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5 Lessons Learned Since Quitting My Job

July 16, 2014

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Making decisions about your family and children is never easy. With so many options and possibilities, choosing the right one can seem overwhelming. For Sonya Crawford Bearson and her husband, the challenge wasn’t in making the choice for Sonya to stay home- it came after. Sonya shares her story of going from workplace professional to stay-at-home mom and the lessons she has learned along the way.

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4word:  Many women struggle with balancing the relationship between career and family. What did that balance look like for you?

Sonya: The short answer is that I opted out. When I became pregnant with our first child, my husband was in the process of looking for a new job, as he knew his would be ending in about a year. I was in my third year of a 4-year contract with ABC News, working as a correspondent based in Washington, D.C. When he was offered a job in his home state of Minnesota, we prayed about it and made the decision to move. I had been working very hard for 14 years in broadcast journalism, rising steadily in my career but working late nights, weekends, overnight shifts, and holidays and being on-call for breaking news. It’s a demanding job, and I didn’t see how I could make it work with a child or children and be the mother and wife I wanted to be.

4word:  Was that a hard decision for you? What emotions did you experience?

Sonya: I feel like I’m supposed to say that it was a hard decision or that I really struggled with being at home after being a working professional, but the truth is, I haven’t. I believe it was God’s grace to put me in the Minneapolis area for the start of my career as a stay-at-home mom. I know moms who had a very difficult time making the transition, but I was blessed to be a part of “Right at Home,” a ministry for mothers who were making the transition from the marketplace to the home. In this ministry, which was later changed to “Moms in Step,” I found a great group of women who were committed to becoming a true community of believers. We were transparent with each other, helped each other physically, and supported each other emotionally and spiritually.

Motherhood introduced me to the world of women. In broadcasting, I spent most of my time with men — photographers, editors, producers, and even reporters.  There were some women, but they tended to be like me — driven, rational, logical, and not very emotional. Even in high school and college, my closest friends were guys. I preferred sports to fashion, and I enjoyed the straightforward behavior of men rather than the clouded variety of many women.  And after some bad experiences with women in my personal and professional life, I tended to enjoy the company of men. But when you have a baby, all that changes.  When I was asked to be the director of our church’s ministry for moms, I couldn’t help but see the irony. In my roles as mother, wife, and director of a mom’s ministry, I felt accepted and celebrated.  After suffering at the hands of women in my previous job, I now had a community of women that I loved and trusted.

4word: What was the most difficult part about staying home? What helped you adjust to your new arrangement?

Sonya: The part I did struggle with was the physical part of becoming a mom. It was very hard to go from running my own schedule to having to completely turn it over to a baby. When I was nursing my first, I felt like I was trapped in some sort of home-based prison. I was so frustrated that he didn’t do what the books said he would do if I did A, B, and C. As a task oriented person who loved the sense of accomplishing things, I was living the life of someone who barely got anything done. It drove me crazy!

As far as not being at work, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I knew there was no way I could do my previous job and be there for my family in the way I wanted. Since we were in a financial situation where we could make some sacrifices, and I could stay at home, I knew it was the right choice for us.

One of the keys here is that I know my husband respects me. He knows what I gave up and what I’m capable of, and we never play that game of whose job is harder. I have been in his shoes, and I know it’s not easy. He has been in mine, and he knows that he is exhausted after just a few hours with the children. We are a team, and we know we need to find time for ourselves as a couple, on our own, and with our own relationships.

4word: How have you seen God working through your decision to stay home?

Sonya: There are so many examples I could give, but here are some overall themes.

Surrender. There’s nothing like a child to teach you that you are not in control of as much as you thought. This starts from the moment that the baby won’t go to sleep when he should to the moment you feel like a failure when your kid makes a bad decision even though you’ve worked so hard to build a great relationship and Biblical foundation for his life. I have had to learn to let go and pray over the things I don’t have control over. I can’t just push through or will something to be. God is God, and I am not.

Humility. This is closely tied to the previous point. Nobody wants to be humbled, but this has been a season of being humbled. My discipler defines humility as being known for who you really are. When you haven’t showered for days and are responsible for two little lives, there’s not much of a filter left.

Community. We are not meant to do this life on our own. It is meant to be shared. We are meant to need help and to help others, and God is there in the midst of it all. That sounds like such a cliché, but it is so true. Whether it’s taking a meal to someone dealing with cancer, watching a child for a neighbor who needs a break, or listening to someone’s frustration and struggles with their husband or co-worker, these are all opportunities to be salt and light in the world.

Identity. You don’t realize how much of your identity is wrapped up in what you do, until you don’t do it anymore.  I have met many mothers who struggle with what to say when they get asked the inevitable question, “What do you do?” We have all noticed how people lose interest or bypass us when they find out we are “just” stay-at-home moms (who never seem to be at home!). We also know the stories of women on the other end of the spectrum, who struggle with figuring out who they are when their kids leave home because they only see themselves as a mother. In both cases, it’s an issue of identity.  We are not defined by what we do or even who we are, but whose we are.  I am made in the image of God.  I am His workmanship, His masterpiece.  God sent His Son to die for me so I could be in a relationship with Him.  My worth and my identity is based on that, not in how I look, how my kids behave, or in what I have accomplished.

Discipleship.  When I worked in broadcast journalism, I longed for a mentor, someone to disciple me in the ways of God. As a mom, you are also hungry for good advice from those who have gone before you. This has been a fertile time for me to study and obey God’s call to make disciples and disciple-makers. I am involved with a ministry called Lionshare, which envisions and equips people to make disciples. That was Jesus’ original plan for changing the world. It has been exciting to see how God is using my natural skills, personal and professional experiences, and spiritual gifts to guide others on their individual journeys. But primarily, I know that my biggest influence is with my two sons. I am called to disciple them and teach them the ways of God in a society that usually values the opposite.

When God calls you to give up something, He has a plan for the new direction He is calling you towards. Following that new plan can be scary as you face the unknown and new circumstances. Like Sonya, you can surround yourself with community- friends and mentors who know what you are facing. Remember, we’re not meant to face the challenges of life alone.

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What major life decisions have you faced? How did community help you during that time?

Sonya Crawford Bearson is a former broadcast journalist and Stanford University graduate who now happily spends her time taking care of her husband Darren and young sons.  She is the daughter of Christian missionaries to South Korea who began her career in broadcasting at the age of 16, working for the Korean equivalent of the “Today” show.  Sonya worked for many different media outlets including ABC News, NBC News, KNBC-TV,  Orange County NewsChannel, and Public Radio International/American Public Media.  Her most recent position was as a Washington, D.C.-based correspondent for ABC News, and she has served on the boards of the Stanford Alumni Association, the Asian American Journalists Association, and Lionshare, a Christian ministry that envisions and equips people to make disciples. She was also the director of “Moms in Step,” a ministry for mothers at Woodridge Church in Medina, Minnesota for two years. Her life verse is found in Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”


16 responses to “5 Lessons Learned Since Quitting My Job”

  1. Jennifer Williams says:

    I am Sonya’s former neighbor, and I was able to see firsthand her selfless devotion to her family. It was never a chore or burden for her to serve them, as well as others (including myself when my 3rd child was born). She truly walks what she talks. I learned a lot from my time with her, and I will always value her friendship.

  2. Kent Chevalier says:

    I know Sonya from Lionshare. She’s brilliantly committed to her husband, kids and disciple-making. She has impressed me and my wife, as we watch her use her God-given gifts to make disciples in her domain of society and circles of influence!

    Keep up the great work, Sonya!

  3. Jenna Soule says:

    I was in a small group with Sonya during her time in Minnesota and I must say these are wise words from a wise woman. As a recovering task-list fanatic myself, we could definitely relate to each other’s frustrations of feeling like we were not accomplishing anything. However, through the support of the women in our group we learned how to whittle that list down to two essential tasks that we are called to do: love God and love our families. Thanks for your transparency, Sonya!

  4. Knowing Sonya, she is a fabulous example of a woman of many talents, choosing God’s unique and perfect plan for her life. Although I chose a different path and loved being a working Mom – the key is to seek God and create your own unique story – which will give you (and Him) the greatest joy!

  5. Mendy Crews says:

    Beautifully written and most certainly heartfelt! Thank you, Sonya, for being such a godly example and for reminding us of God’s perfect plan for us as mothers.

  6. Jessi Hannig says:

    What a great interview with a wonderful woman! Very well said, Sonya!! I am just completing my first full year as a stay-at-home mom, and could relate so much to many of the things you said. I see it as a gift and a challenge that has definitely strengthened my relationship with God. By the way, we miss you in Ohio!

  7. Joanne Chun says:

    I have had the pleasure of getting to know Sonya over the past year or so and am truly inspired by her walk. Her dedication to her family and the values she instills in her children are so wonderful to see and encourages me to try harder. Giving up a career for the calling of motherhood is not an easy transition but she makes it seem so effortless. I am grateful to have her as a friend.

  8. Liz Fretwell says:

    We are blessed to be Sonya’s neighbor. 2014 started out very rough for our family with an incapacitating injury for my husband and a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis for my mother in law. She effortlessly gave of herself to invite our son for playdates, cook a nourishing meal for our family, and provide perspective on our situation. I have met few people in my life who radiate Christ’s love. She sees His face in everyone she meets and treats them with His love and care.

  9. Jennifer Corral says:

    It was a blessing getting to know Sonya while she was living in Columbus. She was a wonderful example of loving Jesus and serving her family and was a huge blessing to me as well when my youngest was born. We miss her, but it’s exciting to see how God is continuing to use her!!!

  10. Thanks so much for your insight and encouragement. I totally identify with all the ways you’ve seen God work in your life since you’ve been home. For me I would add vanity to the humility part… it’s hard always look your best when you have spit up on your shirt and don’t have time to put on makeup! Thanks again for the article. =)

  11. Laurel Jenkins says:

    Thank you Sonya for sharing with all of us some of your mom stories & what God has taught you through motherhood. Although I had the pleasure of serving alongside you in our mom’s ministry at church, I did not know many of these details about you and wished we could’ve had you share these lessons corporately in our group. What encouraging words these are to share with stay-at-home moms!

    Something that has had an impact on me as a stay-at-home mom is the truth I heard a speaker share. He shared that our vocation is not our purpose in life. We all have the same purpose in Christ no matter our vocation. Our vocation is a means through which God is going to demonstrate through us, to a lost world, who God is & that He is holy. (Ez 36:22-23) What an opportunity as stay-at-home moms we have to allow God to work through us to share Him with other moms.

    Sonya, thank you for being a mom of Christian example to us all.

  12. Andrea Dusina says:

    I feel extremely fortunate to have Sonya in my life and can speak first hand to her sense of community and generosity. Sonya is always willing to lead a hand or an ear. Her positivity and spirituality is uplifting and refreshing to be around.

  13. Mel Mills says:

    Awesome article and great insight! I would not have been able to observe these principles and learning points in play on the outside looking into the life of a stay at home mom. It’s incredible to see what Sonya’s gleaned from this life experience still in play, some of which are not so obvious but very real. It should be an encouragement to many and especially moms alike of the significance of what you do, how you live your life and how God desires to use that.

  14. kary fernandes says:

    Great article to get back to the core of why we are doing what we are doing as parents. How can we influence our kids for Christ if we don’t spend time with them? Sonya took the road less traveled (in her line of work particularly) to be a Godly influence at home with her boys and I commend her for that! They’re not the only ones benefiting from her decision 😉

  15. Joyce Provo says:

    Both my husband and myself have known Darren since he was born and were friends of his parents for a long time. We always saw something special in Darren and hoped that his life would be fulfilling. Indeed it has been as he married Sonya, the perfect wife and mother. Sonya has a special spark about her mainly because of her true faith in God. We have been blessed to see her with all her boys (Darren included), and the love she bestows on them. It could not have been easy to giving up her successful career, but Sonya did and has become an even bigger spark for those around her, including all the friends she has made along the way guiding them with her special love, patience and grace.

    Kudos to Sonya…..

    Joyce Provo

  16. Tammy says:

    Sonya, great example of obedience to the great call of being a mom and a wife after being a successful woman in the workplace. God just transferred the gifts for a season. Never know what adventures lie ahead! Well said!

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