Working for It

Someone I greatly respect once said, “Everybody’s praying for a blessing, but it’s rare that money just falls into your lap. Sometimes getting a blessing means you’ve gotta put on your work boots and get dirty earning it.”

That’s probably not an exact quote, but what he’s saying is so true.

I’ve been pretty transparent about the financial impact adoption has had on our middle-class family. I don’t do that to be all “pat me on the back and pity our sacrifice.” Not at all! Throughout the two-year process, I was blown away by the times that God answered our prayers with a surprise windfall that fell into our laps. It was always timely and as you can see, our daughter is home now and God is good! Every single day, I pray He multiplies that money back to all who graciously gave. At the same time, a lot of the money, we did have to get “dirty” and earn. And now that we’re in the recovery phase of coming back up from the expenses of the last few weeks of the process, Donnie and I have been praying for the blessing of extra work to come our way.

God, as always, has answered. He graciously sent Donnie a freelance job that will help a lot when it’s finished, but that’s going to be a while from now. And there are a couple of new writing projects on my horizon that will cause a nice trickle of pocket money once they’re established. But it’s not really answering our prayers for the short-term.

I prayed a simple prayer this morning: “God, you know. You know what’s needed and when. Please provide a way to earn this. I know you will. Thank you for loving us.”

Then I checked my email. And there was a message from a prior client, asking for help finishing a big project that’s due by the end of July.

Yes, God!!! (insert fist pump!)

Here’s the catch, though. It’s not “fun writing.” It’s pretty boring repetitive content that could possibly rival watching paint dry on the Scale of Enjoyment. But it’s a direct answer to my prayers and I’m thankful for the opportunity.

As a mom, I worry that we’re raising a generation of kids unwilling to accept the boring or mundane. They all want to be famous, but few are willing to put in the hard work required to attain fame. It’s not only in my house; I hear from far too many moms that kids turn their noses up at manual labor or anything that might get them dirty or tired.  I think the blame falls squarely on our feet because virtually everything our kids want or need has been dropped into their lap with little or no effort on their part in earning it.

I know I’m guilty of being the food-fairy, the clothes-fairy, the toy-and-video-game fairy and letting the kids be slothful because it’s easier than arguing with them.

Bad mom. Bad! (insert self-wrist-smack)

I’m going to take a minute to brag about my oldest child, though. He did not say “no” to the boring, dirty and mundane when offered a summer job doing lawn maintenance where my husband works. He weed-eats, under the hot Georgia sun, eight hours a day, five days a week. He comes home every night exhausted, filthy, and for the first week, with blistered palms and feet. But he’s gotten used to it. He’s lost ten pounds, gained a bunch of muscle and sports a deep Coppertone tan. And he’s earning 10 bucks an hour, which is not at all bad for a 16-year-old.

But I think the greatest gift he’s getting this summer is learning the value of hard, physical labor at a relatively young age. (And learning it while working for someone other than Mom or Dad, because bosses aren’t going to put up with any whining or slacking-off.) In this era of easy-everything, I think that lesson is worth a hundred times more than any money he earns this summer.

It’s a blessing when you can earn a living doing something you love. But it’s been my experience over the course of life, that much of the time, you have to be willing to say “yes” to the dirty, tiring, and less-desirable. But there’s never any shame in good, hard work.