Late in 2019, I officially made the decision to quit my job and stay home with my daughter. It was simultaneously the hardest and easiest decision I’ve ever had to make. It was hard because I love my former colleagues at the community college and enjoyed working with them; it was easy because, I mean, have you seen my daughter?
She is the most incredible thing.
Another reason it was hard to leave my job is God used me at the college in ways I never anticipated. I knew my role there would put me around many different people every single day, but I didn’t expect I would have so many great conversations. I talked about more things than God and the gospel, but man, I was able to talk about God and share the gospel a lot over the two years I was there. That in itself was a huge blessing,
but there was more.
Through mutual friends, I connected with a Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) leader from a nearby university and helped to start a weekly Bible study, and the conversations I had in my immediate work space led to the most consistent attendees. This Bible study was another huge blessing–
but there was more.
The Bible study led to some students asking me if I would advise them as they formed a Christian student organization. This was the goal of the Bible study, so when they asked, of course I said, “Yes!”
With all the things God was doing on campus, I really struggled with the thought of leaving. If I left, would these conversations stop? Would the Bible studies and fellowship come to an end? God is clearly using me here; why would I leave?
Would I be crazy to leave?
I wrestled with these questions even though I knew in my heart I would be leaving to be home with my baby. God had been calling me to stay home, when the time came, for years.
Driving home one evening, I was praying audibly, and rather angrily, for clarity on what to do (even though I already had clarity–I was just fighting God). It was then that God humbled me:
You’re not the one softening hearts on campus, Natalie. I AM.
And this wrecked me. God wrecked me. Of course God was doing the work, and he would continue to do this work with or without me. That evening, I knew with 100% certainty that I would be staying home.
When my maternity leave ended and I went into work for a few days to close out, I was a mess. I loved my job. I took a gigantic (read: 50%) pay cut and moved an hour east so I could have it. I fell in love with the school and the people there, and leaving was hard.
But those three days back on campus blessed me more than I can even attempt to explain. I had seen some fruit from the conversations I’d been able to have over the last two years, and the student organization was, of course, a growing fruit tree!
But once again, God had more for me.
He gave me the opportunity to invite some people to church and opened up even more conversations in just the three days I was there. A colleague of mine said that knowing me has helped her better understand the concept of grace–that indeed it comes from God, but we can show it to each other, too. Another colleague, a believer, told me that I was a very bright light on campus and a true picture of Jesus, and God gave me time to pray over that same colleague who was going through some trials.
If God wrecked me when he told me that he was the one doing the work on campus, God destroyed me those last three days. “Are you sure about this God? Do I really leave this place?” I asked.
And he said to me, “Yes. Go home. Well done.”
What a wonderful God we serve! What a good and gracious King! What a kind God, to choose me to be his messenger and to give me clear closure when my time there was over. My heart rejoices–with tears!–over the things he has done on campus throughout the last two years. He is so good!
And because he is good, because he is beautiful, because he is sovereign, I know this new role at home will be as fruitful as the previous one. Praise God!
How is God using you where you are? Do you need to step out in faith? If you don’t know, ask him to show you. That is a prayer he will be glad to answer!
P.S. Lately, I have been trying to incorporate scripture into my prayers. The Psalms are a great place to start for this. If you want to rejoice in the Lord in prayer, Psalm 100 is a good one!
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
3Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
5For the Lord is good;