The Day I Thought About Becoming a Stripper
It was Monday morning.
Like every other Monday, that meant it was time to visit the grocery store. The sun kissed the Earth like any other beautiful day, but this time felt different. I held that black and hot pink piece of plastic in my hands, wishing the amount of George Washingtons linked to it were as high as the pressure within my core.
That was it. That’s what I had to work with to feed my family of five--and it was all my fault. My decision to attend graduate school opened the door to an era of lack. I could’ve had more Washingtons--heck, even some Benjamins--had I not pursued a career that required an extensive internship.
My family was suffering all because of my ill-timed dream to earn more money to meet their needs. Ironic, isn’t it?
While I was pursuing a degree, my husband was doing his best to provide for our family’s financial needs. Even though I tried to pitch in by doing side gigs, I felt like the tidal wave of defeat just kept pulling me further away from the shoreline.
“When will my change come?” I wondered.
Suddenly, a stream of warm, flowing droplets saturated my cheeks.
“There’s got to be a better way,” I thought to myself. “There has to be.”
How does one go from working to shape the minds of future generations to not being able to find any substantial work?
In a conversation I had the week before, I mentioned how I could become a stripper to help out my family. My friend and I both laughed, knowing that would never be an option--or could it?
The longer I held that little black and hot pink piece of plastic in my hands, the more I thought about how I could take this hit for the team and do my fair share to put food on the table. Sure, my dancing skills were probably as good as a middle-aged grandma (okay, maybe a smidge better), but it would be too dark for anyone to care, right?
In that moment, I knew what every desperate mother felt when faced with losing her dignity or doing what needed to be done to help meet her family’s needs.
Yes, God had promised me He would take care of my family, but maybe He needed a little help. Just maybe things would be better if I took control for a bit. You know, like when Sarah gave her servant to Abraham to have the child God promised to them.
Unlike Sarah, I didn’t want to cause any avoidable dysfunction to my family.
I wanted to preserve the relationships in my life. I didn’t want my children to look at me differently. I also didn’t want to think about how people in my church or community would look at me if they found out about my late night gyrating sessions.
Yet, the constant internal war prevailed.
Should I put on my fiercest heels and work that pole like my life depended upon it? Or should I wait it out and hope for the best?
Could I do as Jesus commanded his disciples in Luke 11:9-10? Could I bear to ask God yet again to provide me with the means to contribute significantly to my family’s needs? I had been asking and asking, but my prayers seemed like they weren’t leaving the ground.
Of course, I knew which answer I should have chosen, but waiting is hard. Grueling even. Like when you’re told you can’t open the shiny, freshly wrapped gift you just received.
Although it felt as if I wasn’t doing anything, I chose to wait.
Just when it seemed as if all hope was gone, my waiting paid off. I was offered a full-time job that would allow me to contribute substantially to my family’s needs. To see God show up like that in my family’s time of need was way better than I could have imagined. It was even better than the joy I had when Clemson won the NCAA National Championship.
Like Hannah, God had heard my prayers. Even though I wasn’t sure if my day would ever come, God knew, and His timing is perfect.
In that season of my life, I needed this gentle reminder from my Creator: His timing is perfect.
I often think about those women whose day hasn’t come yet. Those women who feel they have no other way to pay the rent, buy groceries, and cover childcare expenses. I’m talking about the women who can’t find a good-paying job and those who have been told they make a little too much to receive assistance. What about them?
I used to turn my nose up at the very thought of women who said they had “no other option”. Now, my heart goes out to them because I know first-hand what it feels like to think your day will never come. I know what it feels like to sit in a parking lot on a Monday morning, wishing that black and hot pink piece of plastic had more than enough to take care of your loved ones’ needs.