Today, we continue our story series with Monica Flores, a fellow writer, executive assistant, and working mom. Monica is a constant encouragement to me in my writing journey as we have both lamented about the lack of faith-based resources for working moms. I love her raw honesty and wit.
Monica, please introduce yourself (and tell us the many hats you wear).
I am first a Christ-follower, wife, mother, and executive assistant. I love singing, reading, good food (the proof is evident on my hips!), good coffee, travel (though time and money limit this more than I’d like) and home decorating. I have been called “crunchy” from time to time for my passion for natural birth and crusade for “real” food, but don’t worry, I still shave my legs (most of the time!).
What key events have marked your journey? / What is your greatest struggle?
I have spent too much of my life discontent because my life does not look like as I expected it to. I have struggled throughout my adult life to learn contentment and find joy in living the life I have.
I am a planner by nature, and this is a very useful skill in my career as an Executive Assistant and Project Officer and in my role as wife, mommy and even friend. But I would by lying if I said that this has always served me well. You see, beyond planning logistics, I have invested my heart in expectations of how my life would be. I have made these plans an idol and sacrificed my own joy at their feet.
· I struggled with my career because life circumstances, choices, and God’s provision led me in a direction that did not include finishing college. (I plan to eventually, but as an honor student this was a tough pill to swallow. There’s more to this story, but I digress).
· I struggled with being single into my late 20′s because I’d always planned to marry younger.· I next struggled with my pregnancy because we planned to wait until we’d been married for two years to get pregnant, and instead I got pregnant two weeks after our honeymoon.
· I struggled with the birth of my son, because I had a natural, mid-wife attended, water birth planned, and my breech son was delivered via C-section. And let’s not even begin to describe my horrific battle with post-partum depression.
· I struggled with mothering my newborn because I planned for extended breastfeeding and due to latch issues, post-partum stress and depression and food allergies, I was only able to do so for 6 weeks.
· I struggled with being working mother because I had always planned to be a stay at home mom, and really wanted to homeschool.
Are you seeing the pattern here? I have spent over a decade planning and struggling, planning and struggling.
Of course, each one of these diversions from my plans has led me to meet people, have experiences and learn lessons that I would not have otherwise. There has been so much joy and so much beauty along the way, but there has also been grief. I have had to grieve the loss of my own plans.
So where am I now? Well as a family we now have two weeks of homeschooling under our belt. But even that has come in an unexpected manner– you see, I’m still working full time, and it is my husband who is staying home and teaching our son. I can honestly say that while getting here has been a long and sometimes arduous journey, I am so content and blessed at how God’s plans have proven so far superior to my own.
How do you integrate your faith, home, and work?
I love this question because integrating these things is key to really living, and is definitely something that requires intentionality; but I do find that when all is at its best, integrating the three comes rather organically, for one reason– I am one person. I wear many hats, but I am not three different women. Though my walk, my family/home life, and my job may require different things of me, I find that when I am the most genuinely myself and seeking Christ first, integrating the three is seamless.
Spending time reading the Bible, even just a bit at the start of my day helps keep me focused as the day unfolds. I am a big fan of the You Version app and it is often the very first thing I see each morning. Even spending time in prayer and worship as I go throughout the more mindless bits of the daily routine is a help. A pastor of mine once showed us how little time it takes to quiet ones heart and pray– mere minutes really, and something that can truly be done anywhere, my sweetest days are those in which I have stolen moments throughout to focus on Jesus.
As for practical tips on managing home and work, I talk about some of those on my blog.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I have received lots of good advice, but the best has been oft repeated by my mentors in the faith, and comes directly from Matthew 6:33:
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (ESV)
It doesn’t matter what “things” my heart is chasing after day by day (be it a deadline, or a goal or something my son is needing) seeking Jesus is always the “right” answer. Seeking Him first always manages to take care of everything else. It’s too simple, and often seems trite. But it’s true.
Thanks Monica for continuing our story series! Please connect with Monica’s at her blog, A Little Verbose, for more great tips and encouragement.
Does Monica’s story strike a powerful or familiar cord? If so, please let her know!