlands and other small accessories and it gives me an excuse to sit and work while I watch TV. But tonight I feel discouraged because my hand hurts as I whip up small pumpkins and hearts for garlands. I wonder if I will have to give this up and it makes me sad.
Today was a very average day for me, filled with pursuing my various callings in very small tasks. But I love where God has me right now, and even as I continue to consider where I should be and what I should do for Him, I am content with what He has me doing right now.
Amy works part-time as Children’s Ministry Director for Church of the Apostles in Fairfield, CT. She also authored a children’s book based on a story from her childhood, “Amy’s New Puppy”, (available on Amazon) and blogs semi-regularly at amybarkerwillers.com. Amy loves crafts, reading fiction, singing loudly in the house by herself, writing, and being with her family. She and her husband, Ryan, have a daughter, Audrey, in second grade, and a son, David, who just started preschool.
What about your calling?
What have you learned about yourself and your work as you navigate transitional seasons in your life?
Let us know in the comments below!
A song and a prayer for all of us this week:
(You can read all of the Work Stories here.)