Sunday, January 19, 2014

God's Calling

"Being a mother is not about what you gave up to have a child, but what you've gained from having one." -Sunny Gupta

Sometimes life can be tough.  Sometimes we can walk through a trial, and it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  But sometimes I think those trials help us bring us back to a more accurate picture of what our priorities should look like.

When your kids are young, it can sometimes seem like you are just trying to make it through the day.  "The days are long but the years are short."  That's what they say, isn't it?  And sometimes as moms I think we can get lost.  Get caught up in dreaming about when life will be easier.  When our little co-sleeper is not in our bed anymore.  When our munchkin doesn't nurse constantly.  When we can stop tripping over legos or barbies or matchbox cars.  I don't know about you but I can start dreaming about all the things I am going to do when I don't have kids attached to my hip.  When they are more independent.  And then i start thinking that maybe I should rearrange my life so that I can do that now.  I start worrying that I should be changing my life in a way that brings in more money, that allows them to do more, that allows US to do or have more.

And then times get tough. The bills come in and the van breaks and the stove sparks.  And I REALLY start to question the choices I have made in my life.  I start to wonder if I should be homeschooling.  I wonder if I should put them in daycare so I can go to work so that they can take horseback riding lessons, and hockey, and violin.  I wonder if I am not being a good parent by not bringing them to Great Wolf Lodge or Disney World.  I start to wonder if I am doing it all wrong.  I mean, I didn't even know there is a Despicable Me 2 out, and my daughter doesn't own a Hannah Montana backpack. (Wait, Hannah Montana is not in anymore anyways, right?) I am just not "with it". Maybe if I was in the corporate world my kids would grow up just like everyone else.  I know what it was like growing up standing out like a sore thumb, being teased for not having what the other kids I really want that for my children??

And so I pray.  I pray for wisdom.  I pray for guidance.  I pray that I wouldn't feel so conflicted in my heart.

In the meantime, I keep at it.  I teach my children math and reading and Awana Bible verses.  I cook many meals out of pasta and rice and lentils and peanut butter and jam sandwiches.  I work on my home business and help the husband with his.  I work on a fundraiser I am trying to get together for a cause I believe in.  I change diapers and hand out snacks and vitamins and wash laundry and sweep floors.  I give medicine to sick babes and cuddle them when they don't feel so well. I read stories and peel stickers off the floor and wash sticky hands.

And in the middle of life feeling tough, we receive many blessings from friends.

And God whispers to me,  "look around.  THESE are your priorities.  THIS is where I want you."

And I look.  And I see that my children are thriving at home with homeschooling.  And I see that slowly, VERY slowly, but surely, our businesses are showing promise.  And I see God's hand in a fundraiser that I feel so inadequate to put together.  And I see my children playing, and smiling.  And I feel my toddler's hand in mine and his skin feels perfect.  And I remember that I won't always have that pudgy toddler hand to hold.  and I realize the days I cry usually have nothing to do with feeling like I can't take one more tantrum (as frustrating as it is.)  No, the tears come when I feel like I will never be "enough" by the world's standards.  the tears come when I worry my children might resent me for not having the latest gadgets.  But all the laundry and dishes and backtalk and ouchies don't make me cry.  Even the days I feel like I am counting down till bedtime...still not enough to make me cry.  Maybe I am meant to be here.

God calls us all to different things.  Some women are called to work outside of the home. Some are not.  Some are called to homeschool, others are not.  And when everyone around us is doing one thing, it is easy to believe God would want us to do the same thing.  But that isn't always true.  God has different paths for different people.  and sometimes tough times help us reevaluate our priorities. Sometimes I get caught up in what I WANT MY priorities to be to suit me.  And i get confused in where God wants me.  But when I am very real with myself I can see very clearly where God wants me...right here, at home with my children.  Only he wants me to REALLY be here...not just physically.  He wants me to make sure my family is a priority...before my own selfish needs.  I don't think it is wrong to go out with the girls once in a while, or having a nap to recharge, or taking some time to ourselves as moms.  But if we start to look forward to that, and only that - never looking forward to the time with our own family because it feels exhausting, I think we need to look at our priorities.  Whether you work at home or away from home.  Whether your kids go to school or are home schooled.  I firmly believe God wants our children to know that mom and dad are a safe place for them. I firmly believe God wants our children to see us WANTING to spend time with them because we love them, and not just because we feel we HAVE to.

So, here's to 2014 being a new year for me.  A new year full of quality family time.  A year where my children AND my husband know I am here because I WANT to be here, and not because I have to.