My baby turns 16 years old tomorrow (Monday). Oh my goodness!! First of all, I cannot believe I’m old enough to have a 16-year-old son. Second, where in the world did all those years go? Today my heart breaks not for my son and where his life choices have taken him, but instead my heart is breaking over my choices. I have missed so much. As the “breadwinner” of the family, I have felt much pressure to “succeed” and I have worked many long hours to achieve that. There have been so many times I wished I could chart a different course, but I didn’t feel the latitude to do it. This is the life my husband and I chose…but is it really wrong to want to “renege” on it? I adore my husband, and he is such a good man. I truly desire to honor him, but this is something we don’t see eye-to-eye on. And, can I blame him? I am asking him to change direction in the middle of life by enabling me to take another career path. This would undoubtedly change our financial situation and thus our lifestyle, where we live, and the options available to us.
I cling to Ephesians 5:33, “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” I know God will honor my submission and bless our marriage. My husband has given up much of his life to care for our boys and our home, but what is funny [interesting] is that I know he would rather be out conquering the world while I would rather stay home. (I believe Wild at Heart by John Eldredge is right on that point.) The reality is that he does not believe he can match my "accomplishments", nor my salary, so he stays at home while I work. How did we get so reversed? I know I am driven, have an incredible work ethic, am able to work well with many different types of people and, candidly, probably have a high need for accolades. Success at work feeds those attributes. And so, I progressed quickly…to the point that instead of holding a job, my job has complete hold of me. I make an incredible amount of money and have stock options and other perks, but all I want is to spend time with my family and write freelance. Instead, my husband “gets to” spend time with our boys, homeschools our oldest, is an assistant baseball coach for our youngest, and his creative outlet is playing the guitar (really well, I might add). He dropped out of college (studying graphic design) to homeschool our highschooler. What he views as a loving sacrifice, I view as luxury. There are times I must fight off jealousy, knowing that emotion is so incredibly destructive and “that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21).
But that is not all…as I am also struggling with the environment in which I work. I am painfully aware I have not stated what type of work I do. It didn’t used to bother me as much, but as I draw closer to the Lord and seek His will for my life, I feel uneasy. I know my work does not define me, and I am confident in my salvation, but I believe the Lord is pulling at my heart…and my hands and feet…to consider how I can better serve Him. You see, I work in the casino business. There, I said it. It’s out in the open, and I cringe at the criticism to come. I remember the time when I came across someone from my son’s Christian school (the basketball coach) sitting at a bar in our casino in Kansas City. He asked me how I felt working at a casino as a Christian. It was all I could do to not ask him how he felt sitting in a casino bar as a Christian. Instead, I answered that the Lord knows my heart and that I am making an honest living. I work hard, I act with integrity, and in fact, I work with other Christian believers. My boss, the Senior Vice President at our corporate office, came to believe Christ as her Savior about two years ago. Two other General Managers for different casino properties are born-again Christians…with one desiring to enter into fulltime ministry. We just hired a Vice President of Human Resources who is a Christian. Our Corporate Director of Finance is a Christian, as is the Vice President of Administration, Communication and Entertainment. I have a Bible on my desk, and I’ve invited people to church. I don’t mean for this to sound as justification, and I guess I say it to ease the reader’s mind that Christians really are everywhere and in every walk of life. The first time I realized that not everyone knew or believed that was when I was attending a Bible study at my church. A couple of months into the study, one of the woman admitted to me how horrified she was upon learning where I worked. She wondered what in the world I was doing at a Bible study. So, when she finally spoke to me, she apologized…though I had no idea why until she told me. She said she had judged me and had initially determined I must not really be a Christian, and that she had previously judged anyone the same who worked in such an environment. She said she now realized how wrong she had been, and this was a significant lesson for her, one in which she better understood the Lord’s instruction on judgment and mercy (Luke 6:36-38).
My husband does not share my uneasiness. Nor does he see “a way out” without detrimental impact on our family. So, on the eve of our son’s 16th birthday as I pray for his future and for new beginnings in his life, I also pray for new beginnings in my career, and for a new future as well. I pray the Lord will open doors, my husband’s heart, and my eyes to see the path he has for me. I desire to be a “Career Christian” and while I will need to continue to do that in my current environment, I also know the Lord has plans for me…"plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).