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Seven Years of Birth and Bravery

Today marks a birthday. And an anniversary. My youngest son was born seven years ago today, which, on its own is very hard to believe. It seems just yesterday I was holding his tiny little hand for the first time. Now, I see him sprouting into this young man full of vigor and lifethirst that astounds (and exhausts) me.

The day he was born marked the first day of my first real faith test. You see, up until that day I had worked full time for the same company for nearly eight years. I loved my job, but the call to be with my children was greater than my corporate ambitions.

This, let me point out, was not an easy decision. My husband and I prayed and talked and prayed some more before I finally went to my boss with the idea of forming my own company so I could work from home. He tried to entice me with a part-time option, but I knew it had to be all or nothing. Thankfully, he believed in me enough to give it a shot.

My husband and I made the same amount of money in those days, so my not bringing in a full-time income was going to be a huge risk. But, feeling led by the Lord, we did what we felt we needed to do.

I often tell people it was like jumping off a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. The ship I was on was very comfortable, even fun. It had all the security I needed; I knew it would float in the midst of a storm. Still, how could I find out if I could swim if I didn't jump? So, that's what I did. 

Now, suddenly here I was with a newborn, a toddler and a new business. That's when the depression hit. I don't remember a lot about the first month after I brought Beau home. I was swimming through muddy waters at this point, dissolving into a puddle of tears for no reason several times a day. My mother finally drove me to the doctor where I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and given a mild anti-depressant.

Before too long, the waters cleared a bit and I could see a little better where I was going. The days, at first, were still challenging. I was suddenly wearing sweatpants instead of dress pants, carrying a diaper bag instead of a briefcase. I was growing human beings and a new business. It was, to say the least, daunting.

I can't even begin to count the number of times Beau accompanied me, diaper bag and all, to business meetings with new clients snuggled into his baby carrier.

We kept swimming.

Over time, I figured out how to balance diaper duty and conference calls, and still managed to work with my toddler on his ABCs.

Today, that toddler is 10 and his little brother is 7. They are amazing little people, full of fun and life, intelligence and imagination. And I can't imagine not being here to witness it.

I won't lie. There have been moments over these last seven years (particularly when wiping poop or barf off of something) when I have had nostalgic longings for the "working world." 

I've often wondered what would have happened to my career had I not left at its height. But, then I look at those two beautiful faces and remember the firsts I witnessed in person: first smiles, first walks, first days of school, first heartbreaks.

I realize that I might have abandoned the ability to buy an expensive home, new cars and fancy vacations for my family by making the choice I did. But, in the end, I realize how much more we have because we followed God's guidance.

I wish beyond words that every woman had the opportunity and ability to chart their own course. Because, as I celebrate my son's birthday, I also celebrate the seventh anniversary of a brave choice - one that has given me much more than I deserve. One that I am ever thankful for.


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