Fearless Faith, Mission Motherhood

One Body

Lately I’ve found it difficult to communicate that I feel like I’m currently incompetent in my job.  No one likes admitting a struggle…especially when (in my mind) so many people would be like, “What are you talking about?!  You’re a stay-at-home-mom!  How can you be incompetent at staying home?!”  Well, I have a 7-year-old who is at school during the day, but I’m home with a 2-year-old and a 2-month-old and I feel like I’m drowning.  My entire adult life has been devoted to working with children and learning about children and playing with children and helping and laughing and guiding children.  So in this time that I’m home with my own two children, why is it that I feel like I’m not enough?  Why is it that I feel like I’m unable to provide the consistency, structure, flexibility, and grace that I’d be providing in a classroom?

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I start working when the first kid wakes up…which on some days is 4:00am…some days is 7:00am…  Eventually they nap, and IF I’M LUCKY it’s at the same time…so then I clean…and, by the time I think I have a second to get my thoughts together enough to read or write or take pictures or stare at the wall for 30 minutes– 52 seconds have gone by and one of the kids is awake again.  I typically smell of coffee breath and baby puke…and there have been times when I’ve felt resentful toward each and every living thing in this house– including my children and the dogs…because they are yet another thing that I stress about as I’m drifting to sleep at night:  Do they [the dogs] have food?  Have they had any water today?  Oh my God, I don’t think I let them out after dinner…wait…DID THEY GET FED?  How is October still alive?…but, really, does she have an ear infection?…and what is that rash on her belly?–She is SO old…HOW IS SHE STILL LIVING?  Oh my Jesus, Tommy will be devastated when she dies…I HAVE to make sure I’m the one to find her.  Geez, then what will I do?  I can’t lift her……  I wonder if Tommy gave her meds tonight…because I gave her meds…did I unintentionally overdose her?  Can dogs have kidney failure?  Oh my GOD, Summit had to have just pooped on the floor…No?  THAT was just GAS?!  Uhhhhhhhh why am I not sleeping?!  …DID we overdose October?  I hope she’s okay…Uggggh…I’ll just get up and go check on her…

Does that sound familiar?  I know I’m not the only mom who does this.  I’m sure there are dads that ALSO do this very thing…but not in my house, because my husband can fall asleep in about 45 seconds and will not wake until ready to be woken.  Doesn’t that sound AMAZING?!  I hear EVERYTHING…and, as soon as I’m awake, the cycle of thoughts starts all over again: Please tell me there aren’t wet clothes in the washer…I think I switched them…but I really don’t want them to smell like mildew…I should get up and check…but what if Jett hears me?…wait, when did Indie eat last?…should I just go ahead and feed her while I’m awake?…oh, she’ll be due to eat in 30 minutes or so…I might as well just stay up……

At small group a few weeks ago, we read 1 Corinthians 12:12-26– And, while I’m sure the author did not intend for these words to apply to household roles, I couldn’t help but feel a wave of comfort as I allowed this scripture to sink in.

Unity and Diversity in the Body

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

–I’d love to say that I immediately relate this piece to my relationship with the world…or with the church…and how I can be Jesus alongside everyone and to everyone because we all have something vital to offer…sometimes what I need to do is bring it down reeeeeally small, put on my egocentric shades, and apply it to where I am right now.  This might not be the case for you, but for this stay-at-home-mom, it’s easy to let my mind drift to:
“Well, I’m not earning a paycheck…”
“Well, I’m home all day…why have I not gotten the laundry caught up?”
“…Why are there still dishes in the sink?  …Why has the vacuum not left the closet in three weeks?  …Why does the bathroom smell like urine and why is there toothpaste residue?”
“Well, I’m home all day…why does my barely-two-year-old not know his colors, shapes, and alphabet?”
“Why is dinner not ready?”
–But, after reading this, I’m trying to give myself more grace and to give God more credit.  I have always felt equipped to work with children…the difference now is that I am working with the same children every minute of every hour of every day for years– and it often feels like there are no true breaks. There’s no clocking out…and my role rarely changes. I am “Mom.” And even though “Mom” wears so many hats, the role is still “Mom.” Everyone in our home has a role…everyone has a job… Is my job any less important because I’m “not earning a paycheck?”  Is my husband’s job any more important because he does?  Am I failing miserably at my job because I’m unable to mark every single task off my to do list every day?…or is my husband failing miserably because he’s continuing to wear clean clothes to work and therefore producing laundry?  …Just as my life would be significantly impacted if my husband suddenly quit his job, his life would be significantly impacted if I suddenly quit mine.  Even when I think I’m getting nothing accomplished, I’m drowning in baby puke, and I’m a lousy excuse as a stay-at-home-mom…I need to remember that: “As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” No single person makes our family the unit that it is– it’s a collective effort from each part to produce one body from our house and transform it into our home.

Isn’t it amazing how a piece of literature from thousands of years ago has the ability to be this breathable document that can provide so much peace and clarity to present day circumstances?–and it might not provide that to anyone else…but, for me, it was exactly what I needed to hear. Has there been an instance in which you’ve stumbled upon the perfect scripture to shine light on a current or past dilemma in your own life? We would love to hear your stories! Feel free to comment below or join our Facebook group of the same name: Birds of a Feather. Thanks for flocking with us!

Fearless Faith

Purpose

Does anyone really know what their life purpose is? Is it ever a stagnant purpose? 

I feel like I’ve always been hunting for my purpose, trying to find what fits, what makes a difference in the world. And today, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that our purpose changes. God uses us where he needs us when he needs us. There are seasons of our life where our purpose may be one thing and another season where that totally shifts. 

I started a bible study at my church a few weeks ago and today’s meeting is what helped me come to the realization that our purpose can shift.  At the beginning of the study I even wrote in one of the margins of the workbook, “where do I fit in the bigger picture?”  And today after our video lecture I got together in a small group with 2 other ladies and they helped me reach the conclusion that right now I am fulfilling my life’s purpose. 

Our study is based on the book “Who Turned Off My Brain?” by Dr. Caroline Leaf. And in this week’s video lecture she touched on the stress that we put our children under and how the stress hormones affect their organs, their growth hormones, and their ability to cope with stress later in life. She focuses on the needs of kids and how they just need to be played with, loved on and made to feel safe and secure. 

So when we were asked to get in groups I paired up with a couple of ladies sitting nearby – both in very different seasons of life from me and from each other.  One woman is a grandma and she spoke to our group about how hard it is to hear these things and look back and see all the things she had done wrong while raising her kids, all the ways she could’ve done better if only she would’ve known some of the information she is learning now. 

The other woman is a working mother of two children, ages 7 and 9. Her husband works two jobs and they have a small hobby farm with goats, chickens and ducks. She was in tears expressing to our group how she carries this guilt around because she doesn’t get to spend enough time with her kids. She works 3 days a week and her mother-in-law helps on those days but on the days she’s home she’s getting the kids to school, preparing snacks/dinner for when they get home, rushing them to karate and piano, fighting to get them to do homework, feeding them again since they ate dinner at 4:00, making sure they get showered, and into bed at a decent hour. She cried as she said, “my son asked me, ‘Mommy, why can’t you play with me? Please, Mommy, please.'” And she replies to her son, “Honey, I have to get ready for work too, or I have to get dinner ready, or I have to take care of the laundry.”

My eyes welled up with tears and I’m not quite sure if it was because I was so sad for her son to have to beg for her time, sad for her to not have the time or grateful to the point of tears that I get to be home with my twins. It was likely a combinaion of emotions. 

I believe that God makes us hear the things we need to hear. And I needed these ladies today. They gave me a perspective like never before. They helped me see that I am so blessed to be living my life’s purpose right now. I am playing with my babies daily, I am feeding them all of their meals, and I am surrounding them with love and security. Right now, they are my life’s purpose. They are the legacy we will leave behind. They are the disciples that will carry God’s love into the next generation. There is no better time than now for me to pouring into them as He intended me to.  There are so many days that I feel guilty for not being able to contribute financially to my family, but today I felt so at peace with where we are.  And in a world where so many want to ask, “when are you going back to work?” I am so satisfied to answer, “whenever it is time for me to go back”. God’s plan is higher than mine, and as long as He makes me feel like I’m right where I need to be…  I’ll be here… where He needs me most.