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Faith and Vocation: Marilyn Youngquist

By Marilyn Youngquist

Give us a brief overview of your work and its responsibilities.

I taught high school Algebra, and later Chemistry, for 5 years and now I am a stay at home mom to a 4.5 and a 2.5 year old and I run a part-time in-home preschool called Potter’s Clay Preschool. As a stay at home mom (SAHM), I am in charge of managing the home and the children which includes cooking, cleaning, making appointments, shopping, managing finances, being the main point person for taking care of the children and making sure they’re survivin’ and thrivin’!

 I want to preface everything with the fact that, while I'm very grateful to speak on my experience as a SAHM,  there are many women who are or have been SAHMs and each one of us is different and I’m only speaking through my experience.

How does your vocation contribute to the common good?

When I was a teacher at Eastside High, it was easy to see how my vocation made an impact because I got paid to work with the vulnerable populations that God has stated that we should care for.  My students came from poor backgrounds, some were functionally orphans, and some were sojourners, so when I transitioned out of that I felt purposeless even though I knew that staying at home was a good thing for our family.

Lately, though, the Lord has been teaching me the importance of being a stay at home mom and how important the very early years are to a person's development.  Although staying at home can at times be monotonous, intellectually boring, physically draining, and thankless, I now see that with every kiss, every hug, every loving discipline given and much more, I am prayerfully investing into a culture in my home that is conducive to a safe and loving environment to grow up in. And, if the Lord wills it, my children will grow up to be secure, strong, noble and kind adults who genuinely love and serve Him,  and I think the world needs more of that.

How do you experience brokenness in your vocation?

Two words: Toddler Tantrums. I had my daughter when I was freshly twenty-four which is pretty young for my generation, and I remember when my daughter threw her first tantrum in a public place. After I got over the initial humiliation, I became a little excited because I felt like I had finally been initiated into The Mom’s Club! That tantrum was a communion that connected me with all moms throughout space and time and made me feel like a real mom.

Now having seen many tantrums since, I will say it is a hardship in my vocation. Having to deal with your child(ren) misbehaving over and over and pushing your buttons while making sure that you don’t overreact or over- or under-punish, etc is incredibly stressful at times. Another brokenness is that feeling so many stay at home moms feel that we aren’t doing enough, ever, which is a tremendous burden.

I’ve also experienced brokenness in having a child with health problems that consume all of your time and energy in all aspects: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. And even in my experience in becoming a mom, there was a lot of brokenness in the labor and deliveries of my children which is a direct result of the Fall. However, because of the Gospel, those experiences have been so redeemed and I count those trials as blessings now.

What do you do to prepare yourself to face that brokenness?

By prayer mainly. I consider myself a relaxed Type A type. So not neurotic like we’re so often classified as, but I definitely  fit the oldest sister stereotype which means that I research and make spreadsheets for just about everything. My propensity is to try to Google all my brokeness away. However the Lord has made it so clear to me that He is truly the sovereign and omniscient God, which means that He knows what trials and challenges I’ll face each day and, like a great teacher, will prepare me for them.

So even though the research will probably never fully stop, I pray all the time now and ask God to give me wisdom (James 1:5), to guide me to areas in the Bible to gain wisdom for a situation or guide my research, and to help me glean what I need to learn during the trials so that I can grow for the future.

How can you glorify God in your vocation?

I’ll preface this by saying that all of these things include my husband and can be easily replaced with “we”.

  • By showing my kids how I attempt to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.
  • By doing my best to create a safe, secure, loving and Christ-centered home for my children and those who need a home.
  • By showing my kids how I attempt to love my neighbor as myself and incorporating them into the things I do to serve my neighbors.
  • By seeing my vocation not as an entrapment but as one that has a flexibility in the workday that most people don’t have.
  • By finding creative ways to show up for people around me who need me even when it’s inconvenient or difficult for me to bring/have the kids along.
  • By seeing my need for people and friends who aren’t in my stage of life and making sure that I don’t neglect them.
  • And finally, by letting my children be a part of events and see me fellowship with other believers in natural and organic ways, as well as in the organized things.