A hand is wiping the bathroom

My Career Came to a Standstill at 26

Written by Voni Lim, Malaysia

At 26, my life changed in ways that I wouldn’t have planned for myself. My boyfriend at the time received a call from a headhunter for a position overseas. When he told me the news, we decided to get married so we could move together.

So I left my job, got married, and we left our hometown. We thought it would be best to not wait for me to find a job first because that would mean more time apart, which seems unwise. With that, I left with the expectation that God would have another job lined up for me; after all, I was putting my marriage first, which was in obedience to Him. Little did I know that it would be the end of my career.

In the first year after our move, I explored different things. I dabbled in painting, cooking and homemaking, and tried my hand at teaching English and Bible studies to children. As a young Christian, I was still learning to discern God’s will for me, so I took the time to seek the Lord on what He wanted me to do.

Although it was nice to get to experience many new things, I struggled with not having a career and not being able to earn an income. All the things I was trying out were seen as “hobbies”, not real work.

When the second year came around, I finally managed to get a job as a headhunter. But I was soon coming home later than my husband and was always stressed and tired and unable to care for him and our home as I did before, which had been a blessing for our marriage.

It was then that I realised that God had graciously allowed me to experience that so that I would know that He is able to open any door for me, even if it may not be the best plan. Eventually, with assurance from His Word, I resigned with peace.

As I continued to involve myself in teaching kids, my heart and attitude towards them changed, and I felt moved to spend time with them and care for them, which was very unexpected for me.

I’d wanted to wait at least three to five years before we started trying for kids. But a little over a year into our marriage, it dawned on me one day while singing the song, I Surrender All, that I wasn’t really surrendering it all to the Lord.

Being convicted of this, we decided to let go of our initial plans and surrender it to God. I had expected to be pregnant rather quickly, and thought, If God had taken me out of the workforce, it must be for something else. Presumably, motherhood!

It has been five years since I’ve left the corporate world and we’re now in our fourth year of trying to conceive. It has been hard, to say the least. I’ve felt confused and out of place with the world. There have been many days when I couldn’t help but ask:

Why did God take me out of the workforce at such a young age?
Why did He give me a love for children yet isn’t blessing us with one?
What am I supposed to do if He doesn’t want me to work, and He’s not making me a mother?

God’s deep work through dashed hopes and dreams

Every time I felt discouraged and grieved, God would comfort me through His Word, through a song, through friends at church. God always, always comforted me at the right time.

I remember once, during worship in church, I didn’t want to stand to sing. I was angry. Eventually I stood anyway, but I didn’t sing because of the bitterness in my heart. But when this hymn began to play and I saw the words, I couldn’t hold back my tears:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end
They are new every morning, new every morning,
Great is Thy faithfulness.

I was overwhelmed with God’s lovingkindness to me. Although I was angry with the Lord (and had no right to be), He was so tender, so gentle with my heart. He consumed me with His grace and mercy.

As I continue to wrestle with infertility and being a homemaker, my husband has been a great anchor and support. Although he also wants children, he has told me that even if it is just the two of us forever, that is enough for him. Just as how Elkanah loved Hannah, he calls me his double portion.

He hasn’t made me feel inferior just because I’m not earning an income, and always backs me up when others make belittling remarks about my status as a homemaker. He has encouraged me by acknowledging the tasks I do for our home, and always points me back to the Lord, helping me focus on what God wants me to do.

A godly older woman once told me that if I keep focusing on what I lack, I will miss out on all the blessings in front of me. She told me my role as a homemaker complements my husband’s role in the workforce—which my husband had told me before, though it never clicked. This led me to realise that my desires and discontentment have caused me to disregard the life that God has given me.

At 26, God kickstarted my spiritual growth so that I would come to know Him better and have a personal relationship with Him. He has made me a full-time homemaker so that I can experience the joys of homemaking and serving my family. He ignited a longing in my heart for motherhood that has deepened my relationship with Him.

God has been more focused on my relationship with Him than anything else, and He is using my circumstances to deepen this relationship. By withholding the things I thought I needed, He has revealed to me what my heart had held so dearly, what I treasured more than His love and presence in my life.

Finding freedom and building my identity on Christ

When I think about my struggles in light of my relationship with God, it has boiled down to my identity. First, it began with how much a career defined me. Then, when I didn’t have a career, I shifted my focus to being a mother. In all this, I have realised how much of what I DO defines me.

For me to learn true freedom in Christ, God has put me through circumstances that challenged my old values and taught me to surrender to Him so that I’m not enslaved by my own desires, insecurities, and worldly pressures. He wants me to know that my worth is not tied to monetary gains or labels that the world values. He wants me to be content and satisfied in Christ, to be secure in my identity as His child.

But to get to that, I need to experience for myself His faithfulness as I struggle through my emotions and desires—to experience His comfort during hard times, His assurance through my pains, to hear Him answer when I cry out to Him.

I am now learning to embrace the life God has given me. As the Lord continues to refine my values, I am learning to find joy in homemaking and in caring for my husband. Having also discovered a passion for creating art, I’ve had the opportunity to grow into a freelance illustrator. This has allowed me to nurture a talent God has given without compromising my focus at home.

More importantly, as I grow in my faith and in the Word, the Lord has allowed me to serve others through discipleship, community group, and other ministries. Having the flexibility of time, I can be spontaneous and jump in to help whenever it’s needed, such as helping a sick family member, or a friend in need of prayer and comfort.

To be content and satisfied in Christ alone is to no longer envy or covet the life of another. I’ve been able to rejoice in a friend’s baby announcement while I wait in faith, to joyfully invest my time in serving others without worrying that I’m not “investing” in myself, and to be secure in where I am now because I know this is His purpose for me in this season.

For all the things I’ve not had—career, motherhood—the spiritual blessings I’ve received through knowing Christ are incomparable (Philippians 3:8). Through the last five years, I’ve come to learn how His faithfulness is not dependent on mine (2 Timothy 2:13); as the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), He knows exactly what needs to be done and He will complete the good work He started in me (Philippians 1:6).

4 replies
  1. Lorens
    Lorens says:

    My focus on God or my lacks? – “A godly older woman once told me that if I keep focusing on what I lack, I will miss out on all the blessings in front of me”

    Reply
  2. Sumi
    Sumi says:

    Hi! Thank you for this article, Voni Lim. I left my career to be a homemaker too when my husband went overseas to work. It was tough to face people. But God was faithful and has been with us. He gave us 3 children whom we have been privileged to raise. I had to wait 3 years before getting pregnant. Trust in the Lord, He will bless you too. He gives us the grace we need for each day.Hallelujah!

    Reply
  3. Sylvia
    Sylvia says:

    This is so encouraging. I’ve been feeling so worthless because I don’t have an income. Just a few minutes before I bumped into this article I was asking myself what the point of being a Homemaker is yet I don’t have children. But I pray that God will open my eyes just as He opened yours. ♥️♥️♥️

    Reply

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