By: Dr. Devon Spencer
As veterinarians we use ingenuity in the clinic every day, adapting what we do to fit a unique problem, patient, client or combination of all three. But when it comes to finding balance in our lives we tend to run out of unique solutions. Our work is very demanding but God demands that we give Him everything.
Matthew 22:37 tells us, “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” He also tells us in Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” These two scriptures have helped guide my family into finding balance in our work and home lives.
My husband, Josh, and I have been blessed over the years in many different ways. This year we will celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary and in that time, we have endured some challenges. As a couple, we survived my time in veterinary school and Josh’s time in grad school in nuclear engineering. We then had to live separately for two years in order for Josh to finish his PhD. We then found ourselves moving half-way across the country to find work. Later, I had to make a career switch within the veterinary world. If we were not working, we were involved in multiple ministries and whatever time was left we filled with a variety of activities. Then two years ago we were blessed to find out we were going to be parents. The dream of having kids, which always seemed out in the future, was now a clear and present reality.
On June 5 of 2015, our son Graham entered our lives and this is where the ingenuity comes in. God had laid it on our hearts long ago that should He ever bless us with children that we would stay home with them. I say we because Josh and I knew the importance of keeping my clinical skills up while shifting my primary focus to raising our child. It was something that affected our decisions long before having kids but also pushed us to follow through when God presented the challenge. We worked it out so Josh would go from working a normal 5 day week to a 4 day week with longer hours and stay home one day a week so I could go to work. This decision has brought many blessings with a few burdens.
- Josh, who is not naturally a kid person has been able to build a stronger relationship with our son, as well as build his confidence as a father.
- I have been able to focus on my specialty of veterinary physical rehab, while continuing to work with my existing department, in order to keep my licensing requirements up.
- I have one day a week that I can speak with other adults.
- I get to see my beautiful baby boy grow up in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior.
- Both Josh and I get to share a variety of ministry and volunteer experiences with Graham.
- We are now a one income household.
- My expenses to practice have increased due to them no longer being covered by my employer.
- Josh works longer days leaving a tired daddy at the end of the day.
As you can see the blessings far outweigh the burdens. Now, do not get me wrong. Were we scared about going down to one income or having long days? The simple answer is yes. However, even the fears have been a blessing because we have seen God come through time and again.
Some may question how I can really do a complete job in just one day a week. I will be honest and highlight a few things: I do work a really long day on that one day. All my clients know that I am only available on Tuesdays and that if they need to get a hold of me to either email or call the staff and the staff will call or text me. This allows me to limit communications to times when Graham is asleep. If an emergency arises and I show up at work any day but Tuesday, the rule is I come bearing Graham. Everyone accepts this and helps to keep things moving as smoothly as possible.
This plan is not perfect but it has allowed us to find some balance. In all honesty, it is probably the most balanced life we have ever had. We are just as busy as before but with the flexibility and the eyes to see God opening opportunities in ways we would have never imagined. He continues to encourage us to focus on Him and as we watch Him work every day in every aspect of all of our lives.
God’s solution for balancing your life will probably look different from ours. God is the inventor of ingenuity and will not fall short on being able to provide you with a unique solution. The key is focusing on Him and letting him take care of the logistics.
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