I was asked to contribute to the Mother’s Day sermon at our church. This is what I had prepared which actually had to end up being read by someone else since I missed church after oversleeping from a night up with a sick baby. Boooo. I was asked to share and since I haven’t blogged in FOREVER…here it is. Happy Mother’s Day to all.
“When I came to First City Church almost 5 years ago, my boys were 14 and 9. I had been a single mom for 8 years. I was one half of an award winning morning show on a popular country music station here in Pensacola. For 5 years those boys pretty much tucked their mom in bed at 8pm and then put themselves to bed so that I could get up at 330am to make it to my show. They got themselves ready in the morning and with the help of some dear friends they got to school every day. Although I had become a household name in our community, I was missing EVERYTHING at home. My kids were growing up before my eyes and I was just too involved in my work and just plain exhausted from my hectic schedule of public appearances, special events, community projects, and oh…..3 trips to Iraq to report from the war zone while my kids spent 3 Thanksgivings in a row without their mom there to cook their favorite foods. Those boys NEVER complained. I guess it was pretty cool to them that people thought their mom was famous, but I knew God was pulling me in a different direction. Although I loved what I was doing and knew I was good (great, awesome, fantastic, a natural, ok I’ll stop,) I couldn’t ignore what God was trying to tell me. To show me. To help me believe.
In 2010 I met my now husband Larry, and his sweet 4 year old daughter who he had been raising alone since she was 2. We fell in love and were married a year later. I began to experience terrible headaches which after lots of research, turned out to be pure stress. I had no idea what horrible effects stress could have on my body. My family size had just doubled, my oldest son was starting his senior year of high school, and I was still missing it. STRESS. Larry and I prayed diligently about the possibility of me giving up my career, coming out of the spotlight, and finally putting my family in the spotlight for a change. I decided to leave the radio station and become a stay at home mom. I did some freelance writing, television, and voice work on my own time and really just became present at home. Boy was it just in time! The pull I felt from God to make this drastic change was no mistake. The time I now had to focus on my family led to the discovery of some issues with all three kids that had they not been addressed immediately, could have been life altering for them.
My oldest son has now just finished his first year of college. I also have one finishing up his first year of high school, my step-daughter is thriving and happy, and……I have a new baby boy. Surprise! We are in love with our new beautiful son who I am certain would not be here today if I had continued on with my media career. As you can imagine, the range of conversations in my home is broad. On any given day you may hear, “Jake I need you to make some time to sit down and go over your financial aid stuff.” “Alex, you have less than 4 months to study for your written exam to get your driver’s permit…get busy.” “Autumn, hurry up and get your spelling homework done before it is time to leave for gymnastics.” “Knox, please don’t take your diaper off again.” Just when I had gotten down to being able to count on one hand the amount of years until my house was quiet again, it all changed. And you know? This is the life God has had planned for me. It feels right. I’m exhausted all the time…but it feels right.
I am now working for an organization, the USO, which happened to have gotten me out of a few tight jams while I was reporting in Iraq. I have always had a patriotic heart growing up in a military family, so being able to serve our Nation’s heroes as a career is quite an honor. I am home every morning, every night, every weekend. My husband sometimes gives me a hard time for packing lunches for all of them every day. “They are 19 and 14; they can make themselves a sandwich.” What he doesn’t realize is I missed so many years of packing lunches, helping them get ready, and taking them to school that these tasks are not the least bit bothersome. I actually enjoy every minute of it. I know that is God’s way of bringing me joy as a reward for taking a scary risk.
Many people ask me if I regret giving up such a cool career. How could I give up notoriety and the perks of being well-known for doing good things? I always answer that I certainly miss it, but in no way do I regret it. I believe that when God pulls someone, especially a woman…a mother….to get closer to her family, NO regret will ever come from that.
So if you are a mom who is struggling with the decision of making a change in your career so that you can spend more time with your family, I just want to assure you that God rewards those who are willing to take a leap of faith to answer His call. He did it for me. It was scary stepping out of that spotlight and giving up something I was good at and getting paid well to do. But I’m telling you the truth. It saved 3 kids. I don’t care if I ever get another Academy of Country Music Award….I am a winner to my family and I would do it all over again. One thing I have learned from all of this is that my plan is hardly ever God’s plan. As frustrating as that may be sometimes, I think back to the last 4 years or so and I remember how important it is to give God control. I have a sign in our kitchen that we all see every day. It says “Let your Faith Be Bigger than Your Fears.” No words have ever proven more true to me.”